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Sinitic languages of Northwest China: Where did their case marking come from?*

Abstract : In this paper, I have shown that Sinitic languages have begun to borrow some suffixes from other languages, but not the whole case marking system. But when these suffixes are absorbed by Sinitic languages, other morphemes, even those which come from Chinese, tend to adjust or accommodate in forming the case marking system. This is the case for [xa]. The motivation of these constant movements is that the initial VO word order in Sinitic languages in Northwest China has definitely changed into OV word order. In other words, non-Han languages and Chinese have both contributed to shape and create a new category in Sinitic languages: the case marking system. Case markers formed progressively. But when their quantity reaches a critical degree, the change will become significant and irreversible. At this stage, the whole language system has begun to be affected and a mutation is possible. Languages in Northwest China have influenced each other due to their historical contact in religion, culture, business, and language. The influence is not unidirectional: the dominant position of one language and the dominated position of another can change at any moment in history. The case marking system is the result of numerous layers of borrowings and accommodations between different peoples.
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Contributor : Dan Xu <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 31, 2016 - 4:42:30 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - 3:38:24 AM

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Dan Xu. Sinitic languages of Northwest China: Where did their case marking come from?*. Cao, Djamouri and Peyraube. Languages in contact in Northwestern China, 2015. ⟨hal-01386250⟩

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