Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Grammar

A Comparative Study of Chinese and English “N→A” in Terms of Semantics, Syntax and Its Interface

Author DiRuiMei
Tutor LuoSiMing
School Ningbo University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords “N→A” lexicalization mental distance referentiality
CLC H314
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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This thesis is conducted within the framework of lexicalization theory to studyChinese and English “N→A” of kinship nouns, animal nouns and fruit nouns, whichmainly focuses on the comparisons of “N→A” in terms of semantics, syntax and itsinterface. The thesis aims to find out the similarities of “N→A” of each group of nouns,based on which the cross-linguistic or monolinguistic transformation model could be made.In consideration of analyses of the factor of mental distance and the lexicalizationdegree, a conclusion can be drawn: if the noun features stronger referential properties, itsmental distance will be long, and the lexicalization degree of the noun will be lower, thusthe possibility of “N→A” will be lower, and the transformed results are tending to be theuntypical adjectives, or the distinguishing word; on the contrary, it the noun featuresweaker referential properties, its mental distance will be relatively shorter, thus thetransformed result is tending to be typical adjective.This study comes to the following findings:(1) in “N→A”, the semanticlexicalization degree is proportional to the syntactic behaviors of transformed results, thatis to say, if the noun features higher lexicalization degree, it is easier to be transformed intotypical adjective; if it doesn’t feature that high degree, the transformed adjective may bethe untypical adjective, or the distinguishing word, or even fail the transformation;(2) thesemantic lexicalization degree is inversely proportional to the factor of mental distance,that is to say, if the noun features longer mental distance(or the noun refers to the entitythat people are not very familiar with), it features lower lexicalization degree, and viceversa;(3) the factor of mental distance is related to the referentiality of the noun: if thenoun features weak referentiality which will lead to the narrowed cognition of the entity, its mental distance will be long, thus it can be said that the length of mental distance is ininversely proportional to the strength of referentiality; at the same time, in consideration ofthe fact that there are representative nouns and nonprotypical nouns within the samecategory, if the noun features a lot of similarities of the representative nouns, it will bestrong in its referentiality; on the contrary, if the noun shares a lot with the nonprotypicalones, it will feature weak referentiality. So it is the same with the general category of nouns,as they can also be classified into the categories of representative nouns and nonprotypicalones which lead to the different referentialities for each group of nouns.

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