Quantitative Research on the Origins of Contemporary Chinese Vocabulary Based on The Great Chinese Dictionary

  • Xueyang Liu
  • Bin Li
  • Yingjie Zhang
  • Liu Liu
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8922)


The evolution of the Chinese vocabulary is one of the indispensable parts of the research on the history of the Chinese language, and is the basis of clarifying the origins of contemporary Chinese vocabulary. For lack of the high-quality and large-scale diachronic corpus, the overall evolutionary process of the Chinese vocabulary is hard to demonstrate and the quantitative-analytical description of the Chinese lexical evolution still remains a problem. The Great Chinese Dictionary records over 490,000 senses of both ancient and contemporary words. By manually labeling the historical period of the example sentences for every sense in the dictionary, a diachronic Chinese lexical database was built. Then we probed into the distributions of the number and word length of contemporary vocabulary in each historical period. Eventually, we estimated the correlation between the number of words and their age by regression analysis.


The Great Chinese Dictionary Contemporary vocabulary Quantitative analysis Glottochronology 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chinese Language and LiteratureNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.State Key Lab for Novel Software TechnologyNanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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