Abstract

This thesis examines a set of three utterance particles—ge3, laak3, and lo1—in Hong Kong Cantonese in terms of evidentiality, epistemic modality, and mirativity. Cantonese utterance particles have long been studied; however, close investigation of evidentiality and mirativity on a small set of particles is relatively rare. Previous accounts claim that ge3 and laak3 convey certainty. On the other hand, linguists also claim that the use of the utterance particle lo1 assumes a high level of knowledge from a hearer. This thesis has two main purposes: to untangle the differences between the utterance particles ge3 and laak3 in terms of epistemic modality and evidentiality and to reveal the mirative meanings of the utterance particle lo1. I postulate that the utterance particle ge3 conveys both epistemic modality and evidentiality. For epistemic modality, ge3 concerns a speaker’s knowledge. The evidential meaning—access to prior knowledge—is realized through implicature. This pragmatic reading is highly context dependent. In contrast, the utterance particle laak3 conveys only epistemic modality which concerns a state of affairs and signifies a change of state. Lastly, this study also reveals that the utterance particle lo1 has mirative values of sudden realization and counterexpectation under certain conversational contexts.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities

Rights

https://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2020-06-02

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd11212

Keywords

evidentiality, epistemic modality, mirativity, Cantonese, utterance particles, final particles, sentence final particles, discourse particles, certainty, implicature

Language

english

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