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Title: A sketch grammar of Singapore Fuzhou
Authors: Sim, Michelle Jia En
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Sim, M. J. E. (2022). A sketch grammar of Singapore Fuzhou. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: This thesis aims to provide a sketch grammar of Singapore Fuzhou (福州话), focusing primarily on the Minhou (闽侯) variety. Fuzhou belongs to the Northeastern Min subgroup of the Sinitic languages. It is spoken by people in Fuzhou City (福州市) and its neighbouring counties in Fujian province, the southern part of China. The varieties in Fuzhou City and Minhou are very alike and usually taken to be the standard for Fuzhou. Previous work on Fuzhou have focused heavily on phonetics and phonology, though there are descriptive grammars (e.g. Chen, 1998). Past descriptive work has focused mostly on the Fuzhou City variety, with little work done on other varieties (e.g. Fuqing or Gutian) or diasporic communities, such as those in Malaysia or Singapore. Based on the Singapore General Household Survey 2015, citizens of Fuzhou ethnicity are a minority, making up 3% of the Chinese resident population by dialect group. Singapore Fuzhou as a variety is hovering between moribund or nearly extinct, based on the Expanded Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (EGIDS). This thesis thus hopes to fill the gap in the literature, document the Singapore Fuzhou variety before it dies out and observe language contact phenomena in the language (Chapter 6). Natural language data elicited using picture-based narratives as well as wordlists were collected. Chapter 3 discusses phonetics and phonology. There were fifteen consonants found in the variety. The initial consonant of a syllable may undergo elision, lenition or nasal assimilation. Seven monophthongal vowels, twelve possible diphthong combinations and one triphthong combination were found. Additionally, seven citation tones were found Singapore Fuzhou, based on the acoustic analysis of three speakers. The concave tone /213/ and high-mid falling /53/ tones transcribed by ear in literature on Mainland Chinese Fuzhou were found to be /21/ and /51/ in Singapore Fuzhou respectively. The tone sandhi phenomenon is complex in this variety. Only one speaker’s (YCT) tone sandhi patterns were recorded and analysed in detail since he is one of the remaining fluent speakers. The word class chapter (Chapter 4) provides an overview of two major word classes – nouns and verbs – and their related grammatical elements. With respect to nouns, the diminutive suffix 囝/kiaŋ33/, nominaliser and possessive marker其 /ki33/ and other types of nouns (e.g. locational nouns) are discussed. As for verbs, the types of verbs, lexical aspect (Aktionsart), relational markers (marking the semantic role of noun phrases in a given construction) and aspectual markers are covered briefly. Finally, the chapter covers different semantic categories of adverbs as well as negators. Chapter 5 covers the structure of noun phrases, verb phrases, serial verb constructions and adverbial phrases. Chapter 6 details observations regarding language contact, namely lexical borrowing, and phonological and syntactic influences. Future research may further analyse verbs and aspect in Singapore Fuzhou, as well as clause structure or information structure, which was not covered due to the constraints of an MA thesis.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/155961
DOI (Related Dataset):
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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