Taboos in animal fixed expressions in Mandarin Chinese

Ada Ya ying Yang, Shelley Ching yu Depner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A taboo word is a restricted use of a word due to cultural or moral prohibition. This chapter aims to investigate taboos in AFEs in Mandarin Chinese. The Middle-Class Politeness Criterion (Allan and Burridge (2006) is used to filter out taboos and classify them in terms of topics. Then, AFE taboos are analyzed by means of semantic change (Campbell (2004). Results of this study include: (1) AFE taboos in Mandarin Chinese can be classified as appearance, figure, occupation, and ability; (2) the linguistic mechanisms for semantic change in AFE taboos can be depicted as hypernymy and composed of widening and narrowing of meaning; and finally, (3) the hyponymy is made up of metaphors, metonymy, synecdoche, and degeneration. Knowledge of the usage and the perceptions of AFE taboos can be regarded as a prescriptive censorship of Mandarin Chinese.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmbodiment in Language (II)
Subtitle of host publicationFood, Emotion and Beyond
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789811017995
ISBN (Print)9789811017971
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Taboos in animal fixed expressions in Mandarin Chinese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this