The emotion corpus and the semantics of emotion words in Mandarin Chinese

INALCO - Salle des Plaques  -  2, rue de Lille  -  75007 Paris
La deuxième communication de Bee Chin NG, directrice d'études associée à l'EHESS, sur "The emotion corpus and the semantics of emotion words in Mandarin Chinese", initialement prévue le vendredi 11 avril est reportée au mardi 15 avril 2014 de 16h à 18h. La conférence se déroulera dans la Salle des Plaques.


This study aims to explore language specificity in the semantic organisation and distribution of emotion words in Mandarin Chinese. While prior studies have made anecdotal references to the prevalence of use of verbs in some languages (e.g. Russian and Mandarin Chinese) for expressing emotion  words compared to English, this has not been supported by empirical evidence involving a  comprehensive study of the emotion words vocabulary. To date, despite a proliferation  of crosslinguistic studies of emotion words, a database of a corpus of emotion words across languages is absent. A more acute problem in the field is the lack of comparable ways of identifying emotion words. Using the framework proposed by Pavelenko (2008), emotion words in Mandarin Chinese are  extracted and sorted into three semantic categories; emotion words, emotion-laden words and emotion-related words. Each word in the corpus is also tagged for frequency of use, valency, intensity and parts of speech. Each emotion word was also tagged for the broad emotion category (e.g. pride, shame, guilt, anger, joy, disgust etc) it is a member of.

The corpus data analysis method was then employed to study the patterns of the data. Not surprisingly, consistent with other reports on Mandarin Chinese in other domains (e.g. acquisition), it was found that verbs occupied the biggest percentage in both categories of emotion words and emotion-related words. An analysis of the valence and intensity of emotion words shows cross-linguistic divergence from other studies reported. The varying distribution and behaviour of emotion words in the three categories identified by Pavelenko lends support to her proposed categorisation of the emotion lexicon.  In the
discussion, the study interprets the findings of the corpus in the context of ongoing discussions of traits of collectivistic and individualistic cultures.
The study also represents a significant attempt at providing a working template for the identification of emotion words in emotion research.
  • le mardi 15 avril 2014 à 16h
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