Viewpoint shift across languages: A Multiple-Parallel-Text approach to “tense shifting” in a tenseless language

6 Dec 2022


In this talk, I introduce a cross-linguistic approach to the construal of viewpoint in narratives, drawing on linguistic samples from English and Chinese. In particular, I compare the linguistic manifestations of narrative viewpoint and the resultant construals that are invoked by the viewpoint expressions in the two languages. In my analysis, I address the viewpoint effect of tense marking and the cognitive-typological consequence that results from a lack of an obligatory tense marking system in the Chinese toolkit. I conclude by relating my findings to a discussion of the vague and context-dependent nature of the Chinese language in light of linguistic relativity.

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