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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reports some of the most salient features of the spoken vocabulary based on corpora. High-frequency items are seen to come from a small number of word types while low frequency items cover a much wider base. This is the basis for a basic vocabulary of the spoken language. Contrary to common beliefs, monosyllabic words are found to constitute much of the active lexicon. Finally, lexical chunks, with multiple words and distinctive meanings and functions from component single words, are argued to be just as frequent and as important as a lexical unit. Overall corpora offer new perspectives on the lexical aspect of the organization of the Chinese language.

Keywords: Chinese, vocabulary, frequency, corpora, lexical chunks

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