Towards a metaphor-annotated corpus of Mandarin Chinese

Xiaofei Lu, Ben Pin Yun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Building on the success of the VU Amsterdam Metaphor Corpus, which comprises English texts annotated with metaphor following the Metaphor Identification Procedure Vrjie Universiteit (MIPVU; Steen et al. in Cogn Linguist 21(4):765–796, 2010a; Steen et al. in A method for linguistic metaphor identification: from MIP to MIPVU. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 2010b), this study has three aims: (1) to adapt and evaluate the transferability and reliability of MIPVU for Mandarin Chinese; (2) to construct a corpus of Chinese texts annotated for metaphor using the adapted procedure; and (3) to examine the distribution of metaphor-related words across Chinese texts in three different written registers: academic discourse, fiction, and news. The results of our inter-annotator reliability test show that MIPVU can be reliably applied to linguistic metaphor identification in Chinese texts. Our metaphor-annotated corpus consists of texts randomly sampled from the Lancaster Corpus of Mandarin Chinese, totaling 30,012 words (about 10,000 for each register). Data analysis reveals that approximately one out of every nine lexical units in our Chinese corpus is related to metaphor, that there is considerable variation in metaphor density across different registers and lexical categories, and that metaphor density is significantly lower in Chinese than in English texts. Our assessment of the replicability of MIPVU for Mandarin Chinese adds to the groundbreaking methodological contribution that Steen et al. (2010a, b) has made to metaphor research. The metaphor-annotated corpus of Mandarin Chinese contributes a valuable language resource for Chinese metaphor researchers, and our analysis of the distribution of metaphor-related words in the corpus offers useful new insights into the extent and use of metaphor in Chinese discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-694
Number of pages32
JournalLanguage Resources and Evaluation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Library and Information Sciences


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