<sup>~</sup>° and /--: Their origins, their grammaticalization, and the process of encroachment of the former by the latter from a historical perspective
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There has been controversy regarding the functional differences between the forms <sup>~</sup>° and /-- in Classical Chinese. Because of their similar usages, <sup>~</sup>° and /-- are often considered graphic variants. However, <sup>~</sup>° and /-- actually came from different origins in different times, and the latter not only gradually encroached upon the former, but also developed new functions. This dissertation explores the origin and grammaticalization of <sup>~</sup>° and /--, as well as the process of the encroachment of the former by the latter. The usages of <sup>~</sup>° and /-- are illustrated by semantic features using a binary (+ or -) system in order to show clearly the original feature sets of <sup>~</sup>° and /--, their grammaticalization paths, and the step-by-step process of the encroachment of the former by the latter. <sup>~</sup>° was originally a verb indicating movement, which can be either toward or away from the point of reference. The verbal feature set of <sup>~</sup>° can be illustrated as [+lexical, +movement, +goal, -source] or [+lexical, +movement, -goal, +source]. On the other hand, /-- was originally a locative verb, with the feature set [+lexical, -movement, -goal, -source]. All usages of <sup>~</sup>° and /-- were derived from their original verbal usages through grammaticalization. The grammaticalization path of <sup>~</sup>° is parallel to that of a verb of movement in the world's languages, whereas that of /-- follows that of a locative verb. The use of semantic feature analysis is also crucial in explaining the process of encroachment of <sup>~</sup>° by /--. When /-- started to encroach upon the semantic scope of <sup>~</sup>°, the functions of <sup>~</sup>° that are closely related to its original feature set (such as a spatial goal marker and a non-spatial goal marker co-occurring with V[+give]) resisted the encroachment better, while those functions that are distant from its original feature set or closely related to the original feature set of /-- (such as a spatial locative marker, a non-spatial goal marker with V[+addressee] or V[+target], and a non-spatial source marker with V[-give], V[-addressee], or V[-target]) were more prone to be encroached upon by /--.