Sentence-final particles in Mandarin
This thesis, based on corpus data, investigates eight sentence-final particles
in Mandarin Chinese (de, le, ne1, ne2, ba, ma, a and ou) within the framework of
Functional Discourse Grammar. The focus is on the individual particles le, ba, ne1
on the one hand, and on the sequential ordering of the aforementioned eight
particles on the other. It is argued in particular that sentence-final le is a mirative
marker, sentence-final ba is a mitigator, and sentence-final ne1 is a polarity
contradiction marker. The investigation of corpus data shows that maximally
three particles can cluster at the end of a sentence. It is proposed that the eight
sentence-final particles are organized in a strict four-layered hierarchy, in which
each particle pertains to a specific semantic or pragmatic layer. Their positioning in
this hierarchy is iconically reflected in their sequential ordering when they cluster.
In connection with these findings, this thesis suggests a number of modifications
of the framework of Functional Discourse Grammar.