Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Grammar

A Cognitive Study of Metonymy in Grammar

Author YangChengHu
Tutor ZhouLiuXi
School Beijing Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords grammatical metonymy triangular model formal structure conceptual structure logical structure domain matrix chain of mapping
Type PhD thesis
Year 2008
Downloads 913
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This dissertation is a study of grammatical metonymy. Based on previous researches, it studies three questions: 1) What is special about grammatical metonymy? 2) When and where does grammatical metonymy emerge? 3) How does grammatical metonymy behave grammatically? The dissertation falls into six chapters while Chapter 1 introduces the significance of the topic, research scope and methodology.Chapter 2 has reviewed the previous studies and evaluated the theoretical contributions of rhetoricians, structural linguists and cognitive linguists. Though rhetoricians see metonymy as a brave use of words, they do have found semantic contiguity in metonymy between source and target. Cognitive linguists have gone a step further to treat metonymy as a ubiquitous way of thinking. They think that metonymy is a domain-internal mapping from source to target. Studies of grammatical metonymy show that metonymy is a domain matrix of matrix domain and sub-domains and there is a chain of mapping in the conceptual structure when the source domain is elaborated. It can be said that the previous researches have focused on the conceptual structure of grammatical metonymy.Chapter 3 provides a triangular model that attempts to uniformly account for grammatical metonymy. With the notions of trigger, source and target, the triangular model divides grammatical structure into formal, conceptual and logical structures. The conceptual structure is a central structure between the formal structure and the logical structure and resolves the semantic conflict between the latter two structures, which gives rise to the flexibility of grammatical metonymy. The three structures are interrelated to each other while each exists in its own way. Trigger and source form the formal structure in which there is an agreement of grammatical case, gender and number. Source and target form the conceptual structure in which there is an agreement of mapping from source to target. Target and trigger form the logical structure in which there is an agreement of literal meaning.With the cross-linguistic data of English, Chinese and Russian, Chapter 4 has systematically explored into how the conceptual structure (especially the source) emerges from specific social and cultural contexts. Through the discussion, it is found that social and cultural contexts offer conditions for recategorization and the source always appears at a higher (abstract) level in the new hierarchical category. Whether two sources appear at the same time or just one source appears, we can always find a unifying category that governs these sources. The source is always higher at the categorical level than the target. The source domain as a matrix domain is always over the target domain.From intralinguistic constraints, Chapter 5 has systematically discussed how grammatical metonymy behaves in the formal structure. Applying semantic roles in the action ICM and their relations with grammatical relations, this chapter explains grammatical metonymy in specific syntactic (including head phrases) and morphological structures. As different languages have different forms and the addresser applies different strategies, the behaviors of grammatical metonymy vary from language to language though there are some common phenomena.The last chapter is conclusions. This study has reached the following conclusions: 1) Grammatical metonymy is to solve the semantic conflict between the formal structure and the logical structure, which determines the interrelation of the three structures though the conceptual structure remains central. 2) The emergence of the conceptual structure from social and cultural contexts shows that the source domain is at a higher level of a category and is a matrix domain that contains certain sub-domains so that a rich semantic import is implied in it. 3) The source cannot be modified or moved as it is related to the conceptual structure and the inconsistency between semantic roles and grammatical relations is the grammatical behavior of grammatical metonymy.

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