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A Comparison of Event Framing in Old Chinese and Old Japanese

Author(s): Wenchao LI

Journal: Acta Linguistica Asiatica
ISSN 2232-3317

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 57;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Old Chinese | Old Japanese | event framing | path | manner

This paper brings data on Old Chinese and Old Japanese together in order to conduct an investigation into event-framing strategies. Old Chinese consists of a monosyllabic root with five constituents that express the path: (a) particle, (b) incorporated noun, (c) preverb, (d) verb root, and (e) complement. Verb framing, satellite framing, and equipollent framing are all found in the data. Crucially, before the birth of disyllabic word roots and verb compounding in the Late Han Dynasty, verb framing seems to have been the main pattern. Throughout the transformation of the Chinese language, the use of incorporated nouns and preverbs denoting the path has declined, with the remaining particles serving motion events. This contributes to the contention that contemporary Chinese is a satellite-framed language. Meanwhile, verb complements emerged and played the main role in non-motion events. In terms of Old Japanese, all three event-framing patterns have been observed. Moreover, the path is denoted via three means: prefix, auxiliary, and verb compounding. Among them, verb compounding appears to play the most significant role. These distinct event-framing patterns both intralinguistic and crosslinguistic are based on the diversity of lexical resources of motion/non-motion event framing and preferences for event-encoding options by selecting different lexical resources.
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