Collocational features of China English: A corpus-based contrastive study

Jianli LIANG, Chor Shing David LI

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This study presents the findings of a systematic empirical investigation of China English (CE) features in contradistinction to other varieties of English in terms of collocations, words that co-occur and co-select in a distinctively Chinese way. The target corpus data consists of 37 million words of written China English referred to as China English Corpus (CEC), while the corpus used as a reference for contrast is British National Corpus, which represents British English (BrE). Following the collocational theory proposed by Sinclair (2004, p.39), collocations (co-occurrence of words, e.g., black coffee) and colligations (co-occurrence of grammatical categories, e.g., adjective + noun) of CE are investigated and codified. Results include: a) overused collocations of CE (more frequent in number of occurrence, e.g., scientific way(s)); b) innovative collocations of CE (not used by BrE, e.g., in an all-round way(s)); c) productive used of enumerators as premodifiers (e.g., Three Direct Links); d) a preference for noun as premodifiers; e) certain distinct usages in using genitive phrases as premodifiers (e.g., people’s lives/mind/attention etc.); e) underused of colligation Noun’s + Noun + of. The results reveal that CE-specific collocational patterns constitute an important type of CE features, which deserve further thorough investigation of codifications, which may greatly contribute to the accumulation of evidence in support of description of CE as a developing member in WE family.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


Liang, J., & Li, D. C. S. (2014, December). Collocational features of China English: A corpus-based contrastive study. Paper presented at The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong - Annual Research Forum 2014 (LSHK-ARF 2014), City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


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