The Personal and Demonstrative Pronoun “Nie” in Hebei Dialect. (In Chinese)

Nie 乜, the merging syllable of renjia 人家, is a pronoun in northwestern dialect and an obviative or middle demonstrative pronoun in some dialects of Shandong province. In Wuji County of Hebei province, which is located between northwestern China and Shandong province, nie is both personal and neutral demonstrative pronoun. This regional distribution reflects not only the conceptual cognitive mapping of personal register and demonstrative register of Chinese dialects, but also the evolution of nie from personal pronoun to demonstrative pronoun. The evolution results from the generalization of nie from referent to object. And the mapping of the two conceptual registers makes the demonstrative pronoun system develop into “proximate, middle and obviative” in some dialects. Thus nie evolved into an obviative or middle demonstrative pronoun.

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