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A Linguistic Study Of "Oxymoron"

Posted on:2008-04-09Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:K SunFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360212490981Subject:English Language and Literature
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The thesis reflects more problems and explores further, though it merely starts from a small question. As is known, "oxymoron" is just a very common figure of speech in traditional views, never entering the mainstream of academic studies. But with the modern linguistics developing largely and deeply, it facilitates the study of figurative language and gives spacious room for the study. "Metaphor", for instance, used to be an ordinary figure of speech, has turned out to be a device of human cognition, as well as the inner drive to form language structure and expression, after inspired by cognitive linguistics and other related linguistic studies. Actually "metaphor", as a figure of speech, is the most highlighting presence in language expressions. Suppose the cognitive linguistics was not introduced into the field, metaphor would be still a common figure as before. Such a fact reveals that the traditional approaches to studying figures of speech are quite outdated, almost cornered. Not exaggerated to say, the traditional study has no way in the current academics, and it is the historic necessity to seek new perspectives to update the study.The success of metaphor almost rescues the whole study of figures of speech, also inspires to use the similar methods to explore other figures of speech. The study of other related figures has achieved the great progress via the linguistic route, with cognitive linguistics in the forefront. But there is a very special figure different from those figures which have been devotedly studied. The special figure is "oxymoron", which does not appear so frequently in languages as metaphor, but it stands for another special sort of figurative language. Oxymoron violates the semantic congruity, as well as logic, but people also are pleasant to accept it, even appreciate it. Probably we can know the fact, but can not give reasonable interpretation to it, which is the vantage point of our thesis—attempt to clarify these problems. In the thesis, firstly it presents all kinds of definitions of oxymora (the plural form of "oxymoron" is "oxymora"), also their classifications and structures, which are the necessary premise of our study. Then the thesis gives the historical and contemporary study stating from the angles of literature, aesthetics, philosophy and psychology. It is necessary to state that the traditional approaches to studying figures of speech are quite outdated, so the new approaches should be a must to rescue the whole study—the linguistics approaches are a tentative study to do it well."Knowing your enemy and yourself, you will never be defeated." The Componential Analysis in semantics and Cooperation Principles in pragmatics are employed to expose the contradictory features, which is more scientific than that merely from the language sense. Such exposure can offer the basic information to seek the cure for those contradictions for better interpreting oxymoron clearly. In the body part, the thesis interprets the problem of how to understand the contradiction from the four aspects from the linguistic perspectives. Then the Mental Space and the Conceptual Integration Theory (CIT) are used to explain the working system of oxymoron. It also contrasts the difference of oxymoron in Chinese and English, and from the point, it proposes four methods to translate oxymoron in the two languages. At last, it extends the study field; raising such a hypothesis that oxymoron is also a prototype of all figures of speech with semantic conflicts. The universal significance in language and human cognition may be beyond our current level, but there need a lot of efforts to do for providing more evidences.
Keywords/Search Tags:Oxymoron, the three semantic features, the Bakhtin's conversation theory, deviation, the mental space, the blending theory, contrast, the universal significance
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