Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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The place of Mandarin Chinese in Talmy’s two-way typology of motion expressions has been a focus of debate. Based primarily on linguistic intuition, some researchers consider Mandarin a Satellite-framed language, and some others consider it a Verb-framed language. This paper reports results from analyses of three different types of data from speakers’ actual language use in narrative discourse (one from elicited adults’ spoken narratives, one from written narratives in nine contemporary novels, and one from elicited children’s spoken narratives from ages 3 to 9) that suggest otherwise. Specifically, Mandarin shows a unique discourse style that matches neither Satellite-framed nor Verb-framed languages. The data provide evidence for categorizing Mandarin Chinese as the third language type: an equipollently-framed language. It is argued that examination of language use in discourse can provide insights for solving nutty problems that may not be resolved by merely looking at static linguistic structures.


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