Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Semantics,pragmatics,lexicology, meaning school > Semantics, pragmatics

The Study of Pragmatic Interpretation on Polysemy Based on a Choice and Adaptation-theoretical Model

Author GeRuiCai
Tutor LiuZhuZuo
School Tianjin University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Polysemy Adaptation Theory Pragmatic Interpretation Choice and Adaptation-theoretical Model
CLC H030
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Meaning is the factor that changes most obviously and frequently in language, linguists believe that each single meaning can form a continuum between the edge and the typical, which can result in a vague and fuzzy category. So, polysemy has long been a research subject of traditional semantics. However, as the emergence of lexical pragmatics, the study of polysemy has been brought into the scope of pragmatics.Within the framework of lexical pragmatics, Grice s conversational implicature theory, Rosch s prototype theory and Sperber & Wilson s relevance theory have been widely applied to this language phenomenon. But these theories lack of the dynamics and power of interpretation for the study of the interpretation on polysemy, which makes the translators can not grasp the fundamental reasons for the evolution of meaning in the process of interpretation.Because language is characterized by variableness, mediation and adjustability, Verschueren put forward the Adaptation Theory, which bears dynamic thoughts and strong interpretative power. It claims that language use is a process of making choices, whether consciously or unconsciously, of course, this choice-making happens as soon as language is used. Polysemy is the inevitable result of choice-making, and the outcome of adaptation to factors of mental, social and physical worlds. In the framework of lexical pragmatics, the author applies the Adaptation Theory to establish a Choice and Adaptation-theoretical model to probe into the pragmatic interpretation of polysemy, conduct a dynamic construal of meanings changes.This dynamic adaptation-theoretical model has a great interpretative power in accounting for pragmatic interpretation of polysemy and provides a new angle to its study, which also shows that the interpretation of polysemy is a pragmatic-cognitive issue based on contexts within lexical pragmatics. Theory is the basis of practice, this model is likely to have great implications for lexical translation and help the students to use translation strategies in a flexible way.

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