Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka and Anne Nguyen, 2022.
“Ingredients of excess: A study of Vietnamese quá.”
Manuscript, National University of Singapore.
We describe the various uses of the Vietnamese morpheme quá which appears in excessive constructions. Unlike other degree morphemes in Vietnamese, quá can precede or follow its gradable predicate, and we argue that these two different uses convey excess in very different ways: pre-predicate quá encodes purpose-oriented excessive truth conditions, whereas post-predicate quá is a comparative which projects a not-at-issue malefactive inference. We also describe two additional, non-excessive uses of quá — as an intensifier with speaker commitment and in the formation of exclamatives — and argue that these uses must be distinguished from the core excessive uses. This paper thus offers a case study of a highly multifunctional morpheme, with discussion of the syntactic and semantic relationships between these different uses.