Eventivity and Auditory Modality: An Onto-Cognitive Account of Hearing Nouns in Mandarin Chinese

Yin Zhong, Chu-ren Huang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


Hearing or auditory sense has particularly strong temporality and dynamicity among the five sense modalities. Taking an ontological and cognitive perspective, this study examines hearing nouns in terms of their qualia values and eventive natures utilizing Generative Lexicon Theory and the basic ontological concept of endurant and perdurant. It is shown that linguistic representation of auditory perception related items shares strong perdurant properties. This is manifested by large proportion of event nouns, deverbal nominals and coerced event episode interpretation of hearing nouns. In addition, interpretation of classifiers of the default hearing nouns, 聲音 sheng1yin1 ‘sound’, further supports the eventive nature of the auditory modality. A sound referring noun phrase typically has an eventive reading even when it is enumerated with a classifier. In this context, the meaning refers to the frequency of sound-making events instead of the counting of sound content.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom Minimal Contrast to Meaning Construct: Corpus-based, Near Synonym Driven Approaches to Chinese Lexical Semantics
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Cite this