Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Semantics,vocabulary, word meaning ( exegesis ) > Modern vocabulary

A Corpus-based Lexical-pragmatic Interpretation of JIA

Author CongZuoRun
Tutor ZhangShaoJie
School Northeast Normal University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords JIA Lexical Pragmatics pragmatic enrichment narrowing broadening
CLC H136
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Chinese scholars have made numerous studies on the Chinese word JIA, with their focuses on its origin, structure and, ulti-faceted meanings. The scholars’interest in the study of JIA reflects the profound connotative meanings and abundant denotative meanings that JIA has underlying the traditional Chinese culture. The literature shows, however, that the past study on JIA has never been conducted so far from the perspective of lexical-pragmatics, that is, to analyze the pragmatic meanings of JIA and its pragmatic processes based on lexical-pragmatic theories.In the 1990s, Lexical Pragmatics emerged as a new sub-field of linguistic pragmatics. Defined by drawing on Conversational Implicature Theory and Relevance Theory, it aims to account for lexical meaning through such pragmatic processes as narrowing , broadening, loosening or pragmatic enrichment..This thesis is intended to account for the pragmatic meanings of JIA in its pragmatic processes from the perspective of lexical pragmatics through an analysis of corpus-based data. The corpus used is Beijing Modern Chinese Corpus, from which more than 300,000 examples that contain the word JIA were taken. Based on Wilson’s lexical-pragmatic theories, the process of pragmatic enrichment is divided into two categories: narrowing and broadening, with broadening subdivided as approximation and metaphorical extension.The analysis indicates that JIA can be used to express nine kinds of pragmatic meanings through its pragmatic processes. JIA is mostly used as its literal meanings. Specifically, seven pragmatic meanings of JIA are generated through the process of broadening, among which the process of approximation is dominant; and narrowing is rare. The use of JIA are modified with four features: (1) change of parts of speech (2) change of referents (3) change of referring range (4) adding to emotional coloring.The findings of this thesis reveal that lexical-pragmatics can be applied in explaining Chinese lexicon and Chinese vocabulary teaching. However, lexical-pragmatic theories cannot have their own limitations, such as being unable to explain changes in those pragmatic meanings derived from classical Chinese or pronunciation in some dialects. This study implicates that lexical meanings have to be interested in contexts where words are used and that through the understanding of the pragmatic processes of lexical meaning effective learning and teaching can be achieved.

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