Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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It is common for “body part” nouns to refer to other concepts through metonymy operations in a specific context to produce new meanings in many languages. Some compound words formed by body part nouns as morphemes can also refer to other concepts through metonymy operations, and the degree of conventionalization varies. This study firstly defines the degrees of conventionalization of the target compound words–Chinese [X+body part] metonymic compounds, and divides them into three types: conventionalized, half-conventionalized, and inconventionalized. Then, from the perspective of cognitive pragmatics, this study uses an integrated analysis model of cognitive linguistics and Relevance Theory to analyze the meaning inferential process of metonymic compounds with different degrees of conventionalization. This study has found similarities and differences among them. The similarity is that both speakers and hearers need to achieve “optimal relevance” in the process and the difference is that the lower degree of conventionalization of the compound, the more complicated the meaning inferential process is. Lastly, on the basis of the inferential process, this study summarizes four factors that affect the conventionalization of metonymic compounds: time of word formation, salience of metonymy, clarity of word-forming motivation and contextual support, among which contextual support is the most crucial factor.


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