An Empirical Study of Motion Expressions in Mandarin Chinese

Ziyan Xu


There are different views concerning the typology of Chinese. Based on the study of Motion events, Talmy (1985, 1991, 2000) categorises Chinese as a satellite-framed language, but Slobin (2004, p. 228) proposes Chinese belongs to what is called “equipollently-framed languages”. Following an empirical study of Motion expressions in Mandarin Chinese, more evidence is found that Chinese speakers rely strongly on serial verb constructions. The Manner verbs in Chinese stories are not as varied as those in English stories while Path verbs are more varied in Chinese than in English. The result suggests that Chinese follows what Slobin (2004) categorises an equipollently-framed language.

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