Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Semantics,vocabulary,semantic

A Comparative Analysis of Chinese and English Idioms from Cognitive Linguistic Perspective

Author LiuJing
Tutor WangXue
School Tianjin University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords idioms experiential cognition conceptual metaphor conceptual meaning associative meaning
CLC H313
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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There is a misunderstanding for traditional linguistics, which emphasizes that the idioms are special linguistic expressions in that they are fixed in structure. This is what traditional view of idioms-non-compositionality. However, cognitive linguistics, a newly-developed area of linguistic field, maintains a different view. Cognitive linguistics believes that idioms are compositional in nature, namely the meaning of most idioms can be inferred from components of the idioms and the structures of idiomatic expressions are flexible. Cognitive linguistics explains the compositionality of idioms by exploring the semantic motivation behind the idioms.This thesis applies experiential cognition and conceptual metaphor in cognitive linguistics to compare and analyze the similarities and differences between Chinese and English idioms. Both experiential cognition and conceptual metaphor are very important cognitive models, as many cognitive linguists claim that our thought is metaphorically structured, and idioms are deemed as the accumulated results as well as cognitive reflections of experiences of human beings. This thesis applies experiential cognition to analyze the similarities and differences between Chinese and English idioms in terms of geographical cultures, value orientation, thinking models, customs and social relations, and applies conceptual metaphor to further compare conceptual meaning and associative meaning of idioms in Chinese and English, to disclose the function of cognitive process in the production of idioms.The first chapter talks about the significance and purpose of this research and structure of this thesis. Chapter Two is the literature review of comparative study of Chinese and English idioms as well as basic information of idioms. Chapter Three is about theoretical framework, illustrating experiential cognition and conceptual metaphor, two basic concepts of cognitive linguistics. Chapter Four and Chapter Five are the main parts of this thesis, analyzing similarities and differences between Chinese and English idioms with experiential cognition and conceptual metaphor as semantic motivation. Last part is the conclusion: the similarities and difference in cognition between Chinese and the western world lead to the similarities and differences in idioms.

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