Collocation analysis can be used to extract meaningful linguistic information from large-scale corpus data. This paper reviews the methodological issues one may encounter when performing collocation analysis for discourse studies on Chinese. We propose four crucial aspects to consider in such analyses: (i) the definition of collocates according to various parameters; (ii) the choice of analysis and association measures; (iii) the definition of the search span; and (iv) the selection of corpora for analysis. To illustrate how these aspects can be addressed when applying a Chinese collocation analysis, we conducted a case study of two Chinese causal connectives: yushi ‘that is why’ and yin’er ‘as a result’. The distinctive collocation analysis shows how these two connectives differ in volitionality, an important dimension of discourse relations. The study also demonstrates that collocation analysis, as an explorative approach based on large-scale data, can provide valuable converging evidence for corpus-based studies that have been conducted with laborious manual analysis on limited datasets.
We investigated whether fine-grained coordination in a screen-based puzzle task with a (virtual) partner would influence on-line perspective-taking. Participants played a screen-based puzzle game with a computer player. In the high-coordination condition, the player presented participants with puzzle pieces that could be placed near their partner’s last piece. In the low-coordination condition, pieces could only be placed further away from their partner’s last piece. Participant’s eye movements were then measured in a referential communication task, with the partner giving the instructions, and whether possible competitor referents were in shared or privileged ground. The results demonstrate clear effects of ground and coordination. Participants in both coordination groups were sensitive to the perspective of the interlocutor. In addition, participants in the high-level coordination condition were more sensitive to statistical regularities in the input and their comprehension was more time-locked to the utterance of the speaker.
This study explores how subjectivity is expressed in coherence relations, by means of a distinctive collocational analysis on two Chinese causal connectives: the specific subjective kejian ‘so’, used in subjective argument-claim relations, and the underspecified suoyi ‘so’, which can be used in both subjective argument-claim and objective cause-consequence relations. On the basis of both Horn’s pragmatic Relation and Quality principles and the Uniform Information Density Theory, we hypothesized that the presence of other linguistic elements expressing subjectivity in a discourse segment should be related to the degree of subjectivity encoded by the connective. In line with this hypothesis, the association scores showed that suoyi is more frequently combined with perspective markers expressing epistemic stance: cognition verbs and modal verbs. Kejian, which already expresses epistemic stance, co-occurred more often with perspective markers related to attitudinal stance, such as markers of expectedness and importance. The paper also pays attention to similarities and differences in collocation patterns across contexts and genres.