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This book aims to classify the word production of foreign-inspired Chinese terms (FICT), within the language system of modern Chinese according to principles of cognitive semantics. FICT refers to a group of vocabulary items in Chinese that are formed and motivated by foreign entities or concepts. These words are designated by some foreign words, but no established foreign elements are in fact transferred from the donor language. Cognitive semantics, the approach adopted by this book, is the study of the mind and its relationship with embodied experience and culture.

The book establishes a group of terms identified as a particular category of borrowed Chinese words according to the motivation of word production, concerning human bodily perception and cognitive experience of foreign entities or concepts. These words can be categorized into five types: phonic loans, loan blends, graphic loan and FICT, based on the motivation of sound, form and meaning of foreign words, and sensory perception and cognition of foreign entities or concepts.

Employing language as a key methodological tool for uncovering conceptual organization and structure in human mind and thought, the author of this book explores the methods of FICT word production, such as sensory perceptual and metaphorical production in terms of principles of cognitive semantics within the Chinese language system. The various types of borrowed Chinese words are analyzed in terms of the theory and categorization, and FICT in particular are examined within the semantic model proposed here. The hypothesis of this book is to create a new approach to the investigation of Chinese loan words and the process of FICT word production within cognitive semantics.


“… it proves to be a very useful tool for providing productive insight into the field of Chinese linguistics. It is no mean achievement to be able to explain so clearly, and to demonstrate so convincingly, the validity and usefulness of this very demanding approach.” – Prof. Leonard E. Doucette, University of Toronto

“This is a new attempt to investigate Chinese borrowings in scholarship, and its method will be a forerunner of loan words in linguistic study.” – Prof. Guangming Zhang, Peking University

Table of Contents


Author’s Preface

Chapter 1: Introduction


Foreign-Inspired Words Chinese Terms and other Borrowings

The Cognitive Approach

Data and Methodology

Significance of the Study

Organization of the Study

Chapter 2: Review of the Recent Literature


Terminology of Chinese Borrowings

Meaning of Chinese Terminology

Intention and Extension

The User and Place of Usage

The Historical Evolution of Terminology

Classification of Chinese Borrowings

Native Scholar’s Classification

Non-Native Scholar’s Classification

New Classifications

Relevant Publications

Early Research Clue for Foreign-Inspired Words Chinese Terms

Some Dictionaries of Loan Words

Chapter 3: Theoretical Basis and Methodology


Cognitive Semantic Approach


Methods of Data Collection


Secondary Data

Methods of Data Analysis


Embodied Experiences

Image Schemas


Chapter 4: Categorization of Chinese Borrowings


Conceptual and Linguistic Categories

Prototype Theory

Principles of Categorization

Typicality of Categories of Chinese Borrowings

Fuzziness of Categories of Chinese Borrowings

Abstraction of Chinese Borrowings

Prototype Structure of Chinese Borrowings

Prototype Effects

Encyclopedic View of Chinese Borrowings

Levels of Categorization of Borrowings

Basic Categories of Borrowings

Basic Category Vocabulary

Chapter 5: Motivation and a Semantic Model of Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms


Motivation of Borrowings

Morpheme and Model of Compunds

Indigenous and Foreign Morphemes

Simple Words and Compounds

Inner Form of Words

Compound Model

Model of Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Categorization in the FICT Model

Generic Category

Perceptual Salience

Family Resemblances

Distinctive Properties

Categories of Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Chapter 6: Sensory Perceptual Production


Cognitive View of Language

Embodiment of Cognition

Principles of Cognitive Semantics

Cognitive Reproduction and Production

Sensory Perceptual Production

Sensory-Perceptual Systems

Visual Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms




Haptic Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Auditory Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Olfactory Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Flavor Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Sensorimotor Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Chapter 7: Metaphorical Production


Relevant Concept of Metaphors for Foreign-Inspired Chinese Terms

Literal and Figurative Language




Image Metaphors

Metaphorical Production

Orientational Metaphors

Image Metaphors

Conceptual Metaphor

Chapter 8: Conclusion


Categorization of Chinese Borrowings

Cognitive Treatments of FICT

Implications and Directions




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