The Delineation of ‘Throw’ Verbs in Mandarin Chinese: Behavioural and Perceptual Approaches
Gao, Helena Hong
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Within a semantic domain, terms that can be used in a similar way to describe a similar event are members of the same class of words, or near-synonyms. They are common in a language but difficult to distinguish from one and another. Physical action verbs such as ‘throw’ verbs are a typical example of this. In this study we attempted to distinguish six Chinese ‘throw’ verbs (rēng, diū, pāo, tóu, shuāi, shuǎi) from each other within the framework of cognitive semantics. Two experiments were conducted with two groups of native Chinese speakers (60 participants in total) to examine their behavioural and perceptual responses to the throwing actions that can be typically described by each of the six verbs. The results show that the verbs the participants enacted revealed differences in terms of dimensional features. Further, visual input about the verb enacted, successfully elicited the participants’ responses corresponding to the semantics of each individual verb. Typical actions and differences between five dimensions were used as discriminative features of the verbs. The validity of action performance as a paradigm for verb meaning specification was verified.
Journal of Cognitive Science
© 2016 Institute for Cognitive Science, Seoul National University. This paper was published in Journal of Cognitive Science and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of Institute for Cognitive Science, Seoul National University. The published version is available at [http://dx.doi.org/10.17791/jcs.2016.17.1.95]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.