The aim of this paper is to investigate a specific naming strategy, which is based on compounding and exemplification, examining data from Chinese. We will focus on what we will label ‘exemplar-based compounds’, i.e. compounds consisting of at least one lexeme denoting an exemplar of the category referred to by the whole compound. We propose that ‘exemplar-based’ compounds in Chinese be divided into two macro-types: (1) [EXEMPLAR1-EXEMPLAR2]CATEGORY, in which the exemplars may or may not exhaustively list the members of the category denoted by the compound (e.g. dāoqiāng ‘sword-spear, sword and spear > ‘swords, spears and similar things = weapons’); (2) [EXEMPLAR-CLASS]CATEGORY, in which the first constituent exemplifies the class denoted by the second one; this type includes compounds in which the second constituent is a classifier (e.g. niǎozhī ‘bird’, chuánzhī ‘ship’, with zhī ‘CLF’). After a detailed discussion of exemplar-driven category naming and of compounding and classifiers in Chinese, we will present the results of a corpus-based study, based on data of Premodern and Modern Chinese. We will show how the exemplar-driven abstraction characterising these constructions evolved into systematic reference to a category and to its individual items, revealing a change from a procedural category construction to a naming concept label.

Exemplar-based compounds: the case of Chinese

Arcodia G
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2020

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate a specific naming strategy, which is based on compounding and exemplification, examining data from Chinese. We will focus on what we will label ‘exemplar-based compounds’, i.e. compounds consisting of at least one lexeme denoting an exemplar of the category referred to by the whole compound. We propose that ‘exemplar-based’ compounds in Chinese be divided into two macro-types: (1) [EXEMPLAR1-EXEMPLAR2]CATEGORY, in which the exemplars may or may not exhaustively list the members of the category denoted by the compound (e.g. dāoqiāng ‘sword-spear, sword and spear > ‘swords, spears and similar things = weapons’); (2) [EXEMPLAR-CLASS]CATEGORY, in which the first constituent exemplifies the class denoted by the second one; this type includes compounds in which the second constituent is a classifier (e.g. niǎozhī ‘bird’, chuánzhī ‘ship’, with zhī ‘CLF’). After a detailed discussion of exemplar-driven category naming and of compounding and classifiers in Chinese, we will present the results of a corpus-based study, based on data of Premodern and Modern Chinese. We will show how the exemplar-driven abstraction characterising these constructions evolved into systematic reference to a category and to its individual items, revealing a change from a procedural category construction to a naming concept label.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3720050
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