UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 8 (1996)

Aspectuals in Cantonese: the case of Saai



This paper argues that saai in Cantonese is an aspectual suggesting the completeness of an event. The property of being a totally completed event provides a cue for processing the divisibility or numerousness of the subject or object noun phrases. However, if the notion of completeness is the only relevant piece of information in the ongoing communication, there is no need to infer the status of the noun phrase. When saai is used in a predicate with an affected object, the fulfillment of every stage of the event indirectly brings out telicity in this type of predicate.

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