Publication details

A Multiple-Parallel-Text Approach for Viewpoint Research Across Languages: The Case of Demonstratives in English and Chinese

Authors

LU Wei-lun VERHAGEN Arie SU I-wen

Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Language Centre

Citation
Description As a burgeoning field in cognitive scientific research, Cognitive Poetics has been expanding its scope and methods (cf. Brône 2009; Gavins and Steen 2003; Semino and Culpeper 2002; Stockwell 2002; Tsur 2008). However, so far few attempts have been made to explore the usefulness of parallel texts (or parallel corpora) as a methodology in cognitive poetics for cross-linguistic investigations. We propose to that literary masterpieces that are translated into multiple languages are a fertile testing ground of cognitive poetics. We treat the author and the translators as text producers that intend to tell the same story in their respective languages to their readers; thus we are dealing with two or more usage events with highly similar, if not identical, ideational contents, that may differ in their construal (Langacker 1999), in this case due to differences between the languages involved. In order to demonstrate the usefulness of this methodology, we use the first chapter of Alice in Wonderland and one of its Chinese translations for a parallel study (another translation by Y.R. Chao will be added at a later stage). We focus on demonstrative pronouns, which are fundamental cognitive coordination devices and have attracted much scholarly interest (Ariel 1988; Botley and McEnery 2001; Diessel 2003; Enfield 2003; Glover 2000; Himmelmann 1996; Janssen 1995; Kirsner 1993; Laury 1997; Levinson 2004; Piwek et al. 2007; Strauss 2002; Vries 1995; Wu 2004). In particular, we examine four demonstrative pronouns in English, i.e. this, that, these and those, and their Chinese counterparts, zhe ‘this’, na ‘that’, zhe-xie ‘this-plural’, and na-xie ‘that-plural’. (We investigate exclusively the referential, demonstrative function of these forms , so excluding other grammatical uses of the same forms, such as discourse markers (for zhe and na), relative pronouns and complementizers (for that)).
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