The Pragmatic Motivation Behind the Generating Mechanism of New “Bei +X” Construction

Bo LI, Yali CHEN


Recently, the new “bei +X” as a catch phrase has been gained much attention of researchers, such as “被代表” (being represented), “被幸福” (being happy), 被高铁 (being high speed rail) etc.. The new “bei+X” construction adopts the form of traditional “bei+X” construction, but applies the words and expressions which are not allowed in traditional “bei+X” construction in order to achieve pragmatic negation with distorted language form and a stressed “bei”. Based on this new construction, people can satirize some abnormal social phenomena and express their impotence. Previous studies of this construction mainly centered on forms and usages, and with more and more such kind of phrases appear, researchers began to study the generating mechanism of this construction. However, most previous studies of it are based on construction grammar and the study from the perspective of pragmatics mainly focuses on pragmatic effects and values while the generating mechanism is less explained. Therefore, this paper aims to explore the pragmatic motivation behind the generating mechanism of new “bei +X” in some specific principles: contexts constrain, requirement for the maxim of minimization, and face-saving. The findings will provide a complementary explanation of the generating mechanism of new “bei +X” construction and enable us to have a better understanding of this new construction.


New “bei+X” construction; Pragmatics motivation; Maxim of minimization; Context constrain; Face-saving model

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