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Serial verb construction: A cognitive typology study on Chinese

LI, Tianyu (2018) Serial verb construction: A cognitive typology study on Chinese. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This thesis investigates the cognitive typology of Chinese from the perspective of serial verb construction (SVC in short) both at the synchronic level and the diachronic level. In order to do so we first propose a canonical definition for SVC. This is based on the previous descriptive works of SVC that can be classified into two camps: single-event criterion based and single-clause criterion based. However, both of these two camps have insufficiencies, and contradict each other occasionally. A definition from canonical typology helps on these problems, since it accommodates various criteria to identify the most canonical phenomenon cross-linguistically. With the proposed canonical definition, we further locate motion-path and cause-effect as the two prototypical usages of SVC. As for cognitive typology of Chinese, we have reviewed how cognitive typology develops into four-classifications from Croft et al. (2010) in motion situations and non-motion situations, and found that all those four classifications can be detected in modern Chinese, with some different encoding lexicalization patterns corresponding in ancient Chinese. This on the one hand requires a survey on the prototypical typological feature of modern Chinese, and on the other hand calls for an analysis to see how the typological features have evolved in ancient Chinese. For these two research questions we collect ancient Chinese passages and their modern translations to build a corpus, and analyze statistical percentages of those cognitive typology related lexicalization patterns in motion-path domain and cause-effect domain respectively. It is found that modern Chinese prototypically shows a Serial feature as SVC takes the highest percentage among all the lexicalization patterns, while ancient Chinese has evolved towards Serial feature as SVC diachronically increases to occupy the greatest proportion. Moreover, this thesis answers some evolutionary questions for SVC in Chinese, including how it comes into being and where it further develops.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: SVC, cognitive typology, Chinese
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Tianyu Li
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 11:13
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2021 01:00

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