A Comparison of Event Framing in Japanese and Chinese

Wenchao Li


In light of recent work on ‘scale structure’, this paper provides a new perspective on event framing in Japanese and Chinese. It has a focus on motion as well as result as sub-domains of event representation. Lexical resources, such as verb compounds, serial verb constructions (SVC) and open / closed-scale adjectival predicates (APs) are revisited. It is postulated that different lexical resources present distinct event framing patterns. Japanese change-of-state (COS) events show sensitivity to the scalar structure of APs, i.e. closed-scale APs give rise to satellite framing and open-scale APs invite verb framing. The distribution of Chinese motion events denoted by SVCs is not arbitrary but restricted i.e. the order of motion morphemes must be [open / closed - scale change morpheme + closed-scale change morpheme], meaning the second constituent has to be closed-scale morpheme. This study argues that the distinct event framing patterns intralinguistic and crosslinguistic are based on the diversity of lexical resources of motion/resultative event framing and preferences for event-encoding options by selecting different linguistic resources.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v3i1.1122

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