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A cognitive approach to OUT in English and CHU in Modern Mandarin Chinese

English Abstract

This is a five-chapter thesis which offers a comparison between out in English and its correspondence chu in Modern Mandarin Chinese (MMC) using the cognitive approach in an attempt to find out whether equivalent space particles of two different languages share the same proto-scene. The assumption is that even two space particles of two different languages may have a highly identical proto-scene, they might give rise to different meanings or extensions for different reasons. Moreover, this cross-linguistic research also hopes to strengthen the claim that the usage of space particle is systematic rather than arbitrary. The first issue that the thesis examines is the dynamicity in the schema OUT. In contrast to the view that OUT is a static schema, I believe that OUT is inherently dynamic. OUT profiles the multiple configurations but we view them holistically, giving us a sense that OUT is static. Moreover, when OUT is used as a preposition, we tend to focus on its final stage rather than the path. With its path “gapped” and final stage “windowed”, we are tempted into considering OUT as static. iv The second part of the research is based on Lindner’s analysis (1981/1983) on out. Lindner concludes that the schema OUT possesses three subschemas, namely OUT1 – change of location, OUT2 – reflexive and OUT3 – away from source. By comparing OUT with CHU, we can see that CHU1 exhibits great similarity to OUT1. However, with “from hiddenness to accessibility” being the core meaning of CHU1, the meaning “from accessibility to hiddenness”, which OUT1 possesses, is rejected in CHU1 (except in some rare cases). In addition, while OUT possesses the reflexive sense (OUT2), CHU does not. Instead, CHU demonstrates the excessive sense (CHU2). Finally, OUT and CHU both code the moving away from source (OUT3 and CHU3).

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Neves, Brigida Cristina Cardoso das


Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Department of English




Cognitive grammar



Pang, Kam Yiu

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