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English Quasi-Numeral Classifiers

A Corpus-Based Cognitive-Typological Study


Xu Zhang

This book is an interdisciplinary study of English binominal quantitative constructions based on English-Chinese comparison. Taking three perspectives, i.e. a functional-typological perspective, a cognitive approach, and a corpus-based method, it aims to unveil the hidden categorisation process behind the usage of English binominal quantitative constructions and to reveal the language universal in cognising the concepts of ‘Quantity’ and ‘Quality’. It argues against treating Chinese and English as members of two opposing typological camps concerning quantification modes (‘classifier languages’ versus ‘non-classifier languages’) and advocates to view the two languages as lying within a more extended and inclusive system, viz. a system of quantification and categorisation modes, or a Quantity-Quality continuum.

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3. Categorisation by NCs and QNCs: A Cognitive Perspective


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3.  Categorisation by NCs and QNCs: A Cognitive Perspective

3.1  Introduction

Chapter 2 has identified certain nouns in English with NCs proper in terms of the function and proposed a notion of English QNCs. This chapter will re-examine the NC studies in cognitive grammar and cognitive semantics, analyse English QNCs, along with NCs, from the categorisation perspective and delineate them in a cognitive category framework.

Section 3.2 will start the cognitive study of NCs by reviewing relevant accounts in cognitive grammar; it will unravel the cognitive perspective from which NCs can be conceptualised as categorising. Section 3.3 will orient NC studies against a broad categorisation background. Section 3.4 will revisit cognitive theories relating to categories, with a critical review on prototype theories, so as to situate the NC and QNC studies against a cognitive category backdrop, and to prepare for the later modified category model. Section 3.5 will present the notion of Dimensionality and narrow the research scope down to Dimensionality-NC/QNCs. Section 3.6 will work towards a modified category model for the later empirical analysis of Dimensionality-QNCs. The chapter is concluded by Section 3.7.

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