Authors: Helena Yan Ping Lau and Sophia Yat Mei Lee
Abstract: Given that most reference materials often define near-synonymous manner adverbs in a rather general or even circular way regardless of their semantic differences, this study explores issues with regard to the differentiation of a set of near-synonymous manner adverbs on intention, including 特意, 特地, 故意, and 刻意. We propose that near-synonymous manner adverbs, even with similar or identical definitions, can be distinguished with the help of their collocations. It is observed that each of the four selected nodes differs from one another in terms of the degree of attainability of intentions behind actions, and semantic prosody. Results show that the attainability of intention can be revealed by certain kinds of conjunctions, with 刻意being the lowest. Among the four manner adverbs, 特意, 特地, and刻意are neutral, whereas 故意is negative in nature. Apart from that, we also suggest that negation markers 不是and (並/絕) 非are particularly effective in the detection of negative events.
Keywords: synonyms; manner adverbs; corpus-based; semantic prosody; conjunctions; negation markers