A Case Study on Scalar Ordering Relations of Chinese Adverbs

Sheng Chun Wu, Huichen S. Hsiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The present study aimed to investigate whether the scalar structure of adverbs resembles scalar adjectives in respect to their ordering relations. Due to the fact that ordering relations in prior studies have often been examined in terms of differentiating antonyms of the same scalar dimension, investigating scalar implicatures, or probing the relations of scalar terms and modifiers, the present study intended to examine the ordering relations of Chinese adverbs of three dimensions (time/frequency/degree), based on responses collected from native speakers of Chinese. The results of the experiments indicated that, regarding the temporal adverbs, the ordering relation based on their semantic strengths from weakest to strongest was jiāngyào < kuàiyào < jiùyào (All three adverbs in Mandarin refer to the proximity and shortness of time, and can be literally translated as “almost” or “nearly” in English). The ordering relation of the target frequency adverbs based on semantic strength was ǒu’ěr (occasionally) < yǒushí (sometimes) < jīngcháng (often). Meanwhile, the ordering relation of degree adverbs was yǒudiǎn (a little) < hěn (quite) < shífēn (very). Moreover, the results of the experiment revealed that the semantic strength of the adverb with the highest strength in each dimension was significantly stronger than that of the target adverbs. Lastly, One-way ANOVA analysis detected no significant difference in the semantic strengths of the target adverbs between the three dimensions. Thus, the results of the present research supported the findings of previous related studies, and further provided more diverse and complete insights to the scalar structure of Chinese adverbs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChinese Lexical Semantics 23rd Workshop, CLSW 2022, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsQi Su, Ge Xu, Xiaoyan Yang
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783031289521
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event23rd Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 2022 May 142022 May 15

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13495 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference23rd Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2022
CityVirtual, Online


  • Degree Adverbs
  • Frequency Adverbs
  • Ordering Relations
  • Scalar Adverbs
  • Scalar Structure
  • Temporal Adverbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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