|Title:||Sensory lexicon, sensory modalities and lexical categories in Mandarin Chinese|
|Advisors:||Huang, Chu-ren (CBS)|
Chinese language -- Semantics
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|Department:||Faculty of Humanities|
|Pages:||xi, 242 pageses : color illustrations|
|Abstract:||How human beings perceive the physical world through five main physiological senses and how such perceptions are encoded in human languages are intriguing yet challenging topics in linguistic studies. Previous studies focused predominantly on individual lexical category, e.g., verbs, or particular sensory modality, visual perception, for example. Although there have been recent cross-sensory studies on how meanings are represented by relationships among sensory modalities in Mandarin Chinese, such as linguistic synaesthesia (e.g., Zhao et al., 2019b) and modality exclusivity (e.g., Chen et al., 2019a), why and how meanings vary across the most fundamental lexical categories in human languages, i.e., nouns, adjectives, and verbs, have not received adequate attention. A recent study of distributions of lexical categories in sensory lexicons in English showed that different sensory modalities would have their 'preferred' lexical categories due to the nature of human senses, and such lexical differentiation in composition of lexical categories was claimed providing a possible explanation for linguistic synaesthesia (Strik Lievers & Winter, 2018). This thesis, adopted an incorporated approach, including ontological networks, corpus data, survey experiments and statistical methods, takes their research one step further to scrutinize how senses and their interrelations are reflected by lexical categories in Mandarin Chinese, and how the fundamental distinction between lexical categories, e.g., nouny and verby features, would differentiate sensory modalities. Sensory nouns, instantiated by corpus data and an analysis of classifier coercion, are found influenced by the eventive and dynamic cognitive nature of the auditory sense the most, with showing strong mutable attributes in auditory nouns. This finding is further supported in the experiment on eventivity norms in sensory nouns. Sensory verbs likewise exhibit a congruence in their collocations with verbal classifiers, in particular the only auditory noun, 聲 sheng 'sound', can be employed as a verbal classifier. With a rich repertoire of auditory nouns derived from verbs and a myriad of auditory verbs exhibiting a shift to nouns, this tendency in categorical ambiguity further underlies the cognitive nature of auditory modality. On the other hand, transfer directionality among sensory adjectives shown in a corpus-based case study with respect to a gustatory-olfactory concept exhibits a more complicated picture than in previous synaesthetic studies; and the experimental results from evaluative function of sensory adjectives neither assist in differentiating sensory modalities nor contribute to explaining directionalities across senses. These findings therefore lead to a discussion of the effectiveness of 'embodiment account' in explaining linguistic synaesthesia, and our intuitive hypothesis of lexical differentiation would influence directionality among sensory modalities is further attested. This thesis reveals that intrinsic nature of lexical categories and their manifestations of cognitive properties of sensory modalities might be the fundamental reason for explaining linguistic variations in sensory domains, including linguistic synaesthesia. A possible synergetic account of the categorical dependency of meaning mutability, cognitive basis of parts of speech, and ontological motivation for differences in the linguistic representation of sensory meanings is proposed in the end, which shed further light on the interactions between perception, cognition and language.|
|Rights:||All rights reserved|
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