Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Open Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Ehrhart, Sabine

1 Issue per year

Open Access
See all formats and pricing

Conversational Network in the Chinese Buddhist Canon

John Lee
  • City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,
/ Tak-sum Wong
  • City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong,
Published Online: 2016-10-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0022


This article describes a method to analyze characters in a literary text by considering their verbal interactions. This method exploits techniques from computational linguistics to extract all direct speech from a treebank, and to build a conversational network that visualizes the speakers, the listeners and their degree of interaction. We apply this method to create and visualize a conversational network for the Chinese Buddhist Canon. We analyze the protagonists and their interlocutors, and report statistics on their number of utterances and types of listeners, how their speech was reported, and subcommunities in the network.

Keywords: treebank; direct speeech; Chinese Buddhist Canon; conversational network


  • Agarwal, Apoorv, Rambow, Owen, and Passonneau, Rebecca J. 2010. Annotation Scheme for Social Network Extraction from Text. In Proc. Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

  • Agarwal, Apoorv, Corvalan, Augusto, Jensen, Jacob, and Rambow, Owen. 2012. Social Network Analysis of Alice in Wonderland. Proc. Workshop on Computational Linguistics for Literature.

  • Baker, Paul, Gabrielatos, Costas, and McEnery, Tony. 2013. Sketching Muslims: A Corpus Driven Analysis of Representations Around the Word ‘Muslim’ in the British Press 1998-2009. Applied Linguistics 34(3):255-278.

  • Bingenheimer, Marcus, Hung, Jen-Jou, and Wiles, Simon. (2011). Social network visualization from TEI data. Literary and Linguistic Computing 26(3):271-278.

  • Bisang, Walter. 2014. On the strength of morphological paradigms: A historical account of radical pro-drop. In Paradigm Change: In the Transeurasian Languages and Beyond, pages 23−61.

  • Celikyilmaz Asli, Hakkani-Tur, Dilek, He, Hua, Kondrak, Greg, and Barbosa, Denilson. 2010. The Actor-Topic Model for Extracting Social Networks in Literary Narrative. In Proc. NIPS Machine Learning for Social Computing Workshop.

  • Chang, Pi-Chuan, Tseng, Huihsin, Jurafsky, Dan and Manning Christopher D. 2009. Discriminative reordering with Chinese grammatical relations features. In Proc. 3rd Workshop on Syntax and Structure in Statistical Translation.

  • Crane, Gregory. 2006. What Do You Do with a Million Books? D-Lib Magazine 12(3). http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march06/ crane/03crane.html

  • Csomay, Eniko. 2013. Lexical Bundles in Discourse Structure: A Corpus-Based Study of Classroom Discourse. Applied Linguistics 34(3):369-388. [Crossref]

  • DDBC. 2008. Buddhist Studies Person Authority Databases (Beta Version). Buddhist Studies Authority Database Project, Dharma Drum Buddhist College. Accessed at http://authority.ddbc.edu.tw/person/

  • Diesner, Jana, Frantz, Terrill L., and Carley, Kathleen M.. 2005. Communication Networks from the Enron Email Corpus: It’s Always about the People, Enron is no Different. Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory 11(3):201-228.

  • Doddington, George, Mitchell, Alexis, Przybocki, Mark, Ramshaw, Lance, Strassel, Strassel, and Weischedel, Ralph. 2004. The Automatic Content Extraction (ACE) Program: Tasks, Data, and Evaluation. In Proc. Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).

  • Elson, David K., Dames, Nicholas, and McKeown, Kathleen R. 2010. Extracting social networks from literary fiction. In Proc. Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL).

  • Elson, David K. and McKeown, Kathleen R. 2010. Automatic attribution of quoted speech in literary narrative. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI 2010), Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Gansner, Emden R., & North, Stephen C. 2000. An open graph visualization system and its applications to software engineering. Software Practice and Experience, 30(11):1203-1233.

  • Holmes, David I. 1994. Authorship Attribution. Computers and the Humanities 28(2):87-106.

  • Hung, Jen-Jou, Bingenheimer, Marcus, and Wiles, Simon. 2010. Quantitative evidence for a hypothesis regarding the attribution of early Buddhist translations. Literary and Linguistic Computing 25(1):119-34.

  • Kieschnick, John. 2014. A Primer in Chinese Buddhist Writings: Volume One: Foundations: Translation Key. Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University. Accessed 18th August 2015. http://religiousstudies.stanford.edu/a-primer-inchinese- buddhist-writings/

  • Knuth, Donald E. 1993. The Stanford GraphBase: A Platform for Combinatorial Computing. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

  • Lafferty, John, McCallum, Andrew, and Pereira, Fernando C. N. 2001. Conditional random fields: Probabilistic models for segmenting and labeling sequence data. In Proc. International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML), pages 282-289.

  • Lancaster, Lewis. 2010. From Text to Image to Analysis: Visualization of Chinese Buddhist Canon. In Proc. Digital Humanities. Lancaster, Lewis and Park, Sung-bae. 1979. The Korean Buddhist Canon: A Descriptive Catalogue. Berkeley: Berkeley University Press.

  • Lee, John and Kong, Yin Hei. 2016. A dependency treebank of Chinese Buddhist texts. In Digital Scholarship in the Humanities 31(1):140-151.

  • Lee, John and Wong, Tak Sum. 2016. Hierarchy of characters in the Chinese Buddhist Canon. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth International Florida Artificial Intelligence Research Society Conference, pages 531-534.

  • Liang, Jisheng, Dhillon, Navdeep, and Koperski, Krzysztof. 2010. A large-scale system for annotating and querying quotations in news feeds. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Semantic Search Workshop, pages 1–5.

  • Mahlberg, Michaela and Smith, Catherine. 2012. Dickens, the suspended quotation and the corpus. Language and Literature 21(1):51-65.

  • McDonald, Ryan, Lerman, Kevin and Pereira, Fernando. 2006. Multilingual dependency parsing with a two-stage discriminative parser. In Proc. 10th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL-X).

  • Moretti, Franco. 1999. Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900. London: Verso.

  • Moretti, Franco. 2011. Network Theory, Plot Analysis. New Left Review 68: 80-102.

  • Mutton, Paul. 2004. Inferring and Visualizing Social Networks on Internet Relay Chat. Proc. 8th International Conference on Information Visualization.

  • Newman, Mark. 2010. Networks: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Oelke, Daniela, Kokkinakis, Dimitrios, and Keim, Daniel. A. 2013. Fingerprint Matrices: Uncovering the dynamics of social networks in prose literature. Computer Graphics Forum 32(3.4):371-380.

  • Pareti, Silvia, O’Keefe, Timothy, Konstas, Ioannis, Curran, James R., and Koprinska, Irena. 2013. Automatically Detecting and Attributing Indirect Quotations. In Proc. Empirical Methods for Natural Language Processing (EMNLP).

  • Pouliquen, Bruno, Steinberger, Ralf, and Best, Clive. 2007. Automatic detection of quotations in multilingual news. In Proceedings of Recent Advances in Natural Language Processing, pages 487–492.

  • Rydberg-Cox, Jeff. 2011. Social Networks and the Language of Greek Tragedy. Journal of the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science 1(3). https://letterpress.uchicago.edu/index.php/jdhcs/article/view/86

  • Sealey, Alison. 2010. Probabilities and Surprises: A Realist Approach to Identifying Linguistic and Social Patterns, with Reference to an Oral History Corpus. Applied Linguistics 31(2):215-235. [Crossref]

  • Stiller, James, Nettle, Daniel, and Dunbar, Robin I. M. 2003. The Small World of Shakespeare’s Plays. Human Nature 14(4):397-408.

  • Xue, Naiwen, Xia, Fei, Chiou, Fu-dong, and Palmer, Marta. 2005. The Penn Chinese Treebank: Phrase structure annotation of a large corpus. Natural Language Engineering, 11:207-238.

  • Zhao, Hai, Huang, Chang-Ning and Li, Mu. 2007. An Improved Chinese Word Segmentation System with Conditional Random Field. In H. T. Ng, & O. O. Y. Kwong (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fifth SIGHAN Workshop on Chinese Language Processing. Stroudsburg, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics, pages 162-165.

Received: 2016-02-29

Accepted: 2016-09-25

Published Online: 2016-10-26

Citation Information: Open Linguistics. Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2016-0022, October 2016

© 2016 John Lee, Tak-sum Wong. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.