The typological change of motion expressions in Chinese revisited
Motion events in Old Chinese and its Modern Chinese translation
This paper reports on a corpus-based study aimed at reexamining the typological status and diachronic change of motion expressions in Chinese, drawing on parallel texts consisting of autonomous motion expressions in Old Chinese (OC) and its Modern Chinese (MoC) translation. The results show that MoC significantly differs from OC both in the preference of lexicalization patterns (Talmyan typology) and semantic components distributed in discourse (Slobinian typology) when narrating similar motion scenes. However, these results fail to support the viewpoint that Chinese has undergone a change from a verb- to a satellite-frame (Li 1993; Talmy 2000; Peyraube 2006; Shi & Wu 2014). It is argued that (i) the Talmyan typology and the Slobinian typology should be treated separately. In Talmyan typology, the diachrony of Chinese demonstrates the change of a V- to a parallel-frame, in that satellite- and verb-framed constructions in MoC have equal frequency and show no bias for the encoding of subtypes of autonomous motion. In Slobinian typology, MoC remains as a Path-salient language, as it gives considerable weight to the expression of Path; (ii) the dominant lexicalization pattern in a language varies from one sub-domain of motion to another (see also Lamarre 2003), and thus the typology of motion expressions is sub-domain-specific; and (iii) motivating forces and blocking forces, furthermore, co-exist diachronically for the typological evolution of motion encoding due to the idiosyncrasy of the morphosyntactic system.
Keywords: typological change, motion event, lexicalization pattern, Path salience, Manner salience, Chinese
- 2.1Corpus selection and description
- 2.2Data transcription
- 3.Lexicalization patterns
- 3.1Lexicalization patterns of autonomous motion events
- 3.2Lexicalization patterns of Manner and Path encoded simultaneously
- 4.Semantic components in discourse
- 4.1Encoding of Manner in discourse
- 4.1.1Types of Manner verbs
- 4.1.2Tokens of Manner verbs
- 4.1.3Adverbial elements that encode Manner
- 4.2Encoding of Path in discourse
- 4.2.1Types of Path verbs
- 4.2.2Tokens of Path verbs
- 4.3Emergence of Cause
- 4.4Encoding of Ground
- 4.1Encoding of Manner in discourse
- 5.General discussion
- 5.1Reassessing the typological change of motion expressions in Chinese
- 5.2Domain-specific variation in motion encoding
- 5.3Typological shift and maintenance of motion encoding
Published online: 04 February 2019
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