An Interdisciplinary Study of the Scalar Verbs in English and Thai

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Rungpat Roengpitya

Abstract

In general, one of the ways to express the concepts of scales or the so-called “scalarity” is to use adjectival expressions. Recently, the concepts about scalarity have been widely discussed, as they were also found to be embedded in the verb-phrase constructions (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, 2011).  In the previous literature such as Levin (2009, 2010) and Rappaport Hovav (2008, 2011), scalar verbs can be classified into three types: those of property scales, volume/ extent scales, and spatial scales. As previous studies exemplified scalar verbs in single sentences (or sentences in isolation), a question arose of how non-scalar versus scalar verbs can be analyzed in the English-Thai languages in natural contexts such as literary works (Rowling, 2012; Pinpinat, 2012).  This paper aims at, qualitatively, studying English-Thai verb scalarity, extracted from selected literary works and analyzed through interdisciplinary views, which included the fields of English-Thai syntax, semantics, cognitive linguistics, and literature.  The results revealed that verb scalarity was found in both English and Thai literary works.  However, the ways to present verb scalarity in English and Thai, as found in the literary works, differed to the fact that Thai has the serial verb constructions (Muansuwan, 2000; Sookgont et al., 2015; Sudmuk, 2005; Takahashi, 2009; Thepkanjana, 1986) to convey the concept of scalarity, whilst English does not.  It is hoped that this research will shed light on to other future English and Thai interdisciplinary studies.

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