On the “one+verbal classifier” sequence as a delimitative aspect marker in Taiwanese Southern Min

Miao Ling Hsieh, Su Ying Hsiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper studies the “one+verbal classifier” sequence tsi̍ t-ē that appears after an indefinite object complement in Taiwanese Southern Min. We call it the post-complement (PC) tsi̍ t-ē. While the tsi̍ t-ē sequence can be a durative phrase when it is immediately preceded by a verb, the PC tsi̍ t-ē cannot be replaced by the durative phrase tsi̍ t-ē-á 'a while' (tsi̍ t-ē plus the diminutive suffix á) or other durative phrases. We show that the PC tsi̍ t-ē is a sentence-final particle, not a durative phrase serving as a predicate or complement. Moreover, it marks delimitativity, which means 'termination in a short time.' It is the same kind of delimitativity that verb reduplication in Mandarin Chinese expresses despite the fact that the latter targets on the verb and is more selective in terms of the verb types that it can occur with. Moreover, the PC tsi̍ t-ē carries the 'down-play' meaning. Syntactically, we suggest that it heads an AspP, which occurs above a vP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-709
Number of pages30
JournalLanguage and Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept 12


  • Taiwanese Southern Min
  • durative phrase
  • the 'down-play' meaning
  • the delimitative aspect
  • verbal classifier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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