THE MEANING EXTENSION OF 'XIANG' AND ITS POLYSEMY NETWORK
Mei-hsiu Chen and Jung-hsing Chang
Based on the idea that cognitive processes play an important role in linguistic analysis, this paper focuses on two main issues. The first issue is concerned with the nature of the intertwined relations of the various meanings of the Chinese polysemous word 'xiang' and how these different meanings are extended from the original meaning found in ancient Chinese texts. The relations between these meanings can be accounted for in terms of five cognitive processes: generalization, extendability across motive states, profile, metaphor, and change in the position of the perspective point, all of which constitute links within the semantic network of 'xiang.' The second issue is concerned with why 'xiang' has two opposite meanings, i.e., goal marker and source marker. It is proposed that the two opposite meanings result from a change in the position of the perspective point in a given schema. That is, by changing the perspective point from that of the starting point of the movement of the Figure to the endpoint of the movement, the Figure, which moves from the starting point to the endpoint, is changed from being seen as leaving the observer to being seen as getting closer to the observer.
Key words: polysemy, metaphor, motion event, perspective