This paper develops a substantive link between three independent and chronologically separate diachronic patterns in Classical Chinese. In each development, a newly copularized (reanalyzed from lexical sources) morpheme occurs in both a copular clause and a cleft. We argue that this connection can be captured by a theory according to which clefts are a type of the copular construction. Both canonical copular clauses and clefts are thus headed by the same copula verb, hence the tendency for both copular structures to emerge and decline in a coordinated way.
Jin, Dawei and Chen, Jun
"Toward the Copular Status of Chinese Clefts -- Evidence from Diachronic Syntax,"
University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics: Vol. 28:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://repository.upenn.edu/pwpl/vol28/iss1/9