The Grammaticalization of Indirect Reports: The Cantonese Discourse Particle wo5

John WAKEFIELD*, Hung Yuk Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This paper proposes a definition for the Cantonese sentence-final discourse particle wo5, which marks the proposition contained within a clause as an indirect report that does not belong to the speaker. The methodology for defining wo5 is based on the natural semantic metalanguage theory and draws on Besemeres and Wierzbicka’s (2003: 3) “general model for the investigation of discourse markers,” the goal of which is to “come up with a formula which would make sense in all the contexts in which [the discourse particle] can occur, and which could also explain why in some contexts… [it] cannot be used at all” (p. 19). The definition we propose is discussed in light of what other authors have said about wo5, and is tested against a number of examples within which wo5 can and cannot appear.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndirect Reports and Pragmatics in the World Languages
EditorsAlessandro Capone, Manuel García-Carpintero, Alessandra Falzone
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783319787718
ISBN (Print)9783319787701, 9783030087814
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2018

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cantonese
  • Discourse particles
  • Grammaticalization
  • Indirect reports
  • wo5


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