On the Generalization Mechanism of Chinese Kinship Term “jiejie”

  •  Haiting Wang    
  •  Jun Gao    


There is a large kinship appellation system in Chinese, which reflects the social culture, traditional customs and national psychology of China. Based on the Invited Inferencing Theory of Semantic Change of historical pragmatics, this paper attempts to explore the generalization mechanism of Chinese kinship term “jiejie” (a Chinese appellation for elder sister). The study shows that the generalization of appellation “jiejie” is inseparable from pragmatic inferring and entrenchment of inferred meaning. If they realize that the original sense of “jiejie” does not work, the listeners may take into consideration the situational context and speaker’ intentionality for secondary inferring. The generalization of appellation “jiejie” results from its semantic change, i.e., “jiejie” evolves into a social appellation to address non-relative members.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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