From Modern to Ancient Chinese: A Corpus Approach to Beneficiary Structure

Yu Yin Hsu (Corresponding Author), Tao Wang

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study reports the results of two sets of corpus studies on the use of beneficiary structures (wèi-dòng shì), one in modern and the other in ancient Chinese. First, we analyzed the semantic associations of the word wèile ‘do something for something/someone’ in modern Chinese, using two corpora and the word-embedding model. The results were in line with semantic analyses proposed in the Semantic-Map Model. Second, based on an examination of all the sentences expressing beneficiary meanings in Zuo’s Commentary and Mencius, we established that the beneficiary structure in those works involves a light-verb structure that should be syntactically distinguished from other such structures that introduce causative and intentional events. As well as providing some new evidence regarding the semantic content of the wèi-dòng shì in modern Chinese, we present structural evidence of its source, which can be dated to the pre-Qin period, as shown by the examples in the two target ancient-Chinese texts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Lexical Semantics - 20th Workshop, CLSW 2019, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsJia-Fei Hong, Yangsen Zhang, Pengyuan Liu
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783030381882
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2020
Event20th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2019 - Beijing, China
Duration: 28 Jun 201930 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11831 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference20th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2019


  • Beneficiary structure
  • Chinese GigaWord Corpus 2.0
  • Mencius
  • Modern Chinese
  • Word-embedding
  • Zuo’s Commentary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Computer Science


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