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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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4. A Corpus-Based Methodology


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4.  A Corpus-Based Methodology

4.1  Introduction

After recognising the concept of English QNCs against a functional-typological background in Chapter 2, and after examining QNCs and NCs from a cognitive categorisation perspective in Chapter 3, from this chapter on, the investigation will focus on the categorisation function of QNCs. An empirical study on the categories realised by several cases of D-QNCs will be conducted.

The present chapter aims to explain the methodology of obtaining and analysing data in the case studies. Section 4.2 will introduce the corpus-based approach adopted in this study, briefly presenting the chosen corpus and the analytical methods. The quantitative corpus findings will be analysed qualitatively on the basis of linguistic intuitions, with consideration of dictionary references, as is discussed in 4.3. Section 4.4 will explain how QNCs are gathered and classified, and which D-QNCs are selected for case studies. Section 4.5 will sketch out the process by which the data are obtained. Section 4.6 will briefly outline the analytical process applied in the case studies. Section 4.7 concludes the chapter with a brief summary.

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