Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Writing,rhetoric

A Contrastive Study on the Metaphorical Terms of Spatial Dimensions between English and Chinese

Author ZhangXiaoMei
Tutor ChenYunXiang
School Henan Normal
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords spatial terms of dimension metaohor contrastive study English and Chinese
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Metaphor, as a way of thinking, is to understandand experience one thing through other things. When we projected some relationships of spatial domain onto the non-spatial domain, the spatial metaphors are formed. The study of cognitive linguistics shows that the metaphors are of special importance in the form of human being’s concept, in that, most abstract concepts are expressed and understood through spatial metaphors. Space is not only the most important concept of people, but also the concept which people lived by at the earliest time. Spatial metaphor is universal, which is essentially an extension of the concept of space in the real world. But what are the target domains of the same spatial relationship and what kinds of target domains are reflected less and what ones refelected more, are different to different nations due to different national views of the world, customs, geography and cognitive orientation. Spatial terms of dimensions, the descriptions of the capacities occupied by the objects with the shape or by the specific parts of the objects, belong to the space category. The spatial terms of dimensions are characterized by the universality and cultural specificity. The survey of the previous studies show that some studies on spatial terms of dimensions have been conducted at home and abroad (e.g. Clark, 1977; Song Yuzhu, 1994; Shen Yang, 1996, Ren Yongjun, 2005), and they have made some achievements. However, few studies have been done from the contrastive perspective on the spatial terms of dimensions in different languages, which is the primary motivation for the present study.Based on the results of the previous research, this study, from the perspective of contrastive analysis, focuses on the three pairs:“big/small”,“long/short”and“high/low”, which represents three groups of spatial dimensions. This study takes the theories of metaphor as its theoretical basis, collects metaphorical uses of spatial dimensions through studies both in the dictionary and in the corpus to compose the questionnaire.The study provides the predetermined classification of the target domains about the spatial dimensions on the basis of the categories proposed by the Ren Yongjun (2005), and the predetermined classification will be examined by the subjects to make sure the classification is objective. Based majorly upon the purposes of the reseach, this study designs three questions as follows: 1.What is the target domains of the three spatial terms of dimensions (big/small, long/short, high/low) both in English and in Chinese? 2. What are the major differences about the target domains of metaphorical uses of the three spatial terms of dimensions (big/small, long/short, high/low) between English and Chinese? 3. What are the main causes for those differences?This thesis is made up of five chapters. Chapter One is the introduction of this study, including the research background, research motivations, research objectives, and the overall organization of the research. Chapter Two is theoretical prerequisites including the reviews on the theories of metaphor and the spatial terms of dimensions both at home and abroad. Chapter Three is the research design of the study, which presents the research questions, research methods and procedures of the research. Chapter Four presents the results and the discussions which designates differences of the metaphorical uses about the spatial terms of dimensions between English and Chinese and provides the discussion of the causes for those differences between English and Chinese in regard to the spatial terms of dimensions. What is more, this chapter also involves the similarities found in the process of contrastive study and trys to explorate the possible reasons leading to the similarities. Chapter Five is the conclusion of this study, which first summarizes the major findings of the study and then points out the limitations of the present research and discusses the prospects for further studies.

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