Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

A Diachronic Semantic Study on the Chinese Classifier 架 (jià)

Jing Wu, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (United States)


Diachronic semantic analysis is employed in the present study to probe the origin and semantic evolution of the classifier 架 (jià). The data of this study were derived from the CCL (Center for Chinese Linguistics, Peking University) corpus and the CNC (Chinese National Corpus, also known as Guojia Yuwei Yuliaoku ‘The State Language Commission Corpus’). Based on the corpus, archaic Chinese texts are scrutinized. Through enumerating its origin and development, this preliminary study is in an attempt to (a) probe and comprehend the emergence and development of the Chinese classifier 架 (jià), and (b) attest the perspective of the fundamental role of human cognition and perception in the classifier language system as signified by Tai and Wang (1990). The result of this study proved that the classifier 架 (jià) is by no means an arbitrary linguistic device; instead, its utilization throughout history reflects human categorization in reliance on the perceptual property of the supporting framework of the referents. Hence, more future studies on the classifiers acquisition are expected to be in consonance with the conceptual structure of the classifiers’ domains as well as the cognitive linguistic approach in favor of providing Chinese language learners with a more natural, comprehensive, and efficient acquisition mode.

Keywords: semantics, Chinese classifier, corpus, archaic Chinese, cognition.


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