This study investigates the semantic variations of three near-synonymous space particle constructions of containment in Chinese: [zai NP l./nei/ zh.ng]. While previous work has mostly applied qualitative analyses of the semantic differences between these particles, this study presents a corpusbased analysis examining the relationship between space particles and their co-occurring landmarks in the locative construction. Two quantitative analyses were conducted: a multiple distinctive collexeme analysis and a post-hoc semantic analysis. Our results suggest the following. First, l. is a more unmarked particle in encoding containment, co-occurring with both canonical landmarks and a wider range of entities. Second, nei shows a strong preference for landmarks denoting temporal concepts; this metaphorical use often implies a preplanned objective in the proposition, with the landmark as an intended deadline. Finally, zh.ng shows a strong connection to landmarks denoting high-dynamicity events. This extended use often comes with a marked aspectual reading of the landmark.
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