The paper explores the syntax and the semantics of suah4 in modern TSM.Suah4 is a multiple functional word that can be a word, an inner aspect marker,conjunctional adverb and adversative particle. The semantic interpretation of this word isintimately linked to the syntactic positions it occupies. One can verify the interactionof syntactic position and semantic interpretation from the relative order of suah4and other functional categories. From the perspective of functional categories, suah4 in the verb phrase can be scoped over by negation, but suah4 as aspeaker-oriented adversative particle is supposed to be in the interpersonal illocutionaryact level in the CP layer. A corollary to this is that it should outscopenegation. Furthermore, the subjective evaluative attitude expressed by the sentence-finalparticle also reflects the structural characteristic of speech act level.
The character qi (其) in Yinxu oracle bone inscriptions (OBI) was used in three domains of epistemic and speech-act and content, with main expression of modality. The meaning of qi (其) indicated possibility in epistemic domain, and it created the contradictory and other relationships in a positive–negative charge-pair; and it indicated permission in speech-act domain, and then more grammaticalized as an optative mood in Western Zhou bronze inscriptions; and it indicated prospective in content domain. These meanings were cognitively interrelated. Its modality was also related to its distal function, and further related to an expression of negative feelings, which is the basis of Serruys’ rule. In addition, qi (其) in OBI was a dependent particle, and it usually attached to the negative words; meanwhile, there were signs of a left shift of qi (其).