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Lexicalisation in Japanese, Chinese and German: A Focus Upon Scalarity


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1 School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, China
 

This paper brings the scalarity concept, in an effort to uncover how the lexical, morphological and syntactic resources of the three languages in focus (Japanese, Chinese and German) play essential roles when it comes to lexicalisaing motion events into linguistic forms. The findings bring us to the point that path-prominent languages seem to favour rendering path via verb roots, which gives rise to a restriction: one verb can only incorporate an endpoint in a single clause. This restriction prevents Japanese conflating sequential paths in a single clause. In manner-prominent languages, path is rendered via a path verb or a particle, meaning they exhibit two-faced characteristics of conflation. This two-faced characteristic invites a less restrictive morpho-syntactic environment for incorporating path information. In particular, the option of conveying the path via satellites (outside the verb roots) enables sequential paths. Chinese and German are typical in this respect. Moreover, in German, when path is expressed via a particle, sequential paths are accepted; when path is conveyed via a path verb, or a compound verb, only a single path is allowed. In Chinese, the occurrence of [spatial event + non-spatial event] is possible but conditioned: (a) syntactically, the single clause has to be bounded; (b) semantically, the motion path and resultative path are in a successive relation. In addition, the combination [non-spatial event + spatial event] is ruled out, as it disobeys the semantic condition: two events should be assigned to a successive relation.

Keywords

Japanese, Chinese, German, Lexicalization, Scalar Structure.
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  • Lexicalisation in Japanese, Chinese and German: A Focus Upon Scalarity

Abstract Views: 198  |  PDF Views: 44

Authors

Wenchao Li
School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, China

Abstract


This paper brings the scalarity concept, in an effort to uncover how the lexical, morphological and syntactic resources of the three languages in focus (Japanese, Chinese and German) play essential roles when it comes to lexicalisaing motion events into linguistic forms. The findings bring us to the point that path-prominent languages seem to favour rendering path via verb roots, which gives rise to a restriction: one verb can only incorporate an endpoint in a single clause. This restriction prevents Japanese conflating sequential paths in a single clause. In manner-prominent languages, path is rendered via a path verb or a particle, meaning they exhibit two-faced characteristics of conflation. This two-faced characteristic invites a less restrictive morpho-syntactic environment for incorporating path information. In particular, the option of conveying the path via satellites (outside the verb roots) enables sequential paths. Chinese and German are typical in this respect. Moreover, in German, when path is expressed via a particle, sequential paths are accepted; when path is conveyed via a path verb, or a compound verb, only a single path is allowed. In Chinese, the occurrence of [spatial event + non-spatial event] is possible but conditioned: (a) syntactically, the single clause has to be bounded; (b) semantically, the motion path and resultative path are in a successive relation. In addition, the combination [non-spatial event + spatial event] is ruled out, as it disobeys the semantic condition: two events should be assigned to a successive relation.

Keywords


Japanese, Chinese, German, Lexicalization, Scalar Structure.

References