Lexical Semantics of Mandarin Carry and Hold Verbs: A Frame-Based Constructional Analysis of 拿 and

  • Tianqi HeEmail author
  • Meichun Liu
  • Hongfeng He
Part of the Frontiers in Chinese Linguistics book series (FiCL, volume 9)


This study aims to identify the lexical semantic distinctions of Mandarin carry and hold verbs by comparing their syntactic and semantic behaviors from a frame-based constructional approach. The two commonly used verbs 拿 and 握 are intensively examined in terms of their collocational distributions in BCC. It is found that 拿 behaves like caused motion verbs ‘carry’ as it is more likely to co-occur with directional markers. Whereas, 握 behaves more like hold verbs, which tends to collocate with static-durative markers. This shows that although both verbs pertain to hand movement, 拿 is lexicalized with a purpose of moving, while 握 typically denote ‘prolonged contact’. This study is significant in providing a pilot study of the two verbs representing two basic semantic frames with clearly defined semantic-to-syntactic distinctions, and the findings are feasible to the construction of Mandarin VerbNet.


Frame-based constructional approach Collocational distributions Corpus-based Hold Carry 


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© Peking University Press 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chinese Language and LiteratureHua Zhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Linguistics and TranslationCity University of Hong KongKowloon TongChina

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