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Title: The Subjectivity of Adjectives in Spoken Mandarin
Keywords: Adjectives, Subjectivity, Spoken Mandarin, Pragmatic Functions, Evaluation, Construal
Issue Date: 19-Jan-2011
Citation: SHANG GUOWEN (2011-01-19). The Subjectivity of Adjectives in Spoken Mandarin. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The syntactic and semantic features of adjectives in the Chinese language have been extensively studied, whereas their pragmatic features are underexplored in linguistics. This thesis takes the category of adjectives primarily as subjectivity markers, investigating how the speakers? attitudes or evaluations are conveyed in spoken Mandarin. The adjectives in Mandarin can be used to fulfil five basic pragmatic functions, namely subcategorization, identification, evaluation, specification and depiction. Among them, the evaluation function predominates in spoken discourse. The adjectival evaluations in Mandarin are essentially reference-point constructions. That is, people implicitly or explicitly compare with certain standards or values when evaluating the quality or property of entities/events. The nature of the referenced standards or norms determines the subjectivity or objectivity of the adjectival evaluations. As a special type of qualitative adjectives, the affective adjectives in use can be absolutely subjective or relatively subjective. In addition, the typical adjectival constructions in Mandarin such as adjectival negation, intensification and reduplication all demonstrate the speakers? subjectivity in that the speakers? construal to the normal property values of entities/events or the speakers? expectations will be accessed in the evaluation process. In general, the category of adjectives is typically used to register the speakers? attitudes or emotions in spoken Mandarin. The analysis in this study reveals that the linguistic expressions are not autonomous, but are often motivated or constrained by a wide range of pragmatic and cognitive principles.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D Theses (Open)

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