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Intercultural Pragmatics

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Volume 9, Issue 2


A cultural-pragmatic account of the ‘CHI+NP’ expressions in Chinese

Dr. Xiong Xueliang,
Published Online: 2012-05-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2012-0013


The verb CHI (吃 ‘eat’) can virtually be used with any NP in Chinese. Previous studies on this issue basically depend on metonymy theories or construction theories for solution but they are partial and hence cannot explicate many related phenomena such as the abstract nature of CHI SHITANG (‘eat dining-hall’) novelty of CHI YUELIANG (‘eat the noon’), etc. To supplement, this paper adopts a cultural pragmatic approach to the CHI+NP phenomena and focuses on ABSTRACT EATING as one of the extended senses (acronymically expressed as ET senses throughout this paper) from the core meaning (i.e., into the mouth and down the stomach) of CHI and the contextually expendable senses (acronymically expressed as CT senses throughout this paper). The CT sense of CHI in the CHI+NP expressions is basically EXCESSIVELY ENGAGING-IN that evolves from DEPENDENCY sense as the ET2 use (i.e., the second extended sense of CHI). To account for ET1 and CT, this paper argues that the ET1 use of CHI as in CHI SHITANG conveys some notion of abstractness and the CT use of CHI actually derives from the ET2 sense. It is the ET2 use that makes the verb CHI virtually sense-adjustable to any following NP so long as a justifying context is available. A further scrutiny into the phenomenon would reveal that the CT use of CHI in the CHI+NP expressions is sanctioned by the Chinese culture of eating and is hence a typical Chinese phenomenon. Therefore, a cultural-pragmatic account is given in this paper to analyze the motivation for the plethora of senses of CHI tinted with pertinent contextualizable flavors.

About the article

Dr. Xiong Xueliang,

Xiong Xueliang obtained his doctoral degree in 1991 and has been a full professor of English & Linguistics at Fudan University, Shanghai since 1995. Since 2003 he has been the Director of Contemporary Foreign Languages Research Institute. He is on the editorial board of renowned Chinese academic journals such as Journal of Contemporary Foreign Language, Journal of Foreign Languages, Foreign Language Research. He is the vice president of All China Pragmatics Association, and also the vice president of All China Association of Cognitive Linguistics.

Published Online: 2012-05-29

Published in Print: 2012-05-25

Citation Information: , Volume 9, Issue 2, Pages 225–243, ISSN (Online) 1613-365X, ISSN (Print) 1612-295X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2012-0013.

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©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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