The landscape of additive particles-with special reference to the Cantonese sentence-final particle tim

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1777-1804
Journal / PublicationLingua
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


Previous analyses consider the Cantonese sentence-final particle tim 'add' as being like English "too" and "also" and/or "even". In this paper, we argue that tim is like none of the above, as it is a non-restricted additive particle which exhibits the following properties: (a) it does not rely on the extreme ends of the scale, (b) it is not sensitive to polarity; and (c) it is flexible in its scale selection. The flexibility of tim toward scale selection allows its scalar presupposition to be satisfied by either (a) having the degree or quantity marked by tim being greater or larger than the presupposed one, or (b) adding the additional quantity marked by tim on top of some presupposed quantity. Our analysis of tim represents a further refinement of Giannakidou's (2007) approach in the direction of "the landscape of additive particles", with the "even"-items occupying the polarity side. The connection of polarity-sensitivity with addition is found to be dependent on whether an additive particle relies on the extreme end of the scale and its flexibility toward scale selection. Such a landscape analysis is significant typologically, as it would predict that distinct lexical items will be found within and across languages. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Additive particles, Cantonese, Landscape of additive particles, Polarity-sensitivity, Scale selection, Sentence-final particles