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ven. 30/11/2018 Séminaire DTT - Atelier Typologie sémantique
14h - 15h30
ISH - salle André Frossard

The encoding of dynamic deixis in descriptive and dialogical motion expressions in Standard Chinese and Beijing Mandarin: A preliminary analysis


The deictic motion morphemes, verbs lái/qù and particles lai/qu, play an important role in the linguistic encoding of dynamic deixis. Previous studies (Chao 1968, Lù 1985, 1989/1993, Lamarre 2008, Zhang 2010, Zhu 1982/1999) have examined the usage and distribution of these deictic morphemes in different constructions. Research conducted by these scholars consisted of different types of corpora, including both spoken data (e.g., crosstalk, interviews, TV series) and written data (e.g., plays, short stories). However, there are relatively few studies that compare data belonging to distinct discourse modalities (e.g., description vs. dialogue). By comparing stimuli-based and TV series-based data in Standard Chinese and in Beijing Mandarin, this paper aims to examine (1) the proportion (presence vs. absence) of the encoding of dynamic deixis; and (2) the usage and distribution of deictic morphemes in their different functions, mainly deictic verbs and deictic particles (including satellites/directional complements and purposive particles) in the two data sets. By doing so, the aim is to investigate different morphosyntactic strategies used in the descriptive and dialogical data and to provide an initial hypothesis of the factors conditioning both the usage and the distributions of dynamic deixis in relation with the two discourse modalities.

To conduct the analysis, the study is based on the corpus composed of (1) motion events descriptions elicited with two visual stimuli, namely, “Trajectoire” (2004) (714 clauses) and “Put & Take” (2006) (800 clauses), and (2) motion events sentences extracted from two TV series, respectively, Married for ten years (2002) (1025 clauses), and Loquacious Zhang Damin’s Happy Life (1998) (967 clauses). The first set of data concerns Standard Chinese and the second set of data comprises both Standard Chinese and Beijing Mandarin.

First, the analysis reveals that the linguistic encoding of dynamic deixis in the expressions of motion events is more frequent in TV series-based data (97.2% in Married for ten years and 87.8% in Loquacious Zhang Damin's Happy Life) than in stimuli-based data (31.6% in "Trajectoire" and 20.8% in "Put & Take"). Second, the analysis uncovers different morphosyntactic strategies used to encode dynamic deixis in descriptive vs. dialogical data. Descriptive data shows a very strong preference for the Satellite-framed patterns in which dynamic deixis is expressed in a particle (100% in "Trajectoire" and 98.8% in "Put & Take"). However, the distribution of the Satellite-framed pattern and the Verb-framed pattern in which dynamic deixis is expressed in the verb is quite comparable in dialogical data (deictic verbs account for 40%, deictic satellites 41.5%, purposive particles 18.5% in Married for ten years, and 28% vs. 54% vs. 18% in Loquacious Zhang Damin’s Happy Life respectively). Last but not the least, based on these preliminary findings, I would like to put forward a hypothesis according to which there is a strong correlation between the use and distribution of the deictic motion morphemes and the different types of data: the dialogical data is more context-based and involves more interactions, changes of locations and perspectives among the interlocutors; while the descriptive data is more homogeneous in that speakers describing motion events performed by the protagonists in the video-clips adopt the third person's perspective.



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