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  • Author or Editor: Lukas Zadrapa x
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The apparent flexibility of words in Classical Chinese with respect to traditional word classes has always posed a problem in the description of this language and has caused much misunderstanding. Moreover, it has been long understudied, along with the closely related theory of Classical Chinese word classes. This work seeks to summarize previous research on this issue, re-orientate the discourse and construe a new interpretative paradigm that would lead to a more complex and realistic view. It is principally based on a multi-disciplinary approach and supported by the theoretical framework of cognitive linguistics. The study deals with the very conception of word classes, but its focus lies in the analysis of verbal and adverbial functions of nouns.


The article amounts to a fully comprehensive study on the sentence final particle ěr 爾 in Classical Chinese. After an overview of the explanations of the functions of the particle in reference books, all relevant occurrences in the pre-Qín texts are analysed, and the results are compared with its usage in the documents of the Western Hàn era. The possible interpretations of its meaning(s) proposed by the author are subsequently put in relation to hypothetical etymological links based on the theory of Old Chinese morphology in Sagart’s vein.

In: Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale