Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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This paper, using translation materials as data for analysis and based on Fillmore’s (1982) Frame Semantics Theory, presents a contrastive study of communication verbs in Chinese and English with respect to their representation of semantic components related to a communication event. In Talmy’s (1991) classification, Chinese and English fall into the same typological category as satellite-framed languages, where large numbers of verbs characteristically incorporate Manner with Motion, and the Path of motion is typically mapped onto a post-verb satellite. Previous contrastive studies of Chinese and English, however, have concluded that Chinese deviates from a typical satellite-framed language as represented by English with respect to both the conflation of Manner with Motion and the representation of the Path of motion. The present study, which examines, specifically, how communication verbs express speaking events in written narrative in Chinese and English, has found more intra-typological differences between the two languages in their representation of meanings in surface structures as well as in the narrative style in which words of a particular category are chosen for representing events. The major original findings from this study are that Chinese is by far more constrained than English in its encoding of semantic components in communication verbs, and that a translator may face a great challenge when doing Chinese-to-English translation with respect to the choice of appropriate communication verbs.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chinese/English; communication verbs; contrastive analysis; Frame Semantics
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