Corpora and Collocations in Chinese-English Dictionaries for Chinese Users

  •  Lixin Xia    


The paper identifies the major problems of the Chinese-English dictionary in representing collocational information after an extensive survey of nine dictionaries popular among Chinese users. It is found that the Chinese-English dictionary only provides the collocation types of v+n and v+n, but completely ignores those of v+adv, adj+n and adv+adj. And as a common practice, this kind of dictionary doesn’t give different collocates of synonymous equivalents. Besides, it provides collocational information on the basis of the headword, but not the equivalents. This leads to the suggestions for a new way of representing collocational information in Chinese-English dictionaries. The most important thing is that the Chinese-English dictionary should provide collocational information about the equivalents instead of the headword. All the five types of collocation are given the same status in a dictionary. Moreover, with corpus data, the selective restrictions of the English equivalents in meanings, frequency and semantic prosody should be explicitly represented to dictionary users by glosses, illustrative examples, collocation columns, etc. It is argued that by doing so, the dictionary will better meet the needs of the users.

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