英语动物群体表量结构的认知语言学理据

发布时间:2022-04-24 20:01:35 论文编辑:vicky

本文是一篇英语论文,本研究仅关注与动物群体相关的英语量词结构,以动物、鹅和羊为例,以及量词结构“一群群”和“一个N一个N”现象背后的认知基础和形成动机。基于此,作者提出了以下三个问题:(1)哪一个名词可以出现在槽N1中,分别用来量化鹅和羊?(2) 对于一群人和一群人来说,在N2槽中会出现什么样的动物?(3) “一个N2多个N1”和“一个N2多个N1”现象背后的认知动机是什么?


1. Introduction


1.1 Background of the Study

According to the function of word in context, traditional English grammarians classifyall words into ten parts of speech, among which, there is no such place for classifier. However,linguists and researchers have never ignored this linguistic phenomenon since there do existlots of constructions quantifying objective things. Cognitive linguistics believes thatquantifying objective things is a basic cognitive ability shared by all human beings. Thiscognition is deeply reflected in different language systems, but the way of expression isdifferent. On this ground, languages in the world can be grouped as either classifier-markedtype or single-plural-marked type (Shi Yuzhi, 2001; Zhang Dongfang & Lu Weizhong, 2013).Chinese falls into the former type while English falls into the latter. Accordingly, in Chinesegrammar, classifier is treated as an independent word class, containing a large inventory ofspecific classifiers with rich modality, and the use of classifier is obligatory. By contrast, sucha grammatical counterpart in English is absent and basic ways to quantify things includeinflection of the noun (e.g., apples), use of articles (e.g., an apple) and applying the structure“a N1 of N2” (e.g., a piece of paper, a flight of birds).

Though existing classifier structures, they are much less in variety and number generallyspeaking. However, when it comes to quantify collective things, this tendency is reversed: inChinese, the reference range of qun can be extended to all animals, that is to say, speakers canuse the classifier qun in front of all animals to express the concept of collection while Englishexpressions related to such concept are characterized by large amount, flexible usage and richmodality. According to incomplete statistics (Zeng Jing, 2013), Chinese collective classifierqun has at least one hundred versions of translations. This interesting phenomenon has drawnattention of researchers in the field. Among these studies, contrastive or comparative analysisbetween English and Chinese, and discussion about translating qun in Chinese into English ortranslating English animal collective classifier constructions into Chinese account for a hugepart. Plus, in recent years, the method of corpus is more and more popular in the studies as it does provide huge amounts of real expressions, and statistical data obtained can reflect thefact of language and cognition pattern of human beings more directly.


1.2 Objective and Significance of the Study

Generally, people tend to take the structure a N1 of N2, or more accurately, classifierconstruction for granted and regard it as the fixed collocation, neglecting cognitivefoundations and formational motivations behind it, and as a result, they learn theseexpressions by rote and use them as a whole, which is not effective and efficient for Englishlearning. The author has selected ten students which include English majors, non-Englishmajors, undergraduates and graduates to conduct an oral survey, investigating their mastery ofthe collective classifier constructions related to animals and the ways of learning theseconstructions. Surveys have shown that most English learners are not familiar with animalclassifier constructions as both textbooks and the teachers’ explanations are too simple andnot clear, and the main method to master these constructions is to memorize by rote. Datafrom CLEC also show that English learners tend to replace target quantifying componentswith more familiar and easier ones, resulting in inaccurate use of classifier constructions.Zeng Jing (2013) concludes reason as English learners’ lack of the awareness of differenceamong collective classifier constructions due to negative transfer of mother tongue. Therefore,helping learners to strengthen their understanding of English collective constructions relatedto animals can undoubtedly contribute to their English expertise.

Opposing language arbitrariness viewpoint, cognitive linguistics maintains that behindany linguistic phenomenon, there hides a cognition pattern, reflecting human’s way ofunderstanding objective things. Based on western cognitive theories, Wang Yan (2014) putsforward embodied-cognitive linguistics which maintains that language is formed on the basisof people’s interactive embodiment and cognitive processing of the real world. It reflects thatlanguage comes from not only people’s living practice, but also their mind operation, layingstress on the objectivity and subjectivity of language at the same time.


2. Literature Review


2.1 A General Description of English Classifier Construction

As mentioned, there is no such a grammatical counterpart for English as classifier inChinese grammar, but existing many nouns used to express the concept of quantification. Dueto its status in English grammatical system, previous studies on English classifier constructionare quite limited in both size and depth, and early studies mainly focus on its naming andclassification.

2.1.1 Naming of English Classifier Construction

English classifier construction is considered as a subcategory of noun phrase, so differentterms are employed by different scholars for convenience in their own studies. Comparativeor contrastive analysis is always used for the study in the area, so many researchers such asXiu Lili (2013) and Fu Hua (2019) directly use the term “classifier” in Chinese grammar toname its counterpart in English.

Besides, “partitive” is used quite commonly since Quirk et al. (1972) firstly put forwardit in their book A Grammar of Contemporary English. In their opinion, uncountable noun isregarded as the connected and boundless entity. It can only be modified by gradabilityexpression such as partitives which include a yard of (cloth), a piece of (bacon) and a lump of(coal), so “partitive” is mainly for uncountable noun.

In addition, “quantifier” can also be translated as “liangci” in Chinese and the term isemployed by some scholars (Langacker, 2016; Mei Deming & Yang Chunlei, 2002).However, it is not the same as what we will discuss in this thesis as Quirk et al. (1972)mention two types of quantifier: closed-system quantifier (such as many, few and several) andopen-class quantifier (such as lot, deal and number). 


2.2 Traditional Approach to English Classifier Construction

As Brems (2003: 283) points out that the status of English classifier construction is “farfrom straightforward”, with related grammatical reference works “either hesitant or silentwith regard to the issue”, the study of English classifier construction is much more limitedand less systematic compared with the study of Chinese classifier though scholars abroad andat home have noticed it.

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014) touch upon what we call classifier construction here intheir introduction to functional grammar. Instead, they regard it as extended numerative,which is a significant variety of nominal group. According to Halliday, ideational function isdivided into experiential and logical functions. In terms of experiential function, nominalgroup is viewed as “multivariate structure” and each different component plays a differentrole and has different functions, among which, functional label Thing is “the elementexpressing the class” (2014: 364) and “semantic core of nominal group” (2014: 383). In termsof logical function, nominal group is viewed as “univariate structure” and the center of themodification is the Head of the univariate structure. Halliday assumes Head and Thing alwayscoincide generally, but for classifier constructions, this is not the case. Moreover, he explainsthe set relationship of Head to Thing in three types of classifier constructions, which can berepresented as follows (2014: 395):

英语论文怎么写

3. Theoretical Foundation: the Construal Theory......................................21

3.1 Specificity................................ 24

3.2 Focusing.................................25

3.3 Profiling................................ 26

4. Research Design.............................31

4.1 Raise of the Questions.................................... 31

4.2 Research Questions....................................33

4.3 Data Collection................................ 33

5. Results and Discussion..................... 35

5.1 Cognitive Analysis on Geese...................................35

5.2 Cognitive Analysis on Sheep.................... 42

5.3 Cognitive Motivations Behind the Phenomenon of “Many N1s for One N2”..................48


5. Results and Discussion


5.1 Cognitive Analysis on Geese

英语论文参考

In search box, the search string “a [n*] of geese” is input, then click the button of “findmatching strings” and the result is shown. According to data analyzed in COCA, the estimateof the total number of occurrences of the classifier constructions a N* of geese is as 114tokens, with the number of unique forms as 23.

Of course, there are some empty samples that are needed to be deleted: (1) a pair of / atrio of / a couple of geese will be deleted from the statistical framework since the authorfocuses on larger and indefinite quantity more than two or three; (2) a dish of geese fromfiction is to refer to the meat of goose, instead of the living animal; (3) a fight of geese incontext (1) “you could convince these people that the future of democracy can be found in thedivination of a fight of geese, or in the abandoned skin of a snake” from magazine can also bedeleted as it does not express the concept of quantification.


6. Conclusion


6.1 Major Findings

For the first question, the author finds that generally, people tend to quantify both geeseand sheep by using N1 with low degree of specificity as the occurrence of flock is the highestin classifier constructions for both geese and sheep, which is due to the separation betweenhuman world and animal world. In addition, since the animals are living creatures movingfrom time to time, place to place, the distance between animals and human beings may beshrunk. And then people can observe these animals in detail, and choose different perspectivesand focus on different aspects to describe the animal groups. Normally speaking, they areaccustomed to profiling following characteristics of animals: shape or configuration, manneror movement, container or area, and sense.

For the second question, the author concludes that a herd of is used to quantify animalsthat are herbivores with larger body size while a pack of is used to quantify animals that areomnivorous animals with relatively small body size. Besides, the author finds that both herdand pack are highly schematic as the two quantifying components together can be applied to near all mammals. The difference lies in the sense as animals quantified by a herd of arefriendly in people’s cognitive experience, while animals quantified by a pack of shownegative images. Further, maybe it is because the prototypes of the former category are cattleand elephants which are close to human beings and are useful in original agricultural lifewhile typical examples in the latter category are wolves and hounds which are ferociouscreature and thus denoting a sense of danger and unfriendliness.

As for the cognitive motivations behind the phenomenon of “many N1s for one N2”, theauthor concludes following three points: (1) the animal group itself has multiple dimensionswith various representations, which is inherent characteristic of objective things, and this isthe reality foundation for the phenomenon of “many N1s for one N2”; (2) human beings willform different image schemas in their minds about the same situation or object in the processof construing the world in alternative ways such as activating different cognitive domains,profiling different facets or choosing different perspectives. Therefore, when usingquantifying components to measure animal collection, human beings take the opportunity todescribe other features of it; (3) people also tend to project their subjective impressions ofthese things onto the quantifying components, so as to profile their subjective impressions,which is convenient for expressing themselves.

reference(omitted)

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