City University of Hong Kong Dep
Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
A Cognitive Analysis of
Synonymic and Antonymic
Compound Words in Chinese
Prof. Prof. SHU Dingfang
Director of Research, Shanghai International Studies University
Date: 19 January 2007, Friday
Time: 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Venue: B7603 (Lift 3, 7/F, Blue Zone),Academic Building,CityU
Synonymic and antonymic compound words, which take up a significant portion of Chinese compounds, are a unique linguistic phenomenon in world languages. Their emergence is a result of the general trend for disyllabification in Chinese. Their combination, therefore, follows some phonological and prosodic rules in the language. Semantically, they strictly abide by the Pollyana Principle. Once combined, they go through a process of conceptual blending and tend to fall into four categories: compounds with a general reference, compounds referring to the combination of the two components, compounds referring to just one of the component words and compounds that are exclusively used metaphorically. The author also tries to explain these different combinations in terms of some general human cognitive tendencies and some cognitive principles that are characteristic of Chinese.
Shu Dingfang, PhD, Professor, is Director of Research at Shanghai International Studies University and Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Foreign Languages. He is also the Chairman of the Chinese Association of Cognitive Linguistics and Secretary General of the Association of Chinese University Foreign Language Journals. Dr. Shu graduated from Shanghai International Studies University and received his PhD in Linguistics in 1996. From July, 1997 to July, 1998, he was a Fulbright Professional Associate at Michigan State University. Between February and August, 2000, he worked on a post-doctoral project on semantics at Cambridge University with the support of K.C. Wong Fellowship. In 1999, Dr. Shu was commended as an “Outstanding Young University Teacher” in Shanghai and in 2001 he was awarded a special grant and the honorary title “Shuguang Scholar” by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission. In 2002, he received a special research grant from the Chinese Ministry of Education as an “Outstanding Young University Teacher”. Dr. Shu has been offering graduate courses in semantics and FLT since 1996. He has published numerous journal articles and a number of books on linguistics and foreign language teaching in the past 20 years, including Modern Foreign Language Teaching—Theories, Practices and Methods, An Introduction to Contemporary Semantics, Studies in Metaphor, and FLT in China: Problems and Suggested Solutions.