Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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This paper aims to account for the multiple interpretations of the Chinese negative degree adverb (不甚). In (Ruan & Guo (eds) 2009), is defined as ‘the degree is not very high’, which can be interpreted as ‘not very’; however, in the CCL and BCC Modern Chinese corpora, a few cases showing that can only be interpreted as indicating positive degree similar to ‘very’. Using the extensive classical and modern Chinese data, we argue that the semantic change has undergone a process of analogy (cf. Harris & Campbell 1995Fischer 2007Traugott & Trousdale 2013). Specifically, the use of positive degree of has been analogized to the extant positive degree adverb (不胜). The semantic change is observed when forms common collocations with an adjective or a verb which convey emotions, such as ‘grateful’ in ‘very grateful’.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): analogy; Bùshèn; Bùshèng; Chinese; degree adverb; semantics; 不甚; 不胜; 汉语; 程度副词; 类比; 语义
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