A Corpus-Based Study on Synonyms in Chinese Learners’ English: A Case Study of “Affair” and “Event”


Chinese English learners
Semantic prosody




Using British National Corpus (BNC) as the reference corpus and Chinese Learner’s English Corpus (CLEC) as the observed corpus, this paper attempts to analyze synonyms in Chinese learners’ English based on “event” and “affair.” By comparing the frequency, colligation, collocates, and semantic prosody of the two words in BNC, it is found that “event” and “affair” differ from each other in terms of frequency and semantic prosody. The same comparison is made between BNC and CLEC. It is found that Chinese learners’ English vocabulary is rather small, and there is no significant difference in the semantic prosody of the two words between English native speakers and Chinese English learners except that Chinese English learners have a misunderstanding about “love affair,” which may be attributed to their negligence of semantic prosody in the process of learning.


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