Prototype effects and cultural implications of Hakka proverbs

Tsung Shueng Huang, Shelley Ching yu Depner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When it comes to semantic change of metaphors, prototypical effects (Geeraerts in Diachronic prototype semantics. A contribution to historical lexicology. Clarendon Press, Oxford, (1997), cognitive process (Györi in Linguistics 13:123-166, (2002) and cultural variation are considered influential. In this study, animal and plant Hakka proverbs were analyzed from three perspectives: familiarity, appropriateness, and daily usage frequency. One of the goals was to determine what semantic change is displayed from metaphorical referents on the foundation of prototype theory (Rosch and Mervis in Cognitive Psychology 7:573- 605, (1975); the other goal was to identify what social and cultural variations are presented in the Hakka community in Taiwan with regard to prototypical effects and semantic change of metaphors. There are altogether 24 Hakka participants categorized into two generations by age range, who were requested to fill out questionnaires containing 30 animal/plant proverbs. Results of the analysis indicate that prototypical features have slight disparities between the two generations and that elder people’s language use habits impact their children’s usage of Hakka metaphors in proverbs. In conclusion, although the prototypical effects have remained similar for generations, the semantic change of metaphors still occurs as a result of language contact and social development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmbodiment in Language (II)
Subtitle of host publicationFood, Emotion and Beyond
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9789811017995
ISBN (Print)9789811017971
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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