A Cognitive Grammar approach to the SLocPAdjC in Mandarin Chinese
SLocPAdjC (Locative subject + adjective-predicate construction) is an idiosyncratic construction in Mandarin Chinese. It has its own specific structural and cognitive properties which are different from those of other constructions. Its structural properties are that it has locative phrases as its subject and adjective phrases as its predicate without the help of any linking verb. In addition, only state adjectives, and not property adjectives, can normally occur in SLocPAdjC as predicates. As is observed from the Cognitive Grammar perspective, what the predicate describes in SLocPAdjC is not the subject proper, but a certain facet of the spatial region of the entity designated by the subject. This depends on two cognitive mechanisms. One is the spatial region profiling mechanism of the subject, and the other is the active zone activating mechanism of the predicate. The former means that the signified entity of the nominal phrase in the subject functions as the base. The postposition serves to profile a certain spatial region of the base and makes this region a prominent candidate for the predicate to describe. The latter means that the adjective in the predicate, based on the cognitive domain it belongs to, activates a certain facet of or in the spatial region as the active zone which eventually becomes the actual matter to be described by the predicate. What’s more important, the meaning of the SLocPAdjC in Mandarin Chinese resides in the joint function of the profiling mechanism of the subject and the activating mechanism of the adjective-predicate.
Keywords: Locative subject + adjective-predicate construction, Cognitive Grammar, spatial region profiling mechanism, active zone activating mechanism
Published online: 03 April 2015
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