Syntactic Typology in Chinese (Part ii.1) (漢語句法類型學(第二部分之一))

The Neutral Question Forms – VP-neg in Min (中性問形式–VP-neg 閩語裏的謂語+否定詞式)

in Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics

Recapturing the outline given in Part i of this article on syntactic typology in Chinese, the entire article “is divided into three parts: two pertaining to the neutral question forms and one to the attributive and the nominalized construction. Part 1 deals with the V-not-V questions, Part 2 the VP-neg and the Adv-VP questions and it also provides a general typological discussion of the neutral questions, while Part 3 discusses the attributive and the nominalized patterns, with a conclusion on dialectology in typology.” Since the VP-neg form is being gradually replaced by the popular V-not-V form in more than one major group of dialects or better termed as more than one major Sinitic languages, it is necessary to trace such a change wherever possible, so as to affirm whether VP-neg is the native form for the languages and dialects involved. The present paper focuses on the case of Min.

論文分三章,本文是第二章,論述三種中性問句之一的謂語+否定詞式在閩語裏共時歷時的類型布局。從觀察十六世紀以來的文獻以及十九世紀以至現代方言的發展模式,認爲閩語的本土型是謂語+否定詞式。他如正反問及各種混合型乃是不同時地語言接觸後累積在不同層次的產物。

Abstract

Recapturing the outline given in Part i of this article on syntactic typology in Chinese, the entire article “is divided into three parts: two pertaining to the neutral question forms and one to the attributive and the nominalized construction. Part 1 deals with the V-not-V questions, Part 2 the VP-neg and the Adv-VP questions and it also provides a general typological discussion of the neutral questions, while Part 3 discusses the attributive and the nominalized patterns, with a conclusion on dialectology in typology.” Since the VP-neg form is being gradually replaced by the popular V-not-V form in more than one major group of dialects or better termed as more than one major Sinitic languages, it is necessary to trace such a change wherever possible, so as to affirm whether VP-neg is the native form for the languages and dialects involved. The present paper focuses on the case of Min.

論文分三章,本文是第二章,論述三種中性問句之一的謂語+否定詞式在閩語裏共時歷時的類型布局。從觀察十六世紀以來的文獻以及十九世紀以至現代方言的發展模式,認爲閩語的本土型是謂語+否定詞式。他如正反問及各種混合型乃是不同時地語言接觸後累積在不同層次的產物。

* Conventions already described in Part i of this article will not be repeated here. The reader is referred to Yue (2006). With the exception of providing English translation where not furnished, all examples are cited as they appear in the source materials with no attempt at modification or unification unless the font is unavailable to us, in which case the change is explicitly stated.

3.3 The VP-neg Form

The present-day distribution of the VP-neg question form is still quite widespread although not to the extent of the V-not-V pattern. This form is native to the Southern dialects, especially Southern Min, Yue, Hakka and Southern Wu, which we investigate in some detail. It is also likely that it is native to the Gan and the Xiang dialects, although we have only piecemeal information about them. In addition, it is found in the Northwestern dialects, Southeastern or Jianghuai Mandarin spoken in northern and southern Jiangsu, the Mandarin dialects spoken in the heartland of Shandong as well as Southwestern and Southeastern Mandarin spoken in Hubei. These other dialects have other features common with the Southern dialects.

Example 1: for the comparative degree of comparison some dialects in Shandong, such as Muping 牟平, Zhucheng 諸城, Jinan 濟南, Boshan 博山, Yinan 沂南, Dezhou 德州, Shouguang 壽光, Rongcheng 榮成 and Lijin 利津, follow the Southern pattern, which has the two terms of comparison flanking the main verb,1 as in Cantonese: 佢高過你 ‘he is taller than you,’ which appears in Shouguang as: 他高的(=[ti])你 (Zhang 1995:215), and in Muping, Zhucheng, Jinan, Boshan as 他高起你; in Yinan we have: 他不高起你 ‘he is not taller than you’ (Ma & Wu 2003:244); in Rongcheng: 他不矮起我 (S. Wang 1995:235); in Lijin: 捏種顏色也不好看的(=[ti])那種顏色 ‘this kind of color does not look better than that kind’ (Q. Yang 1990:166); and in Dezhou: 日子一天好起一天 ‘life is getting better and better’ (Y. Cao 1991:198). The Xiangyuan 襄垣dialect of Shanxi seems to have the same type: 人心高過天, 當了皇帝想成仙 ‘the ambition of people is higher than heaven, and after becoming the emperor, they wish to be immortal.’2

Example 2: the order of the indirect object follows the direct object in some Jianghuai dialects such as Nantong 南通 and Rugao 如皋 when the verb has the [+give] feature: for ‘lend me two dollars’ Nantong has 借兩塊錢喊我 and Rugao has 借兩塊錢(喊, 把)我; Haimen 海門 and Sijia 四甲 use the Southern word order along with the Northern one: 借兩塊錢我 (Sijia), 借兩塊洋錢我 (Haimen); while Nanjing 南京 uses the Northern word order in general, with a limited number of verbs with the [+give] feature and when the indirect object is the 1st personal pronoun, the Southern word order is used, as in: 把一本書我 ‘give me a book.’3 Southwestern dialects such as Changde 常德, and Anxiang 安鄉 of Hunan witness the Southern word order too: 給本書我 (Changde, from Zheng 1999:320), 給兩塊錢他 ‘give him two dollars’ (Anxiang, from Ying 1994:221).

Example 3: in the Nantong and Rugao dialects, the adverbs of quantity 多 ‘much’ and 少 ‘little’ may follow the verb, just as in the South: for ‘take a little more rice’ Nantong has 拿多點兒米 and Rugao has 米拿啊多啊點兒.4

Example 4: in the word formation of compounds, the word order of certain Northwestern and Southeastern dialects is similar to the Southern dialects: 乳腐 for 腐乳 ‘fermented bean curd’ (Kunming 昆明 of Yunnan); 齊整 for 整齊 ‘neat’ (Taiyuan city 太原市, Taiyuan Chaicun 柴村 of Shanxi; Qingjian 清澗 of Shaanxi); 緊要 for 要緊 ‘important’ (Taiyuan Chaicun; Nanjing, Yancheng, Huaiyin 淮陰, Rugao and Nantong of Jiangsu); 人客 for 客人 ‘guest’ (Qingjian; Xinzhou 忻州 of Shanxi).5 Many Southeastern Mandarin dialects, such as Huangmei 黃梅, Yangzhou 揚州, Lianyungang 連雲港, Gaoyou 高郵, Yancheng, Huaiyin, Rugao and Nantong of Jiangsu, have 亮月instead of 月亮 for ‘the moon,’ exactly like such Northern Wu dialects as Wuxi 無錫, Changshu 常熟 and Changzhou 常州.

Example 5: the word order of gender marker following the root for animal terms is also seen in some Southwestern Mandarin dialects: 雞公 ‘rooster’ (Chengdu 成都 and Nanxi Lizhuang 南溪李莊 of Sichuan; Tongren 銅仁 of Guizhou; Yidu 宜都 of Hubei, Changde of Hunan), 雞母/雞婆 ‘hen’ (Chengdu; Zunyi 遵義 and Sinan 思南 of Guizhou, Changde of Hunan), 鴨婆 ‘female duck’ (Nanxi Lizhuang). It is reported that there used to be a type of ‘rooster cart’ 雞公車 in use in Sichuan during the World War ii period, the main body of which was made of wood while the rims of the wheels were reinforced with iron.6 There is also a type of 雞公車 in use in Anxiang that is a one-wheel cart pushed by hand (Ying 1994:160). As expected, Southwestern Mandarin spoken in Hunan is even more susceptible to this kind of word formation: Anxiang has 豬娘 ‘sow,’ Changde has 鴨公 ‘drake’; Jiahe 嘉禾 has 牛牯 ‘ox,’ 吐絲龍婆 ‘silkworm,’ 龍婆 ‘worm,’ 牛蝨婆 ‘ox louse’ and 狗蝨婆 ‘dog’s flea,’ 馬婆(子) ‘mare’ and 狗婆(子) ‘bitch’ while 蝨婆 ‘louse’ is used in Jiahe and Changde. This kind of word order must have been archaic and in use since ancient time in a far wider region than today. It is found in the name of a mountain called ‘the rooster [chicken-male] mountain’ 雞公山 between southeastern Henan and central northern Hubei.

The example features listed above suffice to illustrate that there has been a close connection between the deep South, that is usually taken to be south of the Yangtze River, and the periphery of the North – the Northwest, the eastern seaboard and the lower drainage area of the Yangtze. Now we shall show that the VP-neg question form is another of these features.

Since the VP-neg form, more often than not, co-occurs with the V-not-V form, or appears to be the less frequently used than the latter, we shall consult earlier historical documents in the dialects to reconstruct the pre-contact situation and the typological layout of the native strata as much as possible, apart from presenting the current post-contact situation. Moreover, contrary to our previous practice, ‘neg’ in the perfective will be included in our discussion. This is because in the Southern dialects, aspectual markers are often fused with the general negative marker to form negative complexes. It is impossible to talk about ‘neg’ if we exclude these negative complexes.

3.3.1 Min

The scenario of the Min dialects is rather complicated, with more than one type of native neutral question form – the VP-neg and the Adv-VP, not to mention hybrid types and borrowed forms. Furthermore, the typical VP-neg question of Min is the most sophisticated among all Sinitic languages. We shall start with the VP-neg type in historical documents and then in the modern dialects.

The modern Southern Min negative complexes comprise at least four types, corresponding to their positive counterparts. An outstanding feature of this language is the pairing of affirmative versus negative markers for all verbs in certain modal frames except the copula. The negative markers are all derived from the merger of the simple negative marker [m̩] plus the respective affirmative markers. Some of these mergers, such as 無 and 未, are inherited from Old Chinese and they occur across the Southern dialects.7 In Southern Min, for Vopt or optative verbs and verbs expressing the potential, the affirmative marker is some form of 會 and the negative marker is some form of 𠁞; for Vq and verbs in the past tense the affirmative marker is 有 and the negative marker 無; for verbs in the imperfective mode the affirmative is some form of 了 and the negative is 未. With the copula, the affirmative is zero and the negative is [m̩] or 唔. All markers save 了 occur before the verb.

3.3.1.1 VP-neg Question Forms in Southern Min Texts

Among the Sinitic languages, Southern Min has the earliest extant written documents based on the dialects of Quanzhou 泉州 and Chaozhou 潮州, containing unmistakably colloquial dialogues that are invaluable for research into the earlier syntactic patterns in the language. Yue (1991) has already examined the neutral question forms of most of these documents and arrived at the conclusion that the native Southern Min form is VP-neg from the middle of the 16th through the end of the 19th century – the period which most of these documents span. The evidence for this conclusion is that the overwhelming majority of neutral questions are in the VP-neg form. We shall now re-examine these materials in a new light, including several that have not been included in the 1991 article All of these materials contain colloquial elements but to a different degree, and this is reflected in the use of the neutral question forms.

One of the earliest extant documents of the Southern Min dialects is the thirty-one-leaf Doctrina Christiana of 1593, in which 12 VP-neg forms appear as the sole neutral question form with 否 as ‘neg’ in all cases, except for one case where the VP contains the adverb 可.8 For example:

(1)俺本頭西士奇尼實道.做人了.後有受艱難否. [11:8] ‘after our Lord Jesus Christ became a human being, did he suffer hardship?’

Although the dialect was not specified and the style not always colloquial, judging from the vocabulary used – 阮 ‘I,’ 乞 ‘give,’ 目睭 ‘eyes,’ 伊 ‘s/he,’ 親像 ‘like, similar to,’ 許 ‘that,’ 極有歡喜 ‘extremely happy’ – it is unmistakably a Southern Min dialect. Since the entire text is rendered in characters, there is no way of figuring out the phonetic form of the negative 否. However, judging from the fact that the VP that precedes 否 contains verbs of various kinds: the copula 是 (天地是僚氏否 10:3 ‘are heaven and earth God?’), the existential verb 有 as shown in the above example, the Vopt 會 (天地會保庇人否 10:4 ‘can heaven and earth protect people?’), and the Vq 大 (有箇可大否 10*:1–29 ‘is one greater than the others?’), this 否 is most likely a form from the literary language of the time, for in Southern Min, depending on the types of verbs different negatives obtain, as we shall see below. The use of 否 as ‘neg’ rather recalls the VP-neg form in earlier texts such as the Shiji Chronicles 史記, the vernacular Buddhist texts and the bianwen 變文.
A 16th century document discovered in Chaozhou, Cai Bojie 蔡伯皆, which is a Jiajing 嘉靖 remnant version with missing and torn pages, also contains 否 as ‘neg’. It is basically a text written in the literary or court language of the time with a few Southern Min lexical items such as 伊 for the 3rd personal pronoun (p. 237) and 女卜子for ‘wife’ (p. 172).10 In addition, the two examples of VP 否 are uttered by the hero, whose role involves a higher status and thus prone to use more formal language. Five more examples of VP 麼 occur in the text in question, four rendered by the hero and one by a royal court official assisting the Royal Court Examiner. The VP 麼 type is typical of the court language or Mandarin probably of the Song time (see Section 3.3.8 below). The use of 他 instead of 伊 in (2) testifies to this:

(2)他帶有家書來麼 ‘did he bring a letter from home?’ [p. 321]

We thus have good reason to assign both the VP 麼 and the VP 否 type as of Mandarin origin. In Cai Bojie there are another four examples of VP 未, a type that appears both as early as the Shiji Chronicles and in other colloquial texts, and one example of VP 不曾, that smacks of the South. There are one V-neg-V and two VP-neg-V questions too, which are of Northern origin.

Van der Loon (1992:40–41) suggests that “consideration must be given to the likelihood that troupes performing in Mandarin were active in Fukien itself. That was the situation in Ch’ao-chou, as we know from a recently discovered play … composed in ‘correct characters’ …” He refers to both Cai Bojie and another discovery in Chaozhou – the Xuande 宣德 (1431–32) manuscript, with torn pages and many miswritten characters, of Liu Xibi and the Golden Hairpin 劉希必金釵記.11 This is also a text written in the literary language of the time, more so than Cai Bojie. The only recognizable Southern Min elements are the lexical item 女卜子 (p. 99) and the expression 平長 for ‘equally long’ (p. 138). There are just three examples of VP 未 but three examples of VP-neg-VP and one of V-neg-V.

With the above two texts as comparison we can reconstruct the stratum in the use of the neutral question form in the Doctrina Christiana – an older literary stratum that follows the VP 否 tradition different from the native stratum of VP-neg that is predominant in Southern Min observed in the various versions of the Litchee Tale compiled from 1566 through 1884:

Jiajing 嘉靖 edition of The Litchee Mirror Tale 重刊五色潮泉插科增入詩詞北曲句欄荔鏡記戲文全集 (1566, henceforth, Jiajing text)

Wanli 萬曆 edition of The Litchee Tale 新刻增補全像鄉談荔枝記 (1581, henceforth, Wanli text)

Shunji 順治 edition of The Litchee Tale 新刊時興泉潮雅調陳柏卿荔枝記大全 (1651, henceforth, Shunji text)

Guangxu 光緒 edition of The Litchee Tale 繡像荔枝記真本 (1884, henceforth, Guangxu text)

as well as in four other texts:12

The Golden Flower Girl 重補摘錦潮調金花女 (between 1573–1619)

Su Liu-niang 蘇六娘 (between 1573–1619)

All-embracing Spring 新刻增補戲隊錦曲大全滿天春 (1604)13

Schoolmate and Zither Book 同窗琴書記 (1782)

Of the over 300 neutral questions in the dialogues of these eight texts14 the majority are cast in the VP-neg form while there are only three examples of the V-not-V type (two VP-neg-V – 1*:8, 78*:5 and one V-prt-neg-V – 102*:7), evidently a borrowed form, uttered by two characters in high position in the Jiajing text, as well as one V-neg-V question in the Schoolmate and Zither Book (18:1). The ‘neg’ component of this VP-neg form comprises at least four constituents for ‘neg’ – 不, 無, 未/不曾, 袂/袜, although not all the texts have examples with all four ‘neg’ constituents, as shown in Chart 1 below. Each of these ‘neg’ constituents carries specific function: 不 is for simple negation, 無 negates the existential (Vex 有), 未/不曾/未曾 negates the perfective while 袂/袜 negates the optative (Vopt 會). While the first three ‘neg’ constituents may occur in the VP-neg form of other dialects, the last one, 袂/袜 (later represented with the vulgar characters 𠁞 and P000020

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), is exclusively Southern Min. For example:

(3)生: 阿娘歡喜愛來也不 [嘉靖 Jiajing 64*:6] ‘hero: does your lady (=you) like to come?’

(4)生: 公主有乜話說無 [滿天春 All-embracing Spring 38:8] ‘hero: did the princess have anything to say?’

(5)旦: 亞公亞媽困未 [順治 Shunzhi 48:1] ‘heroine: are father and mother asleep yet?’

(6)七: 你會食酒那袂 [萬曆 Wanli 81*:5] ‘servant Xiao Qi: can you drink?’

Different from the Doctrina Christiana, in which only VP 否occurs, these materials show the existence of another variety of the VP-neg form: VP-prt-neg, where ‘prt’ stands for a particle that is also used as a connector in the Disjunctive Question form in which two choices are posed. As shown in Chart 1 at the end of this section, some texts favor the use of VP-prt-neg while others use VP-neg exclusively. The highest ratio of usage is found in the Golden Flower Girl, with 12 VP-prt-neg versus one VP-neg and in the Wanli text, with 14 VP-prt-neg and 15 VP-neg. At the other extreme are All-embracing Spring and the Schoolmate and Zither Book, with no VP-prt-neg form at all, while the Guangxu text registers 67 VP-neg but a single VP-prt-neg, the Shunzhi text gives 44 VP-neg but just two VP-prt-neg, the Jiajing text has 39 VP-neg but seven VP-prt-neg and Su Liuniang has nine VP-neg and merely one VP-prt-neg. Does the usage of the VP-prt-neg form correlate with an earlier period versus a later period of time as perhaps suggested by the lineup in Chart 1? However, the two literary texts, Liu Xibi and the Golden Hairpin and Cai Bojie, dated before the eight texts discussed here, give no examples of VP-prt-neg at all. Can the use and disuse of VP-prt-neg be ascribed to a colloquial versus a literary style? The various versions of The Litchee Tale do not seem to differ in the degree of the use of colloquial vocabulary, yet they differ in the use of VP-neg versus VP-prt-neg. A closer look at the particles used immediately points out that different particles are used in different texts: 也/亞/啞 are used in the Jiajing text, 啞 in the Shunzhi text, 亞 in the Guangxu text, while 那 is used in the Wanli text, the Golden Flower Girl and the Su Liuniang. This may merely be a difference in graphic tradition, but evidently the Jiajing, Shunzhi and Guangxu texts form a group although the Shunzhi and the Guangxu texts barely use a particle while the Jiajing, the Wanli and the Golden Flower Girl texts form another group. This leads to a third possibility.

Wu Shouli, who extensively emendated the above texts except All-embracing Spring, painstakingly compared the riming practice of the Jiajing text with the modern Chaozhou and Quanzhou dialects. Since the full title of the Jiajing text embraces both Chaozhou and Quanzhou one would expect to find linguistic elements of both in these texts. Wu’s conclusion is that the riming scheme of the Jiajing text falls into three kinds, befitting both Chaozhou and Quanzhou, suiting one but not the other, mixture of both and different from both (Wu 2001a:287). If the play is a medley of Chaozhou and Quanzhou elements of equal weight, as Wu concludes, it does not solve our problem. In addition, the Shunzhi text also has both of these dialects in its full title. There may be a clue from the ordering of words in the title of these two texts: the Jiajing text has Chaozhou preceding Quanzhou whereas the Shunzhi text places Quanzhou before Chaozhou. Does this mean more Chaozhou in the Jiajing text but more Quanzhou in the Shunzhi text? On the basis of his study of both the dialogues and verses, Wu stated that the Jiajing text contains both Chaozhou and Quanzhou elements, but the Wanli text uses the Chaozhou dialect exclusively (Wu 2001b:4). Furthermore, the Golden Flower Girl, as can be observed from its title, is written in the Chaozhou dialect. Thus, Wu suspects that both the Wanli text and the Golden Flower Girl are the products of the same place and of the same time (Wu 2001b:5). His claim is supported by a comparison of the use of colloquial vocabulary among the Wanli text, the Golden Flower Girl and the Jiajing text, the former two sharing some 15 items (Wu 2001b:18–21). This description at least gives us a basis for the high ratio of VP-prt-neg in both the Wanli and the Golden Flower Girl texts, which also implies association with the Chaozhou dialect. Another interesting clue given by Wu Shouli in his study of the rimes of the Schoolmate and Zither Book is that the riming seems to follow the Quanzhou sound (Wu 2003:78). Although two pages are missing in this text with the effect that our counting of the VP-neg versus VP-prt-neg forms can only be regarded as incomplete, the association with Quanzhou classifies it as different from the Wanli text and the Golden Flower Girl. On the other hand, the text Golden Flower Girl also lacks two pages so that the count there is also inconclusive. Consequently, Su Liuniang, which was attached and carved at the top of each page of the Golden Flower Girl, suffers from the same result. What can be remedied is to rely on the association of these incomplete texts with other texts. In his emendation of the scene 代捧盆水 ‘Carrying a washing basin of water on behalf [of the maid]’ in the Shunzhi text, Wu gave an important observation: the qu 曲 verse 黃鶯兒 ‘Nightingale’ is marked with the words 潮腔 ‘Chaozhou singing style’ in the Jiajing text but these words are omitted and the verse completely revamped in the Shunzhi text. This Shunzhi text is also the one that places Quanzhou before Chaozhou in its title (Wu 2001c:285). We can thus at least deduce that the Chaozhou element is not emphasized there, and this Shunzhi text is also one that has a low percentage of VP-prt-neg questions.

Thus our conclusion is that the VP-neg form, which is used exclusively in the Schoolmate and Zither Book, is associated with the Quanzhou dialect; while the VP-那-neg form is associated with the Chaozhou dialect during the Ming dynasty as shown in the Wanli text and the Golden Flower Girl; the VP-也/亞/啞-neg form is seen in the Ming dynasty as shown in the Jiajing text but barely occurs during Qing time as shown in the Shunzhi and Guangxu texts and these three texts contain both Chaozhou and Quanzhou elements: the use of the VP-prt-neg form recalls the Chaozhou element although the ‘prt’ is different while the use of VP-neg recalls the Quanzhou element.

There are some 60 instances of VP-neg questions with the adverb 可, although they are still the minority. For example, in All-embracing Spring:

(7)外: 小弟尔身上病会可軽袂 [滿天春下27*:4–5] ‘uncle: my younger brother, is your illness better?’

Of special notice is that while the Schoolmate and Zither Book contains but two VP-neg examples, it has five with 可.15 There are also cases where a different adverb form from 可 appears. For example, in the Wanli text 扣 appears:

(8)生: 伊家扣有乜人無 [22:1] ‘hero: does his household have anyone?’

Perhaps 扣 is another form of 可. It is difficult to argue that in both examples 可 and 扣 do not carry the function of an emphatic adverb. The same can be said of the other examples found in all eight texts. While 可 may be considered just an adverb with emphatic meaning as used in Mandarin, it is not so used in colloquial Southern Min. In the Jiajing text, there are two questions that contain 可 without any ‘neg’ (58*:6–7; 59*:2), for example:

(9)生: 娘仔你可記得樓上食荔枝時 [59*:2] ‘hero: young lady, do you remember the time eating litchee upstairs’

Still one may argue that this is a rhetorical question using 可, just as in Mandarin. However, in the Golden Flower Girl 可 does not appear but another adverb 屺/岂 appears thrice:

(10a)生: 恁阿嫂 屺知那不 [17*:10] ‘hero: did your sister-in-law know?’

(10b)生: …岂有下落那無 [17*:7] ‘hero: did you get result?’

(10c)生: 阿嫂岂有乜話那無 [18:1] ‘hero: did sister-in-law have anything to say?’

In the Su Liuniang, there is one example with 可and another with豈:

(10d)旦: 林婆你來時豈見秀才不曾 [5:12–13] ‘heroine: Grandma Lin, did you see the xiucai (scholar) when you came?’

This 屺/岂/豈 cannot be interpreted as an emphatic or a rhetorical adverb but only as a question marker. If 可 parallels it in usage, it is also a question marker; and if not, 可-VP-neg has to be considered a borrowed form from the literary stratum of the standard language. The significance of 可 will be discussed again in Section 3.4. One point of note is that, as shown in Chart 1 below, the greatest number of questions with 可 occur in the Jiajing (17 out of a total of 46 examples), the Shunzhi (13 out of 46 examples), the Guangxu (nine out of 68 examples) and the All-embracing Spring (10 out of 40) texts while the lowest number obtains in the Wanli (one? out of 29), the Schoolmate and Zither Book (five out of seven), the Su Liuniang (two out of 10 examples) and the Golden Flower Girl (three out of 13). While this layout adds no other to the Quanzhou element in the Wanli text, it suggests further stratification in the other texts.

The heterogeneous nature of the VP-neg forms is thus a reflection of the heterogeneous nature of these documents. One should not forget that these documents in the form of popular plays have been redacted time and again, especially when they were performed at different times and different locations, not to say that some of them are fragmentary. In his redaction of the vocabulary of the Guangxu text, Wu points out not only Chaozhou expressions but also Quanzhou ones and even a Zhangzhou 漳州 item as well as what he dubs ‘Northern’ stuff. The use of the neutral question forms exactly reflects the same nature of stratification. We shall return to this question after examining records of the modern Southern Min dialects.

Chart 1 and Chart 2 below summarize our discussion of the Southern Min historical documents.

Chart 2 summarizes the VP-neg forms that occur in the ten documents, specifying at the same time the different ‘neg’ components, the speakers of these question forms, the leaf and line reference for each occurrence, as well as the occurrence of particle (prt such as 也/亞/啞/那) before ‘neg’ and final particle (F such as 年) if any. All underlined examples contain the adverb 可.

3.3.1.2 VP-neg Question Forms in the Southern Min Dialects

Having established that VP-neg is the native Southern Min neutral question form based on earlier texts, with a residual question concerning the status of the Adv-VP-neg form, we shall now turn our attention to the modern dialects. While this VP-neg is still prevalent in the modern Southern Min dialects, the scenario is as complex, or even more so than what we have seen in the previous section, since the effects brought about by the language contact situation have become more pronounced in recent decades. There is often disagreement between the older and the newest materials. To understand the discrepancy, intermediate materials of the C19 and early C20 are also consulted. We have investigated fourteen to fifteen modern Southern Min dialects,17 all of which employ more than one type of neutral question form. In terms of frequency of occurrence, the majority (nine) still use VP-neg as the predominant form, one uses Adv-VP as the predominant form, one probably uses the V-not-V as the predominant form and four uses two to three different forms with the same frequency. Reports from other sources give more or less the same picture.

Consequently, all contemporary Southern Min dialects are of the mixed type. Below we shall trace them to their native form, beginning with the VP-neg dominant group.

3.3.1.2.1 VP-prt-neg Dominant Dialects

The VP-neg dominant dialects can be further divided into two subgroups: VP-prt-neg dominant and simple VP-neg dominant. It is not always apparent whether a dialect is simple VP-neg or VP-prt-neg since more often than not, it is VP(-prt)-neg. Moreover, it is not always a straightforward case of VP-prt-neg becoming VP-neg via a transitional VP(-prt)-neg, as one would expect as the most natural historical process. It would have been straightforward if earlier materials are VP-prt-neg or VP(-prt)-neg and later materials VP-neg or VP(-prt)-neg. Thus, to establish our case, we shall examine each dialect one by one. We have at least two dialects, Xiamen and Chaozhou, which have historical documents of all three types irrespective of chronological order as we shall see below. We shall start with the modern dialects.

Among the dialects we investigated, there are two that use VP-prt-neg interchangeably with the simple VP-neg, which we shall describe as VP(-prt)-neg. They are Xiamen city and Raoping Huanggangzhen 黃崗鎮 situated at the extreme southwestern tip on the coast of Guangdong.18

The speakers of Xiamen city actually use both the VP(-prt)-neg and the V(-prt)-not-V forms but with higher frequency of usage for VP-neg. The ‘prt’ 啊 [32] is used for both types. There are in all 83 simple V-neg, 73 V-prt-neg, 49 V-not-V and 35 V-prt-not-V questions. Of note is that with the Vex/poss (existential/possessive verb) and where the negative aspect marker is 無 or 未 only the simple VP-neg form is used and with the copula (Vcop) 是 only the V-not-V form is used.19 With other verb classes no preference is observed. The ‘neg’ consists of 伓(=[m33]), 無 which is the negative counterpart of Vex/poss, 未 which is the negative imperfective and 𠁞(=[bue33]) which is the negative potential. For example:

(11a)女(=[li53])有錢(啊)無? ‘do you have money?’

(11b)天暗(啊)未? ‘is it dark yet?’

(11c)老王 是廈門人(啊)[m33]是? / 是[m33]是廈門人? ‘is Lao Wang from Xiamen?’

(11d)女[beʔ32][lim55]冷茶(啊)[m33]? / 女[beʔ32][lim55]冷茶(啊)[m33][lim55]? ‘do you drink cold tea?’

(11e)伊講會(=[e33])清楚𠁞? / 伊講會清楚(啊)講𠁞33>22清楚? ‘can he speak clearly?’

In an early C20 text of the Xiamen dialect, Warnshuis & de Pree (1911), however, the VP(-prt-)-neg form is used exclusively except for one case of VP-neg-V with the Vcop. There are more VP-neg than VP-prt-neg forms. In either case the ‘neg’ comprises the typical Southern Min negative complexes while the ‘prt’ is /á/. There are eighteen instances of VP-bô but just five of VP-á-bô; eight of VP-bē versus two of VP-á-bē, three each of VP-m̄ and VP-á-m̄, one of VP-bōe and none of VP-á-bōe. For example

(12a)lí beh khì á m̄? ‘are you going or not?’ [11] / lí beh khì m̄? [68]

(12b)chiàh pn̄g bē? ‘have you dined?’ [11]

(12c)lí ū teng á bô? ‘have you a lamp?’ [11]

(12d)lí ōe kôen bôe? / ū kôen bô? ‘are you cold?’ [31]

There is also a VP-neg where ‘neg’ is /mah/, 10 tokens in all, similar to and evidently a loan of 嗎 from Mandarin. It was explained as “the sign of direct question, expecting the answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’” (p. 10) and is no doubt a question particle for the non-neutral Yes-No question since it occurs with either positive or negative questions such as:

(13a)lí kiám m̄ eng-kai tiòh chòe mah? ‘ought you not to do it?’ [46]

(13b)chit ê hó mah? ‘is this good?’ [10]

This VP-mah form is used in the Amoy Vernacular New Testament of 1896 exclusively; for example:

(13c)goá lim ê poe, lín ōe lim mah? [Má-Thài 20:22] ‘are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?’

If it were cast in the native form, the ‘neg’ should have been some form of 袂 or the negative potential. As we shall see below, translation of the bible is often garbed in half colloquial and half literary style, as already observed in the Doctrina Christiana. A VP-neg form where ‘neg’ is similar to 嗎 is found in many such translations, which speaks for a loan stratum from the standard language of the time.
Jou (1951) gives a mixture of VP(-prt)-neg, VP-mah and V-not-V forms. The VP(-prt)-neg is still the dominant with 162 examples, where VP(-ar)boo takes up 77 tokens, VP(-ar)-m takes up 64 tokens, VP(-ar)-boe 21 tokens and there is just one VP-be. The V(-prt)-neg-V and VP(-prt)-neg-V where ‘prt’ is /ar/ is almost exclusively with the Vcop, with a few instances of Vq and cognitive verbs such as /bat/ ‘to know’. For example:

(14a)chiu1kund u1 yuchenk-keg ar boo? ‘is there a post office anywhere near here?’ [40–41]

(14b)lir tekkhak oe1 laai /boe1? ‘are you quite sure you can come?’ [72–73]

(14c)goa m1si1 Engkoklaang, lir chai /m1? ‘I’m not English, you see.’ [64–65]

(14d)lir laai chia, irking chin kur /be1? ‘have you been here long?’ [174–175]

(14e)ghe si1 syong’enq e ji1 ar m1si1? ‘is it a word in common use?’ [34–35]

An array of the colloquial ‘neg’ forms of the native stratum are found in the recent Xiamenshi Difangzhi Bianzuan Weiyuanhui Bangongshi of 1996; for example:

(15a)聽有阿無? ‘did you hear?’ [173]

(15b)要買阿? ‘are you going to buy?’ [174]

(15c)會燒(阿)勿會? ‘will it be hot?’ [175]

It is evident that the VP(prt)-neg form is native while not only the V-not-V but also the VP-mah form are borrowed from Mandarin.

Another variety of Xiamen which is of the simple VP-neg type will be discussed in Section 3.3.1.2.2.

The Huanggangzhen variety of Raoping uses the VP(-prt)-neg as the dominant form with V(-prt)-not-V form in lower preference.20 The ‘prt’ in both cases is 啊 (=[a33]). Simple VP-neg (15 instances) is far less common than VP-prt-neg (97 instances); on the other hand, V-not-V (76 tokens) is more popular than V-prt-not-V (18 tokens). This dialect distinguishes itself in two ways: both the VP-neg and the V-not-V form occur with the entire array of verbs with no exclusive class particular to each type, and it has a great number of negative complexes–three more than the regular four of Southern Min: [mai213] < 唔 (=[m35]) + 愛, [mo53] < [m35] + 好, [mi35] < [m35] + 是, and except for [mo53] they occur only in the final position, which means only in VP-neg questions. For example:21

(16a)[boʔ2>5]去啊唔? / [boʔ2>5]去啊[mai213]? / *去(啊)唔去? / *愛唔愛去? ‘are you going?’

(16b)床頂有茶杯(啊)無? / 有無茶杯? ‘is there a teacup on the table?’

(16c)日暗(啊)未? ‘is it dark yet?’

(16d)你聽會(=[pak2])(啊)𠁞(=[boi35])? ‘did you understand?’

(16e)伊介(=[kai213>55])(是)恁(=[niŋ53])阿弟啊[mi35]? / 伊是唔是恁阿弟? ‘is he your younger brother?’

Although both the Chaozhou and the Shantou city dialect, according to our investigation,22 are of a mixed type that uses two to three different types of neutral question forms, we classify them as typologically a VP-prt-neg type in their native stratum.
The Chaozhou city dialect spoken by the younger generation23 uses mostly the VP(-prt)-neg form but also the Adv-VP form – our data show 145 instances of VP(-prt)-neg (VP-prt-neg and VP-neg counted separately since they do not always overlap) and 82 instances of Adv-VP – while the V(-prt)-not-V form is hardly used – only five examples appear in our data. The Adv-VP form uses [k’aʔ2] (sandhi form [k’aʔ53]), often represented with the character 可, as ‘Adv’. There are 94 VP-prt-neg forms, where ‘prt’ is 啊(=[a33]) and 51 simple VP-neg. Some examples showing alternates are:

(17a)下[kua213] [k’aʔ2>53]愛去游泳? / 下[kua213]愛去游泳(啊)[m35] / [mai213]? ‘will you go swimming this afternoon?’

(17b)厝(=[ts’u213>53])內[k’aʔ2>53]會熱? / 厝內(會)熱(啊)𠁞(=[boi35])? ‘is it hot in the room?’

(17c)阿老王[k’aʔ2>53]是潮州人? / 是潮州人啊([m35])[mi35]? ‘is Lao Wang from Chaozhou?’

(17d)你 [k’aʔ2>53]有錢? / 有錢(啊)無? ‘do you have money?’

Just like Raoping, Chaozhou has three more negative complexes than other Southern dialects: [mai213], which is the contraction of the negative [m35] + 愛, [mi35] which is the contraction of [m35] + 是, and [mo53] which is the contraction of [m35] + 好.
The Adv-VP form seems quite nativized. It is often used for the perfective neutral question – 10 out of 14 examples have it as an alternative.

(17e)日暗(啊)未? / [k’aʔ2>53]暗了[ou21]? ‘is it dark yet?’

It even occurs in all cases of embedded neutral question forms used as statements in the object position along with the VP-prt-neg form (in the subject position, only VP-prt-neg is used with a few exceptions in the V-prt-not-V form):

(18)你[mai213>53]問伊(廁=[tã213>53])有[bou53]啊無 / … [k’aʔ2]有[bou53] ‘don’t ask him whether he has a wife’

All five V-not-V examples are of the VP-not-V form; in addition, four of them take the form 好[hãũ213](V)(啊)[m35]好 in expressing volition:

(19)伊好[hãũ213]來(啊)[m35]好? ‘is he willing to come?’

Although the Adv-VP is nativized, as seen in its use as an embedded statement, there is also reason to consider the VP(-prt)-neg form as native.
A study of the Chaozhou dialect in the mid C20, Li 1959, delineates the neutral question form as VP(-prt)-neg where the ‘prt’ is optional:

(20a)你有書呀無[bo55]? (你有書沒有? ) [259] ‘do you have a book?’

(20b)你會寫字呀𠁞? (你會不會寫字? ) [259] ‘do you know how to write?’

(20c)你愛去呀勿? (你去不去? ) [260] ‘do you want to go?’

(20d)你贏呀未? [270] ‘have you won?’

(20e)只本書我個呀[mi35]? (這本書是我的嗎?) [260] ‘is this book mine?’

(20f)你知[me21]? (你知道嗎? ) [259] ‘do you know?’

(20g)你愛出去吥[hã53]? (你要出去嗎? ) ‘do you want to go outside?’

Examples (20a) through (20e) are native neutral question forms in the style VP-prt-neg. Both [me21] and 吥[hã53] are used without a preceding ‘prt’. While [me21] looks suspiciously similar to the Mandarin 嗎 and is similar to the ‘me’ in VP-me given in Fielde (1878) for Shantou (see below), 吥[hã53] is also used to mark rhetorical questions, and so they seem to belong to a different category from ‘neg’ marking neutral questions alone. We thus arrive at the conclusion that the native Chaozhou neutral question form is VP-prt-neg but that later Chaozhou has modified it to be VP(-prt)-neg and has absorbed the Adv-VP form.24
The Shantou city dialect uses three neutral question forms with equally high frequency, one of which is a hybrid of the other two, plus two other emerging forms, one of which is again a hybrid. We classify it as typologically a VP-prt-neg type, as shown below.25 The three high frequency forms are the Adv-VP, the VP(-prt)-neg and the hybrid Adv-VP(-prt)-neg form. Almost every neutral question can be formulated in one of these three forms. Our data show 77 instances of the Adv-VP, 73 instances of the Adv-VP(-prt)-neg and 72 instances of the VP(-prt)-neg form. The ‘Adv’ in both the Adv-VP and the Adv-VP-neg form is 可[k’aʔ2], which is cognate with the Chaozhou form for which the sandhi form is [k’aʔ5]. The VP(-prt)-neg and the Adv-VP(-prt)-neg forms share the same particle 啊[a33]. In addition, VP-neg and VP-prt-neg, Adv-VP-neg and Adv-VP-prt-neg, are free variants. In other words, the particle is entirely optional and is disfavored only when the verb is the cognitive [pak2] ‘to know.’ This dialect is also rich in contracted negative complexes. As in Raoping and Chaozhou, it has three more such complexes than most Southern Min dialects: [mai213] which is the contraction of [m35] + 愛, [mo53] which is the contraction of [m35] + 好 and [mi35] the contraction of [m35] + 是. The following are examples in the three high frequency forms:

(21a)伊愛去(啊)[m35] / [mai213]? / [k’aʔ22]愛去? / [k’aʔ2]愛去(啊)[m35] / [mai213]? ‘are you going?’

(21b)(會)芳(啊)[boi35]? / [k’aʔ22](會)芳? / [k’aʔ22]會芳(啊)[boi35]? ‘is it fragrant?’

(21c)你(有)食薰(啊)無? / [k’aʔ22]有食薰? / [k’aʔ22]有食薰(啊)無?  ‘do you smoke?’

(21c)伊是[nia33]弟(啊)[mi35]? / [k’aʔ22]是[nia33]弟? / [k’aʔ22]是[nia33]弟(啊)[mi35]? ‘is he your younger brother?’

There are variant forms with tags for the VP-neg and the Adv-VP form, each occurring 27 times. This tag is basically in the V-(prt)-neg form such as 會(啊)[boi35] (13 instances each), 有(啊)無 (12 instances each), 是(啊)[mi35] (once each) and 好(啊)[mo53] (once each). For example:

(22)[peʔ2]會得起(會)(啊)[boi35]? / [peʔ2][k’aʔ2]會(得)起(會)(啊)[boi35]? ‘can you climb up it?’

Despite the heterogeneous neutral question forms found in the modern dialect, Fielde (1878) gives quite a different picture. Of the 79 neutral question forms found in the text, 63 of them are garbed in VP-neg, and 16 in V-not-V. Except for the VP-mē form, all VP-neg questions are of the VP-prt-neg type where ‘prt’ is /a/. The V-not-V form has 15 examples in V-prt-not-V and one in V-not-V. The VP-prt-neg is the native colloquial form, as observed in the ‘neg’ complexes in the following examples:

(23a)lú àin khʉ̀ a m̌? ‘do you wish to go or not?’ [12:9]

(23b)ŏi thìan a bŏi? ‘does it hurt you?’ [36:12]

(23c)ŭ sih mih chiet ìo a bɵ̂? ‘is there anything especially important?’ [132:12]

(23d)khí sin a būe? ‘have they started yet?’ [214:6]

while the VP-mē is an equivalent to the Mandarin VP-嗎:

(24)lú kán kāng úa cìu cūa, mē? ‘dare you swear to it?’ [388:7]

Just as with the Xiamen VP-mah, no particle occurs in the VP- form, which is from a borrowed stratum.
The transition of change to the modern situation can be glimpsed from Ichikawa (1918), in which the ‘prt’ has become optional:

(25a)有ウウ大湖無ボウ [48] ‘is there a big lake’

(25b)… 去在臺北个少爺有寄信來阿アア無ボウ [79] ‘did your son who went to stay in Taipei send home letters’

(25c)昨夜汝近邊火燒厝、敢カ.プ會オエ驚啊アア吥ボエ [99] ‘last night there was a house fire near your place, were you scared’

(25d)會オエ食吥ボエ [103] ‘do you have appetite’

According to Lin (1996) the Chenghai dialect, spoken between Chaozhou and Shantou, uses the VP-prt-neg form (p. 254):

(26a)你有書a33無? ‘do you have books?’

(26b)英文你會a33𠁞? ‘do you know English?’

(26c)你畏a33 勿畏? ‘are you afraid?’

And this particle carries over to the VP-neg-V form too:

(26d)伊好去廣州a33 不好? ‘are you willing to go to Guangzhou?’

(26e)伊是你個學生a33 勿是? ‘is s/he your student?’

There is also a ‘neg’, [me21], that is equivalent to the Mandarin 嗎:

(26f)你愛去北京[me21]? ‘do you want to go to Beijing?’

This type of question belongs to the borrowed stratum.
The modern Fuzhou 福州 dialect is known to use the V-not-V form almost exclusively.26 However, over a century ago it was a VP(-prt)-neg type. In Baldwin (1871) we found seven examples of the V-not-V type but 19 of the VP-neg type where ‘neg’ has several forms:27 [mó2]無/毛, [mwoí6]未/昧 and [má6]賣. When the ‘neg’ is [mó2]無/毛, the VP-prt-neg type where ‘prt’ appears as [a3]吓 is preferred – there are five examples with ‘prt’ and two without. When the ‘neg’ is [mwoí6]未/昧 or [má6]賣, the simple VP-neg is preferred – there is only one case of [má6]賣occurring in VP-prt-neg. For example:

(27a)務看見吓毛 o6 k’ang5 kieng5 a32? ‘have you seen it?’ [51]

(27b)米有過量無 mi3 o6 kwo5 liong22 ‘have you weighed the rice?’ [123]

(27c)仈長囉昧 paik7 tiong22 mwoí6? ‘had you heard of it?’ [89]

(27d)P000122

Download Figure

寫字賣 á6 siă che66? ‘can you write?’ [81]

This particle is identical with the disjunctive particle: “吓a3, used in the spoken language, and 阿ó3, in books, are equivalent to the disjunctive or, and are followed by the negative mó2, no, not.” [43]28
There is also a VP-pá1 (written with the character 叭 or 麼) that seems equivalent to the non-neutral question marker 嗎 in Mandarin and most likely a loan form:

(27e)爾不知行情有落麼 nü36 hieu3 tek7 ong2 ching2 o6 lóh81 ‘don’t you know the price has come down?’

The V-not-V form at that time was not that popular. There are just five examples of V-neg-V with [ng6] as ‘neg’ – for example, 做伓做 chó5 ng6 chó5 ‘will (you) do it or not?’[44] – and two of V-neg-VP with [má6] as ‘neg’ – for example, P000123

Download Figure

賣俊 á66 chong5 ‘is it excellent or not?’ is it not fine?’ [44].
What Baldwin describes as 麼 mó2 being “often used in books” is not found in his book but in the Foochow Colloquial New Testament of 1904, which uses [mǒ̤] to mark neutral questions in the form VP-neg. Most of the time it is a simple VP-neg but VP-prt-neg also occurs:

(28a) … Sǎ̤-muòng, nǖ tiáng Nguāi mǒ̤? [Iók-Hâng 21:17] ‘Simon … lovest thou me?’

(28b) … nǖ cŭ-uái ô siăh gì nǒ̤h ă mò̤u? [Lô-gă 24:41]‘have ye here any meat?’

As we have seen in the Amoy Vernacular New Testament, this 麼 in whatever romanized form with a bilabial nasal initial is used in the translation convention of the Bible.

We conclude that up to the early C20 Fuzhou was still a VP(-prt)-neg dialect.

3.3.1.2.2 Simple VP-neg Dominant

The predominance of the simple VP-neg form is observed in a romanized text of the C19 for the Chaozhou dialect, Dean (1841), where depending on the type and the aspect marking of the verb the neg differs.

(29a)爾亞爹有好麼 lur a-tia u haw mě ‘is your father well?’ [10]

(29b)爾亞弟痊愈否 lur a-ti chuan-ju bue ‘has your brother recovered?’ [9]

(29c)爾共伊相識麼 lur kang i sie pat baw ‘do you know him?’ [7]

(29d)爾箇子出痘未 lur kai kia chut chu boe ‘has your child had the small pox’ [27]

This text suggests a simple VP-neg type with no optional ‘prt’. It was published in Bangkok and was probably based on a Chaozhou dialect exported there.29 On the other hand, we also have the example of Xiamen having a simple VP-neg variety too. We shall call this simple VP-neg type Chaozhou 2. The /mě/ in (29a), though represented with the same character 麼 as /baw/, is similar to the /mah/ in Warnshuis & de Pree (1911) for Xiamen and is probably a loan of the Mandarin 嗎.
MacGowan (1883) displays a variety of Xiamen that uses exclusively the simple VP-neg form. The ‘neg’ is overwhelmingly 否 /bô/ (82 tokens), with 23 examples of /bōe/ represented also with 否, and just one instance each of /m̄/ which is also written with 否, and 未 /bē/.

(30a)汝之兄弟姊妹尚在的否 lí ê hian-tē tsí-bē iáu tī the bô ‘are all your brothers and sisters living?’ [600]

(30b)汝娶妻未 lí chhōa bó bē ‘are you married? [599]

(30c)二目有平平能看見否 nn̄g bák ū pînn ōe khoànn bōe ‘can you see equally well with both eyes?’ [608]

(30d)汝要割否 lí beh koah m̄ ‘will you have it cut?’ [608]

There are in addition 32 examples of 否 /mah/, which again recalls the Mandarin 嗎. Of these 32 examples, 10 occur with a Vq, eight with the experiential /bat/ or 曾, and five with the Vcop but none with the Vex/poss:

(31a)他是少年死否 in sī siàu liên sí mah ‘did they die young?’ [600]

(31b)汝曾黃症否 lí bat hong thiàn mah ‘had you ever rheumatism?’ [604]

(31c)汝茶食多否 lí tê tsiáh tsōe mah ‘do you drink much tea? [602]

This suggests a possible route for borrowing beginning with certain categories of verbs and confirms the observation that VP with the Vex/poss is the least susceptible to change.30

Chiang (1940) gives a variety of Xiamen, probably spoken in Singapore since the book was published in Singapore, that is largely VP-neg (43 tokens) with just one example each of V-neg-V and V-neg-VP with the copula and a single example of VP-嗎 mah. Most of the VP-neg questions have 無 /bô/ as ‘neg’ (37 instances) while there are just four examples with 未 /bē/ and one with 不 /bōe/. While this text shows the use of the simple VP-neg form, Jou (1951), also published in Singapore, and yet as we have seen, shows a VP(-prt)-neg form. Thus, the place and time of publication cannot explain the difference in usage.

Bodman (1955) is very useful for understanding the preference between VP-neg and VP-prt-neg in the Xiamen dialect. It contains a great number of VP-neg (152 examples) as well as V-not-V (46 examples) questions which are described as “alternative-type” questions.31 Where /ŭ/ (our Vex/poss) is the verb, in the order of increasing frequency are VP-â boú, VP-boú and VP-bou. “The form with â is the least common, and the third type with boú neutralized in tone to bou is by far the commonest. There is little difference in meaning, but the first two show more interest” [I:22]; but where /sĭ/ (our copula) is the verb, the “alternative type parallels that where ŭ is the verb, except that â is much commoner than … m̌ ” [22]. In other words, the simple VP-neg without a ‘prt’ is preferred but V-not-V with the ‘prt’, namely, V-prt-not-V, is preferred in the V-not-V question. This may suggest that the VP-prt-neg has a different origin from the simple VP-neg: it is derived from the alternative question form as used in disjunctive questions which include V-not-V as its subtype. There is another piece of evidence supporting this assumption:

The ŭ … bou question construction occurs also with stative verbs … this kind of question asks for an affirmative or negative answer, whereas the hoù + âhoù type asks for a choice between two alternatives meaning ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Thus the ŭbou question is for information without any prior judgment having been formed. In the case of the choice type, the question is framed in such a way so that the answer must be in favor of one of the alternatives. Contrast:

cît kiēng chaì-kuàn / ŭ hoù+ … bou // ‘is this hotel good?’ (you don’t know anything about it)

cît kiēng chaì-kuàn / hoù+ â m̌ hoù // ‘is this hotel good or not? (good or bad)’ (you have some knowledge of it, and want further information) [I:61]

Although we do not think that the V-not-V question is non-neutral in presupposition, we do think that it is regarded as a disjunctive question while the VP-neg is not. Thus, when the V-not-V form was borrowed, it came with the disjunctive particle. In the text in question, the V-prt-not-V form is used where the verb is the copula, a Vq, a cognitive verb such as /băt/ ~ /cāi/ ‘to know,’ a Vopt such as /aĭ/ ‘to like, to want,’ or where there is the crystallized frame /tiŏuq VP â m̌ biàn/ ‘should VP or not.’ For example:

(32a)cê+ sĭ lì+ thaū cĭt paì+ laī Taĭ-uán / â // ‘is this your first visit to Formosa? [I:110]

(32b)cît kiēng chaì-kuàn / hoù+ â m̌ hoù // ‘is this a good restaurant? Is this restaurant good or not?)’ [I:10]

(32c)lì+ băt khì Ĕ-mńg / â m̌ băt // ‘have you ever been to Amoy?’ [I:82]

(32d)lì+ aĭ ciăq Tiōng-kôk chaĭ / â m̌ aĭ // ‘do you like to eat Chinese food?’ [I:120]

It was not until the V-not-V question was further internalized that the ‘prt’ was dropped, as in some examples of V-neg-VP or in the crystallized phrase /thâng+ m̌ thâng/ ‘may I or mayn’t I?’ or / sĭ m̌ sī / ‘isn’t it?/.
In this text, the ‘neg’ in the simple VP-neg comprises /bou/, /be/, /bue/ and /m/:

(33a)lì+ ŭ iéng+ thāng khì cĭq+ i bou // ‘do you have time to go and meet him?’ [I:224]

(33b)huī–kî+ uĕ ciàu sí+ khuî+ bue // ‘do the planes (normally) leave on time?’ [I:92]

(33c)lì+ ciăq-pà+ be // ‘have you eaten to your fill yet?’ [I:46]

(33d)lì+ bèq khĭ+ m // ‘will you go (too)? [I:30]

In the Quanzhou dialect the VP-neg (75 instances) and the V-not-V form (69 instances) often occur as variants.32 While the V-not-V form is, except for five cases, basically with a particle – V-阿-not-V – the VP-neg occurs overwhelmingly in the simple form, with only seven instances with the particle 阿 before ‘neg’. For example:

(34a)戍內會熱[bue22]? / 會熱阿[bue22]熱? ‘is it hot in the house?’

(34b)你明朝卜來[m31]? / 卜來阿[m31]來? ‘are you coming tomorrow?’

(34c)你有錢無? / 有錢阿無錢? ‘do you have money?’

Knowing that the V-not-V is a form borrowed from the North, it is safe to assume that VP-neg is the native form in Quanzhou. With the explanation of Bodman (1955) we can easily understand why V-not-V is borrowed as V-prt-not-V – it is regarded as a disjunctive question.
Another dialect in southern Fujian that uses the simple VP-neg form is Zhangping Yongfu.33 It has the same layout as Quanzhou: the V-not-V form has the option of the occurrence of the particle 阿[a55], but V(-prt)-not-V is not popular (66 examples of V-not-V and just seven of V-prt-not-V) while VP-neg does not take on any particle. The ‘neg’ consists of the typical Southern Min set of four: 伓[m22], 無[bo22], 勿會[bei53] and 未[be], plus 勿愛[mãi21>0], the contraction of [m22] + 愛[ãi21]. Just as in Xiamen, all examples with the Vex/poss 有 occur in the VP-neg form while those with the Vcop 是 in the V-not-V form:

(35a)你有鐳無? li31 u53>21 lui24 bo22>0 / 你鐳有無? ‘do you have money?’

(35b)老王是漳平儂伓是 lau31>21guaŋ22 si53>21 tsaŋ24>33p’in22>33 laŋ22 m22>33 si53>21? / 是伓是漳平儂? ‘is Lao Wang from Zhangping?’

With other kinds of verbs, either type of question form may obtain:

(35c)你會跋牌仔勿會 li31 ei53>21 pua53>21 pai22>55a31 bei53>0? / 跋牌仔你會阿勿會阿 pua53>21 pai22>55a31 li31 ei53>21 a bei53 a? ‘do you know how to play cards?’

(35d)你愛看電影勿愛 li31 ãi k’ua21>33 tian53>21ŋiã31 mãi21>0? / 你愛勿愛看電影 ‘do you like to watch movies?’

The frequency of using VP-neg (99 examples) is much higher in that questions with adverbs and more complex structures employ the VP-neg form. In addition, we do not find any example with the A-neg-AB form where A and B represent syllables of the same word. This indicates that the V-not-V form, at least the V-neg-VP form, is not yet comfortably established.
In the environ of Quanzhou lie Nan’an and Jinjiang, which use the simple VP-neg form, as can be gathered from R. Li (2001:1), which describes these dialects as of the Quanzhou accent. Some VP-neg examples are (p. 65 for Nan’an, p. 127 for Jinjiang):

(36a)Nan’an: 吃早起未[=bǝ]? ‘have you eaten breakfast?’

(36b)Nan’an: 汝會擔勿會[=bue]? ‘can you carry it on your shoulder?’

Jinjiang: 擔會起來勿會[=bue]? ibid

(36c)Nan’an: 伊食有飽無[=bo] ‘did he eat to his fill?’

Jinjiang: 冊買有無[=bo]? ‘did you succeed in buying the book?’

(36d)Nan’an: 我着去伓[=m] ‘must I go?’

Farther north of Quanzhou is the county of Xianyou 仙游. It seems that it uses the simple VP-neg form typical of Southern Min:34

(37a)伊會講話勿會[=pe21]? ‘can he speak?’

(37b)汝病好未[=puoi2]? ‘have you recovered from your illness yet?’

(37c)汝有讀書無[=po24]? ‘are you attending school?’

It also employs the V-prt-not-V form where ‘prt’ is [ɣa21] although no particle is used in the VP-neg form:

(37d)這個字汝八[=pɛ21]阿[=ɣa21]唔八? ‘do you recognize this word?’

It reminds us of the V-prt-neg-V form in the bianwen.
Shaxian 沙縣, located in central western Fujian, also uses the simple VP-neg form; however, the ‘neg’ is sometimes typical of Southern Min and sometimes not. The typical ‘neg’ is seen in:35

(38a)厝裡會合順勿會 ts’o24 lie53>21 xo53>21 suĩ24 be ‘is your family well?’

(38b)有啥囗買毛 iu21>55 sɔ̃21>55 xa21>552131 ‘is there something worth buying?’

The use of 唔曾 as ‘neg’ however, recalls the usage in C19 Cantonese and Hakka as well as some modern Yue and Hakka dialects. We shall call this the Yue-Hakka type of ‘neg’. Compare:

(39a)饁飯唔曾 ie53>21 puĩ24 ŋ24>21 tsɔ̃i31 ‘have you eaten yet?’

with the following examples from mid C19 Cantonese and early C20 Hakka:

(39b)Cantonese: 你娶老婆唔曾呢? ‘are you married?’ [Devan 1858:103]

(39c)Hakka: ngi2 khon4 tau3 ki2 m1 tshen2? 你看倒佢唔曾? ‘have you seen him?’36

This mixture of usage of ‘neg’ reflects a language contact situation – probably with Hakka. Another ‘neg’ is [=mɔ̃31], which probably belongs to a different stratum influenced by the standard language:

(40)你有去墟場嘛 gi33>44 iu21>55 k’o24 ʃy33>44 tiŋ31 mɔ̃31 你到過集上了嗎? ‘have you been to the country fair?’

The dialect of Jiangle 將樂 situated to the west of Shaxian has a touch of the Yue-Hakka ‘neg’ used in a negative non-neutral question and it has the standard language ‘neg’ 嗎 too:37

(41a)科長唔去唔曾k’o55 tiɔŋ51 ŋ231>44 k’o324 ŋaŋ22 科長不去了嗎? ‘is the section chief not going?’

(41b)𠍲問你發*是了嗎 ki51 muĩ324>24 le51 fa21 ʃi231 lo21 ma55 他問過你了嗎? ‘he asked you, is that right?’

However, the majority of cases of neutral questions simply use a one-for-all general ‘neg’ [mau2], which is probably an equivalent to 無:

(41c)你會話本地事冒 le5151>22 ua231>44 puĩ51>22 ti231>24 sɿ231 mau2 你會話本地事冒? ‘do you know how to speak the local dialect?’

This simplification is typical of Min dialects spoken in the environment of other dialects, which typically do not share the sophisticated negative complexes of Min. We shall witness more cases of the Southern Min dialects spoken in western central and northwestern Fujian and western Guangdong.
In central Fujian along the coast, there is another dialect, Fuqing 福清, that uses simple VP-neg along with V-not-V. Feng (1993), albeit with scanty information on question forms, indicates a stratum using VP-neg question, as can be seen from the following examples:

(42a)汝有去對手伊無? / 汝有無去對手伊? [133] ‘did you go to help him?’

(42b)伊下晝會來勿會? / 伊下晝會來勿會來? [27] ‘is he coming in the afternoon?’

(42c)有儂無? ‘is there anyone?’ / 厝咧(=[le])有無儂? ‘is there anyone home?’ [26]

The Jian’ou 建甌 dialect of northwestern Fujian seems to be of similar type, although there is not sufficient information on the neutral questions of this dialect. Li & Pan (1998) has the following examples typical of Southern Min:

(43a)我會裡來得勿會[=mai31] ‘can I come in?’ [17]

(43b)會大勿會 ‘is it big?’ [128]

Li & Pan (1998) gives an example with another type of ‘neg’, 未曾, that recalls the Shunzhi text of the Litchee Mirror Tale, probably from the literary stratum:

(43c)你吃過咖啡未曾? [85] ‘have you ever drunk coffee?’

There are also examples indicative of the use of V-not-V questions in all its variants, such as the following from Li & Pan (1998):

(43d)你饁糖伓[=eiŋ55]饁? / 你饁伓饁糖 / 你糖饁伓饁 ‘do you eat candy?’ [17]

The Jieyang dialect of eastern Guangdong uses the simple VP-neg as the dominant form (47 examples) along with the V-not-V form as secondary (33 examples).38 Questions with the Vex/poss 有 and those in the potential form use only the VP-neg form:

(44a)床頂有茶杯無(=[bɔ11])? ‘is there a teacup on the table?’

(44b)伊談話, 談會清楚勿會(=[bɔe11])? ‘does he speak clearly?’

The V-not-V form is mostly V-neg-VP (17 instances versus only three instances of VP-neg-V) if the VP component is complex. Very rarely does the particle [a33] occur in a V-prt-neg-V form. Questions with the Vcop and the majority of those with Vopt’s use the V-not-V form:

(44c)老王是[m11]是揭陽儂? ‘is Lao Wang from Jieyang?’

(44d)你敢[m11]敢問伊? ‘do you dare ask him?’

This is consistent with the order of entry of the V-not-V question into another dialect, which begins with questions with the Vcop and Vopt’s. In Jieyang, with all other cases, either the VP-neg or the V-not-V form is used to the exclusion of the other, and rarely are both forms given as variants for the same question – we found only three instances where both variants were given and in one case the speaker commented that the VP-neg form is more colloquial:

(44e)伊 [tɔ42]戍內無? / [tɔ42][m11][tɔ42]戍內? ‘is he at home?’

For the Shanwei dialect, also of eastern Guangdong,39 all the V-not-V are of lower frequency (64 cases of V-not-V and 11 cases of V-prt-not-V) than the VP-neg question, where simple VP-neg (77 instances) is far more popular than VP-prt-neg (only 10 examples). Apart from the four common negative forms of Southern Min, there is an additional negative complex [mo53], which is a contraction of the simple negative [m] plus the Vq 好, as in:

(45a)我好買[mo53]? ‘may I buy (it)?’

The potential form uses the VP-neg exclusively, with ‘neg’ realized as [bei35]:

(45b)hiaʔ5 seŋ55 遠, [a21][bei35]? ‘can you see it so far away?’

So are questions with the locative verb 在:

(45c)伊(有)在厝無? ‘is he at home?’

However, questions with the Vex/poss 有 are not limited to the VP-neg form but also tolerate the V-not-V form in its V-neg-VP variant:

(45d)汝有錢無? / 汝有無錢? ‘do you have money?’

Whereas those with the Vcop are all V-neg-VP:

(45e)伊是[m35]是[nia35]兄? ‘is he your elder brother?’

In fact the majority of the V-not-V questions take the V-neg-VP (43 instances versus 11 instances of VP-neg-V) form when the VP contains an np, which means an advanced stage of borrowing from the V-not-V question. The speaker being in his late twenties may be an explanation. It seems to be a form that has already been comfortably accepted, since it dissects disyllabic verbs into A-neg-AB structure, an even further stage of V-not-V borrowing:

(45f)[tsi53]件事, 汝答(應)[m35]答應? ‘do you promise this?’

Sequences of affirmative plus negative complexes also occur:

(45g)汝會[bei35](=𠁞)[puaʔ5][ma53]九? ‘do you know how to play cards?’

(45h)伊有無來? ‘has he come yet?’

On the other hand, one can also find in this dialect traces that very colloquial questions are rendered in the VP-neg form only, for example:

(45i)汝有食薰無? ‘do you smoke?’

Another dialect in eastern Guangdong, Haifeng 海豐, according to data presented in Yang et al. (1996), uses the simple VP-neg:40

(46a)伊出發未 i33 ts’ut22>43 huak22 bue34? ‘has he started off yet?’ [58]

(46b)你去睇戲唔 li51 k’i213>55 t’ei51>213 hi213 m34? ‘are you going to the play?’ [59]

(46c)領父有來無 nĩã51>213 pe34 u34>22 lai55 bo55? ‘did you father come?’ [87]

The V-not-V form is also used, but there is no description about its frequency against the VP-neg form. It seems that the potential is rendered in the V-not-V form:

(46d)困會[=ei34>22] / [bei34>22]得着? ‘can (you) fall asleep?’ [96]

(46e)你賠得起賠唔起? ‘can you make up / compensate for it?’ [95]

We mentioned earlier that a number of dialects spoken in the neighborhood of other dialects have simplified the ‘neg’ component typical of Southern Min into fewer components to the point of using only one general ‘neg.’ Taining 泰寧, spoken northwest of Jiangle in western central Fujian uses毛 [mo], which we consider a variant of 無, and Jianning 建寧, west of Taining near the Jiangxi border, uses 無[mɔ], as ‘neg’ corresponding to the Southern Min ‘not,’ ‘have not’ and ‘not yet.’41

(47a)Taining: 底汝錢, 用毛? tæ3 ŋ3 t’ien2, ioŋ5 mo ‘(I) give you money, do you want it?’

Jianning: 畀你錢你要無? pei3 ŋ3 ts’ien2 ŋ3 iau4ibid.

(47b)Taining: 汝還記得住毛? ŋ3 xuan24tæ hy5 mo ‘do you still remember?’

Jianning: 你囗記得無? ŋ3 tsi1 kei4 tǝk6ibid.

(47c)Taining: 汝去咧北京毛? ŋ3 k’o4læ poi3kin1 mo ‘have you been to Beijing?’

Jianning: 你去過北京無? ŋ3 k’ǝ4kuǝ pǝk6 kiŋ1ibid.

The Jianyang dialect in northwestern Fujian presents a very interesting case. It is predominantly VP-neg, with a ‘neg’ [naiŋ42] that assumes the function of ‘not’ and ‘not yet’ besides another ‘neg’ that is the negative counterpart of the Vex/poss 有:

(48a)𠍲是厝[naiŋ42]? ‘is he at home?’

(48b)你與𠍲話[lo] [naiŋ42]? ‘have you talked to him?’

(48c)有水無(=[mau42])? ‘is there water?’

With Vq, however, it uses a hybrid Adv-VP-prt-neg form where ‘adv’ is [xai44], ‘neg’ is [mai34] and ‘prt’ is [ŋ55]:

(48d)[xai44]鹹[=iŋ42][ŋ55][mai34]? ‘is it salty?’

The ‘adv’ [xai44] recalls the 還 of a hybrid Adv-VP-prt-neg form in the Zutang-ji 祖堂集 of the mid C10, which we shall revisit in Section 3.4 ( Yue [To appear]).
Jianyang also uses the V-not-V form, which our native speaker dubs as literary, but he uses the V-V form freely, where the reduplicate of the verb carries the high level tone:42

(48e)今朝你去去 kiŋ52 tiɔ52 nɔi53 k’ɔ55 k’ɔ11? ‘are you going today?’

This V-V form is also found in Fuzhou and the Hakka speaking county Liancheng 連城 in southeastern Fujian (see Section 3.2.3 in Yue [2006]). We must point out that with the younger generation of speakers, the V-V form is not used at all. For example, a middle-aged female speaker uses the VP-neg extensively along with the V-not-V form, but more frequently she uses the former, and sometimes the Adv-VP-neg too, especially with Vq.43 The ‘neg’ is mostly 無[mɔ] and seldom [naiŋ42], whereas the ‘Adv’ is 還 but pronounced [ai42]. For example:

(48f)還甜無ai42 laŋ4222? / 還甜mai42甜? ‘is it sweet?’

(48g)你厝飼雞naiŋ42 ‘do you raise chickens?’

(48h)爬得上去無? ‘can [you] climb up?’

With the Vcop, however, the V-not-V form is used:

(48i)孜是naiŋ42是nɔiŋ42舍弟? ‘is he your younger brother?’

The Haikang dialect44 as spoken by the younger generation seems to employ the V-not-V form (77 instances) almost as frequently as the VP-neg form (79 instances) and the two occur as variants everywhere, including questions with verbs in the perfective. There are merely three or four cases where only the VP-neg form is used:

(49a)[ha55]封信野在櫃斗裡[ba22]? ‘is that letter still in the drawer?’

There are only two instances where the speaker indicated that the V-not-V form is rarely used. On the contrary, the V-not-V form is so comfortable that only the V-neg-VP variant is used when the VP is complex:

(49b)你人[pak5][ha55]個人[ba22]? / [pak5]無[pak5][ha55]個人? ‘do you recognize that person?’

It is even so with the potential form, which is usually in the form of VP-neg-VP in other Southern Min dialects:

(49c)[kiau33]得上[ba22]? / [kiau33]無[kiau33]得上? ‘can you climb up?’

The outstanding characteristic of this dialect is the use of a single, all-inclusive negative form [ba22], which is a merger of 無 [bɔ22] + 啊 [a22] to cover all the four cases of Southern Min negative complexes discussed so far except 未, which is rendered in this dialect as [mieŋ33] and which looks suspiciously like a contraction of [m] + 曾. This [mieŋ33], however, is not used in the VP-neg form. Consider the following examples:

(49d)你食糜[miŋ55]無啦? / 你食[mieŋ33]食糜? _食啦 / [mieŋ33]食 ‘have you eaten yet?’ ___ yes / not yet

The [mieŋ33] occurs in the V-not-V question and in the negative answer while its semantic counterpart occurs as [miŋ55] but followed by 無啦 in the VP-neg question. In addition, very seldom is the contraction [ba22] for 無 [bɔ22] + 啊 [a22] not used, but it is exactly here that this contraction is not used, and instead, the negative marker 無 + the final question particle 啦 is used. This long form 無啦 occurs when aspectual markers such as [miŋ55] or the experiential marker 過 occurs with the verb, and when the VP contains an adverb or a prepositional phrase. Compare:

(49e)今昏去[lam21>55]水[ba22]? / 去無去[lam21>55]水? ‘will you go swimming this afternoon?’

(49f)伊是你老弟[ba22]? / 伊是無是你老弟? ‘is he your younger brother?’

(49g)你跟伊去無啦? / 你跟無跟伊去? ‘are you going with him?’

(49h)你食過羊肉無啦? / 你食無食過羊肉? ‘have you ever eaten mutton?’

Another prominent characteristic of this dialect is the treatment of 無 as a simple negative and as a result, it occurs before 有 either in its function as Vex/poss or as the past tense marker, yielding the sequence 無有:

(49i)你有尼妹[ba22]? / 你有無有尼妹? ‘do you have a younger sister?’

Haikou and Wenchang, spoken on the northeastern coast of Hainan island, use both the VP-neg and the V-not-V form. These two dialects are so similar that they can be treated together. Both are on the threshold of accepting V-not-V as the most popular form at least with the younger generation.45 The V-not-V form is used everywhere along with the VP-neg form. It even overrides the VP-neg form by one instance in our count of total usage – 76 versus 75 in Haikou and by six instances in Wenchang – 79 versus 73. While such a marginal number should be insignificant as far as statistics are concerned, the fact that all disyllabic verbs (and even one case of an adverb in Haikou) occur in the A-neg-AB variant if they are used in the V-not-V form speaks for the ascendancy of the V-not-V form. There are seven such disyllabic verbs, including two Vq’s and two Vopt’s: 認得, 相信, 答應, 高興, 用功, 可以 and 應該 in Haikou. Even the adverb 經常 is treated in the same way in V-not-V questions:

(50a)伊經無經常來? ‘does he come often?’

All the four negatives in the Southern Min dialects discussed in this article boiled down to one single negative 無 in both the VP-neg and the V-not-V questions in Haikou:

(50b)(Haikou) 拾得動無? / 拾無拾得動? / 拾得動無拾得動? ‘can you lift it?’

(50c)(Wenchang) [ziaʔ2]個人, 你[ʔbat5]無? / [ʔbat5]無[ʔbat5]? / ‘do you recognize this person?’

And this negative is treated as a simple form, so that it may precede the verb 有:

(50d)(Haikou) 你有無有姨強? 46 ‘do you have a younger sister?’

(50e)(Wenchang) 你有無有姑強? / 有姑強無? 47 ibid

Materials from the C19 up to the middle of the C20, however, indicate that the Hainan dialect is of the VP-neg type. The short article of Swinhoe (1870–71) contains just two VP-neg and one V-not-V question:

(51a)chiah moe bo ‘have you dined?’ (have you eaten rice or not?) [68]

(51b)nu u be bo ‘have you a father?’ [86]

(51c)ti bo ti ‘yes or no’ [85]

Although Swinhoe does not specify which dialect, it is generally believed that it refers to the Wenchang dialect, since Wenchang has been the cultural center of Hainan. De Souza (1903) is specifically on the colloquial Wenchang dialect. It has 21 VP-neg and merely two V-not-V questions. Of interest is the fact that in both texts only the Vcop occurs in the V-not-V form:

(52a)tí î, bō tí? ‘is it he or not?’ [1]

(52b)hò moh° ní-kiah tí tâ-bouh, tí bō tí? ‘that child is a girl, is it not?’ [8]

Since the Vcop is known to be the first verb to appear in the syntactic change of the neutral questions, both texts indicate that at that time, the V-not-V form was just entering the dialect. The VP-neg form, on the other hand, is native. At that time, the ‘neg’ was largely /bō/ for all aspects of the verb, but there were two instances of a different ‘neg’, /bún/ in de Souza (1903), which seems to indicate the sense of ‘not yet’:

(52c)khù bún? ‘has he gone yet?’ [6]

(52d)lāu-dengk kāi chîn, phû bún? ‘have you spread the carpet upstairs?’ [17]

(52e)duh tiáng chiah° máng-hít bō? ‘do you like eating mangusteens?’ [27]

(52f)thia-chîo ú nāng ché bō? ‘is there any one sitting in the hall?’ [15]

(52g)î béh khù bō? ‘will he go?’ [1]

(52h)duh bá̩t khù tengk-tiā bō? ‘have you ever been to the provincial city?’ [16]

In the Lù-kia Fok-im (Gospel according to St. Luke) in Hainanese of 1916, not only is the conventional ‘mah’ used for the literary VP-neg form, but in the V-not-V form it is also used sparingly. This standard VP-ma form occurs some 13 times in Wang & Chen (1943) too, although there the VP-neg form is paramount (118 instances) while there are merely two V-not-V questions. The ‘neg’ has already generalized into a single universal ‘bo’ represented with the character 否, rarely 無, and the Japanese katakana ボオ. Sometimes a final particle 呢 may occur after 否. For example:

(53a)東家有在否 [125] ‘is the head of household home?’

(53b)你是鄉長否 [224] ‘are you the village head?’

(53c)食得油氣無呢 [203] ‘can you eat oily food?’

(53d)有好食否 [123] ‘is it tasty?’

Thus, the native Hainan neutral question form is evidently the simple VP-neg.

The Southern Min dialects spoken in Taiwan are of various types. Generally speaking, the Quanzhou type is spoken in the north while the Zhangzhou type is spoken in the south. Our investigation covers only Taizhong and Yilan.48

Taizhong is basically of the Quanzhou type. All questions that contain the Vex/poss or the locative verb or the potential form or Vq are rendered exclusively in the VP-neg form, which total 56 in number. The ‘neg’ is mostly 否[bo], with a few 袂 (negative potential) and 未 but not the simple negative [m11]. For example:

(54a)瓜仔有甜否? ‘is the melon sweet?’

(54b)暗矣未? ‘is it dark yet?’

(54c)你明旦載會來袂? ‘are you coming tomorrow?’

(54d)你會認得袂 / 否? ‘do you recognize it?’

The Adv-VP form with 感[kam] as ‘adv’ occurs sparingly and is probably an influence from the Zhangzhou type.49 That the Taizhong dialect is predominantly VP-neg can still be observed at present in the narration of folk tales, where the colloquial style largely uses the VP-neg form for neutral questions. For example:50

(55)您頭家娘有共你講啥物無? [76歹查某刣翁] ‘did the wife of your boss say anything to you?’

The ‘neg’ 無 seems to cover all cases of ‘neg’. For instance, in the following group of examples, (a) has 無 meaning ‘not’:51

(56a)十兩銀卜賣無? [106 陳家宅] ‘will you sell for ten taels of silver?’

while (b) uses 無to cover ‘not be’ as well:52

(56b)看阮二个查某好欺負是無? [100 有生合無生] ‘you see that us two girls are easy to be bullied, is it not / right?’

The following example uses 無 for ‘can not’:53

(56c)… 看會當壽比彭祖擱較濟無? [134 閻羅王含大善人] ‘… see if one’s longevity can even be greater than Peng Zu’

Rarely does some other ‘neg’ appear, as in the following example:54

(57)啊你得撐渡的毋[=m]? [50 朱洪武合陳友諒] ‘are you poling the boat?’

The Pingyang dialect spoken in the southeastern tip of Zhejiang uses one ‘neg’ 無[mɔ]/[bɔ] to cover all cases in the simple VP-neg question while at the same time uses the V-not-V form.55 Of the limited data collected, 19 questions are of the simple VP-neg and 29 of the V-not-V type including subtypes of V-neg-V and V-neg-VP. While our data show that the V-not-V form is favored, the middle-aged speaker explained that his mother-in-law prefers to use the VP-neg form. For example:

(58a)lɯ53 pua24 pai11kiau533? / pua24 m11 pua24 pai11kiau53? ‘do you play cards?’

(58b)ts’u11lai53 ʒua23 m11 ʒua23? / ʒua233? ‘is it hot in the room?’

Also in southeastern Zhejiang, several ‘man hua’ 蠻話, such as those spoken in the Sankui township of Taishun 泰順三魁鎮, the townships Yanting 炎亭鎮 and Jinxiang 金鄉鎮 of Cangnan, described as of central Min, use the VP-neg form too, according to Akitani (2005), along with the V-not-V form. With the potential and the Vex/poss, Taishun uses VP-neg exclusively:

(59a)你馱得起唔[=ŋ]? [243] ‘can you move it?’

(59b)你有錢無[=mou33]? / 你錢有無? [237] ‘do you have money?’

Otherwise it uses either the VP-neg or the V-not-V form:

(59c)盡頭香, 是唔(是)? [249] ‘it is very fragrant, is it?’

(59d)伊去未[=muɔi42](去)? [237] ‘is s/he gone yet?’

(59e)你去唔(去)? [237] ‘are you going?’

Cangnan is more advanced in the use of the V-not-V form. Apart from the potential, all other cases use both the VP-neg and the V-neg-V or VP-neg-VP form.

(60a)馱動唔[=m]? ‘can you move it?’

(60b)你鈔票有無[=mau213](嗎[=mã0])? [237] ‘do you have money?’

(60c)香猛香, [tɕiã44]唔是? [249] ‘it is very fragrant, is it?’

(60d)伊有走去無[=mau32](走去)? [237] ‘is s/he gone yet?’

(60e)你走去唔(走去)? [237] ‘are you going?’

The introduction of a 嗎 [mã0] in Cangnan on top of the VP-neg form as observed in (60b) suggests a hybrid transitional type reanalyzing the 你鈔票有無 as a V-not-V form and remaking it into a VP-neg form using [mã0].

3.3.1.3 Summary

The following two charts summarize our discussion in section 3.3.1.2.

Chart 3 summarizes the neutral question forms in the Romanized texts discussed. Where space is tight ‘pt’ stands for ‘particle.’ Frequency of occurrence is given in Arabic numbers.

Chart 4 summarizes the distribution of the VP-neg form in Southern Min dialects.

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This word order is of more ancient origin and it survives in the North in limited cases where the Vq (quality verb) is of high frequency in usage and where a measure expression co-occurs, as in: 張三大李四三歲 ‘Zhang San is three years older than Li Si.’

This example is culled from one of the maxims (number 22) given on page 47 of Chen & Li (1984).

Examples of Nantong, Rugao, Haimen and Sijia are taken from Bao & Wang (2002:478) and those of Nanjing taken from Nanjingshi (1993:239). Other examples cited for Nanjing include: 分一斤梨我 ‘give me (a share of) a catty of pears,’ 給張票我 ‘give me a ticket,’ 借塊錢我 ‘lend me a dollar.’

Examples taken from Bao & Wang (2002:479–480).

In the Xinzhou dialect it has a much narrower range of meaning of ‘guest at a banquet.’

Information culled from an article called ‘The rooster cart’ 雞公車 by Yan Ziyuan 顏子元 published in the Seattle Chinese newspaper 西華報.

According to the late Father Paul L.-M. Serruys, 未 is the merger of the general negative marker with an [m] initial + 既.

This is a basic explanation of the Catholic faith, including a section on the catechism with many questions and answers. According to the Library of Congress Information Bulletin, vol. 9 no. 13, 1950, the Spanish-Tagalog Doctrina Christiana was published in Manila in 1593 but was ‘lost’ and it was not till 1948 when Lessing J. Rosenwald came into possession of it and placed it in the Library of Congress that it saw daylight again. The Chinese edition of the same book printed at the same time was not discovered until 1950 in the Vatican Library. The Chinese version states that “it was executed by Keng Yong, a Chinese, in the Chinese quarter of the Parian, northeast of the walled city of Intramuros.” See Yue (1999) for a description of the linguistic features of this document.

The asterisk * indicates the reverse leaf.

This text was unearthed from a Ming tomb in the Xizhai village 西寨村 of Jieyang 揭陽 county in Guangdong in 1958. See the Mingben Chaozhou Xiwen Wuzhong 1985 for details. When 2 characters are underlined together they are intended to signify one single word represented by one single character. This device is used when the appropriate character cannot be found.

This text was unearthed in a Ming tomb in Xishanxi 西山溪 of the Fengtang Commune 鳳塘公社 of Chao’an 潮安 county in Guangdong in 1975. See the Mingben Chaozhou Xiwen Wuzhong (1985) for details.

For a description of these and the above texts, see Mingben Chaozhou Xiwen Wuzhong (1985) and Van der Loon (1992).

This is a collection of excerpts of scenes from different dramas.

The dialogues are the 白 part, which is concerned with the colloquial rather than the literary language while the verse or 唱 part in the literary language is excluded from our study.

There is another in the form of VP-可-neg-V: 占: 是阮員外可不是 [20*:5–6] ‘maid: is it our Councillor.’

F stands for ‘sentence final particle’ and ‘prt’ stands for ‘particle’. Arabic numbers after the + sign indicate those questions that contain the adverb 可 unless specified otherwise.

Among the 15 dialects, Zhangzhou, Yilan 宜蘭, Jieyang and Pingyang 平陽 were investigated by the author; Chaozhou, Shantou 汕頭, Xiamen 廈門, Shanwei 汕尾, Raoping 饒平, Quanzhou, Haikang 海康, Haikou 海口 and Wenchang 文昌 were investigated by Shi Qisheng 施其生; while information on the Taizhong 台中 dialect was provided by Chang Yu-hung 張裕宏 and the Zhangping Yongfu 漳平永福 dialect by Zhang Zhenxing 張振興. Unless specified otherwise, the investigation took place either in Seattle or in Guangzhou 廣州. The investigation of the Pingyang dialect was left unfinished. The names of these dialects will be set in bold type according to the convention described in Yue (2006:215).

The Xiamen native speakers, Luo Jianshe 駱建設, aged 26 and with high school education and Chen Shuigou 陳水溝, aged 42 and with middle school education, were interviewed by Shi Qisheng 施其生 in Xiamen in 1992.

This is significant in terms of the process of syntactic change from using the native VP-neg to the borrowed V-not-V form: the copula is seen to be the first verb that undergoes change in many dialects while the Vex is the lagger in the Min dialects. See Yue (1994) for details.

The Raoping native speakers were father Shi Shuliang 施樹亮, aged 60 with four years of primary school education and son Shi Yanjie 施延傑, aged 21 and a high school graduate. They were interviewed by Shi Qisheng.

Asterisked forms are seldom used.

The Shantou dialect was investigated on the spot by Shi Qisheng. The native speaker Su Xiaomin 蘇曉敏, aged 32 and a high school graduate, was from Shantou city, where the accent is different from three others of the surrounding ­countryside – areas around Dongdun 東墩 and Beidun 北墩 proximate the Chenghai 澄海 accent, those around Tuopu 鮀浦 the Chao’an accent and those around Queshi 礐石 the Chaoyang 潮陽 accent.

The native speaker Weng Junyu 翁均宇, aged 19 and attended college for half a year, was from Chaozhou city, where the accent is different from that of the surrounding countryside.

X. Li (1958) lists a VP-prt-neg and an Adv-VP type.

Shi (1990) enumerates five types belonging to three basic forms. However, his five types can boil down to our three types, since two of his types contain a tag 有(啊)無 at the end. Our data show even more varieties, but we consider all forms with tags to be variants of their corresponding forms without tags and not a separate type. Another difference in description is that Shi (1990) follows Zhu (1985)’s typological classification of non-distinction between V-not-V and VP-neg.

Although Fuzhou is often described as a dialect using the V-not-V form more frequently, especially with monosyllabic verbs, as for example in Z. Li (2002): 買不(=[N])買[me m me > mem me]? ‘do you want to buy?’ [192]

with the Vex/poss, the use of V-neg-VP and VP-neg is equally popular [204]: 明年暝春節汝有(=[ou])無(=[mɔ])轉厝? / 明年暝春節汝有(=[u])轉厝無? ‘are you going home next spring festival?’

Tonal designation in Baldwin (1871) uses the four-corner system, to which symbols we have no access, therefore the tonal categories are translated into the number system here.

Baldwin further explains that 麼mó2 is “often used in books and analogous to 叭 pá1 or pá2.” (44) Although he gives this 麼 exactly the same phonetic form as the negative 無/毛, in actual examples, he transcribes it as pá1 in examples which seem like non-neutral questions, for example: 爾不知行情有落麼 nü36 hieu3 tek7 ong2 ching2 o6 lóh81, ‘don’t you know the price has come down?’

This simple VP-neg form is also seen in Southern Min dialects spoken in the western part of Guangdong province, as we shall see below.

This was already discussed in Yue-Hashimoto (1994).

Our count is based on the text and explanatory notes in Book 1, excluding examples in the exercises.

The dialect was investigated on the spot and the native speaker was He Shaoruo 何少若, aged 45 and with two years of college education. He is from the city area called Licheng 鯉城 and remarked that the accent is basically the same from there through Nan’an 南安 and Jinjiang 晉江, although there is a slight difference between the Old (老派) and the New (新派) variant.

Detailed information on this dialect is due to Zhang Zhenxing 張振興, a native of the Yongfu township of Zhangping.

All Xianyou examples are taken from R. Li (2001:180).

All Shaxian examples are taken from R. Li (2001:307). We substituted > for / as indicator for sandhi change.

This example is taken from Chappell & Lamarre (2005:133), which quotes the original romanized example from the Kleine Hakka-Grammatik of 1909.

All Jiangle examples are taken from R. Li (2001:350–351). 唔曾 is to be taken as one word: [ŋaŋ22].

The dialect was investigated by the author in September 1990. The native speaker was Xu Bingchu 許秉初 of the First District 第一區 of Jieyang city, aged 74 and a high school graduate. He lived away from Jieyang since 22 years old.

The native speaker was Huang Hanzhong 黃漢忠, aged 29 and a graduate of high school. According to him, there are three sub-dialects: Shanwei city and most of Dongyongzhen 東涌鎮; Tianqian 田墘, Zhelang 遮浪 and Jiesheng 捷勝; and Hongcao 紅草 and Magongzhen 馬宮鎮.

The tonal notation was changed to numerical designation.

All examples are taken from R. Li (2001:385, 426).

The speaker, Lian Jinlong 連金龍, is from 連墩 of the Xinling village 新嶺村 of the Tongyou township 童游鎮of Jianyang, who is a farmer living in the said location all his life. He had four years of elementary education and was 60 years old at the time of interview in 2006 by the author.

The speaker, Zhang Yanfang 張艷芳, is from the Tongyou village 童游村 of the Tongyou township of Jianyang. She had six years of elementary education and was 46 years old at the time of interview in 2006 by the author.

The native Guan Xiangming 關向明, aged 20 and who has attended college for half a year, grew up mostly in the city although his native place is Tiaofengzhen 調風鎮. He indicated that there are three dialectal varieties in the area: the city accent, called Leicheng accent 雷城話, includes places such as Tiaofeng, Baisha 白沙 and Leigao 雷高; the southwestern countryside accent includes places close to Xuwen 徐聞, such as Yingli 英利 and Longmen 龍門; and the northwestern accent includes places near Suixi 遂溪, such as Tangjia 唐家 and Qishui 企水.

The native speaker Wu Yaqiong 吳雅瓊 of Haikou city is twenty years old and has attended college for a year. The native speaker of Wenchang is Xing Fen 邢奮, also aged 20 and with two years of college education. He is from Baoluozhen of Wenchang, but commented that the accent is the same as that of Wenchang city.

When the addressee is female, 姨強 is used for ‘younger sister.’

If the addressee is male, 姑強 is used for ‘younger sister.’

Yilan will be dealt with in section 3.5.

Out of the 10 examples in which it occurs, half of them occur in questions with the Vcop elided, two of which occurring with a variant VP-neg form, for example: 伊感恁小弟? /伊恁小弟是否? ‘is he your younger brother?’

Other examples involve questions with Vopt, for example: 我感好買? ‘should I buy it?’; 你感[m11]信? ‘is it that you don't believe?’

See Shaluzhen Minnanyu Gushiji 沙鹿鎮閩南語故事集1 (1994). The speaker Chen Wu 陳霧 of Shigangxiang 石岡鄉, Shaluzhen of Taizhong, aged 83 at the time of recording, was literate and unemployed.

See Qingshuizhen Minnanyu Gushiji 清水鎮閩南語故事集1 (1996). The speaker Lin Fulai 林福來 from Qingshuizhen, aged 75 at the time of recording, was an illiterate merchant.

See Xinshexiang Minnanyu Gushiji 新社鄉閩南語故事集2 (1997). The speaker Ye Shijie 葉士杰 from Xinshe village, was 52 years old at the time of recording.

See Waibuxiang Minnanyu Gushiji 外埔鄉閩南語故事集 (1998). The speaker Lü Shiming 呂世明 from Waibu village, aged 34 at the time of recording, was a farmer.

See Da’anxiang Minnanyu Gushiji 大安鄉閩南語故事集(二) (1998). The speaker Huang Qingzhen 黃清网 of Da’an village, then 84 years old, was a literate farmer.

This dialect was investigated by the author in Seattle in October 1990. The native speaker was Zhang Chunming 張純明 from Fanshan 礬山 of Pingyang, aged 55 at the time. He was, however born and raised in Wenzhou 溫州 but spoke Pingyang at home with his parents until aged 16–17 when he joined the army. He claimed his mother tongue to be the Cangnan 蒼南 type of Southern Min. Since the Tang Dynasty, Pingyang has actually been under the administration of Wenzhou while Cangnan was a part of Pingyang till 1981. Unfortunately only 48 sentences were collected before he was no longer available.

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Syntactic Typology in Chinese (Part ii.1) (漢語句法類型學(第二部分之一))

The Neutral Question Forms – VP-neg in Min (中性問形式–VP-neg 閩語裏的謂語+否定詞式)

in Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics

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