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date: 04 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the conceptual underpinning of the Chinese language from a lexical perspective. At the sublexical level Chinese orthography reflects the conceptual organization of lexical information. Lexical semantics is the orthography relevant level in Chinese. The semantic primes represented by Chinese radicals conceptually organize lexical meanings like ontology, with conceptual dependencies built upon all four causes of Aristotle. Adopting Generative Lexicon Theory terms, we show that formal, constitutive, agentive, and telic relations are all attested for the derivation of lexical meanings from radical meanings. However, the event-driven relations of telic and agentive are most productive in generating lexical meanings. The intralexical structure of Chinese based on the WordNet model of lexical-semantic relations is explored through postulating the new concept of paranymy. Last, lexical eventive information is hypothesized to be linked to the Module-Attribute Representation of Verbal Semantics.

Keywords: semantics, Chinese orthography, lexical-semantic relations, Module-Attribute Representation of Verbal Semantics ontology

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