Entity, event, and sensory modalities: An onto-cognitive account of sensory nouns

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Nouns in human languages mostly profile concrete and abstract entities. But how much eventive information can be found in nouns? Will such eventive information found in sensory nouns have anything to do with the cognitive representation of the basic human senses? Importantly, is there any ontological and/or cognitive motivation that can account for this noun–verb dichotomy via body-and-world interactions? This study presents the first comprehensive investigation of sensory nouns in Mandarin Chinese, examining their qualia structures formalised in the Generative Lexicon Theory, as well as the time-dependent (endurant–perdurant) properties encoded in their sensory modalities. This study fills the gap in sensorial studies by highlighting the pivotal position of nouns in sensory experiences and provides insights into the interactions between perception, cognition, and language. Further, it establishes, for the first time, the cognitive motivation of the categorial noun–verb bifurcation without presupposing any a priori knowledge of grammatical categories.
Original languageEnglish
Article number255
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2023


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