On the polyfunctionality and grammaticalization of the morpheme kai in the Chaozhou dialect

Hui Ling Xu*, Stephen Matthews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The morpheme kai is among the most frequent and polyfunctional in Chaozhou, a Min dialect of Chinese. The present paper aims to present a descriptive and analytical account of the various functions of kai from Chaozhou in order to shed more light on nominalization and the diachronic development of nominalizers. We discuss the use of the morpheme kai in classifier, genitive, possessive, pronominal, relative clause marker, nominalizer and sentence-final stance-marking functions. Our data provide further support for some pathways of grammaticalization conjectured or attested in various languages, including the links between adnominal markers and nominalization and between nominalization and stance marking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNominalization in Asian languages
Subtitle of host publicationdiachronic and typological perspectives
EditorsFoong Ha Yap, Karen Grunow-Harsta, Janick Wrona
Place of PublicationAmsterdam; Philadelphia
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789027287243
ISBN (Print)9789027287243
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameTypological Studies in Language
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Co.
ISSN (Print)0167-7373

Cite this

Xu, H. L., & Matthews, S. (2011). On the polyfunctionality and grammaticalization of the morpheme kai in the Chaozhou dialect. In F. Ha Yap, K. Grunow-Harsta, & J. Wrona (Eds.), Nominalization in Asian languages: diachronic and typological perspectives (pp. 109-124). (Typological Studies in Language; Vol. 96). Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.