From near synonyms to power relation variations in communication: A cross-strait comparison of “Guli” and “Mianli”

Xiaowen Wang, Chu Ren Huang

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a new approach to the study of stance differences in different speaking communities based on comparable corpus-based study of near synonyms. In particular, we study the differences in stance implications of the same pair of near synonyms of two varieties of Mandarin Chinese cross the strait: in Taiwan and Mainland China. We show that important communication frame differences such as interpersonal power relation can be encoded lexically and sharing same lexical forms that express different power relations can lead to barriers in communication. More specifically, our study of the uses of near synonyms “guli” and “mianli” adopts both verbal semantic representation of MARVS theory and functional communication theory of Systemic Functional Linguistics. The stance differences in terms of implication of interpersonal relation variations in Taiwan and Mainland China are represented and accounted for in MARVS. Our study synergizes the verbal semantic representation of MARVS theory with the functional communication theory of Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics, especially in terms of tenor and modality. Our results also suggest that comparable corpus-driven, lexical semantics based approaches can provide a strong foundation for stance detection and classification of different communities.

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 pages12
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


  • Comparable corpus
  • Interpersonal meaning
  • Near synonyms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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