M.A. Theses in Linguistics at the University of North Dakota (Abstracts)
Ma, Kang Yuen (Felix) 1997
The Relation Between the Writing System and the Use of Metaphor in English and Chinese
This thesis presents evidence that there is a positive correlation between the rich visual elements in the Chinese writing system and its users' frequent use of visual imagery (specifically 'image-mappings') in composing metaphors and naming objects. In early 1997, Chinese and English questionnaires were distributed to Chinese-speakers and English-speakers in the USA and Hong Kong, in which they were requested to compose twenty novel metaphors with given words and to name three rocks given the rocks' descriptions and drawings. Statistical findings from the 335 questionnaires returned show that among all participants, those who answered their questionnaires in Chinese, those who had had more exposure to the Chinese writing system, and those who had had more recent exposure to the Chinese writing system, used significantly more image-mappings in composing metaphors and occasionally in naming rocks. Thus, it is concluded that the Chinese writing system has an influence on the language use of its users.
Download thesis from http://arts-sciences.und.edu/summer-institute-of-linguistics/theses/_files/docs/1997-ma-kang-yuen.pdf