Collocation, semantic prosody and near synonymy


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Collocation, semantic prosody and near synonymy: A cross-linguistic perspective
Richard Xiao and Tony McEnery

Forthcoming in Applied Lingusitics

This paper explores the collocational behaviour and semantic prosody of near synonyms from a cross-linguistic perspective. The importance of these concepts to language learning is well recognized. Yet while collocation and semantic prosody have recently attracted much interest from researchers studying the English language, there has been little work done on collocation and semantic prosody on languages other than English. Still less work has been undertaken contrasting the collocational behaviour and semantic prosody of near synonyms in different languages. In this paper, we undertake a cross-linguistic analysis of collocation, semantic prosody and near synonymy, drawing upon data from English and Chinese (pu3tong1hua4). The implications of the findings for language learning are also discussed.

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Thanks for the paper. Semantic prosody is a very good research topic in corpus linguistics, I believe.
Yes. I know some students who are writing on semantic prosody in learner corpora for their MA theses.
回复:Collocation, semantic prosody and near synonymy

以下是引用 xujiajin2005-7-6 23:07:40 的发言:
Do you think the journal of Applied Linguistics is not APPLIED now?

It is "applied" in a broad sense. With the advances at new frontiers in lingusitics, I think the meaning scope of "applied" has also been extended. It is no longer "applied" in a strict sense - language pedagogy alone. See Woddowson's 2000 paper in Applied Linguistics (available at this site in the posting "At war: Widdowson, Stubbs, Beaugrande and you" also in this section) for his argument against "linguistics misapplied".
I happen to write my MA thesis on semantic prosody. May I ask some suggestions here?I have read Richard Xiao and Tony McEnery's paper, and my thesis is much alike their paper. (I am afraid some will say I copy theirs~)
I want to compare the semantic prosody between Business English and Business Chinese. First, I will check the 200 top key words in Business English corpus, to see wheher the positive words account for more than the negative wowds or not. Then, I will take out two or three positive words from Business English, and check them in the Business Chinese copus, to see whether they have the same semantic prosody or not.
My problem is that I don't know the theory that explain the semantic prosody. We have to write out the theoretical framework that the proposed study based on. In Xiao's paper, you mention that "the collocational meaning aising from the interaction between a given node and its typical collocates might be referred to as semantic prosody". Is this the theory? As I am just a beginner of copus, I feel confused and hard to find the theory. Hope the experts here can help me~~
Your quotation above is is a definition, not a theory. The theory underlying semantic prosody is what Hunston and Partington call "pattern and meaning".

If you study business English (and Chinese), you will find Mike Nelson's 2000 thesis very useful:
thank you so much for your reply!!! Just now, I searched our library and finded these books--" Pattern and Meanings---using corpora for English Language Research and Teaching" , "Pattern grammar:a corpus-driven approach to lexical grammar of English/Susan Hunston, Gill Francis". I think they are the books your referred to. I will read them quickly. Ha~actually, I drew inspiration from Nelson's thesis for my MA thesis. If I have any questions when I writing my thesis, I will come here again! Thanks!!Thanks!!
oh, allow me to ask one more stupid question.
In Nelson's thesis, he says " Stubbs studied several words using two separate corpora and was able to assign their collocates to either positive, negative or to a lexical set. For example, the word job he found to be both positive and negative whilst career was only positive (1995:253) and the word unemployment was found to collocate with the semantic set of statistics (1995:254). Both Louw and Stubbs also realised the theoretical problems that a concept like this poses - at present there is no linguistic theory that adequately explains it:

It is a purely lexical, yet syntagmatic, relation, of a type which cannot be captured by current descriptive theory. Indeed it undermines conventional views on the relation between syntagmatic and paradigmatic. In addition the statements which I have given are probabilistic. Again, conventional linguistic description usually assumes categorical relations between units, and has no theory of typicality. (Stubbs 1995:255)

Does it mean that there is no theory to fully explain semantic prosody?
1) Yes, the two books are what I referred to;

2) The semantic categories o collocates are referred to as semantic preferences, in contrast to semantic prosodies, which refer to the evaluative meanings of nodes per se;

3) If you desparately want to have a theory, I should say that collocation, semantic prosody, and semantic preference are in the vein as the neo-Firthianism.
Neo-Firthianism? not clear. Anyway, just read more books and see "pattern and meaning" useful or not.
I agree with Mr.Xu. But our tutor says that we must have theoretical framework in the M.A. thesis, otherwise, we can't pass. That's the reason why I am a desperate student~
Why at Neo-Firthianism? Never heard of it? I think it SOUNDS theoretical enough to surprise your supervisor...if s/he wants a theory for everything!
As I am a lazy student, I've never heard of it. [emq7] I came across the name Firth when I read some papers. You do surprise me a lot as I don't expect u r always on line and ready to answer questions.
Since you are reading Pattern and Meaning, pattern grammar, if you like it, can be good "framework" for your thesis.

Related posts can be found at this site. Use search on the first page.
Thanks for reminding me of using the related posts.
This morning, I went to the library to read pattern grammar. As the review says, this book is not initially an easy read. Pattern grammar is new to me. I will go on reading to find my framework, or theory.