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Polysemy and Enantiosemy: Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui

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DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2019.91004    144 Downloads   245 Views  

ABSTRACT

From a cognitive viewpoint, we compare Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui by looking into their sense developments in the Dui/Tui + NOUN Construction. Dui and Tui are usually regarded as lexical equivalents across Mandarin and Taiwanese, two of the major languages spoken in Taiwan. Assuming with Lakoff (1987) that polysemy is a semantic network with radial categories, we adopt a metaphorical approach in our investigation. Through metaphorical extensions, Dui and Tui develop distinct routes to developing differing but related senses, forming differential semantic networks. Both Dui and Tui profile spatial-, eventive-, and communicative-domain senses. However, Taiwanese Tui, but not Mandarin Dui, encodes a temporal sense. Apart from polysemous expansion, we also address the enantiosemy arising in the “to” and “from” senses attached to Taiwanese Tui. The findings of our study offer insight into the nature of polysemy as well as the lexical differentiation across Mandarin and Taiwanese.

1. Introduction

From a cognitive viewpoint, we compare Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui by looking into their sense developments in the Dui/Tui + NOUN Construction. By adopting the metaphorical approach, we intend to detect their routes to metaphorical sense extension. Additionally, we investigate whether enantiosemic opposition is attested in the polysemous behaviors of the two lexemes.

Dui and Tui are usually regarded as lexical equivalents across Mandarin and Taiwanese, two major languages spoken in Taiwan. Under closer scrutiny, however, Dui and Tui share but also differ in sense denotation. Witness (1), (2), and (3) as follows.

(1) a. dui ren chengken (Mandarin)

to people sincere

‘being sincere to people’

b. tui lang singkhun (Taiwanese)

to people sincere

‘being sincere to people’

(2) a. dui tian fashi (Mandarin)

to sky vow

‘vowing to the sky’

b. tui thinn tsiutsua (Taiwanese)

to sky vow

‘vowing to the sky’

(3) a. *Wo dui chezhan lai. (Mandarin)

I to station come.

b. Wo cong chezhan lai. (Mandarin)

I from station come.

‘I came from the station.’

c. Gua tui tshiathau lai. (Taiwanese)

I from station come.

‘I came from the station.’

As in (1), Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui both indicate that the agents have a certain attitude toward the references of the nouns in their posterior positions. In (2), Dui and Tui alike communicate the readings that the agents perform an action toward the entities of their succeeding nouns. However, as revealed in (3), Taiwanese Tui, but not Mandarin Dui, conveys the reading that the agent travels from a spatial location to another. As illustrated in (3b), Mandarin Cong is employed in order to impart the “from” sense. What can be learned from the examples (1) to (3) is that Taiwanese Tui, but not Mandarin Tui, delivers meanings “to” and “from”, which are opposite and contradictory. In view of this fact, we propose to investigate these two lexical items regarding their sense generations. Our investigation can help offer deeper understanding of the two languages Mandarin and Taiwanese used by Taiwanese people. Specifically, our findings shed light on the importance of cognitive construct in the typological studies of language.

Taiwan basically consists of four major ethnolinguistic groups: Southern Min, Mainlanders, Hakka, and Austronesian aborigines ( Chen, 2010 ). Klöter (2006) offers a sketch of Taiwan’s language landscape. Mandarin, as the official language and the medium of education and media, is commonly used across ethnic boundaries. Many Taiwanese people are fluent in Mandarin and can even speak local languages. Mandarin proficiency is especially widespread among Taiwanese people who received education after the late 1940s, when Mandarin was established as the sole medium of school instruction. Taiwan’s Southern Min dialects, used by approximately seventy percent of the population, are known under the terms like Taiwanese, Hoklo (or Holo), Taiwanese Min, Taiwanese Hokkien, Taiyu, Tai-gu, and Tai-gi. We adopt the term Taiwanese in this research. Other languages used in Taiwan include Hakka and Austronesian languages spoken by the indigenous peoples in the center and on the eastern coast of Taiwan.

In this research, we adopt the central prototype theory, which proposes that the senses of a lexical unit are structured as radial categories ( Lakoff , 1987). The prototypical meaning in the context of our research is described in terms of the path schema theory (Johnson, 1987). In addition, the expansion of senses is attributed to the focus shift on different

Methodologically, for Dui and Tui respectively, we identify the central prototypical senses and subsequently determine their peripheral extensions. Once the prototypical and peripheral senses are recognized, a comparative analysis is conducted across the polysemous structures of Dui and Tui. This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 introduces the theories relevant to our study. Section 3 and 4 discuss the multiplex meanings of Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui respectively. Section 5 is the conclusion of this article.

2. Theoretical Framework

In the theoretical foundation, we assume with Lakoff (1987) that polysemous senses are expanded into a radical network on the basis of a prototypical origin meaning. The path schema theory along with the focus-shifting mechanism and a series of metaphorical mappings are cited to account for the meaning extensions of the two lexical units.

2.1. Polysemy as Radial Categories

Lakoff (1987) applies the idea of prototypicality in the explanation of polysemy (Rosch, 1973, 1978). According to Lakoff, the multiplex meanings of a polysemous lexeme all are derived from a central prototype. Prototypicality not only exists between the major sense groups but also extends to the relationship between the minor senses in each major sense category. That is to say, the entire semantic network constitutes a radial category structure.

2.2. The Path Schema and Focus-Shifting

The path schema is a conceptual structure based on our experience of either moving in the world or sensing the movements of other entities (Johnson, 1987). It is composed of a starting point, an end point, a projected path, a trajector, and a landmark. Moreover, by focusing attention on differing elements of the basic path representation, distinct but related meanings of a lexeme are engendered (Brugman & Lakoff, 1988).

2.3. Metaphorical Extension

In cognitive linguists, metaphors are means in search of understanding whereby abstract areas of experiences can be profiled in terms of concrete concepts (Reddy, 1993; Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Lakoff & Turner, 1989; Lakoff, 1993). According to the invariance principle, the inference pattern of the source domain is preserved in the target domain (Lakoff, 1990; Brugman, 1990; Turner, 1990). The mechanism of metaphorical mapping plays a critical role in our analysis for Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui.

First, we resort to the metaphor A FORCE IS A MOVING OBJECT, in which a force is conceptualized as a moving object (Johnson, 1987). Specifically, the force has a source, a goal, and a direction as does a moving object.

Additionally, the metaphor EMOTIONS ARE OBJECTS (Tyler, Mueller, & Ho, 2011) is helpful for our research to investigate the issue at hand. In this metaphorical conceptualization, emotions and the recipients thereof are analogically compared to the moving objects and the end points of the trajectories.

Also, Langacker (1993) refers to our capacity to invoke the concept of one entity as a cognitive reference point for purposes of establishing mental contact with another. As Kreitzer (1997) expounds, linguistic notions can be defined notionally through spatial relations. A spatial utterance expresses or profiles a trajector, i.e., the entity whose (trans-)/location is of relevance (Zlatev, 1997). The trajector may be static or dynamic, a person or an object, or a whole event. In contrast, the landmark is the reference entity in relation to which the location or the trajectory is specified, which is labelled as ground (Levinson, 2003) or relatum (Miller & Johnson-Laird, 1976). In addressing the metaphorical uses of spatial expressions, Lindstromberg (2010) introduces the notion “topic landmark”, demonstrating that English prepositions on, about, and concerning can be devoid of spatial imagery and used to mark a subject topic in discourse. In conjunction with the metaphor COMMUNICATION IS OBJECT TRANSTER (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), the notion of topic landmark serves to account for the use of a lexical item as a topic introducer in our study.

Lastly, according to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), time is cognitively conceptualized as a stationary landscape for language speakers to move through. Precisely, time is understood as the concrete spatial setting which human beings traverse. This metaphorical mapping, again, is useful as a means to comprehending abstract temporal entities.

3. The Polysemy of Mandarin Dui and Its Prototype

In this section, we list all the multiple meanings of Mandarin Dui and subsequently identify the central origin meaning and the periphery among them. Through the mechanism of metaphorical mapping, these senses are further categorized into groups by family resemblance1.

Here, we offer all the senses attached to Dui by consulting Cheng (1997).

Sense 1: showing the goal toward which an object is directed from the source

Sense 2: indicating the patient on which an action is taken or an impact is posed

Sense 3: showing the receiver of experience, perception, or mental conclusion

Sense 4: indicating a subject topic in discourse

3.1. Sense 1 of Dui as Prototypical Origin

Viewing that concepts, relating to space and objects, are more clearly delineated and are prototypical in human organization of thoughts (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), we identify Sense 1 of Dui as the central prototype. Refer to the example sentences as follows.

(4) a. Ta dui wo diu le yi ke qiu.

He to I throw ASP one CL ball2.

‘He threw a ball to me.’

b. Xiaoming dui ha kai le yi qiang.

Xiaoming to he fire ASP one gun.

‘Xiaoming fired a shot to him.’

In sentences (4a) and (4b), the ball and the bullet referring to entities moving in air are conceptually construed as the trajectors travelling along the trajectories in the path schema. The source and the goal of the events denoted in the sentences are cognitively understood as the start point and the end point. With the focus on the end point, Dui points to the references of the nouns occurring in its posterior positions as the goals toward which objects are moving in air.

3.2. Sense 2 of Dui: Indicating the Patient Being Acted and Impacted on

In our proposal, Sense 2 of Dui is expanded from Sense 1 through the metaphorical analogy A FORCE IS A MOVING OBJECT (Johnson, 1987). The rationale is that, given that a force is cognitively compared as a trajector, an exercising force is conceptualized as the moving object as depicted in Sense 1. The example sentences demonstrating Sense 2 of Dui are shown as below.

(5) a. Laoban dui wo yaoqiu hen duo.

Boss to I demand very much.

‘My boss is very demanding to me.’

b. Laoshi dui tamen hen guanxin.

teacher about they very concern.

‘The teacher is very concerned about them.’

In sentences (5a) and (5b), the acts yaoqiu “demand” and guanxin “concern” bring forces by the agents to the patients, metaphorically as a moving object travels from the starting point to the end point along the trajectory in the path schema. With the attention centered on the end point, Dui indicates the patients being acted and impacted on in the context of the two sentences.

Sense 3 of Dui: Marking the Receiver of Experience, Perception, or Mental Conclusion

On the basis of the metaphor EMOITONS ARE OBJECTS, Sense 3 of Dui is engendered. In the context of this metaphorical interpretation, mental states are conceptualized as the moving objects, and the receivers thereof are profiled as the end points in the path schema. Given the focal attention on the end point, Dui points to the recipient of emotion, including an experiential feeling, a perception, and a mentality. Consider the examples in (6).

(6) a. Dushu dui wo hen zhongyao.

Study to I very important.

‘Studying, to me, is very important.’

b. Zhe dui ta shi hen zhengui de jingyan.

This to he be very valuable POSS experience3.

‘This is a very valuable experience to him.’

c. Yundong dui tamen shi liangfei shijian.

Exercise to they be waste time.

‘Doing exercise, to them, is a waste of time.’

As in (6), Dui indicates the recipients of metal conclusion, experience, and perception, as lexically realized by the nouns in its posterior positions. The noun references wo “I”, ta “he”, and tamen “they” in (6a), (6b), and (6c) have the emotional states “regarding something as important”, “considering something as a valuable experience”, and “taking something as a waste of time” like receiving approaching objects.

3.3. Sense 4 of Dui: Indicating a Subject Topic in Discourse

Through the metaphor LANDMARK AS TOPIC (Lindstromberg, 2010), the landmark of the path trajectory is construed with focal attention as the topic to facilitate communication. In the metaphor COMMUNICATION IS OBJECT TRANSTER (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), communicative exchange is conceptualized as the trajector, and the topic, akin to the landmark, serves as the cognitive base reference for the verbal interaction (Langacker, 1993). With the attention paid to the landmark, Dui functions as the indicator for the topic being introduced in the discourse. Witness the examples illustrating Sense 4 of Dui.

(7) a. Dui zhe ge zhengce, women dou xiwang jinkuai

Concerning this CL policy, we all hope soon

zhixing, yinwei ta keyi tisheng shenghuo pingzhi.

execute, because it can uplift life quality.

‘Concerning this policy, we all hope that it could be executed soon because it can help uplift the quality of life.’

b. Ta bu dong sheji, dand ui diannao ta shi zhuanjia.

He not know design, but about computer he be expert.

‘He does not know about design, but he is an expert about computers.’

In sentences (7a) and (7b), Dui designates the noun references zhengce “policy” and diannao “computer” placed in its succeeding positions as the topical subjects of discussion.

3.4. The Polysemous Network of Mandarin Dui

We have illuminated the sense development of Mandarin Dui. Let us summarize the organization of the polysemous network at this point of time. Refer to Figure 1 as follows.

As shown in Figure 1, Sense 1 of Dui is the prototypical origin of its polysemous structure. In this sense, Dui denotes the goal to which a moving object is coming close. As an act or an impact and even a mental state are analogically mapped to the trajector moving in space, Dui engenders Sense 2 and Sense 3 in marking the patient and the receiver respectively. We suggest that Sense 1, as the major sense of Dui, and Sense 2 as well as Sense 3 form a semantic sense group. Likewise, as verbal communication is metaphorically comprehended on a par with the trajector, the focal attention is shifted to the landmark of the trajectory. In this context of metaphorical mapping, Sense 4 is extended from Sense 1 of Dui, constituting another major sense group in the network.

Figure 1. The polysemous network of Mandarin Dui.

4. The Polysemy of Taiwanese Tui and Its Prototype

In this section, we show all the senses attached to Taiwanese Tui by consulting Campbell (1958) and Cheng (1997).

Sense 1: showing the goal toward which an object is directed from the source

Sense 2: marking the goal toward which an object is moving in space from the source

Sense 3: indicating the source from which an object is moving toward the goal

Sense 4: indicating the patient on which an action is taken or an impact is posed

Sense 5: showing the receiver of experience, perception, or mental conclusion

Sense 6: indicating a subject topic in discourse

Sense 7: specifying the point in time from which an action starts

After listing all the senses of Taiwanese Tui, we identify the central and the peripheral senses and demonstrate how they are grouped based on family resemblance.

According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), physical and concrete readings constitute the central prototype of polysemy. For Sense 1 and Sense 7 of Tui, the two senses pertaining to the spatial domain, the schematic model for Sense 1 is the basic, which serves as the groundwork to derive Sense 7.

4.1. Sense 1 of Tui as Prototypical Origin

We identify Sense 1 of Taiwanese Tui as the central prototype of the polysemy network. The usage of Tui in this sense is exemplified as follows.

(8) a. I tui goa phuah tsit thang tsui.

He on me pour one bucket water.

‘He poured a bucket of water on me.’

b. Hitkua lang tui hit tsiah kau khian tsioohthau.

Those people at that CL dog shoot stone.

‘Those people shot stones at that dog.’

In sentences (8a) and (8b), the water and the stones thrown off are metaphorically portrayed as objects moving along the path courses (Johnson, 1987). The sources and the goals encoded in the two sentences are conceptualized as the start point and the end point in the path schema. Given the end point as the focus of attention, Tui signifies the goal to which an object is coming close.

4.1.1. Sense 2 of Tui: Marking the Goal toward Which an Object Is Moving in Space from the Source

Sense 2 of Taiwanese Tui is identified as extended by focusing on the end point of the path schema (Johnson, 1987). In this sense, Tui indicates a spatial point to which an object is moving. Note the sentences in (9).

(9) a. I tui Bikok khi ah!

He to America go PRT!

‘He headed to America!’

b. Niaua tui ia thiau kue.

Cat to chair jump over.

‘The cat jumped over the chair.’

As the sentences in (9) show, Tui in this sense describes the end point of the motion from the position of the speaker toward another location in space. The movements depicted in (9) are different from those construed in (8), where the trajectors are moving without contacting the spatial grounds.

4.1.2. Sense 3 of Tui: Indicating the Source from Which an Object Is Moving toward the Goal

Sense 3 of Taiwanese Tui is identified as developed out of Sense 1. Given that the path schema can further be transformed with variations, we suggest that senses are derived as an instantiation of the trajector moving in contact with the landmark. Consider the examples in (10).

(10) a. I tui Jitpun lai e.

He from Japan come PRT4.

‘He came from Japan.’

b. Abing tui hitpeng chau kelai.

Abing from there run come.

‘Abing ran here from there.’

In sentences (10), the agents travel between two locations in space. The space of the movement is analogically compared to the landmark of the path schema. As the start point is in the focus of attention, Tui specifies the locations from which the agents move to the positions of the speakers. Notice that the trajector moves from a location to the position of the speaker in this case. That is, Sense 3 of Tui contrasts with Sense 2, where the trajector travels from the position of the speaker to another point of space. The attachment of contradictory meanings to Tui is attributed to shifting the focal attention to the start point and the end point of the trajectory respectively.

4.2. Sense 4 of Tui: Indicating the Patient Being Acted and Impacted on

The metaphor A FORCE IS A MOVING OBJECT (Johnson, 1987) provides the groundwork to pinpoint Sense 3 of Tui as developed from Sense 1. In this sense, Tui indicates a patient being acted and impacted on. Note the sentences in (11) as below.

(11) a. I tui goa chin giamkeh.

He on I very strict.

‘He is very strict on me.’

b. Kingli tui tsujim tsiok koansim.

Manager about director very concerned.

‘My manager is very concerned about my director.’

In sentences (11), giamkeh “being strict” and koansim “being concerned” produce impacts on the noun references in the post-Tui positions. As the focus of attention is on the end point, Tui specifies the patients on which acts are performed and impacts are made.

Sense 5 of Tui: Showing the Receiver of Experience, Perception, or Mental Conclusion

Through the metaphorical mapping EMOTIONS ARE OBJECTS, experience, perceptual feeling, and mentality are cognitively compared to moving objects. Meanwhile, the end point of the path route is comprehended as the receiver of mental states. With the attention falling on the end point, Tui marks its following nouns as emotion receivers. Refer to the examples in (12).

(12) a. Thakchu tui goa chin tiongiau.

Studying to I very important.

‘Studying, to me, is very important.’

b. Tui iuing ahiann huisiong u hingtshu.

In swimming brother incredibly have interest.

‘My elder brother is incredibly interested in swimming.’

c. Lausu tui li tsiok sitbong e.

Teacher at you very disappointed PRT.

‘Our teacher is very disappointed at you.’

As in (12), the noun references placed in the post-Tui positions assume the role as recipients of mental states. In (12a), the noun goa “I” receives the perception of studying as important and critical. In (12b), the noun ahian “(my elder) brother” has his interest in swimming. Still, as in (12c), li “you” receives the emotion of disappointment from the teacher. In a word, these examples show the status of Tui as a marker for the semantic roles of the succeeding nouns.

4.3. Sense 6 of Tui: Indicating a Subject Topic in Discourse

The metaphor LANDMARK AS TOPIC is relevant in our explanation of Sense 6 of Taiwanese Tui. Given this conceptual mapping, the landmark of the trajectory path is comprehended as a topic of discourse when it receives attention as the focal element. In the metaphor COMMUNICATION IS OBJECT TRANSTER (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), the verbal exchange is profiled as the trajector, and the topic as “landmark” functions as the cognitive base reference for the discourse to proceed (Langacker, 1993). Given that the focal attention is transferred to the landmark, Taiwanese Tui serves as the indicator for introducing a subject topic. Consider the examples in (13).

(13) a. Tui tsit e bunte takke tshingkiu

Concerning this CL problem everyone ask

tsìnghu tseting sine tsingtshik.

government make new policy.

‘Concerning this problem, everyone asks the government to make new policies.’

b. Tui kingtse huattian, tshutkhau bi tsinkhau

Concerning economy development, export than export

koh khah tiongiau.

even more important.

‘Concerning economic development, export is even more important than import.’

As in (13a) and (13b), tsit e bunte ‘this problem’ and kingtse huattian ‘economic development’ are introduced as the subjects of discussion. In the two sentences, comments are made on these two nouns placed subsequent to Tui. Put more simply, Tui functions as the signifier for introducing the two noun references into discourse.

4.4. Sense 7 of Tui: Showing the Point in Time from Which an Event, Activity, or Action Starts

In this section, we elucidate the development of Sense 6 of Tui. Through the metaphor TIME IS A LANDSPACE, the spatial ground is conceptually profiled as temporal realm. Given this metaphor, we assume that time is conceived of as the spatial landmark. In conjunction with the metaphor EVENTS OR ACTIONS ARE OBJECTS (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), we suggest that events and actions are conceptually akin to trajectors moving in contact with the “temporal landmark”, which serves as the basis for reference (Langacker, 1993). With the start point as the focus of attention, Tui indicates the temporal points from which the event, activity, and action start as it points to the locations from which objects travel in space. Refer to the examples in (14).

(14) a. I tui sehan khaisi chiahhun.

He since childhood start smoke.

‘He has been smoking since childhood.’

b. Hoegi tui ngo tiam khaisi.

Meeting from five o’clock start.

‘The meeting started from five o’clock.’

Tui, as the sentences (14) suggest, points to the temporal locations sehan “childhood” and ngo tiam “five o’clock” from which the acts start. In this sense, Tui has no ties to the spatial domain but to the temporal realm.

4.5. The Polysemous Network of Taiwanese Tui

In summary, we sketch the polysemous network of Taiwanese Tui in Figure 2.

As demonstrated in Figure 2, Sense 1 of Tui is the prototypical center of the

Figure 2. The polysemous network of Taiwanese Tui.

polysemous development. In this sense, Tui denotes the spatial movement of the trajector as reflection of the path schema. With the trajectory moving in contact with the landmark and the focus shifted to different points of the trajectory, Sense 2 and Sense 3 are extended from Sense 1 correspondingly. We believe that Sense 1, Sense 2, and Sense 3 belong to the same sense group.

Furthermore, given that the trajector moving in space is metaphorically mapped to an act or an impact and even a mental state, Tui provokes Sense 4 and Sense 5 in marking the patient and the receiver respectively. We evince that Sense 1, being the major sense of Tui, and Sense 4 as well as Sense 5 constitute a semantic group.

In a similar vein, as verbal exchange is metaphorically akin to the trajector moving in space, the focal attention is transferred to the landmark of the trajectory path. In this case of metaphorical mapping, Sense 6 is extended from Sense 1 of Tui, constituting another sense group in the semantic network.

Lastly, since time is cognitively recognized as a trajector travelling in space, we propose that Sense 7 of Tui, indicating a point in temporal realm from which an action starts, is spread out from Sense 1 as well. We believe that Sense 1 and Sense 7 represent a sense group in the polysemous structure.

A summary of the sense developments of Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui across domains is sketched in Table 1.

5. Conclusion

5.1. Polysemy and Enantiosemy

Dui and Tui, based on the path schema, have the same prototypical sense―showing a goal toward which an object is directed from a source. Through metaphorical extensions, Dui and Tui develop distinct routes to developing differing but related senses, forming differential semantic networks.

However, Tui derives senses, which Dui does not possess. First, when the focus is on the object moving in contact with the landmark in the path schema, Tui is associated with a point in space toward which an object is moving.

Second, as the focus shifts to the end point of the trajector along the path course, Tui produces the sense indicating the point in space from which an object is moving.

Moreover, through space-time metaphorical mapping, Tui extends the sense in marking the point in time from which an action starts. In this sense, the denotation of Taiwanese Tui transfers from the spatial domain to the temporal domain.

What is worth noting is the developments of Sense 2 and Sense 3 of Taiwanese Tui. The two senses contrast each other in the denotation of spatial movement. Witness Figure 3.

Tui in Sense 2 designates the point in space toward which the trajector is moving away from the near location. On the contrary, in Sense 3, Tui signifies the point in space from which the trajector is approaching toward the near position.

The occurrences of opposite meanings within one lexical unit in language have been documented in literature. Shmelev (2016) notes that enantiosemy arises out of semantic shifts when the meaning of a linguistic unit takes two different paths with the resulting formation of two opposite meanings. In Russian,

Table 1. A summary of the sense extensions of Dui and Tui.

Figure 3. The enantiosemy of Taiwanese Tui.

proslus at’ can mean either “to hear (a lecture)” or “to fail to hear (a lecture)”. Also, Sakhno & Tersis (2009) elucidate that Yulu (the Sara-Bongo-Bagirmi variety) shows a clear case of synchronic enantiosemy between the notions of “friend” and “enemy” via “other”: lot conveys the readings “another, neighbor, mate, companion, colleague, of the same age, partner, and each other (reciprocal)” and “opponent”. In addition, Eskimo-Aleut also exhibits enantiosemy in synchrony, as attested in Alutiiq Alaskan Yupik: iŋlu expresses the meanings “other (of pair) and mate” and “adversary”. In our investigation of Taiwanese Tui, we account for its opposite readings by resorting to the focus-shifting mechanism. The “to” sense arises when the attention is centered on the start point of the path schema. By contrast, the “from” sense emerges as the end point of the path schema falls into the center of attention.

5.2. The Implications of This Research

First, semantic changes of lexemes are driven by mental processes such as focus shifting and metaphorical transformation. As this comparison between Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui reveals, thanks to the change of focus, the basic schema can derive different but related conceptual representations. These conceptual representations, thus, give birth to major senses, which further extend minor senses by metaphor.

Second, different speech communities have different cognitive operations causing distinct ways of developing lexical polysemy. According to functionalists, language has ties to other cognitive domains, including how we experience the world. Since different peoples have varying styles in interacting with the environment, they have their own mental processes to derive meaning as illustrated by our research.

In future pursuit, we wish to discuss Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui regarding the interplay of sense extensions and syntactic environments. By so doing, we can start a more attractive line of analysis from the syntactic-semantic interface.

NOTES

1The family resemblance is the degree of membership of a semantic category, measured by sharing of features (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980).

2ASP is the abbreviation of Aspect Marker, and CL stands for Classifier.

3POSS refers to possession marker.

4PRT is the abbreviation of Particle. More specifically, it refers to sentence final particle used in Taiwanese.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

Cite this paper

Li, L. (2019) Polysemy and Enantiosemy: Mandarin Dui and Taiwanese Tui. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 9, 32-46. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2019.91004.

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