This study demonstrates that many processes of syntactic and semantic change discussed in the literature (e.g. Traugott and Heine 1991,
Hopper and Traugott 1993, Heine 1993, Bybee et al. 1994) occur in the grammaticalization of Chinese verbs. In addition to that, there are a number of significant tendencies in the grammaticalization of Chinese verbs compared with those from typologically different languages. For instance, semantic categories vary among the verbs that enter into grammaticalization; the source meaning does not determine the path of grammaticalization;and grammaticalization does not entail desemantization. Evidence is presented to show that all verbs investigated in this study have undergone three stages of syntactic reanalysis: serialization, de-centralization, and functionalization. As to semantic change, pragmatic inferencing plays a crucial role throughout the process of all cases of grammaticalization. It is argued that this is primarily attributed to the isolating nature of the Chinese language.
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