Researching Collocational Features: Towards China English as a Distinctive New Variety

Jianli Liang, David C.S. Li

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter shows that, in addition to isolated lexical items, collocational patterns represent an important source of innovation in China English (also known as ‘Chinese English’, ‘CE’ hereafter). Drawing on contrastive data analysis in two corpora – the Chinese English Corpus (CEC) and the British National Corpus (BNC) – we will demonstrate how evidence-based innovations are supported by statistically salient patterns of collocational features in CE. With the help of advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) which enable us to obtain a large amount of statistical information quickly and to identify and prioritize any corpus-derived collocational patterns that we wish to scrutinize closely, such a process that used to be too cumbersome to handle manually is no longer difficult. Going beyond a descriptive account of the use of CE features that are embedded in collocations, this study argues that a comprehensive understanding and coverage of CE lexical features, and grammatical preferences to a lesser extent, cannot be obtained without attending to CE-specific collocational patterns, which constitute important types of lexical and grammatical innovations. To the extent that the selection and codification of CE lexico-grammatical features are premised on systematic and reliable identification of collocational patterns, corpus-based methods play an important role in the future of research on CE towards its legitimation and recognition as a new variety of English.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual Education
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMultilingual Education
ISSN (Print)2213-3208
ISSN (Electronic)2213-3216


  • China English
  • Collocational features
  • Corpus linguistics
  • World Englishes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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