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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Event Conceptualization and Grammatical Realization: The case of motion in Mandarin Chinese Add Dissertation
Author: Chengzhi Chu Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, East Asian Languages and Literatures
Completed in: 2004
Linguistic Subfield(s): Syntax;
Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin
Director(s): Robert Cheng
Yingche Li
Roderick Jacobs
Tao-chung Yao

Abstract: Observed within a fully-specified framework developed on the basis of Talmy's (1985/2000) 'Figure-Ground-Move-Path' formulation of motion, the conceptualization and grammatical realization of motion in Mandarin Chinese demonstrate a number of typologically significant properties.

When assigning the conceptual elements Figure and Ground of motion, Chinese exhibits a 'movability effect': The Figure role is regularly assigned to the entity standing higher in the experience-based 'movability hierarchy', while the Ground is assigned to the entity with the lower movability rating. The linguistic result of the conceptual contrasts between Figure and Ground is a saliency mapping relationship between these two conceptual elements, along with hierarchically organized syntactic roles in Chinese.

For packaging Path and Manner of motion with Move, both the satellite-framed pattern and the verb-framed pattern are available in Chinese. But the two patterns exhibit differences with regard to their construal, their communicative functions, and their applicability for expressing different types of motion events.

Path is the defining property for motion conceptualization and representation. The conceptual structure for Path consists of five components: Vector, Conformation, Dimension, Direction, and Perspective. In Chinese, Path properties can be expressed as verb complements, prepositional phrases, and main verbs of clauses; Deictic Perspective is normally utilized in Path conceptualization and representation; Horizontal Path and certain Path Conformation are not expressed with complement verbs; 'Non-Deictic + non-Deictic' Path complement accumulation is not licensed in this language.

Satellite-framed lexicalization, which licenses [Manner + Move] conflation for a verb, has to observe the cross-linguistic constraint of inseparability between the relevant Manner and Move as well as certain language-specific limitations. The conflation constraints are stronger for Chinese than English.

Our findings concerning motion conceptualization and representation in Chinese clearly point to the basic tenets of cognitive linguistics, which views language as an experientially-based product of the human mind, and a reflection of how speakers of a language structure their perceptions of reality. The observations and findings also afford significant insights into motion expressions for Chinese L2 teachers and learners, thereby facilitating both teaching and learning.