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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton October 9, 2020

Profiling the Chinese causative construction with rang (讓), shi (使) and ling (令) using frame semantic features

Andreas Liesenfeld ORCID logo, Meichun Liu ORCID logo and Chu-Ren Huang ORCID logo

Abstract

This behavioural profiling (BP) study examines the use of the near-synonyms rang (讓), shi (使) and ling (令), three ways to express cause-effect relationships in Chinese. Instead of using an out-of-the-box BP design, we present a modified approach to profiling that includes a range of frame semantic features that aim to capture variation of slot fillers of this construction. The study investigates the intricate semantic variation of rang, shi and ling through a comprehensive analysis of 38 contextual features (ID tags) that characterize the collocational, lexical semantic and frame semantic environment of the near-synonyms. Our dataset consists of around 100.000 data points based on the annotation of 1002 sentences of Mandarin Chinese of three varieties. The BPs of each near-synonym are compared using multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis. The results show that rang, shi and ling are each characterized by a combination of distinctive features and how different feature types contribute to setting the near-synonyms apart based on their usage patterns. Methodologically, this study illustrates how behavioural profiling can be modified to include frame semantic features in accordance with the method’s emphasis on producing empirically verifiable results and how these features can aid a comparative analysis of near-synonyms.


Corresponding author: Andreas Liesenfeld, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Hum, Hong Kong, China, E-mail:

Acknowledgment

We thank Dr. Shiwei Chen for her help with conceptualizing and preparing the dataset. We gratefully acknowledge the detailed and valuable comments of the reviewers. All remaining errors are our own.

Appendix I: Top collocates of rang, shi and ling in Chinese Gigaword 2.0 across three varieties of Mandarin Chinese

Table 4:

Top three modifiers, causer slot fillers and causee slot fillers (based on collocates) of rang, shi and ling in Gigaword 2.0 (by Mandarin variety).

Mandarin variety Modifier of cxn Causee slot(cxn+X) Causer slot (X+cxn)
Taiwan Mandarin: (Central News Agency)
  1. 能讓

  1. 讓人

  1. 他讓

  1. 也讓

  1. 讓民眾

  1. 政府讓

  1. 要讓

  1. 讓他

  1. 我們讓

  1. 將使

  1. 使他

  1. 事件使

  1. 會使

  1. 使人

  1. 舉使

  1. 能使

  1. 使他們

  1. 措施使

  1. 最令

  1. 令人

  1. 表現令

  1. 更令

  1. 令他

  1. 結果令

  1. 也令

  1. 令他們

  1. 精神令

Mainland Putonghua: (Xinhua News Agency)
  1. 不讓

  1. 讓人

  1. 他讓

  1. 要讓

  1. 讓他們

  1. 我們讓

  1. 能讓

  1. 讓他

  1. 我讓

  1. 將使

  1. 使企業

  1. 它使

  1. 能使

  1. 使人

  1. 措施使

  1. 也使

  1. 使他們

  1. 這會使

  1. 更令

  1. 令人

  1. 表現令

  1. 最令

  1. 令觀眾

  1. 結果令

  1. 不能令

  1. 令世人

  1. 關係令

Singapore Mandarin: (Lianhe Zaobao)
  1. 能讓

  1. 讓他

  1. 我讓

  1. 不要讓

  1. 讓有

  1. 我們讓

  1. 要讓

  1. 讓投資

  1. 她讓

  1. 將使

  1. 使他

  1. 這會使

  1. 會使

  1. 使人

  1. 它使

  1. 也使

  1. 使我們

  1. 展寬使

  1. 最令

  1. 令人

  1. 情況令

  1. 更令

  1. 令他

  1. 表現令

  1. 會令

  1. 令我

  1. 這會令

Appendix II: Annotation procedure

This is a list of all 38 features and their 103 variables, each with example.

Collocations of the causative constructions

Modifier: Polarity

Whether the causative construction appears with a polarity modifier: bu (不), mei (沒), wu (無), wu (勿)

  • 不讓 bu rang POL_MOD_RANG “not cause”

Modifier: ye (也)

Whether the causative construction appears with: ye 也 “also; as well, too”

  • 也讓 ye rang YE_MOD_RANG “also cause”.

Modifier: dou (都)

Whether the causative construction appears with: dou (都) “also, just”

  • 都讓 dou rang DOU_MOD_RANG “also cause”

Modifier: jiu (就)

Whether the causative construction appears with: jiu (都) “just”

  • 就讓 jiu rang JIU_MOD_RANG “just cause”

Modifier: cai (才)

Whether the causative construction appears with: cai (才) “really,only, just”

  • 才讓 cai rang CAI_MOD_RANG “really cause”

Modifier: Temporal/frequency

Whether the causative construction appears with a temporal (including frequency) modifier: zaici (再次), zai (再), chongxin (重新), tongshi (同时), zhengzai (正在), zai (在), you (又), zhongy (終於) chang (常), jingchang (經常)

  • 經常讓 jingchang rang TEMP_MOD_RANG “often causes”

Modifier: Temporal: Past tense

Whether the causative construction appears with a past tense modifier: ceng (曾), yiqian (以前), yi (已) yijing (已經)

  • 曾讓 ceng rang PAST_MOD_RANG “previously caused”

Modifier: Temporal: Future tense

Whether the causative construction appears with a future tense modifier: jiang (將), jiang hui (將會), hui (會)

  • 將會讓 jianghui rang FUTU_MOD_RANG “will cause”

Modifier: Capability and intention

Whether the causative construction appears with a modifier of capability or intention: neng (能), guyi (故意), ke (可), keyi (可以)

  • 能讓 neng rang CAPA_MOD_RANG “can cause”

Modifier: Degree

Whether the causative construction appears with a modifier of degree: hao (好), hen (很), feichang (非常), tebie (特别), zhen (真), geng (更), gengjia (更加), ruci (如此), que (确), queshi (确实), shizai 实在实), zuyi (足以), shi (实), bian (便)

  • 好讓 hao rang DEGREE_MOD_RANG “really causes”

Modifier: Contrast

Whether the causative construction appears with a modifier of contrast: er (二), erqie (而且), qishi (其实), reng (仍), hai (还), jing (竟), jingran (竟然)

  • 仍讓 reng rang CONT_MOD_RANG “still causes”

Modifier: Doubt

Whether the causative construction appears with a modifier of doubt: nanyi (难以), buyiding (不一定), jihu (几乎), ying (应), bufang (不妨), keneng (可能), shifou (是否)

  • 难以讓 nanyi rang DOUB_MOD_RANG “may cause”

Modifier: Only

Whether the causative construction appears with a modifier of type “only”: jin (仅), jinjin (仅仅), zhi (只), zhihao (只好), zhineng (只能), shenzhi (甚至)

  • 仅仅讓 jinjin rang ONLY_MOD_RANG “only causes”

Modifier: Light verbs: Verbs of want/need

Whether the causative construction appears with a light verb of want/need: yao (要), xiang (想), xiangyao (想要)

  • 想要讓 xiangyao rang WANT_MOD_RANG “want to cause”

Slot filler and discourse level features

Causer slot: Noun phrase: Semantic type

Whether the noun phrase in the causer slot is of type:

  1. human/animate/speaker

    • 月梅讓 Yue Mei rang ANIM_CAUSER “Yue Mei(personal name) causes/lets”

  2. organization/institution/country

    • 中國讓 zhongguo rang ORGA_CAUSER “China causes”

  3. abstract event/social/phenomenon of nature

    • 地震讓 dizhen rang ABST_CAUSER “The earthquake causes”

  4. inanimate object/physical/body part/geographic

    • 泰山讓 Taishan rang INANIM_CAUSER “Tai mountain causes”

Causer slot: Verb phrase: Verb class

Whether the verb phrase in the causer slot is of class:

  1. motion/movement

    • 將 孩子 丟到 家 中 jiang haizi duidao jia zhong MOVE_CAUSER “Put the kids home”

  2. cognition

    • 老人家 聽 不 懂 英語 laorenjia ting bu dong yingyu COGN_CAUSER “Older people don’t understand English”

  3. communication

    • 亞洲 電影業 和 時裝業 宣傳 yazhou Dianshiye he shizhuangye suiyi xuanquan COMM_CAUSER “The Asian Television industry and clothing industry publicizes”

  4. emotion

    • 爺爺 不 放心 yeye bu fangxin EMOT_CAUSER “Grandfather is not at ease”

  5. perception (incl mental activity)

    • 我们 看到 這些 小朋友 women kandao zhexie xiaopengyou PERC_CAUSER “We see those kids”

  6. social-interaction

    • 陳先生 回答 chen xiansheng huida SOCI_CAUSER “Mr Chen replies”

  7. verbs of change-of-state

    • 中國 變成 zhongguo biancheng CHAN_CAUSER “China becomes”

  8. verbs of events

    • 在 阿富汗 發生 zai afuhan fasheng EVEN_CAUSER “In Afghanistan happens”

Causer slot: Verb phrase: Voice

Whether the passive marker bei (被) appears in the causer slot:

  • 泳衣 被 裹 在 一 個 袋子 裡 yongyi bei guo zai yi ge daizi li PASS_CAUSER “swimsuit got wrapped in a bag”

Causee slot: Noun phrase: Semantic type

Whether the noun phrase in the causee slot is of type. Categories similar to semantic type of causer slot.

Causee slot: Noun phrase: Co-reference

Whether the causee slot contains reference to noun phrase of the causer slot (reiteration or pronoun).

  • 中國 讓 它 人口 zhongguo rang ta renkou PASS_CAUSER “China makes its population”

Causee slot: Noun phrase: Pronoun

Whether the noun phrase in the cause slot contains a pronoun, as well as type of pronoun:

  1. 1st person singular or plural

    • 讓 我 rang wo PRON_EFFECT “cause me”

    • 讓 我們 rang women PRON_EFFECT “cause us”

  2. 2nd person singular or plural

    • 讓 你 rang ni PRON_EFFECT “cause you”

    • 讓 你們 rang nimen PRON_EFFECT “cause you all”

  3. 3rd person singular or plural

    • 讓 他 rang ta PRON_EFFECT “cause him”

    • 讓 她 rang ta PRON_EFFECT “cause her”

    • 讓 它 rang ta PRON_EFFECT “cause it”

    • 讓 他们 rang tamen PRON_EFFECT “cause them”

    • 讓 她们 rang tamen PRON_EFFECT “cause them”

    • 讓 它们 rang tamen PRON_EFFECT “cause them”

    • 讓 人 rang ren PRON_EFFECT “cause one; cause people”

  4. No pronoun occurs (residual category)

Causee slot: Verb phrase: Verb class

Whether the verb phrase in the causer slot is of class. Categories similar to verb class of causer slot.

Causee slot: Verb phrase: Voice

Whether the passive marker bei (被) appears in the causee slot. Similar to passive marker in causer slot.

Causee slot: Verb phrase: Transitivity structure

Whether the verb phrase in the causee slot is monotransitive, ditransitive or complex transitive:

  1. monotransitive verb phrase in causee slot

    • 讓 阿奇 心慌 rang Aqi xinhuang MOTR_EFFECT_VP “make A-qi panic”

  2. ditransitive verb phrase in causee slot

    • 讓 孩子 產生 認同 rang haizi chansheng rentong DITR_EFFECT_VP “cause kids to develop a sense of belonging”

  3. complex transitive in causee slot

    • 讓 阿奇 送 她 回家 rang Aji song ta huijia COTR_EFFECT_VP “make/let A-ji bring her home.”

Causee slot: Verb phrase: Affected noun phrase: Semantic type (if di- or complex transitive)

The semantic type of the affected noun phrase in case the causee slot verb phrase is ditransitive. Like noun phrases in causer and causee slot, categorized into the same four semantic types.

Sentence: Clause structure

Whether causer and causee slots are part of one clause or span over more than one clause:

  1. causer and causee slots appear in one clause (including use of de phrases)

    • 月梅 讓 阿奇 送 她 回家 Yuemei rang Aji song ta huijia INCL_CAUSE_EFFECT “Yue-mei makes/lets A-ji bring her home.”

    • 那 笑容 俊朗 得 讓 人 無法 呼吸 na xiaorong junlang de rang ren wufa huxi INCL_CAUSE_EFFECT “This smile is handsome that it causes one to be unable to breathe”

  2. causer and causee slots span over more than one clause (including pre-positioned clauses)

    • 陽光 出奇 的 亮 , 每 一 寸 土地 被 投射 得 亮晃晃 的 , 讓 人 睜 不 開眼。 yangguang chuqi de liang, mei yi cun tudi bei toushe de lianghuanghuang de, rang ren zheng bu kai yan CRCL_CAUSE_EFFECT” The sunshine is surprisingly bright, every inch of the land is projected brightly, making people unable to open their eyes.”

    • 令 我 吃驚 的 是 , 他們 工作 起來 簡直 不 要命 ling wo chijing de shi, tamen gongzuo qilai jianzhi bu yaoming CRCL_CAUSE_EFFECT” What causes surprise to me is that they simply work like crazy”

Sentence: Volitionality

Whether the causative construction is used to express a volitional or non-volitional causation scenario:

  1. volitional

    • 美國人 為什麼 不 讓 松鼠 登堂入室 成為 一 種 寵物 meiguoren weishenme bu rang songshu dengtangrushi chengwei yi zhong chongwu VOLI_CAUSE_EFFECT “Why Americans don’t allow squirrels to come inside and become a kind of pet”

  2. non-volitional

    • 不 標準 的 客語 , 就 讓 許多 老人家 聽 了 很 難過 bu biaozhu de keyu, jiu rang xuduo laorenjia ting le hen nanguo COTR_EFFECT_VP “inaccurate Hokkien just causes many older people to listen very unhappily”

Sentence: Possession

Whether change of possession occurs between causer and causee slot fillers, i.e. whether causer or causee fillers gain or lose something:

  • 讓 學習 有 困難 的 學生 提早 獲得 幫助 rang xuexi you kunnan de xuesheng tizao huode bangzhu POSS_CAUSE_EFFECT “allow students with learning problems to get help earlier.”

Sentence: Mood

Whether the sentence is of declarative (indicative), imperative or interrogative mood:

  1. declarative (indicative)

    • 月梅 讓 阿奇 送 她 回家 Yuemei rang Aji song ta huijia DECL_MOOD “Yue-mei makes/lets A-ji bring her home.”

  2. imperative

    • 不能 讓 他 活 著 ! buneng rang ta huozhe IMPE_MOOD “Cannot let him live!”

  3. interrogative

    • 納粹式 政黨 而 讓 國家 覆亡 ? nacuishi zhengdang er rang guojia fuwang INTE_MOOD “Does a Nazi-style ruling party cause the country to fall?”

Frame elements

Causer slot: Place; Causee slot: Place

Whether the causer slot contains a frame element that specifies the location of the causation scenario. Defined as the use of a location marker: zai (在) “at”, zhong (中) “in, at”, shang (上) “on”, xia (下) “in, under”, nei (內) “in”, li (里) “in”, wai (外) “out, outside of”:

  • 昨晚 9時 20分 , 這 名 40多 歲 的 馬來 男子 , 疑 在 武吉班讓 信佳路 第161 座 組屋 毆打 一 名 20多 歲 女子 , 使 她 鼻子 流血。 zuowan 9shi 20fen, zhe ming 40duo sui de malai nanzi, yi zai wujibanrang xinjialu di 161 zuo zuwu ouda yi ming 20duo sui nvzi, shi ta bizi liuxue PLAC_FE “Yesterday evening 9:20 o’clock, at Bukit Panjang Senja Road No 161 public housing block, this more than 40 years-old Malay male is suspected to haven beaten a more than 20 years-old woman, causing her nose to bleed”

Causer slot: Time; Causee slot: Time

Whether the causer slot contains a frame element that specifies the time of the causation scenario. Defined as the use of a time marker: shi (時) and dianzhong (點鐘) “o’clock”, ri (日) “day”, yue (月) “month”, nia (年) “year”, zhengzai (正在) and zai (在) “now”, zuo (昨) “yesterday”, qiantian (前天) “two days ago”, zhou (周) and xingqi (星期) and libai (禮拜) “week”:

From the example sentence of “Frame element: place”:

  • 昨晚 9時 20分 zuowan 9shi 20fen TIME_FE “Yesterday evening 9:20 o’clock”

Causer slot: Frequency; Causee slot: Frequency

Whether the causer slot contains a frame element that specifies the frequency of the causation scenario. NOTE: This does not contain frequency modifiers of the causative construction itself. These are examined as part of the feature: modifier: frequency. Here we examine the use of frequency modifiers in the slots. Our dataset contains the following: quantifiers: ci (次), lun (輪), 遍; modifiers: zai (再) “again” and chongxin (重新) and you (又) “again, anew”, mei (每) “every”, chongxin (重新), tongshi (同时) “simultaneously”, , zhongyu (終於) “finally”, chang (常) and jingchang (經常) “often”, ouer (偶爾) “seldom”

Example:

  • 希望 大家 能夠 好好 利用 公園 裡 的 設施 , 常 到 公園 來 做 運動 ,使身體 健康 。 xiwang dajia nengguo haohao liyong gongyuan li de sheshi, chang dao gongyuan zuo yundong, shi shenti jiankang FREQ_FE “hope that everybody can make good use of the equipment in the part, and come to the park often to do sport, making the body healthy”

Causer slot: Manner; causee slot: Manner

Whether the causer slot contains a frame element that specifies the manner of the causation scenario. Following the Berkeley framenet description of this frame element, this is “any holistic description of the event, including overall depictions and descriptions pertaining to the Actor’s influence on the character of the event (eagerly, quietly)”. We capture this frame element through the use of adverbs in the slots. NOTE: Our dataset contains no instance of this pattern in the causee slot, producing an empty category.

Example:

  • 這 件 婚紗 完全 用 手工 制作 , 這 令 其 價值 更為 高昂 。 zhe jian hunsha wanquan yong shougong zhizuo, zhe ling qi jiazhi gengjia gaoang MANN_FE “This wedding dress is entirely made by hand, which causes its prize to be even higher”

Causer slot: Means; Causee slot: Means

Whether the causer slot contains a frame element that specifies a means related to the causation scenario. We examine this through the use of verbs of using and utilisation: yong (用), yunyong (運用), liyong (利用), jiyou (藉由), jizhe (藉著); verbs of means and making: touguo (透過), jiezhu (借助), zuo (做), tongguo (通過), dailing (帶領) and verbs of grabbing, holding or taking: na (拿)

Example:

  • 波士頓市 用 鞭砲 嚇走 鴿子 , 卻 發現 那 徒然 浪費 錢 , 只 能 讓 鴿子 離開 一會兒 boxidunshi yong bianpao xiazou gezi, que faxian na turan langwei qian, zhi neng rang gezi likai yihuier MEAN_FE “Boston uses firecracker to scare away doves, but discovered that this only wastes money, only making the doves leave for a while”

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Published Online: 2020-10-09
Published in Print: 2022-05-25

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