A comparable corpus-based study of three do verbs in varieties of mandarin: Congshi, zuo and gao

Menghan Jiang, Chu Ren Huang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we adopt a comparable corpus-based approach to investigate variations of three DO verbs in Mandarin Chinese: zuo ‘do’, gao ‘do’ and congshi ‘be engaged in’. Mandarin Chinese is unique in having three light verbs with bare meaning. The interesting and challenging facts about these three DO verbs are that: first, their usages can be differentiated even though they share the bare minimal meaning of ‘to do’; and second, their ranges of usages vary in different varieties of Chinese. How can the complex differentiations of these three verbs within one variety and across different varieties be accounted for with the minimal shared meaning? We tackle this challenge applying functions from Chinese Word Sketch to effectively identify the subtle differences among near-synonyms and their usage variations among different varieties with explicit semantic cues. This study thus underlines the contribution of empirical approaches when there is very little intuition to rely on.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Lexical Semantics - 19th Workshop, CLSW 2018, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsQi Su, Jiun-Shiung Wu, Jia-Fei Hong
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9783030040147
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event19th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2018 - Minxiong, Taiwan
Duration: 26 May 201828 May 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11173 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference19th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2018


  • Corpus-based approach
  • DO verbs
  • Language variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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