A Grammatical Metonymic Explanation of Non-stereotypical Verb+Location Noun Construction in Chinese

Qiaoxia Wu


The stereotypical construction verb+noun or VO (verb-object) construction presents that the action encoded by the verb is carried out on the patient exhibited by the noun. A prototypical meaning for VO construction is affectedness on the part of patient for the patient is undergoing the effect of some action, often undergoing some change in state (Saeed 2000: 140). However, in Chinese, there is a non-stereotypical verb+location noun construction which goes against the conventional semantic explanation of the VO structure. The location noun in this structure does not function as the patient of the verb from the point of view of semantics. The present paper explores the cognitive motivation of non-stereotypical construction verb+location noun. The study shows that the location noun in the construction has three distinct meanings, and its generative mechanism is attributed to three kinds of grammatical metonymy: container for content and location for patient in Vt.+location noun construction and activity for state in Vi.+location noun construction.

Keywords: grammatical metonymy; verb+location noun; context

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