A working report on statistically modeling dative variation in mandarin Chinese

Yao Yao, Feng Hsi Liu

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


Dative variation is a widely observed syntactic phenomenon in world languages (e.g. I gave John a book and I gave a book to John). It has been shown that which surface form will be used in a dative sentence is not a completely random choice, rather, it is conditioned by a wide range of linguistic factors. Previous work by Bresnan and colleagues adopted a statistical modeling approach to investigate the probabilistic trends in English dative alternation. In this paper, we report a similar study on Mandarin Chinese. We further developed Bresnan et al.'s models to suit the complexity of the Chinese data. Our models effectively explain away a large proportion of the variation in the data, and unveil some interesting probabilistic features of Chinese grammar. Among other things, we show that Chinese dative variation is sensitive to heavy NP shift in both left and right directions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationColing 2010 - 23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Proceedings of the Conference
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Coling 2010 - Beijing, China
Duration: 23 Aug 201027 Aug 2010


Conference23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Coling 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Linguistics and Language

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