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LINGUIST List 18.358

Thu Feb 01 2007

Qs: Exaggeration in Mandarin/Grammaticalisation of 'face'

Editor for this issue: Kevin Burrows <kevinlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Zhiguo Xie, Semantic Exaggeration in Mandarin
        2.    Sukriye Ruhi, Grammaticalisation of 'face'

Message 1: Semantic Exaggeration in Mandarin
Date: 27-Jan-2007
From: Zhiguo Xie <culinguistgmail.com>
Subject: Semantic Exaggeration in Mandarin

I observe in Mandarin Chinese, the following sentences are grammatical, at
least in some contexts, even when the speaker did buy something from the

(1)wo jintian meimai shenme, (zhi maile dian pingguo)
I today not-buy what, only buy-Perf a bit apples
I bought nothing today, (I only bought some apples)

This contrasts with the ungrammaticality of the following sentence, whose
first clause conflicts with the second one

(2) *I bought nothing; I only bought some apples.

The difference, I guess, is not that the Chinese one is exaggerative while
the English one is not. So I am trying to look at them from a
semantic/pragmatoc perspective. However, I found very little literature on
this phenomenon. I don’t know if someone here knows about any reference on
this topic. Thanks.

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Message 2: Grammaticalisation of 'face'
Date: 26-Jan-2007
From: Sukriye Ruhi <sukruhmetu.edu.tr>
Subject: Grammaticalisation of 'face'

Dear Linguists

Does anyone know of languages that have grammatical constructions
incorporating 'face' in the sense of 'human face' or 'surface/side'?

I'm working on the pragmatics of two such forms that have causal meaning in
Turkish. The first functions as a discourse connective and the second as an
adverbial. Their forms/glosses are below (Sorry for the missing Turkish
letter in 'yuz'):

1. bu/o yuz-den
this/that face-ABLATIVE
'on account of this/that; because of this/that'

2. personal pronoun-GENITIVE face-AGREEMENT-ABLATIVE
'because of...; for the sake of...'

I will post a summary if similar grammaticalisations turn up.

Many thanks in advance.


Assoc. Prof. Sukriye Ruhi
Dept. of Foreign Language Education
Faculty of Education
Middle East Technical University
Inonu Blvd.
06531 Ankara, Turkey
email: sukruhmetu.edu.tr

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

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