Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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This paper reports a corpus-based, cognitive semantic study on profiling the varied uses of the Chinese color term “black” with regard to its metaphorical polysemy. We hypothesize that the semantic (dis)similarities among the eight metaphorical meanings of “black” can be captured by clustering their contextual features, including collocational patterns, morphosyntactic and semantic properties, and discourse information. The Behavioral Profiles approach is adopted for the analyses with the annotations of 800 instances for 46 contextual features and a hierarchical agglomerative cluster analysis conducted on the annotated data. The results show that the eight metaphorical senses of “black” fall into three clusters. This clustering can be explained by the conceptual bases pertaining to color perceptions and color changes, in line with Conceptual Metaphor Theory. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of the corpus-based Behavioral Profiles approach in exploring the underlying cognitive mechanisms of metaphorical extensions and meaning differentiations.


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