Words, constructions and corpora: Network representations of constructional semantics for Mandarin space particles

Alvin Cheng Hsien Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of network science in exploring the emergence of constructional semantics from the connectedness and relationships between linguistic units. With Mandarin locative constructions (MLCs) as a case study, we extracted constructional tokens from a representative corpus, including their respective space particles (SPs) and the head nouns of the landmarks (LMs), which constitute the nodes of the network. We computed edges based on the lexical similarities of word embeddings learned from large text corpora and the SP-LM contingency from collostructional analysis. We address three issues: (1) For each LM, how prototypical is it of the meaning of the SP? (2) For each SP, how semantically cohesive are its LM exemplars? (3) What are the emerging semantic fields from the constructional network of MLCs? We address these questions by examining the quantitative properties of the network at three levels: microscopic (i.e., node centrality and local clustering coefficient), mesoscopic (i.e., community) and macroscopic properties (i.e., small-worldness and scale-free). Our network analyses bring to the foreground the importance of repeated language experiences in the shaping and entrenchment of linguistic knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-235
Number of pages27
JournalCorpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 1


  • collocation
  • collostruction analysis
  • construction grammar
  • network analysis
  • space particles
  • usage-based grammar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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