Does the Thunder Roll? Mandarin Chinese Meteorological Expressions and Their Iconicity

In: Cognitive Semantics
Thomas Van Hoey Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Taiwan University, Taiwan,

Search for other papers by Thomas Van Hoey in
Google Scholar
Full Access

From a typological perspective, Chinese meteorological expressions are argument-oriented. However, using a lexical semantic approach, based on corpus data as well as dictionaries and Chinese WordNet, a taxonomical lexical field can be established to further analyze the basic level items. Five main clusters of meteorological expressions are identified: precipitation, wind, thunder, sunshine and cloud. A comparison of these clusters with frames derived from the English FrameNet shows that Chinese has a narrower conception of weather phenomena than English. There is significant influence from the script on the linguistic system, at least in relation to meteorological expressions. It is shown that Chinese uses iconicity in its writing system where it is lacking in its phonology. A special case study are weather-related ideophones, where two strata are found: those that are phonologically and semantically motivated and receive iconic support from the writing system vs. those that do not receive this support.


From a typological perspective, Chinese meteorological expressions are argument-oriented. However, using a lexical semantic approach, based on corpus data as well as dictionaries and Chinese WordNet, a taxonomical lexical field can be established to further analyze the basic level items. Five main clusters of meteorological expressions are identified: precipitation, wind, thunder, sunshine and cloud. A comparison of these clusters with frames derived from the English FrameNet shows that Chinese has a narrower conception of weather phenomena than English. There is significant influence from the script on the linguistic system, at least in relation to meteorological expressions. It is shown that Chinese uses iconicity in its writing system where it is lacking in its phonology. A special case study are weather-related ideophones, where two strata are found: those that are phonologically and semantically motivated and receive iconic support from the writing system vs. those that do not receive this support.

1 Introduction

Every day we are confronted with one of the most salient phenomena on this planet – the weather. Most people in the world tend to have a morning ritual that includes taking a good look outside or nowadays on our phones to judge what the weather outside is going to be like that day, in order to prepare ourselves both physically (raincoat? umbrella?) and mentally for the day to come. As can be expected with such a pervasive and salient phenomenon, there have been a number of studies that adopt a cross-linguistic approach. The most well-developed typological theory thus far can be found in the works of Eriksen, Kittilä and Kolehmainen (2010; 2012; 2015) in which they aim to propose a threefold cross-linguistic typology with regards to argument structure (see below). Previously, comparative research on meteorological expressions had focused on a specific language family or linguistic area. For the former, they refer to Salo’s (2011) studies on Uralic languages among others; for the latter, to Saarinen’s (1997) work on European languages and Mettouchi & Tosco’s (2011) research on Afro-Asiatic languages (Eriksen, Kittilä & Kolehmainen 2012:383–385).

Partly in response to their study, this paper will analyze the typological traits of meteorological expressions in Mandarin Chinese (Sino-Tibetan, Sinitic), and then adopt an approach that is more grounded in lexical-semantic theories 1 to explore their construal and conceptualization. Below we will investigate if the particular conceptual grouping is motivated by the writing system, and whether there is any iconicity or systematicity (Dingemanse et al. 2015) at play. This will be supplemented by a discussion on Chinese weather-related ideophones, which typically are marked and motivated, to show how they differ from the more arbitrary terms that make up the rest of this study.

2 Methodology

As briefly referred to above, there are three issues that motivate this study: (a) investigating the typology of Chinese weather expressions; (b) exploring their lexical semantics; and (c) relating these findings to the notion of iconicity.

By first considering the place of Chinese meteorological expressions in the framework developed by Eriksen et al. (2010), we show (in section 3) that it makes sense to categorize most of these as Argument-oriented constructions. This means that the most salient term, related to the weather, is usually construed as a bounded entity, and needs a processual term (Langacker 1987) in order to become the most frequent and prototypical utterance. For instance, in example (1, section 3), the salient part ‘rain’ is usually accompanied by xià ‘down’ to form xià yǔ ‘it’s raining’. The data sources for this section comprise available corpora, such as the Simplified Chinese TenTen corpus (Jakubíček et al. 2013) and the Traditional Chinese Gigaword corpus (Graff & Chen 2003), both available at the SketchEngine (Huang et al. 2005; Kilgarriff et al. 2014). 2

To address the second research question, we consider three lexical semantics approaches. The first approach (section 4.1) is the organization of the argument terms in an onomasiological and paradigmatic lexical field that distinguishes between basic, subordinate, and superordinate levels. These terms in the taxonomy are obtained from the typological investigation, and are supplemented by studies on weather forecasts (Reiter et al. 2005), dictionaries (Luo 1986; Xu 1995; Handian 2004), and online encyclopedia, such as the Chinese version of Wikipedia.

The second lexical semantics approach (section 4.2) uses the WordNet framework (Fellbaum 1998), to highlight basic relations 3 between the elements in the taxonomy that we establish in the preceding section. Because the data we are considering is small enough in scale, a manual exercise in clustering may reveal what expressions are conceptually similar in Chinese.

The third approach (section 4.3) attempts to extend the syntagmatic dimension even further by comparing the identified Chinese relations to the English FrameNet theory (Fillmore & Atkins 1992; Fillmore 2003), since the Chinese FrameNet is not exhaustive enough at the time of writing. This will provide further grounds for our claim that not only can languages differ typologically as to the constructions used for expressing meteorological events, but also in their lexical semantic construal:

Frame theory is specifically interested in the way in which language may be used to perspectivize an underlying conceptualization of the world—it is not just that we see the world in terms of conceptual models, but those models may be verbalized in different ways. Each different way of bringing a conceptual model to expression, so to speak, adds another layer of meaning: the models themselves are meaningful ways of thinking about the world, but the way we express the models while talking adds perspective

(Geeraerts 2010:225–229).

The FrameNet analysis offered is the endpoint of the lexical semantic exploration of Modern Chinese. However, after having established the salient clusters and their difference with English, we propose (section 5) that the writing system is partly responsible for this particular configuration of terms. While we support the importance of spoken language as the fundamental basis for language and language acquisition, it seems unwise to leave the Chinese script out of discussions on Chinese, especially given the claim that Cognitive Linguistics adopts a maximalist approach to language and cognition: Chinese characters are psychologically and sociolinguistically real for the Chinese, thinking of texts and utterances as sequences of characters (Chao 1968; Baxter & Sagart 1998:37). For this reason, even though a main concern of this paper is the conceptual organization of the semantics of weather-related basic level items, an etymological section devoted to the development of the formal poles—the phonological form and the written script—is crucial for explaining the identified configurations. This also introduces the notions of iconicity and systematicity (Dingemanse et al. 2015) into the research, ultimately asking how idiosyncratic or systematic and language-internally or -externally supported weather terms are organized. In the last section (6), we ask this question also to more marked words, namely weather-related ideophones, in order to find out if there are any notable differences. This is then followed by a discussion and conclusion.

3 The Typology of Mandarin Chinese Weather Expressions

As mentioned before, the main starting point for this investigation is Eriksen, Kittilä and Kolehmainen’s sequential cross-linguistic explorations of weather-related expressions. Their first collaboration on this subject (2010) examined a sample of 25 languages across 10 language families for a questionnaire with examples from an additional 29 languages. They devised a threefold constructional typology based on their data of meteorological expressions: Predicate-oriented languages, Argument-oriented languages, and Argument-predicate-oriented languages, which then were further analyzed according to valency relations. In Table 1 these basic encoding types are shown and illustrated with examples from their research.


This model was then expanded through the addition of a semantically based typology of meteorological events (Eriksen, Kittilä & Kolehmainen 2012), in which they propose a main dichotomy between dynamic and static events. Dynamic events include precipitation (rain, snow, hail, sleet), as well as non-precipitation (thunder, lightning, wind). Static events, on the other hand, include temperature (hot, warm, cold), atmospheric conditions (humidity), light conditions (daylight, darkness), and sunshine.

Table 2 shows that static meteorological events tend to be expressed through Predicate-oriented constructions, while there is much more variation in dynamic non-precipitation events and precipitation events. The canonical data of Mandarin Chinese meteorological expressions in examples (1–11) corroborate this observation.


In the category of dynamic events, examples (1–3) show precipitation expressions and (4–6) non-precipitation. Static events are shown in (7–11): (7) illustrates temperature, (8) humidity, while (9) displays light conditions, and (11) sunshine. Below (1–11) we will discuss how they fit in with the typological framework by Eriksen et al. (2010; 2012; 2015).




“It is raining.”




“It is snowing”


xiàbīngbáo le


“It is hailing.”




“Thunder is rolling.”




“There is lightning.”




“The wind is blowing.”




“In summer, the weather is hot; in winter, the weather is cold.”




“Don’t accept whether the weather is dry or wet.”




“A clear and sunny day.”




“A cloudy day.”




“It’s a very sunny day today.”

Eriksen et al. (2012) claim that so-called static events (7–11) tend to be expressed by Predicate-oriented constructions. This seems true for temperature and atmospheric events (7–8). The prototypical events semantically related to light in (9–10), however, are expressed by modification, which does not negate their stativity, (cf. Croft 1991; 2001). Sunshine in (11) does take the form of an argument-predicate construction, with the sunrays (yángguāng) shining (zhào).

As for the dynamic events, the only example the framework provides of a Sinitic language is Cantonese (Eriksen, Kittilä & Kolehmainen 2010:577), shown in (12–13):

(12)嗰天好似想 落雨咁 (Cantonese, Sino-Tibetan)



‘It looks like it’s going to rain.’




‘It is cold.’

For some reason, they categorize both examples (and Cantonese) as a predicate-oriented language. While this may be true for the temperature event in (12), it is not true for the precipitation event in (13): luk6 jyu5 ‘fall rain’ is a monovalent construction, but it is argument-oriented because it is the noun that semantically refers to the meteorological event. 4 As can be seen in examples (1–6) above, this actually holds for dynamic events in Mandarin Chinese as well.

Another interesting phenomenon illustrated by the Cantonese data is the “atmospherical subject”, i.e. ‘sky’, ‘weather’, ‘air’ etc. (Eriksen, Kittilä & Kolehmainen 2010:575–577), which is added to the intransitive construction. Examples of this phenomenon are tin1hei3 ‘weather’ in (13), and tiānqì ‘weather’ in (7). Bleotu (2012), based on Hayle (2011), go out of her way to show that these verbs are actually transitive, with an empty PRO-slot in front of the verb and the noun behind the verb. A more convincing theory that only takes into account a surface level might include the acceptance of meteorological expressions as salient yet atypical (Langacker 1991:365), and a cognitive explanation in terms of Reference Point constructions as discussed in Langacker’s (2000:84; 2001) Cognitive Grammar framework. It was Givón (2001:119) who noted that meteorological expressions in some languages take the world as the “formal dummy subject”, as exemplified in (7) and (13). By adopting the explicatory power of Reference Point constructions, atmospherical subjects, but also temporal subjects and locational subjects can be analyzed this way convincingly and uniformly.

Now that we have placed Chinese meteorological expressions in the typological framework provided by Eriksen, Kittilä & Kolehmainen (2010; 2012; 2015), it is clear that the dichotomy between dynamic and static meteorological events is necessary. Furthermore, the static events tend to be expressed with Predicate-oriented or Modification constructions. Dynamic events and sunshine, on the other hand, usually are coded by Argument-Oriented or Argument-predicate Oriented Intransitive constructions. In the remainder of this study, the investigation will focus on the argument(-predicate) oriented constructions, viz. we will not touch upon static constructions (temperature, light, climate) below, in order to facilitate the construction of a lexical field of the WEATHER in Chinese in the next section.

4 Lexical Semantic Approaches

4.1 Lexical Field

In this section we will construct a lexical field of weather expressions in Mandarin, in the Structuralist sense as discussed by Geeraerts (2010:53–57). This section of lexical field theory studies words through both an onomasiological and a paradigmatic perspective. While most lexical semantic studies focus on the meaning side of a linguistic expression (Geeraerts 2010), an onomasiological perspective deals with the naming of certain concepts. A typical example of this are the different terms that exist in the famous study of naming types in German of Stuhl ‘chair’ vs. Sessel ‘comfortable chair’ (Gipper 1959). An advocate of onomasiological research within Cognitive Linguistics, Geeraerts has repeatedly shown that it is a dimension of lexical semantics that should not be left to its own devices (Geeraerts, Grondelaers & Bakema 1994; Geeraerts 2006; Zhang, Geeraerts & Speelman 2015). It is also the perspective that is usually adopted when constructing a lexical field or a taxonomy.

The terms paradigmatic vs. syntagmatic axes of language are borrowed from Saussurean Structuralism. Paradigmatic relations between linguistic signs are associations ‘in the void’. Syntagmatic relations “concern the possibility for a lexical element to enter into larger wholes with other elements of the language: compounds and derivations in the morphological realm, and constituents and sentences in syntax” (Geeraerts 2010).

In the development of this paper we will gradually include the other perspectives as well, viz. a gradual shift to the syntagmatic axis can be seen in section 4.2 and 4.3. The lexical field is presented in Figure 1. Salient phenomena and terms 5 are presented in a box with full lines. Combinations of two weather phenomena are presented with a dashed line, often representing less salient terminology. This is indicated with dashed lines as well. An English translation of the Chinese lexical field can be found in Figure 2, with the same conventions.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Lexical field of ‘weather’ in Mandarin Chinese

Citation: Cognitive Semantics 4, 2 (2018) ; 10.1163/23526416-00402003

Figure 2
Figure 2

Lexical field of ‘weather’ in English

Citation: Cognitive Semantics 4, 2 (2018) ; 10.1163/23526416-00402003

As can be seen in the figures below, the lexical field tiānqì ‘weather’ harbours a very rich set of concepts and construals. Because of the argument-oriented nature of dynamic meteorological expressions in Mandarin Chinese (cf. section 4) and the typical way of constructing taxonomies, we are presenting the core arguments of the expressions in their referential or object-like function, in the sense of Croft’s cross-linguistic typology theory for basic parts of speech (1991; 2000; 2001). This means that we have chosen to provide ‘sun’ (tàiyáng 太陽) and ‘sunshine, sunrays’ (yángguāng 陽光)—nonrelational, stative, permanent, nongradable OBJECTs with REFERENTIAL use (Croft 2001).

It should also be mentioned that the provided lexical field is very likely not exhaustive, but aspires to include the most frequent and most salient weather terms. In other words, it should be possible to discern a basic level in the taxonomy. The basic level hypothesis, first advanced in the 1970s (Berlin, Breedlove & Raven 1973; 1974; Berlin 1976; 1978), argues that taxonomical structures usually organize the lexical items or concepts into multiple levels (Geeraerts 2010:199–203). On top of the structure is the ‘unique beginner’—the semantic domain one is investigating, in this case WEATHER (tiānqì天氣). Below the unique beginner we find the intermediate level, with PRECIPITATION (jiàngshuǐ 降水) and NON-PRECIPITATION (fēi-jiàngshuǐ 非降水). Below that is the level where the most salient items that are used on a day-to-day basis reside: the basic level, e.g. rain, snow, thunder, sun etc. This is the level that is the “most inclusive level at which there are characteristic patterns of behavioural interaction, […] for which a clear visual image can be formed, [… with] the most rapid categorization, […] used in neutral, everyday reference” (Cruse 2011:61–63). Below these levels is the subordinate, specific level: it includes combinations of weather phenomena that may not be very salient to most language speakers, e.g. the difference between ‘hail’ and ‘sleet’ may not be obvious to every speaker.

It may be clear that such a taxonomy adheres to the features laid-out above. However, in the lexical field (Figure 1) there are some dubious cases that are arguably more basic than specific, e.g. a rainbow (cǎihóng 彩虹) is a very salient phenomenon, but it will probably not be the first one that a speaker of Chinese mentions when asked about the weather. The same goes for ‘stormy weather’ or ‘typhoon’, even though they are quite common in some parts of the Sinosphere, e.g. Taiwan and Southern China.

4.2 WordNet

Now that we have proposed a taxonomy of weather-related lexical items, we will attempt to unravel the relations between the different construals. The WordNet project is suited for this, because it brings us one step closer to a syntagmatic approach, viz. we propose that some items are closer to one another based on shared collocations.

For Chinese, two WordNets are in existence. The first, Chinese Open WordNet (Hanyu kaifang ciwang 汉语开放词网) (Wang & Bond 2013–2014) is developed at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. It relies heavily on the Princeton WordNet, enriched with Chinese lexical units and is used with simplified characters. The second, Chinese WordNet (Zhongwen cihui wanglu 中文詞義網路) (Hsieh & Huang 2009–2015) is developed at National Taiwan University. It uses traditional characters and works similarly.

Since none of these Chinese WordNets were ‘complete’ at the moment of writing, we decided to take the most prototypical lexical structures for the basic level categories as the basis, but to expand them using dictionaries such as Handian (2004–2018). The result can be found in Figure 3. More precisely defined relations such as synomymy, meronymy etc. have been reduced to a simple association relation, indicated by a full line between construals. Since we are dealing with a taxonomy, the different clusters do not show a relation of antonymy between each other, nor can it be said that they are synonymous – just different instances of the unique beginner ‘weather’.

Figure 3
Figure 3

WordNet representation of basic levels of ‘weather’ in Chinese

Citation: Cognitive Semantics 4, 2 (2018) ; 10.1163/23526416-00402003

Firstly, it should be noted that Figure 3 shows the paradigmatic objects we saw above in Figure 1, as well as some basic syntagmatic expressions discussed in examples (1–11) in section 4, e.g. ‘to rain’ xià yǔ 下雨, ‘to thunder’ dǎ léi 打雷, ‘to blow wind’ guā fēng 颳風 etc.

Based on collocations, we can discern five different clusters surrounding the basic level terms (marked by a thick-lined frame), presented in (14–18). Noun combinations that would belong to the specific, subordinate level (marked by a thin-lined frame) are onomasiological extensions of the basic level items.

(14) Precipitation cluster: RAIN ( ), SNOW (xuě), HAIL (bīngbáo)

(15) Wind cluster: WIND (   fēng)

(16) Thunder cluster: THUNDER (léi), LIGHTNING (shǎndiàn)

(17) Sunshine cluster: SUN (tàiyáng)

(18) Cloud cluster: CLOUD ( yún), FOG ()

However, apart from the paradigmatic items surrounding the basic level items, it is immediately apparent that these clusters tend to share the same lexical verbs or construction type. For the precipitation cluster, the verbs are xià 下 ‘down > fall’, jiàng 降 ‘descend, drop’, and luò 落 ‘fall, drop’. The semantics of these three verbs match the meteorological event of rain and its salient downward motion path. Wind has its own verb guā 6 ‘blow (wind)’, setting it apart collocationally from the precipitation cluster. The thunder cluster is characterized by the verb 打 ‘hit, beat’, which fits in with its semelfactive Aktionsart (Comrie 1976). It is remarkable that the thunder doesn’t roll in Chinese; instead it hits or beats! The sunshine cluster, argued to have an argument-predicate construction in section 3, displays verbs like shēng 昇/升 ‘rise’, zhào 照 ‘illuminate’. However, when the sunshine is construed more statively, e.g. ‘sunny day’, we see once more the modifier expression of qíng(tiān) 晴天 ‘sunny (day)’. The same goes for what we have called the cloud cluster: a modifier expression in yīn(tiān) 陰天 ‘cloudy (day)’.

One could wonder if these expressions and clusters appear similarly in syntagmatic constructions of other languages. In the next section, we will compare the clusters identified in Figure 3 and the examples provided in (1–11) to the FrameNet project (Fillmore & Atkins 1992; Fillmore 2003).

4.3 FrameNet

While a Chinese FrameNet exists, it has not yet reached the exhaustiveness 7 of English FrameNet, which can also be consulted online. 8 The relevant frames for this study include the Weather Frame (storm, rain, snow, sunshine etc.), the Precipitation Frame (rain, hail, drizzle, snow etc.), the Being Wet Frame (dewy, damp, soaked etc.), the Level of Light Frame (dark, light, sunny etc.), and the Sound Frame (thunder). However, there does not seem to be a frame associated with ‘wind’.


Ambient conditions of temperature, precipitation, windiness, and sunniness pertain at a certain Place and Time. Further Specification of the conditions that pertain may also be indicated.

e.g.A blustery STORM blew in.

There was a thick BLIZZARD last night.

An armada of HAILSTORMS swept through the region.


Water in some solid or liquid form (the Precipitation) falls from the sky at a particular Place and Time, lasting for a particular Duration. The Rate or Quantity of precipitation may also be indicated.

e.g.It RAINED in Berkeley yesterday.


An Item is in a state of wetness with the possibility of the wetting Liquid being mentioned, along with the Degree of wetness.

e.g.The mop is DRENCHED with water from last night’s rain.


There is a gradable amount of light in a particular Location. In some cases the Source of light may be indicated instead of the Location.

e.g.The small print was bearly readable by the light of the very DIM torch.

Tal flew over the barrier and into the DARK tunnel.


This frame is concerned with the percepts that vibrations which travel through the air or another medium produce in hearing organs. […]. A Noisy_event may be mentioned which gives rise to the sound. Alternatively, the sound may be attributed to a Sound_source, which is construed as a point source emitting the sound. […]

e.g.I awoke to the CLASH of a jackhammer on concrete.

The frames shown above discuss the different arguments that can be involved in the linguistic expressions in English that are relevant to the weather. They share the argument that denotes the weather phenomenon and are in this light similar to the Chinese expressions that were analyzed through our exploration of WordNet (section 4.2). However, when these two types of research are compared, it is possible to spot some differences in conceptualization between the two languages. The five clusters and their relation to the frames can be found in Figure 4.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Chinese clusters compared to English FrameNet

Citation: Cognitive Semantics 4, 2 (2018) ; 10.1163/23526416-00402003

In Figure 4 the English frames are grouped together. The five rows of terms represent clusters of basic levels that were marked as the nucleus of an expression in Figure 3. We can see that Mandarin seems to conceptualize them differently from English, even though weather phenomena are supposed to be similar for us all. In the next section, we explore the possibility that the differences can be viewed as remnants of earlier times and the interplay with the Chinese writing system.

5 Iconicity and Cultural Influence of the Writing System

Cognitive Linguistics can be characterized by three fundamental ideas: the primacy of semantics in linguistic analysis, the perspectival nature of linguistic meaning, and the encyclopedic nature of linguistic meaning (Geeraerts & Cuyckens 2007:5). Part of this encyclopedic perspective of language usage should include the tools and writing system a linguistic community uses. Some studies have argued in favour of this, e.g. Koriat & Levy’s (1977) exploration of writing systems, or Komatsu et al.’s (2014) finding that the Japanese hiragana is conceived as rounder and softer than the angular katakana script. A corpus study of Japanese mimetics recently confirmed this distribution (Akita 2017).

Turning back to Chinese, then, we do not propose equating Chinese spoken language to a study of the written language, but we do believe this interaction between the spoken and written language merits detailed study, especially in lexical semantics. Within the lexical field of WEATHER this level sheds some light on the construal of the different categories outlined above (see Figure 4). For this reason, we turn to the etymology of the basic level items (see Figure 1).

An adequate etymology of Chinese should provide an analysis of the written form, in the way that this is usually done in Chinese or Sinological studies. However, attention should be given as well to the phonological evolution, a dimension of etymology that is unfortunately often overlooked (Baxter & Sagart 1998).

For the semasiological etymologies of the characters, we relied on three sources: the first is the Shuōwén jiězì 說文解字 ‘Explaining graphs and analyzing characters’, a second century dictionary whose main contribution to the traditional study of characters is the identification of so-called ‘radicals’ (bùshǒu 部首) or ‘functional components’ (piānpáng 偏旁) 9 —elements that approximately designate the semantic domain of a given lexeme. The correlation is not hermeneutically sealed, but can be inferred within most of the system. The second source is the Kangxi Dictionary (Kāngxī zìdiǎn 康熙字典), compiled during the reign of the Qing-dynasty Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662–1722). The major innovation of this project lies in the structuring characters according to a set of 214 radicals, a system still used by many modern dictionaries. Both the Shuowen jiezi and the Kangxi Dictionary are available at the online dictionary Handian (2004–2018). However, because they are both naïve classifications which were only aware of contemporary characters and did not include rigorous study (e.g. archeological evidence) on the evolution of those characters, increasingly more experts are elevating the tradition to modern standards. 10

First, we show the character development of the basic level items (Figure 5). The most important stages in the development are jiǎgǔwén 甲骨文 (“oracle bones”: ca. 14th—11th century BC), jīnwén 金文 (bronze script: ca. 10th century—500 BC), xiǎozhuàn 小篆 (small seal script: ca. 3rd century BC—200 AD), and kǎitǐ 楷體 (regular script: 200 AD—now).

Figure 5
Figure 5

Character development

Citation: Cognitive Semantics 4, 2 (2018) ; 10.1163/23526416-00402003

It is clear that the RAIN radical 雨 dominates the table: ‘rain’, ‘snow’, ‘lightning’, ‘fog’, ‘hail’, but also ‘thunder’ and ‘cloud’. The last two of this set merit some explanation. ‘Thunder’ originally used to consist of two or more connected FIELD radicals, an iconic writing form of a thunderstorm (Lu 2006:135–136). ‘Cloud’ used to have its own form 云 but was later reanalyzed as 雲 because 云 grammaticalized into a quotative particle (‘to state’). It is ironic that in traditional characters the 雲 variant is still in use, while the simplified character is once again 云. The radical for SUN 日 is pictographic. The last radical, WIND, does not have a very well-established etymology, although some etymologists like Chi (2014:898) argue that WIND was written as PHOENIX in older stages, making it a phonetic loan, that was later reanalysed as the functional component 几 (or 凡) (also see example (31) for modern characters). In any case, 3/4 of the table of basic level characters uses the pictographic RAIN component. This high type frequency suggests that even in ancient times, the Chinese literati saw this as the prototypical marker of meteorological events.

Apart from formal character etymology, which is a widely studied discipline in Chinese departments, we stand behind the view that such studies should also take their phonological development into consideration—a practice still adopted only marginally. This is worth exploring because previous research conducted by Sagart (1999) features case studies of word families in Old Chinese that share the same root but change meaning through affixation. Based on the reconstruction system devised by Baxter and Sagart (Baxter 1992; Sagart 1999; Baxter & Sagart 2014), we present the sound changes in the format Mandarin Chinese < Middle Chinese (MC) < Old Chinese (OC). This is followed by the earliest semantic meaning we could find, based on Liu (2006), henceforth LZ.

(24)rain: 雨 yǔ < MC hjuX < OC *C.ɢʷ(r)aʔ

Water falling down from the skies (一)(LZ:813–814).

(25)snow: 雪 xuě < MC sjwet < OC *sot

Sweeping away (the lower part was originally 彗 ‘broom’) the precipitation (LZ: 815).

(26)lightning: 電 diàn < MC denH < OC *lˤin-s

Praying (申) to the gods for rain, they answer with lightning (LZ: 820).

(27)fog: 霧 wù < MC mjuH < OC *kə.mok-s

Probably a phono-semantic compound from the RAIN-radical and ‘troubled eyesight’ 瞀 mào < MC maewk < OC *mˤ<r>uk.

(28)hail: 雹 báo < MC baewk < OC *C.bˤruk

Probably a thicker variant of ‘rain or precipitation falling down’ (own interpretation), later reanalyzed as a phono-semantic compound from the rain-radical and ‘wrap, bundle’ 包 bāo < MC paew < *pˤ<r>u.

(29)thunder: 雷 léi < MC lwoj < OC *C.rˤuj

Praying (申) to the gods for rain, they answer with a sound that resembles wheels (cf. Fig. 5) (LZ:814–815).

(30)cloud: 雲(云) yún < MC hjun < OC *ɢʷən

Cloud (and reanalyzed with the RAIN component) (LZ:819)

(31)wind: 風 fēng < MC pjuwngH < OC *prəm-s

Presumably written with the character for PHOENIX (currently: 鳳), which was pronounced similar (OC *prəm-s) and differentiated after the introduction of the component 凡 (LZ:898).

(32)sun: 日 rì < MC nyit < OC *C.nit

Pure pictogram of the sun (LZ:519).

(33)sun: 陽 yáng < MC yang < OC * laŋ

‘high and clear spot / hill’ > ‘sunny side of a hill’ > ‘sun’. This became the opposite of the yīn 陰 in the well-known pair yin-yang (following Gao & Tu’s (2014:1256) argument).

Reconstructing the phonology of the basic level items in (24–33) was necessary because, as previously stated, word families in Old Chinese may emerge. However, the phonological reconstruction did not exhibit any signs of a coherent word family system. Instead, what we have here is a conceptual organization influenced by the writing system, because of its system-internal network of supporting components (as shown above). But is there no systematicity or iconicity reflected in the phonological form of the items? That is a question we attempt to answer in the next section.

6 Iconicity and Ideophones

As seen in the previous section, the phonological form of the basic level items in the WEATHER domain did not reveal any discernible method of grouping them together. However, what could be identified were descriptions that arguably served as the reasoning behind the composition of some of the characters. On a higher level, we see conceptual grouping between these lexical items based on functional components (Figure 5). This not only shows that the two systems of spoken language and written language intersect at some points, as was argued in section 5, but that languages can take different strategies to economically adopt measures of iconicity for their organization.

It is worth pointing out that we understand iconicity here as understood in ideophone research (Hinton, Nichols & Ohala 1994; Voeltz & Kilian-Hatz 2001), viz. with lexical items mimicking their referent in one way or the other. This can be called absolute iconicity in the case of onomatopoeia, e.g. woof-woof to resemble the barking of a dog. It can also mean relative iconicity or diagrammatic iconicity, e.g. fuwafuwa ‘fluffy’ and dokidoki ‘one’s heart throbbing’ (cf. section 5), where the consonants and word structure of the form analogically resemble their referent (Dingemanse 2012; Dingemanse et al. 2015).

In relation to the weather we follow Magnus’s (2001) analysis of English phonesthemes: if many items in the English lexicon display a level of sound-symbolism, phonesthemes related to meteorological events include /w/ in snow, blow for dripping and blowing; /l/ in sleet, slush, flood for liquid motion etc. They do not necessarily constitute absolute iconicity, but rather a systematic correspondence network in the phonological system.

However, the findings from previous sections make it clear that different languages indeed can take on different strategies for their lexical organization. In terms of iconicity, most of the basic level items have an identifiable radical: RAIN 雨/⻗, SUN 日, WIND 几 (and CLOUD and THUNDER in earlier times). While it is debatable if the WIND radical is iconic or pictographic (cf. supra), it is widely accepted that RAIN and SUN are prototypical pictographs. These radicals figure as indices in the characters, but do so as stylized icons by themselves. This affords a certain economy in the writing system, viz. an intersection between the conceptual and lexical systems.

This discussion on iconicity leads us to the final topic to be addressed in this paper: how do these different strategies relate to ideophones? Ideophones, cross-linguistically defined as “marked words that depict sensory imagery” (Dingemanse 2011; 2012), tend to be marked in Chinese in their phonological form by partial or full reduplication (Mok 2001; Lu 2006; Meng 2012; Van Hoey 2015), as well as depicting a large set of sensory imagery that includes audition, vision, texture, and feelings among others (Van Hoey 2016; Van Hoey & Lu in prep.).

As the data 11 in (34–38) shows, Chinese also has ideophones related to the weather. As illustrated below, they are marked by full reduplication (34, 37) or partial reduplication (35, 36, 38), as well as phonesthemes such as the liquids /l/ and /m/ for liquid motion, or bilabials /f/ and /p/ for heavy rainfall events (37–38). Furthermore, there is radical support in the written forms: the WATER radical 氵 in (34–35) and the RAIN radical 雨/⻗ in (36–38).

(34)淋淋 línlín < MC lim lim ‘streaming and sluicing’, ‘dash and spatter’

(35)淋漓 línlí < MC lim lje ‘light drizzle, mizzle’

(36)霢霂 màimù < MC mweak muwk ‘soaked and steeped, sluicing and spewing’

(37)霏霏 fēifēi < MC pjɨj pjɨj ‘heavy fall of snow or rain; flurried, pelting’

(38)霹靂 pīlì < MC phek lek ‘thunderclap, thunderbolt’

Apart from this group of ideophones, it is possible to identify another group of ideophones (presented in 39–42) that are marked in their phonological form but do not fully get the same support in the written form. The ‘sound of thunder’ in (39) adheres to the prototypical reduplication with lónglóng but can be preceded by the rhyming hóng. It is presumed that the nasals and rounded back vowels iconically depict the thunder. The ideophones for rainfall in (40–41) display some variation in their written form. However, (41) is felt to be more visual because of the usage of xī 希 ‘scattered, scarce’. 12

(39)(轟)隆隆 (hōng) lóng lóng ‘sound of thunder’

(40)唏哩嘩啦 xīlī huālā ‘streaming and sluicing, heavy rainfall’

(41)稀裡嘩啦 xīlī huālā ‘streaming and sluicing, heavy rainfall’ + VISUAL

(42)滴滴答答 dīdī dādā ‘lighter rainfall, just beginning or about to end’

The two groups of ideophones (34–38) vs. (39–42) also differ in the system they belong to, viz. the first group tends to be more literary and more formal, while the second group is more used in spoken language. A similar observation of two strata of ideophones was hinted at by Mok (2001), and further corroborates the discussion on the renewed attention writing systems deserve in lexical semantics and cognitive linguistics in general. A conceptual model that visualizes the tension between the two systems can be found in Figure 6, in which the ideophones in (40) and (47) are used to illustrate the phenomenon.

Figure 6
Figure 6

Spinning top model for ideophones

Citation: Cognitive Semantics 4, 2 (2018) ; 10.1163/23526416-00402003

The lower three-sided pyramid in Figure 6 is a conceptual model that was established in Lu’s study (2006) for Japanese ideophones and their Idealized Cognitive Models (Lakoff 1987). She noticed a similar interplay between the <writing> system, the <spoken> system, and the <referent>. These three poles share a stand-for relation between each other, and converge in the other pole below, the <symbol>. The model was expanded later (Van Hoey 2016; Van Hoey & Lu in prep.), as a response to the sensory hierarchy for ideophones that was proposed by Dingemanse (2012). The cloud that can be seen on top of Figure 6 is a tentative chart of the different sensory domains that ideophones in Chinese can express, with the synesthetic links between the different domains marked by a black line. Van Hoey and Lu established this selection of the conceptual semantic map as the language-specific <filter> or <selector> to account for the variation and similarity between ideophones across languages.

In Figure 6 it can then be seen that the ICM of línlín (34) and xīlī huālā (41) must connect their sensory imagery (SOUND, as well as SIGHT and MOVEMENT) to the <referent> pole across the <filter>. Because of the markedness of ideophones (by definition, cf. supra) a link can also be posited to the <sound> pole. However, the support offered by radicals in the Chinese writing system is absent in the <writing> pole for (41), but it does exist for (34). The question should be raised if this semiotic model, named the spinning top model after its shape, can also be applied in other parts of the non-marked lexicon. Based on the discussion above, the answer seems that for the WEATHER domain, this is an effective model.

7 Discussion and Conclusion

We began this article (section 3) with a discussion of the typological framework for meteorological expressions (Eriksen, Kittilä & Kolehmainen 2010; 2012; 2015). It was shown where Chinese meteorological expressions fit within their framework. Contrary to what they proposed for Cantonese, another Sinitic language, we argue that Mandarin is mostly argument-oriented. An exception to this tendency is static meteorological events like temperature, climate or light conditions. It will prove fruitful to compare findings from this research with other Sinitic languages in a synchronic manner, as well as sketching the diachronic evolution of these events. As briefly mentioned in footnote 1, previous stages seemed to code 雨 ‘to rain’ as a predicate and as an argument. The evolution of this lexeme and other lexemes deserves more attention.

Drawing conclusions from the argument orientation of Mandarin Chinese weather expressions, section 4.1 attempted the construction of a taxonomy: a paradigmatically organized lexical field. Very clearly, different levels of saliency could be differentiated, with the basic level being the most prominent. Figure 1 shows that this level is occupied by ‘wind’, ‘hail’, ‘snow’, ‘rain’, ‘sun’, ‘thunder’, ‘lightning’, ‘fog, mist’, and ‘cloud’. While this differentiation into different levels was accomplished with the help of native speakers, psycholinguistic experiments could prove the robustness of this schema. Such experiments could then be used for cross-linguistic comparison and shed more light on how people conceptualize the weather.

For now, however, we exploited the basic levels as described above to look for conceptual clustering based on WordNet approaches in section 4.2. We found that Chinese WordNet provided expressions that are mostly paradigmatic or prototypically syntagmatic, viz. it was possible to discern which basic level items cluster together based on the verb they share. Since they are argument-oriented, they lack a verb in basic linguistic usage. Subsequently, five different clusters emerged from the data: precipitation, wind, thunder, sunshine and cloud. An interesting and necessary comparison with frame data from the English FrameNet project (section 4.3) revealed that Chinese groups similar phenomena more precisely, in smaller clusters than English. English frames differentiate between two main clusters: precipitation and weather, with special subframes in the weather frame for the level of light (‘sunshine’) and sound (‘thunder’). This finding instigates two questions: how would other languages fare in this comparison? And how can (Chinese) FrameNet be improved to accommodate both language specificity and cross-linguistic descriptive power? This is a question that has been the subject of discussion, e.g. Haspelmath (2010) who disambiguates ‘cross-linguistic concepts’ as opposed to ‘language-specific categories’, and requires more studies.

In section 5, the cultural influence of the writing system on the linguistic system was discussed. It should be repeated that we accept the spoken language as the primary system—as is evidenced by countless indigenous peoples worldwide that may not have a writing system, yet do use language. However, in cultures that do have a writing system, this can sometimes influence the primary linguistic system and should therefore not be fully ignored in linguistic research, since it constitutes an integral part of the psychological reality of these language users.

Because the Chinese writing system has been in usage for a very long time (see section 5), it made sense to inspect the etymology of the basic level items related to the weather. However, we argued in favour of including a (reconstructed) phonological evolution and a semasiological evolution next to the formal evolution of the written characters. Phonology revealed little to nothing in search of the discovery of a word family. However, it was particularly revealing that five different radicals could be identified in the oldest stages of the characters, but that they later were reanalyzed according to three radicals. These original five radicals are the same as the five clusters identified in section 5. Furthermore, these radicals were argued to function as indices, but by themselves are iconic (pictograms). It was then summarized that there are two strategies for iconic economy that languages can follow: they can display iconic features (as in e.g. phonesthemes) in the phonological form, or, as is the case of Chinese, they can also use the writing system for conceptual organization.

This fact led us to investigate ideophones related to the weather in Chinese, because ideophones are by definition formally marked and often employ phonesthemes. Using the semiotic model recently proposed by Van Hoey and Lu (in prep.), it was possible to account for two strata of ideophones identified in Chinese: one stratum that is both phonologically and semantically marked as well as supported by iconicity in the writing system; the other in which there is only formal and semantic markedness. The limits of this semiotic model remain to be seen, but at least in the context of the domain of the weather it has proven to be revelatory. The question of iconicity is a fascinating one and deserves more research, not only for meteorological expressions in Chinese but also for other lexical domains, other languages, and other approaches. It is our hope that this study will inspire more research into this domain.

I would like to thank my advisor Lu Chiarung 呂佳蓉 for all the discussions and help she provided, as well as the students of the Lexical Semantics 詞彙語意學 class held at National Taiwan University in the Autumn semester of 2015. I’m also thankful to the the participants of the CLS-MPI Iconicity Focus Group Workshop: Types of Iconicity in Language Use, Development and Processing, held at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen (6–7 July 2017), where this paper was presented as a poster. Special thanks to CJ Young and Danielle Venckeleer for the numerous editorial comments, as well as to Chris Schmidt for his etymological help. As for funding, I would like to express my gratitude to National Taiwan University’s Fellowship for Outstanding International Doctoral Students, as well as the subsidies provided by the College of Liberal Arts.


  • Akita Kimi . 2017. Decomposing the lexical iconicity hierarchy for ideophones. CLS-MPI Iconicity Focus Group Workshop: Types of Iconicity in Lanugage Use, Development and Processing. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baxter, Hubbard William . 1992. A Handbook of Old Chinese Phonology. (Trends in Linguistics 64). Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Baxter, Hubbard William & Sagart Laurent . 1998. Word formation in Old Chinese. In Lee Packard Jerome (ed.), New Approaches to Chinese Word Formation: Morphology, Phonology and the Lexicon in Modern and Ancient Chinese, 3576. Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Baxter, Hubbard William & Sagart Laurent . 2014. Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Berlin Brent . 1976. The concept of rank in ethnobiological classification: Some evidence from Aguarana folk botany. American Ethnologist 3. 381400.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berlin Brent . 1978. Ethnobiological classification. In Rosch Eleanor & Lloyd Barbara B. (eds.), Cognition and Categorization, 1978. Hillsdale: NJ: Erlbaum.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berlin Brent , Breedlove Dennis E. & Raven Peter H. . 1973. General principles of classification and nomenclature in folk biology. American Anthropologist 75. 214242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berlin Brent , Breedlove Dennis E. & Raven Peter H. . 1974. Principles of Tzeltal Plant Classification: an Introduction to the Botanical Ethnography of a Mayan-Speaking People of Highland Chiapas. New York: Academic Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bisang Walter . 2008. Precategoriality and syntax-based parts of speech: The case of Late Archaic Chinese. Studies in Language 32(3). 568589.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bleotu Adina Camelia . 2012. Why does IT always rain on me? On weather verbs. In Surányi Balázs & Varga Diána (eds.), Proceedings of the First Central European Conference in Linguistics for Postgraduate Students, 5981. Budapest: Pázmáy Péter Catholic University.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chao Yuen Ren . 1968. A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Berkely and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press.

  • Chi Hsiu-Sheng 季旭昇. 2014. Shuowen Xinzheng 說文新證 [New evidence of the Shuowen]. Taipei: Yee Wen Publishing Company 藝文印書館.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Comrie Bernard . 1976. Aspect: An Introduction to the Study of Verbal Aspect and Related Problems. Reprinted. (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics 2). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Croft William . 1991. Syntactic Categories and Grammatical Relations: The Cognitive Organization of Information. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Croft William . 2000. Parts of speech as language universals and as language particular categories. In Vogel Petra M. & Comrie Bernard (eds.), Approaches to Typology of Word Classes, 65102. (Empirical Approaches to Language Typology 23). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Croft William . 2001. Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

  • Cruse D. A. 2011. Meaning in Language: An Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics. 3rd ed. (Oxford Textbooks in Linguistics). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DeFrancis John . 1984. The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Press.

  • Dingemanse Mark . 2011. The Meaning and Use of Ideophones in Siwu. Nijmegen: Radboud University Nijmegen dissertation.

  • Dingemanse Mark . 2012. Advances in the cross-linguistic study of ideophones. Language and Linguistics Compass 6(10). 654672.

  • Dingemanse Mark , Blasi Damián E. , Lupyan Gary , Christiansen Morten H. & Monaghan Padraic . 2015. Arbitrariness, iconicity and systematicity in Language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 19(10). 603615.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eriksen Pål K. , Kittilä Seppo & Kolehmainen Leena . 2012. Weather and language. Language and Linguistics Compass 6(6). 383402. doi:10.1002/lnc3.341.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eriksen Pål , Kittilä Seppo & Kolehmainen Leena . 2010. Linguistics of weather: Cross-linguistic patterns of meteorological expressions. Studies in Language 34(3). 565601.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eriksen Pål , Kittilä Seppo & Kolehmainen Leena . 2015. The world is raining: Meteorological predicates and their subjects in a typological perspective. In Helasvuo Marja-Liisa & Huumo Tuomas (eds.), Subjects in Constructions - Canonical and Non-Canonical, 205228. (Constructional Approaches to Language volume 16). Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fellbaum Christiane (ed.). 1998. WordNet: An Electronic Lexical Database. (Language, Speech, and Communication). Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fillmore Charles J. 2003. FrameNet and Frame Semantics. International Journal of Lexicography 16. 231366.

  • Fillmore Charles J. & Sue Atkins B. T. . 1992. Toward a frame-based lexicon: The semantics of risk and its neighbors. In Lehrer Adrienne & Kittay Eva Feder (eds.), Frames, Fields, and Contrasts: New Essays in Semantic and Lexical Organization, 75102. Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 高明 Gao Ming & Baikui 涂白奎 Tu . 2014. Guwenzi leibian 古文字 類編 [Classifying old characters]. Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe 上海古籍出版社.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Geeraerts Dirk . 2006. Words and Other Wonders: Papers on Lexical and Semantic Topics. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 33). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Geeraerts Dirk . 2010. Theories of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

  • Geeraerts Dirk & Cuyckens Hubert . 2007. Introducing Cognitive Linguistics. In Geeraerts Dirk & Cuyckens Hubert (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 321. (Oxford Handbooks). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Geeraerts Dirk , Grondelaers Stefan & Bakema Peter . 1994. The Structure Of Lexical Variation: Meaning, Naming, and Context. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 5). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gipper Helmut . 1959. Sessel oder Stuhl? Ein Beitrag zur Bestimmung von Wortinhalten im Bereich der Sachkultur. In Gipper Helmut (ed.), Sprache, Schlüssel zur Welt: Festschrift für Leo Weisgerber, 271292. Düsseldorf: Schwann.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Givón Talmy . 2001. Syntax: An Introduction , volumeI. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Graff David & Chen Ke . 2003. Chinese Gigaword LDC2003T09. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium.

  • Handian 漢典. 2004–2018. Handian 漢典 [Chinese dictionary]. (24 May, 2018).

  • Handler Abram . 2014. An Empirical Study of Semantic Similarity in Wordnet and Word2Vec: A Thesis. New Orleans: University of New Orleans Master thesis.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haspelmath Martin . 2010. Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in crosslinguistic studies. Language 86(3). 663687. doi:10.1353/lan.2010.0021.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayle Stephen . 2011. On the null subjects of Chinese weather verbs. Working Papers in Linguistics, vol. 2. Fairfax, VI. George Mason University. (31 August, 2017).

  • Hinton Leanne , Nichols Johanna & Ohala John J. (eds.). 1994. Sound Symbolism. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge Univ. Press.

  • Hsieh Shu-Kai & Huang Chu-Ren . 2009–2015. Chinese WordNet (Zhongwen cihui wanglu 中文詞彙網路). (1 September, 2016).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Huang Chu-Ren , Kilgarriff Adam , Wu Yiching , Chiu Chih-Ming , Smith Simon , Rychlý Pavel , Bai Ming-Hong & Chen Keh-Jiann . 2005. Chinese Sketch Engine and the extraction of grammatical collocations. Proceedings of the Fourth SIGHAN Workshop on Chinese Language Processing, 4855. Jeju Island, Korea: Asian Federation of Natural Language Processing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jakubíček Miloš , Kilgarriff Adam , Kovvář Vojtěch , Rychlý Pavel & Suchomel Vít . 2013. The TenTen corpus family. In Hardie Andrew & Love Robbie (eds.), Corpus Linguistics 2013: Abstact Book, 125127. Lancaster: UCREL.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kilgarriff Adam , Baisa Vít , Bušta Jan , Jakubíček Miloš , Kovvář Vojtěch , Michelfeit Jan , Rychlý Pavel & Suchomel Vít . 2014. The Sketch Engine: Ten years on. Lexicography 1. 736.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Takanori 小松孝徳 Komatsu , Satoshi 中村聡史 Nakamura & Masaaki 鈴木正明 Suzuki . 2014. “Hiragana wa katakana yori mo marukkoi yo ne?”: Moji no sūshiki hyōgen oyobi kyokuritsu no riyō kanōsei 「ひらがなはカタカナよりも丸っこいよね?」:文字の数式表現および曲率の利用可能性 (“Don’t you think hiragana is rounder than katakana?”: Availabilities of mathematical representations of characters and its curvature). IPSJ SIG Technical Report 2014-HCI-159(7). 1–7.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Koriat Asher & Levy Ilia . 1977. The symbolic implications of vowels and of their orthographic representations in two natural languages. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 6(2). 93103.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kroll Paul W. 2015. A student’s dictionary of Classical and Medieval Chinese. (Handbook of Oriental Studies: Section 4 China 30). Leiden: Brill.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lakoff George . 1987. Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. paperback ed., [Nachdr.]. Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Langacker Ronald W. 1987. Foundations of Cognitive Grammar 1: Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar