A comparison of the semantic networks for on in English and shàngmiàn‘ upside’ in Mandarin Chinese

| June 6, 2013

July 2013
Volume 7 Issue 1

| July 2013 home | PDF version |

A comparison of the semantic networks for on in English and shàngmiàn ‘upside’ in Mandarin Chinese

Chuan-Chi Chang
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
Amara Prasithrathsint
Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Bioprofiles: Chuan-Chi Chang is a PhD candidate in the English as an International Language program at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

Amara Prasithrathsint is a professor emeritus in the department of Linguistics at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.


This study aims at analyzing the semantic network for the Mandarin Chinese localizer, shàngmiàn ‘upside’ and comparing it with that for on in English. The analysis is based on the entries from Sinica Corpus, a corpus database for modern Mandarin Chinese in both spoken and written texts. The Mandarin Chinese localizer, shàngmiàn ‘upside’ was searched, and the first 500 entries were selected as the sample. Since the study emphasizes the construction: zài+NP+shàngmiàn, the entries which meet the construction were extracted. Those valid entries were analyzed and categorized based on Principled Polysemy (Tyler & Evans, 2003) to define the proto-scene and create the semantic network. The result suggests that the proto-scene of shàngmiàn ‘upside’ covers a wider range than that of on. In addition, the comparison between the semantic networks for shàngmiàn ‘upside’ and on shows the similarities and differences.

Keywords: Principled polysemy, Proto-scene, Semantic network, Preposition, Localizer

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Category: Volume 7 Issue 1 June 2013