QLVL members - Weiwei Zhang


Weiwei Zhang obtained her Bachelor's degree, with a specialization in English, at Beihang University (BUAA, China) in 2006. She then studied Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at Beihang University and received her MA degree in 2008. With a four-year funding from the Scholarships for Excellence Programma (CSC & KULeuven joint scholarship), she is pursuing her PhD degree at the QLVL research unit. Her main research interests lie in the fields of semantics and Cognitive Linguistics.


E-mail: weiwei.zhang@arts.kuleuven.be
Phone: ++32 16 32 48 21
Fax: ++32 16 32 47 67
Surface mail: Department of Linguistics, Blijde-Inkomststraat 21 PO Box 03308, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Office: room 02.38 of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Leuven



In her PhD research, Weiwei intends to investigate the variation in metonymy by a usage-based approach. Within the Cognitive Linguistics paradigm, the project aims to find out what factors may account for the variation. Four case studies are conducted to achieve the goal. The comparative study inquires into a comparison of metonymy for person between English and Chinese. This study is based on Chinese metonymy dictionaries and the Historical Thesaurus of English. Some descriptive statistic techniques are employed to do the comparison. It attempts to reveal the culturally-pertinent cross-language variation in metonymy.
The diachronic study examines the metonymies for woman. Possible metonymic expressions for woman collected from dictionaries are confronted with the Historical Chinese Corpus. Observations are coded with expression-related, diachronic/stylistic and discursive factors. Then, descriptive statistic techniques are used to find out the diachronic and stylistic variation of metonymic usage.
The lectal perspective includes a pair of studies from two opposite directions. Semasiologically, it explores the factors influencing the metonymic vs. non-metonymic meanings of capital names. Onomasiologically, it studies the factors that influence the alternation of metonymic vs. non-metonymic designations for the concept government. These two studies are based on a self-built corpus of newspaper articles and Usenet postings from two language varieties of Chinese, i.e. Mainland Chinese and Taiwan Chinese. The corpus is tagged for a set of factors, after which the multivariate analysis (specifically, mixed-effects logistic regression) is applied. It aims to show the alternation is not a question of free variation, but signals a specific lectal stratification of the linguistic community.

Representative publications

Zhang, W.; Speelman, D.; Geeraerts, D. (2011). Variation in the (non) metonymic capital names in Mainland Chinese and Taiwan Chinese. Metaphor and the Social World 1 (1), p. 90-112.