What does hand express in Chinese and Spanish?

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This study focuses on the body-part hand in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish with the majority of the data taken from Chinese Mandarin Online Dictionary and Web edition of Lin Yutang's Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage. The Spanish data were obtained from Corpus de Referenda del Español Actual de la Real Academia Española and Lanbridge Diccionario Manual Español-Chino. The research questions are: (1) What meanings do the hand expressions in both languages convey? (2) What are the meanings based on? (3) Is there a cognitive model behind them? The answer of the third question is based on that of the first two. We found that (a) +people, +action, and +power are the most frequently occurring semantic molecules for hand expressions, (b) the favorite underlying conceits that generate hand expressions are 'behavior' and 'function', (c) BODY IS FUNCTION proves true, and (d) we propose that BODY IS STATIC is more fundamental based on the observation in hand expressions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-31
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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