In Remembrance of Richard Zhonghua Xiao (肖忠华, 1966-2016)


Staff member
(For the journal Chinese Language and Discourse, CLD)

The passing of Richard Xiao in early January 2016 sent a shock wave across the entire Chinese corpus linguistics community, for it is hard to believe that such a brilliant, energetic, selfless, and inspiring colleague would die so soon.

After just over ten years of research life, Richard has a total of eleven monographs or edited volumes and numerous journal articles and book chapters to his credit, with many being among the most brilliant works in corpus linguistics. His 2004 book (co-authored with T. McEnery), Aspect in Mandarin Chinese: A Corpus-based Study, is the first corpus-based study in this area, and received rave reviews in numerous international journals. A Frequency Dictionary of Mandarin Chinese (2009), co-authored with P. Rayson and T. McEnery, is perhaps the only modern frequency dictionary for Chinese published in English. Another hugely successful publication is A. McEnery, R. Xiao & Y. Tono (2006): Corpus-based Language Studies: An Advanced Resource Book, one of the most widely used textbooks in corpus linguistics classes today. Amazingly, Richard was able to continue producing major works even while battling a terminal illness, with many of the latest works reflecting his long-term interest in translation studies.

Richard Xiao, among the few who possess both penetrating theoretical insights and technical brilliance, left the Chinese corpus linguistics community with an illustrious legacy and an abundance of corpus resources. He helped construct some of the most widely used corpora in Chinese that have benefited the wider scholarly community. The Lancaster Corpus of Modern Chinese (LCMC), which Richard created while a PhD student, is still being used world-wide. Though perhaps only a small number of people have had direct contact with Richard, his reach is global, especially in his motherland China. Through online forums such as the Corpus4U.Org website, Richard helped countless people, known or unknown, mostly total strangers, with his steady and informative postings and active question-answering. To anyone who has come to be in contact with him in any form, it is clear that just as it is important to admire his amazing body of scholarly output, it is equally important to appreciate him as a warm and extremely generous person.

All of us at CLD mourn the loss of our dedicated colleague Richard Xiao, who, being one of the most dependable reviewers, helped the journal to become what it is today. Richard will be deeply missed.

Hongyin Tao

Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics

University of California, Los Angeles