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A Man Needs a Female like a Fish Needs a Lobotomy: The Role of Adjectival Nominalization in Pejorative Meaning

Description: This thesis documents the grammatical processes and semantic impact of innovative ways to pejoratively reference individuals through adjectival nominalization. Research on nominalized adjectives suggests that when meanings shift from having one property (1) to becoming a kind with associated properties (2), the noun form often encodes stereotypical attributes: [1] "Her hair is blonde." (hair color); [2] "He married a blonde." (female, sexy, dumb). Likewise, the linguistic phenomenon of genericity refers to classes or kinds and different grammatical structures reflect properties in different ways. In 1 and 2 above, the shift from adjectival blonde to indefinite NP a blonde moves the focus from the definitional characteristic to the prototypical. Similarly, adjectival gay [3] is definitional, but the marked, nominal form [4] adds socially-based conceptions of the "average" gay (example from Twitter): [3] jesus christ i make a joke and now im a gay man? (sexuality) [constructed]; [4] jesus christ i make a joke and now im a gay? … (flamboyant, abnormal). To investigate innovative reference via nominalization, two corpus studies based in human judgment were conducted. In the first study, a subset of the corpus (N=121) was annotated for pejoration by five additional linguists following the same guidelines as the original annotator. In the second study, 800 instances were annotated by non-experts using crowd-sourcing. In both studies we find a correspondence between nominal status and pejorative meaning.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Robinson, Melissa Aubrey
Partner: UNT Libraries

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in Ki Idioms

Description: The purpose of this thesis is to examine idiomatic structures with ki in the ki-wo [transitive verb] and ki-ga [intransitive verb] constructions. It is argued that for Japanese language learners, it is crucial to be able to understand and produce ki idioms, because they are frequently used in everyday speech. There are often misconceptions regarding ki in the West for those who are fans of Japanese culture due to the influence of martial arts and anime, which paint ki as a spiritual energy that can be controlled and developed. However, upon examining the above mentioned idiomatic structures with ki, it is clear that ki can be expressed as both controllable by the subject of ki (transitive), as well as a thing that acts of its own accord and is spontaneous (intransitive). This thesis somewhat corroborates the studies of W. M. Jacobson, Zoe Pei Sui Luk , and Yoshihiko Ikegami by arguing that intransitive constructions are often used in Japanese, and examining both transitive and intransitive expressions with ki is significant to understanding the meanings produced in ki expressions. It is hoped that analyzing 37 transitive and intransitive idiomatic structures with ki will help Japanese language learners not only understand the syntactic and semantic aspects of transitivity in the Japanese language, but also to help these L2 learners conceptualize the abstract noun ki, which can be defined in so many different ways in a dictionary.
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Hoye, Nathaniel
Partner: UNT Libraries