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A Philosophical Investigation of Catchwords in Chinese

Qiao Huang


Catchwords spread rapidly because of their simple form and strong replicability. New catchwords enter our daily life every once in a while. Therefore, the study of catchwords is extremely urgent, because the study of language is the study of human life. This article takes the catchword ‘wo keneng yudao le jia N’ (I might encounter fake N) as an example to discuss its internal structure (which has been largely ignored in the existing research). The focus is on the study of the adjective ‘fake’ and its combined meaning with the noun after. Based on this, the meaning generation mechanism of the catchword is analyzed, including the relationship between necessity and probability, the evolution of meaning of the catchword, and the precipitation of construction meaning. Finally, the philosophical basis of communicative mechanism of the catchword is clarified. The main line of this study is to provide philosophical foundation for the popularity of catchwords.


Catchword; jia N; Fake N; Construction Grammar; Generation Mechanism; Communication Mechanism

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