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


A Semantic Map Approach to Crosslinguistic Comparisons of Polysemy: Implications for Perspectivization Theories

Vol. 37 No. 1   12/2007    


A Semantic Map Approach to Crosslinguistic Comparisons of Polysemy: Implications for Perspectivization Theories


Shuping Huang









Key words

comparative semantics, semantic map, perspectivization, meta-Ianguage glossing


  In crosslinguistic communications, direct translation has often been used as an effective way to understand a novel linguistic form in a foreign language. By utilizing the notion of “semantic map," we would like to show the possible mismatches of direct translations. Speakers in one language often take a socially shared perspective to map the conceptual structure to the semantic structure, rendering different verbalizations. Saisiyat nahan is, for example, used to denote repetition, continuation, addition, and succession. However, the conceptual space NAHAN is categorized into three different groups denoted by haí ,zaí , and yoù in Mandarin The semantic extensions of Saisiyat nahan and Mandarin haí zaí ,  and yoù  follow different routes, and there are collectively agreed verbalizations that can only be mastered through the real uses. In view of this, in addition to subjectification, intersubjectification and objectification, we suggest that a fourth perspective-collectivization is crucial to the development of language. Because language is to a large extent a social product that is beyond speaker.internal cognition, studies of language have to take into consideration the power of contextualization and its impact on society.



Author: Shuping Huang
Genre: Article
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