Degree Adverb Zhī之 in Modern Chinese

Hsiuying Liu


Chinese ZHI (之) is a polysemous word with various functions. It was frequently used as a pronoun, a particle as well as a verb in ancient Chinese. Recently, it is used as a degree adverb. However, such a usage is not listed in dictionaries, and it has not been discussed in any studies on ZHI yet. The author assumed this is a new emerging use of ZHI in colloquial language. The paper studied the degree adverb ZHI, aiming to figure out how the extent meaning of ZHI was derived. The findings and conclusions may provide Chinese learners and teachers with an effective way to learn and teach the polysemous ZHI.


collocation, semantic extension, degree adverb, generalization

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