Lexicalization Degree of Figurative Meaning Affects the Mental Organization of Body-Related Metaphorical Words in Chinese

Aitao Lu, John X. Zhang, Lei Mo, Jijia Zhang, Yuxiao Dang, Jinwang Yu
2010 International Journal of Psychological Studies  
The purpose of the present study was to examine how body-related Chinese metaphorical words are organized when the degree of lexicalization is taken into consideration. Three experiments were conducted using multidimensional scaling (MDS) and a priming paradigm. The results in Exp. 1 and 2 indicated that the dispersion of metaphorical words was influenced by degree of lexicalization to produce a clear separation between a cluster of highly lexicalized metaphorical words (HM) and a cluster of
more » ... y-part words (BW) with partially lexicalized metaphorical words (LM) scattering between these two clusters. Semantic priming effect based on a word's literal meaning was then assessed in Exp. 3 by contrasting a picture-word match condition with a picture-word mismatch condition using these three types of words. Significant positive priming effect was found for the BW words but not the LM words, while a reversed inhibitory effect was found for the HM words. Briefly, with the direct evidence from Exp. 1 and 2 showing a unique dispersion in the Euclidean distance map and the indirect evidence from Exp. 3 revealing the existence of literal meanings for the LM but not the HM words, this study showed that metaphorical words are organized based on their degree of lexicalization.
doi:10.5539/ijps.v2n2p136 fatcat:uohgjbfimjem7cwp3c5utpuetq