The verb of giving in Thai and Mandarin Chinese as a case of polysemy: A comparative study

Kingkarn Thepkanjana, Satoshi Uehara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is common knowledge that the words corresponding to GIVE in serializing languages like hây and gěi in Thai and Mandarin Chinese, respectively, have multiple uses. Owing to the similarities as well as the differences in the synchronic usage and the diachronic development toward grammaticalization exhibited by the same words, they will be examined comparatively in this study, whose objectives are twofold: (i) to identify the similarities and differences in the usage between hây and gěi at the present time and (ii) to argue that these multiple meanings of hây and gěi are related, i.e. they are cases of polysemy. It has been brought to light that hây in Thai has a number of uses like: (1) a main verb use to indicate an action of possession transfer, (2) a dative use, (3) a benefactive use, (4) a causative use, (5) a malefactive use, and (6) a connective use in purposive, jussive, and complementation constructions. Its Mandarin Chinese equivalent gěi too has a range of uses like: (1) a main verb use, (2) a dative use, (3) a benefactive use, (4) a causative use, (5) a passive use, and (6) a ditransitive use. As is typical of serializing languages, these different, multifarious uses of hây and gěi arguably constitute cases of polysemy. It has also been discovered that the metonymic process, which involves pragmatic inferencing, plays a primary role in semantically extending the meaning of GIVE in both the languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-651
Number of pages31
JournalLanguage Sciences
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov

Keywords

  • Grammaticalization
  • Inferencing
  • Metonymy
  • Polysemy
  • Verb of giving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The verb of giving in Thai and Mandarin Chinese as a case of polysemy: A comparative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this