Open Journal Systems

The cognitive and psychological mechanism of Chinese oxymoron “tough women”

ZHENG Jie, LUO Rui feng

Article ID: 2336
Vol 9, Issue 6, 2024, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 164 (Abstract) 57 (PDF)


Oxymoron refers to juxtaposing two words that are semantically contradictory to each other in language communication, which makes them have rhetorical connection, and achieves the modification effect of binary opposition through the antonym relationship in semantic components, and which makes the expression profound and more tense. Based on the theory of cognitive linguistics, this study analyzes the formation mechanism of the oxymoron “tough women” from the perspective of “reality-cognition-language” and discusses the cognitive and psychological mechanism of its formation. Conceptual blending theory is used to form the oxymoron conceptual integration prominent model of “tough women”. It is found that the formation of the word “tough women” has a long historical reasons. From ancient times to modern times, because women’s social status changes with the changes of objective social forms, based on physical experience and psychological perception of different times, people form their concepts about the “tough women”. Dynamic cognitive processing of “female” is carried out to form an abstract image schema of modern “tough women”, which integrates the traditional weak characteristic domain of women and the strong male characteristic domain in psychological space, and a theoretical model of conceptual integration of oxymoron is put forward.


oxymoron; “tough women”; cognitive linguistics; conceptual integration

Full Text:



1. Zhao Y. G. On the Structural Form and Rhetorical Function of English Oxymoron. Journal of Luoyang Normal University. 2002; (6): 120-122.

2. Wang S. X. On the Logical Meaning of Oxymoron. Journal of Taizhou University. 2006; (1): 46-49.

3. Li S. F. Contrastive Study of Oxymoron between Chinese and English. Journal of Chifeng University. 2007; (3): 21-22.

4. Sun Y., Wang J. X. A Brief Discussion on the Philosophical Connotation of Contradictory Rhetoric in the Perspective of Chinese-English Contrast. Foreign Language Studies, 2012; (2): 41-44.

5. Zhang X. A Cognitive Semantic Study on the Understanding of Oxymoron. Dissertation. Hebei: Hebei University. 2006.

6. Wang W. B. The Tension, Causes and Cognitive Resolution of Contradictory Rhetoric. Foreign Language Teaching, 2010; (5): 7-12.

7. Nie Y. Logical Analysis of Oxymoron. Journal of Guyuan Teachers College. 1997; (2): 45-49.

8. Shao C. “Little Adults” and “Old Children”-Pragmatic Inference Based on Mental Model. Foreign Language Teaching, 2012; (5): 49-52.

9. Liu B. Oxymoron and the Paradox of Civilization. Foreign Literature Review, 2005; (2): 22-33.

10. Li S. D. Oxymoron Expression: A Cultural Perspective of Youth Online Buzzwords. China Youth Studies, 2021; (12): 06-112.

11. Liao Q. Y., Kong S. J. Generation Mechanism of Oxymoron into the Perspective of Quantum mechanics. Foreign Language Education, 2023; (2): 53-59.

12. Liu Y. M. Embodied-Cognitive Mechanism in the Formation of Oxymoron Construction and its Constraints. Modern Foreign Languages, 2024; (2): 185-196.

13. Xu G. Women’s Status in China Seen from the Goddess Patching the Sky. Journal of Lianyungang Vocational and Technical College, 2006; 19(4): 20-22.

14. Rong G. Tentatively Analyze the Relationship Between Psychology and Poetry. Ye Shuxian. Myth-archetypal criticism. Xi ‘an: Shaanxi Normal University Press, 1987.

15. Meng Q., Zhang L. S. From “Three Obedience and Four Virtues” to “Henpecked”. Zhonghua Wenhua Luntan. 2013; (3): 96-99.

16. Johnson M., Lakoff G. Why Cognitive Linguistics Requires Embodied Realism. Cognitive Linguistics. 2002; 13(3): 245-263. doi: 10.1515/cogl.2002.016.

17. Fauconnier G., Turner M. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books, 2002.

18. Engels F., Marx C. Marx and Engels’s Selected Work: Volume I [M]. Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 1972.

19. Zhang T., Pan Q. Women’s Social Status Change and Gender Role Reconstruction in Contemporary China. Journal of Shenyang Normal University, 2021; (3): 72-77.

20. Shen J. X. Basic Hypothesis of Cognitive Linguistics. Guangming Daily, 2006; (12).

(164 Abstract Views, 57 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 Jie Zheng, Ruifeng Luo

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.