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Topological Spatial Relations, Containment and Support: A Contrastive Study of Mandarin and English.

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Title:Topological Spatial Relations, Containment and Support: A Contrastive Study of Mandarin and English.
Authors:Chuang, Hui-Ju
Contributors:East Asian Lang & Lit-Chinese (department)
Keywords:containment
support
spatial relations
contrastive study
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This dissertation investigates two topological spatial relations, containment and
support, which are assumed to exist in the minds of all speakers because of their basis in
a shared physical world. However, cross-linguistic studies on the use of the spatialcharacterizing
elements on/in and the corresponding words shàng/lǐ in Mandarin show
that they do not fully overlap. The dissertation focuses on two aspects: first how speakers
of English and Mandarin encode the two spatial relations, and second whether the
similarities and differences of the two spatial terms affect the acquisition of the L2
learners.
To address the question how speakers of English and Mandarin encode the two
spatial relations, the study adopted an embodied cognitive approach, the proto-scene
model that is under the Framework of Polysemy Network by Tyler and Evans (2001,
2003). Via this model, the dissertation demonstrated how the encodings of the two spatial
terms between the two languages overlap and diverge.
Furthermore, in order to confirm whether cross-linguistic difference plays a role
in the acquisition of L2 learners and if it is, to what extent does it affect their learning, the
study conducted two experiments to examine the question. The results of the two studies
suggested that cross-linguistic difference is a factor in the acquisition of the two spatial
terms, which was resulting from the conceptual transfer (Jarvis and Palvenko, 2008;
Odlin 2005). Furthermore, the results also suggested that the conceptual differences
between the two spatial terms are difficult to acquire even for the learners at high
proficiency level.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/62307
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - East Asian Languages and Literatures (Chinese)


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