Yes-No Question Patterns in Southern Min: Variation Across Some Dialects in Fujian*

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Abstract

Zhu Dexi (1985) introduced the idea of the typological significance of the various yes-no question patterns in Chinese dialects. Subsequent research has revealed that variation within one dialect is quite common. Previous accounts of yes-no question patterns in Southern Min dialects have shown that most have more than one pattern. The present study shows that in some Fujian Southern Min dialects the patterns VP-neg and Adv-VP are mutually exclusive. Data from Xiamen is also presented to show recent innovations in the yes-no question pattern. This innovation is described with a view towards explaining how the origin of the innovative patterns and limitations on their further development are influenced by the distribution of the negatives and modal verbs.

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