The treatment of phraseology in Chinese–English dictionaries and Chinese dictionaries for learners

The case of "eat" and "hit"

Authors

  • Xuhua Zhang Fudan University
  • Anna Jia Gander Uppsala University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/lexi.20889

Keywords:

Chinese-English dictionary, Chinese dictionaries for learners, phraseology, corpus

Abstract

There is little doubt that phraseology is at the heart of all language use. This paper examines the treatment of phraseology in two influential Chinese–English dictionaries and four Chinese dictionaries for learners. Two high-frequency characters, namely eat and hit, were selected due to their highly polysemous and phraseological nature, and their phraseological behaviors examined in the Lancaster Corpus of Mandarin Chinese. The entries in the Chinese–English dictionaries and Chinese dictionaries for learners for eat and hit were examined and their dictionary records compared with the results of the previous corpus-based study. The corpus-based identification and categorization of the phraseological behaviors of eat and hit revealed that some multi-character expressions could not be covered by the terms offered by the existing taxonomy (Sag et al., 2002). Accordingly, the taxonomy was revised for the appropriate categorization of Chinese phraseology. Comparisons between corpus-based findings and entry records in Chinese–English dictionaries showed a convergence in the overall treatment of phraseology in Chinese–English dictionaries. By contrast, inconsistencies in the learners’ dictionaries were observed. It was also found that the two Chinese–English dictionaries agree with each other on the overall inclusion and exclusion of phrases. Again, we also observed many differences in the way phrases are treated between Chinese–English dictionaries and learners’ dictionaries and also among the four learners’ dictionaries. It is worth noting that hardly any of the verb-particle constructions observed in the corpus are included in the dictionaries under observation. We propose that these constructions should also be treated as phrases and the dictionaries would be more user-friendly if these phrases were not hidden in the other longer phrases, and were given the same status as the headwords. A larger corpus and sampling in the future would better characterize the taxonomy of Chinese phraseology and provide more conclusive findings.

Author Biographies

Xuhua Zhang, Fudan University

Zhang Xuhua is a lecturer in the School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Fudan University, China.

Anna Jia Gander, Uppsala University

Anna Jia Gander is an associate Professor in the Department of Archives, Libraries, and Museums, Uppsala University, Sweden.

References

Altenberg, B. (1998). On the phraseology of spoken English: The evidence of recurrent word combinations. In A. P. Cowie (Ed.), Phraseology: Theory, Analysis and Applications. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 101–124.

De Cock, S. and Granger, S. (2004). High frequency words: the bête noire of lexicographers and learners alike. In Proceedings of the Eleventh EURALEX International Congress (pp. 233–243).

McEnery, A. and Xiao, Z. (2004). The Lancaster Corpus of Mandarin Chinese: A corpus for monolingual and contrastive language study. In LREC 2004, (pp. 1175–1178).

Erman, B. and Warren, B. (2000). The idiom principle and the open choice principle. Text, 20(1), 29–62. https://doi.org/10.1515/text.1.2000.20.1.29

Feng, Z. and Fellbaum, C. (2015). Quantifying fixedness and compositionality in chinese idioms. International Journal of Lexicography, 28(3), 338–350. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijl/ecv018

Ferraresi, A., Bernardini, S., Picci, G., and Baroni, M. (2010). Web corpora for bilingual lexicography: A pilot study of English/French collocation extraction and translation. In R. Xiao (Ed.), Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies, pp. 337–59. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.

Granger, S. and Paquot, M. (2008). Disentangling the phraseological web. In S. Granger and F. Meunier (Eds.), Phraseology: An interdisciplinary perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 27–49.

Gries, T. (2008). Phraseology and linguistic theory: A brief survey. In S. Granger and F. Meunier (Eds.), Phraseology: An interdisciplinary perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 3–25.

Hundt, M., Sand, A., and Siemund, R. (1998). Manual of information to accompany the Freiburg–LOB Corpus of British English (‘FLOB’). Englisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.

Hundt, M., Sand, A., and Skandera, P. (1999). Manual of information to accompany the Freiburg–Brown Corpus of American English (‘Frown’). Englisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg.

Kilgarriff, A. (1997). Putting frequencies in the dictionary. International Journal of Lexicography, 10(2), 135–155. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijl/10.2.135

Lei, L. and Liu, D. (2018). The academic English collocation list: A corpus-driven study. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 23(2), 216–243. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.16135.lei

Lewis, M. (1993). The Lexical Approach: The state of ELT and a way forward. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Li, Dejun (2014). A review of research on phrases and their automatic recognition. Foreign Languages Research, (6), 8–13.

Li, Dejun (2015). Corpus Lexicography: Theory, method, and application. Yilin Press.

Li, Luxing (2020). A demand survey of Chinese learners’ dictionaries for foreigners. Research on International Chinese Language Teaching, 8(4).

McEnery, A. M. and Xiao, R. Z. (2004). The Lancaster Corpus of Mandarin Chinese: A corpus for monolingual and contrastive language study. Language Resources and Evaluation.

Moon, R. (1998). Fixed Expressions and Idioms in English: A Corpus-Based Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Moon, R. (2007). Sinclair, lexicography, and the Cobuild Project: The application of theory. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 12(2), 159–181. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.12.2.05moo

Moon, R. (2008). Dictionaries and collocation. In S. Granger and F. Meunier (Eds.), Phraseology. An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 313–336.

Nation, I. (2001). How many high frequency words are there in English ? Language, Learning and Literature: Studies presented to Hakan Ringbom. Abo Akademi University, Abo: English Department Publications, 4, 167–181.

Nattinger, J. R. and DeCarrico, J. S. (1992). Lexical Phrases and Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Paquot, M. (2015). Lexicography and phraseology. The Cambridge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://hdl. handle.net/2078.1/139795 (accessed January 10, 2018).

Sag, I. A., Baldwin, T., Bond, F., Copestake, A. A., and Flickinger, D. (2002). Multiword expressions: A pain in the neck for NLP. International Conference on Computational Linguistics, 1–15.

Sinclair, J. (1991). Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sinclair, J. (2010). Defining the definiendum. A Way with Words: Recent advances in lexical theory and analysis. Kampala and Ghent: Menha Publishers, pp. 37–47.

Stubbs, M. (2001). Words and Phrases: Corpus studies of lexical semantics. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Svensson, M. H. (2008). A very complex criterion of fixedness: Non-compositionality. In S. Granger and F. Meunier (Eds.), Phraseology: An interdisciplinary perspective. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 81–93.

Uhrig, P. and Proisl, T. (2012). Less hay, more needles–using dependency-annotated corpora to provide lexicographers with more accurate lists of collocation candidates. Lexicographica, 28(1), 141–180. https://doi.org/10.1515/lexi.2012-0009

Walker, C. (2009). The treatment of collocation by learners’ dictionaries, collocational dictionaries and dictionaries of business English. International Journal of Lexicography, 22(3), 281–299. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijl/ecp016

Wray, A. (2005). Formulaic Language and the Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Xing, Fukun (2012). MWEs: A review of description, recognition and application. Contemporary Linguistics, (4), 407–417.

Xu, Hai (2013). Phraseology and English phrase inclusion and arrangement in dictionaries. Lexicographical Studies, (5), 46–52.

Zhao, Yuanren (1979). A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Beijing: The Commercial Press.

Zheng Dingou (2010). On bilingual learners’ dictionary. Lexicographical Studies, (4), 52–63.

Dictionaries

Lu Gusun (2015). The Chinese–English Dictionary (Unabridged). Shanghai: Fudan University Press.

Wu Guanghua (2010). The Chinese–English Dictionary. Shanghai: Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press.

Xu, Yumin (2005). Learner’s Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press.

Shi Guangheng and Wang, Shaoxin (2009). A Chinese Dictionary for Learners and Teachers. Beijing: The Commercial Press.

Huai, Fuqin (2010). Modern Chinese Learning Dictionary. Beijing: The Commercial Press.

Zhang, Zhiyi (2020). Contemporary Chinese Learning Dictionary. Beijing: The Commercial Press.

Published

2021-12-17

How to Cite

Zhang, X. ., & Gander, A. J. . (2021). The treatment of phraseology in Chinese–English dictionaries and Chinese dictionaries for learners: The case of "eat" and "hit". Lexicography, 8(2), 188–204. https://doi.org/10.1558/lexi.20889

Issue

Section

Article