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Title:The Diminutive Word tsa42 in the Xianning Dialect: A Cognitive Approach
Author(s):Lu, Xiaolong
diminutive marking
Xianning dialect
Radial Category model
Abstract:This study reports on the syntactic distribution and semantic features of a spoken word tsa42 as a form of diminutive address in the Xianning dialect. Two research questions are examined: what are the distributional patterns of the dialectal word tsa42 regarding its different functions in the Xianning dialect? And when this word serves as a suffix of nouns, why can it be widely used as a diminutive marker in the dialect? Based on interview data, I argue that (1) there are restrictions in using the diminutive word tsa42 together with adjectives and nouns, and certain countable nouns denoting huge and fierce animals, or large transportation tools, etc., cannot co-occur with the diminutive word tsa42; and (2) the markedness theory (Shi 2005) is used to explain that the diminutive suffix tsa42 can be used to highlight nouns denoting things of small sizes. The revised model of Radial Category (Jurafsky 1996) helps account for different categorizations metaphorically and metonymically extended from the prototype “child” in terms of tsa42, etc. This case study implies that a typological model for diminution needs to be built to connect the analysis of other diminutive words in Chinese dialects and beyond.
Issue Date:2020
Publisher:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers
Citation Info:Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 43: 63-91.
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-12-01

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