Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Grammar

A Cognitive Approach to Noun-verb Conversion in English

Author SunQiChun
Tutor YangChaoJun
School Henan University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords N-V conversion denominal verb metaphor metonymy constual
CLC H314
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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N-V conversion is very common in languages. It refers to the linguistic phenomenon ofusing a word that is originally a noun as a verb without any change of its form. The noun iscalled parent noun; the verb, denominal verb. As a way of language creativity, N-Vconversion has always been a hot issue in the field of linguistic study both domestic andabroad. This thesis adopts a cognitive perspective to look into the phenomenon, trying to findout the linguistic causes and cognitive mechanism underlying N-V conversion.Firstly, we take a literature review to see what has been done in this field. Researches inthe past have been carried out in various aspects such as syntactic approach, semanticapproach, pragmatic approach, rhetoric approach and cognitive approach, etc. Then we makea general introduction to the theoretical background, and try to analyze the cognitivemechanism in N-V conversion. The classification of N-V conversion is not exactly the same,for different linguists hold different views. Here N-V conversion is classified into seven typeson the basis of comparing the relationship between the participant and the action. Finally, wedraw a conclusion about our findings, the limitations and suggestions for the future study.The thesis holds a cognitive view that THING’s participation in RELATION provides thebasis for N-V conversion between nouns and verbs, and construal plays a key role in theprocess of the functional shift. In essence, the process of N-V conversion is the process ofconcept change and transformation. Metaphorical and metonymic construal emerges in theprocess of N-V conversion. Metaphorical construal creates similarities between two differententities, and maps the properties of source domain onto the target domain. The mechanism ofmetaphorical construal is just a conceptual mapping from the properties of the source domainto the target domain, or vice versa. It often takes a concrete concept to explain and understand an abstract concept. In the process of N-V conversion, metaphorical construal applies a parentnoun to express a thing or a process of a denominal verb. It actually embodies a conceptualaction to a vivid and visual action. Metonymic construal mainly applies Action ICM andmetonymic perspective to fulfill N-V conversion. N-V conversion underlies a THING FORACTION metonymy within which the concept of a thing provides mental access to the wholeaction. Metonymy and metaphor are relevant and have some similarities. Metaphor andmetonymy often work together on the basis of imagery, similarity and salience.

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