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ERIC Number: ED527301
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 210
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-7533-0
Analysis of Chinese Four-Character Idioms Containing Numbers: Structural Patterns and Cultural Significance
Nall, Timothy M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Ball State University
This dissertation explores the robust confluence of syntactic and cultural factors involved in the structure and content of chengyu. It unpacks a number of structural tendencies in the data sample, and illuminates selected underlying cultural themes. The presence of syntactic and semantic parallelism within chengyu, as an expression of the correlative Chinese philosophy of the wu xing ("Five Phases" or "Five Elements" of the universe), in the dataset is a recurring point. Syntactic parallelism is demonstrated via chengyu with invertible elements and by the overwhelming preference for syntactic parallelism, in particular the #N#N structure. Semantic parallelism is demonstrated via content words with related semantic fields or separable content words. The Chinese philosophical concepts of yin and yang are shown to have a clear impact on the use of numbers within chengyu. Yin and yang are preferably arranged in balance with each other. If only one is present, however, then yang is considered to be preferable over yin. The interaction between the numbers within chengyu has several pragmatic effects. For example, the combination of the numbers qi ("seven") and ba ("eight") is used to suggest disorder, untidiness or physical or emotional disturbance (Pellatt 2007:96). Ban ("half") may be used in chengyu to denote the meaning of "a proportion." It also may be used together with yi ("one") to indicate "any at all" as well as a cluster of closely related concepts generally indicating "the existence of a small amount." Numbers also often have the effect of highlighting the contrast between two content words. Some chengyu have a clearcut syntactic analysis, others do not. This is due to their highly elliptical and idiomatic nature, the fact that many lexemes can fall into more than one word class, and the fact that chengyu are frozen expressions that often preserve some grammatical structures from Classical Chinese. Additionally, chengyu do include conceptual metaphors, from the standpoint of the conceptual theory of metaphor launched with Lakoff and Johnson (1980). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A