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Study Of English Inversion From The Perspective Of Prototype-model Theory

Posted on:2010-10-07Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:X N ZhangFull Text:PDF
GTID:2155360275456326Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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This thesis makes a tentative analysis of English inversion within the theoretical framework of prototype-model theory, with a view to exploring the relationship between inversion and its canonical counterpart, information focus distributed in inversion and the generative mechanism of inversion subtypes.The present research adopts a new theoretical visual angle to explore our familiar linguistic phenomenon, inversion. Prototype-model theory is first put forward by Prof. Zhang Jin in his monograph Thought-model Hypothesis, which is in fact an intermediate theory deriving from oriental dialectics. The theory emphasizes the relationship of dialectical unity among reality, language and thought, more significantly, this theory holds the research procedure from thought to language. Thought in essence refers to the cognitive process that modeling agents reflect the reality through language. In line with this theory, the objective material world and spiritual world are prototypes, while speech and language are models that describe and reflect the world. The fundamental principle of prototype-model theory is that of conjugational interpromotion, which denotes the phenomenon of two or more entities sharing the common basis but differing in some other aspects. Based on the principle, minor principle of mono-prototype-poly-model is derived. The two principles contribute a lot to the analysis in this paper.Marxist philosophy holds that reality is the content of cognition and language is the form of cognition, whereas the content is objective and the form is subjective. Owing to the subjective initiative and particular thinking pattern born by human beings, various modeling agents may adopt diverse expressions to depict the same scene, such as basic sentence pattern and inversion. However, the generative mechanism, information focus and cognitive prominence of the two sentence structures distinguish from each other. In spite of discrepancies between inversion and basic sentence pattern, they both conform to human being's cognitive rule. Since our cognition sequence influences our patterning sequence, which plays a significant role during the process of our construing and perceiving the objective world.Within the prototype-model framework, we work on the three research questions and get conclusions respectively.First, the relationship between inversion and its canonical counterpart. It is believed that there are two layers of relationship between the two syntactic structures. On the one hand, they are conjugational interpromotion owing to properties of similarity and discrepancy. On the other hand, they form poly models of one prototype, i.e. mono-prototype-poly-model.Second, the information focus distributed in inversion subtypes. Some foreign and domestic scholars, like Birner and Xu Shenghuan, have claimed that information status ranks from given to new in one sentence. Through the analysis under contexts, it is found that FI types tend to highlight the information at sentence-final position, which accords with unmarked information focus. On the contrary, a constituent other than the subject is selected as focus in SAI types, thus sentence-initial constituents stand out and marked focus is generated.Third, the generative mechanisms of inversion subcategories. Modeling agents make use of inverted structures so as to realize cognitive prominence of certain constituent. Inversion is a device to highlight the information focus and deliver cognitive prominence to sentence-initial constituent. Supposing a number of conceptual entities are subsumed in the conceptual structure during the patterning process, the modeling agent will have a perception of one object at first and regard it as the reference point to compare and scan other entities afterwards. The chosen entity is more salient than others in cognition, because it is apperceived prior to others and serves as the starting point from which the whole depiction is expanded. In accordance with the semantic meaning of the highlighted segments, distinct cognitive prominences are analyzed in inversion subtypes. Cognitive prominences of referentiality, direction and manner, location, state and action are analyzed respectively in FI types; cognitive prominences of linkage, degree, negation and restriction, as well as condition are construed in SAI types. They together compose the generative mechanisms of inversion subtypes.
Keywords/Search Tags:English inversion, prototype-model theory, information focus, generative mechanism
PDF Full Text Request
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