The purpose of this study is to examine the quasi-affix characteristics of ‘味’ in ‘X+味’ in the modern Chinese language and to explore the process of forming derivatives from a cognitive linguistic viewpoint.
Before research questions were presented, this study showed that quasi-affixes have the same grammatical and functional characteristics as affixes, while affixes have lost their conceptual meaning through delexicals, but quasi-affixes can form various derivations based on abstract meanings.
It was found that ‘X+味’ has a high derivation power in the formation of new words when it comes to functions, in particular when combined with two-syllable noun roots. As for the structure, it is located in the last syllable of a word, causing a quasi-suffix derivation. From a semantic aspect, it is abstracted from the basic and derived meanings representing taste and smell to form and categorize the semantic qualities of atmosphere and feeling, showing the utilization of quasi-affixes.
This study found that such a process is closely related to our physical experience and recognition of taste, and, in particular, is the result of conceptual metaphor and metonymy.