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Decoding the Hidden A-Gender

The Gender Factor in Cantonese Utterance-Final Particles



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Decoding the Hidden A-Gender by Wan-Fong Amy Tam
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This dissertation, "Decoding the Hidden A-gender: the Gender Factor in Cantonese Utterance-final Particles" by Wan-fong, Amy, Tam, 譚韻芳, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: This research targets the gender differences in the use of utterance-final particles in Cantonese with respect to the act of sajiao (撒嬌) under the speech act framework proposed by J. L. Austin. Sajiao is defined as the adorable petulance of a spoiled child or young woman who seeks material or immaterial benefits from an unwilling listener. It is hypothesized in this study that the use of utterance-final particles is not generally gender-linked. It is further suggested that some of the utterance-final particles are loaded with gender features which could feminize the utterances, thus performing the act of sajiao. This research has identified five utterance-final particles, including a newly emerged particle that has never been examined in the previous literature, which are believed to be gender-linked, namely 添 "tim1," LU "lu3," 噃 "bo3," 喇喎 "laa3wo3" and 咖呵 "gaa3ho2," and it has also analyzed meanings that are denoted by these five particles and the two genders' usage of them. The investigator proposed that the first three particles could help soften the tone of an utterance, while at the same time, they add cuteness, so that the speakers present a more amiable impression of themselves, and thus could help them please or flatter the opposite sex. The two utterance-final particle clusters 喇喎 "laa3wo3" and 咖呵 "gaa3ho2," on the other hand, are related to implicit demands. By skillfully employing these seemingly softer particles, female speakers could make the men who are appeared to be stronger to yield and satisfy their demands without creating any hard feelings. DOI: 10.5353/th_b4839501 Subjects: Cantonese dialects - Particles - Sex differences
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
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Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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