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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Grammaticalization and beyond─The invisible space behind the body-part term boi55 'back' (背) in Hakka

Vol. 37 No. 1   6/2007    


Grammaticalization and beyond -The invisible space behind the body-part term boi55 'back' () in Hakka


Shu-mei Chiang  Huei-ling Lai









Key words

grammaticalization, frames of reference, space and cognition, body-part terms, back, Hakka


  The purpose of this study is twofold. On the one hand it examines the motivations and mechanisms activating various senses of the Hakka morpheme boi55 ‘back', along with its grammaticalization path. It is found that semantically, INANIMATE OBJECT-IS-ANIMATE CREATURE Metaphor, SPACE-IS-OBJECT Metaphor, TIME-IS-OB]ECT Metaphor, Metonymy of spatial contiguity, and MEMBER-FOR-CATEGORY Metonymy are involved in this grammaticalization path. Syntactically, reanalysis and analogy bring about the morphosyntactic change of boi55. On the other, adopting frames of reference, this study, with Hakka boi55 as an illustration, investigates the interactions between spatial conceptualization and language. We show how the different choices of intrinsic or relative frames of reference influence the spatial interpretations of the sentences with boi55. And it is further demonstrated how the noun category preceding boi55 interacts with frames of reference and gives rise to different degrees of ambiguity. It is shown that the interaction of lexical meanings and world knowledge brings about different interpretations of a single form. The research findings prove that both universal and regionally restricted forces are needed to account for the structure of conceptual transfer.




Author: Shu-mei Chiang, Huei-ling Lai
Genre: Article
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