From Falling to Hitting: Diachronic Change and Synchronic Distribution of Frost Verbs in Chinese

Sicong Dong, Chu-ren Huang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The verbs indicating the occurrence of frost in Chinese have undergone a diachronic change. Ancient Chinese chiefly uses non-volitional verbs with downward movement meanings, while Sinitic languages widely adopt 打 dǎ ‘to hit’, an action verb with high transitivity. This modern usage develops from the transitive verb 打 dǎ ‘to hit’ denoting frost damage in ancient Chinese through conventionalization and semantic bleaching. Speakers of Chinese using this verb have experienced frost distinctively, which leads to the linguistic innovation. The geographical distribution of frost verbs and frost damage provides clues to this relation between weather and language.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Lexical Semantics
Subtitle of host publication22nd Workshop, CLSW 2021 Nanjing, China, May 15–16, 2021 Revised Selected Papers, Part I
EditorsMinghui Dong, Yanhui Gu, Jia-Fei Hong
PublisherSpringer Cham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-06703-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-06702-0
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2022
EventChinese Lexical Semantics Workshop -
Duration: 15 May 202116 May 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349
NameLecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence
ISSN (Print)2945-9133
ISSN (Electronic)2945-9141


ConferenceChinese Lexical Semantics Workshop


  • Weather verb
  • Frost
  • Geolinguistics
  • Diachronic change
  • Sinitic languages


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