The networks of syllables and characters in Chinese

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24 Citations (Scopus)


We develop networks using the syllables (both base syllables and tonal syllables) and characters of Chinese. The nodes (vertices) of the networks represent the syllables of the syllable network and the characters of the character network respectively. The links (edges) are established between any two syllables (or two characters) that form part of one or more words. We use two dictionaries to perform the analysis: a Putonghua dictionary and a Cantonese dictionary. All networks here show low distances and high clustering coefficients compared with ER random networks. The degree distributions all follow a power-law; however, the exponents for the base syllable, tonal syllable and Chinese character networks differ considerably. These differences may account for the different cognitive processes used when constructing new Chinese words. The networks are compared to the syllabic networks of Portuguese in terms of the magnitude of the power-law exponent. The Chinese character network is found to be the most similar to the Portuguese syllabic network (γ ≈ 1.4).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Quantitative Linguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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