A Constructional Study of Chinese Fictive Motion Expressions

Shujun Chen, Zaijiang Wei

Abstract


Fictive motion is a linguistic phenomenon that depicts stationary entities with a sense of motion. It is popularly encountered in world languages. This study explores the network and semantics of the Chinese fictive motion construction within the framework of Cognitive Construction Grammar (CCxG). It is found that Chinese fictive motion constructions can be divided into four types, which fall on a spectrum from lower to higher level of subjectivity and abstraction, and can be related to distinct experiential motivations. In addition, the constructional approach provides us with a novel perspective to figure out the meaning construction, in which the whole is greater than the sum of parts. The comparison reveals that Chinese and English fictive motion, though having similarities due to the universality of bodies and environments, still have specificities which are rooted in different thinking patterns. Chinese underline synthetic and figurative thinking, while English speakers advocate analytic and abstract thinking. This study enriches the research into motion events by applying CCxG and contributes to linguistic typology with its comparison of Chinese and English.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v10i4.13237

Copyright (c) 2018 International Journal of Linguistics



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