A Quantitative and Qualitative Comparison of Word Formation in Modern Standard Chinese & Early Modern Chinese (CERG project funded by RGC of HKSAR)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    This project proposes a rigorous and innovative comparison of Modern Standard Chinese language (MSC) and Early Modern Chinese language (EMC) particularly with respect to word formation and lexical development, drawing on qualitative analysis followed by linguists and quantitative measures established in information sciences. While MSC evolves from EMC and Classical Chinese, and all share a largely common set of several thousand Chinese characters, it is usual for someone educated in MSC to have only limited comprehension of EMC and Classical Chinese. We thus ask why such a largely common base could make a vast linguistic difference over time, and how lexical, syntactic, and semantic evolution has changed the way Chinese characters carry information content. To this end, besides describing such changes qualitatively, it would also be useful to characterize the changes by some objective quantitative indices, which would allow comparison of our language at one point of time or across several in history. We thus aim at comparing EMC and MSC primarily from the lexical perspective, with respect to issues and differences in word formation and related grammatical changes in the linguistic properties of lexical items.

    Funding Source: RGC - General Research Fund (GRF)
    Effective start/end date01/01/0931/12/12


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