GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Online ISSN : 2185-6710
Print ISSN : 0024-3914
The Polysemic Structure of ‘miru (see)’
Satoko Tanaka
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Volume 1996 (1996) Issue 110 Pages 120-142

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Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of the polysemic structure of the verb‘mire (see)’. The word is used with various meanings. But all of its meanings, including those which seem to be arbitrarily extended, can be proved to be motivated and characterized by the nature of human cognition.
Its meanings are not discrete but in their typical uses they are discernable by semantic features. The fundamental meaning (m.1) of ‘mire’may be expressed in terms of the semantic features: <visual‹ <perception› . This assumption is supported by the fact that it is usually received in this meaning when it lacks the object word i.e. in the default case.
The other meanings can be accounted for based on three principles of derivation which can be said to be psychologically valid: (1) incorporation of interpretive inferences into lexical meaning, (2) metaphor, and (3) metonymy.
principle (1) ...... m.2: <visual‹ <perception› <judgement‹ ; m.3: <judgement› ; m.4: <visual‹ <perception› <judgement‹ <taking measures›
principle (2) ...... m.5: <non-visual‹ <perception› <judgement‹
principle (3) ...... m.6: varying from <experience of a state of affairs› to <occurrence of a state of affairs
The variations of m.6 reflect the degrees of “subjectification”
(Langacker 1990: 316) of the viewer construed by the conceptualizer.

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