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Title: Pretty與 Charming之辨析:以語料庫與心理語言學為本的研究
Distinguishing Pretty and Charming: A corpus-based and psycholinguistic study
Authors: 游雅嵐
Yu, Ya-Lan
Contributors: 鍾曉芳
Chung, Siaw-Fong
Yu, Ya-Lan
Keywords: pretty
Near synonymous adjectives
Psycholinguistic judgement task
Date: 2019
Issue Date: 2019-07-01 10:38:27 (UTC+8)
Abstract: 在英語學習環境中,近義詞的誤用為常見之語言現象之一。學習者通常倚賴字典提供的語意,而忽略了其語言使用環境的不同。然而,近義詞之間的差異是微小、難以察覺的。本研究旨在透過語料庫為本的方法,分析近義詞pretty和charming的描述對象。此外,為得知學習者的學習困難,本研究也進行了以語料庫為基礎的心理語言學實驗測試搭配詞的接受度。
語料庫分析結果從不同角度展現了pretty和charming之相同與相異之處。其一,就語意分析得知,兩者皆能用來描述人和物體的吸引力。研究也發現,男性及女性都能被描述為pretty 或是charming。另外,在不同的語言環境中,這兩個形容詞皆具備表述褒義與貶義功能。其二,從句法結構與語域(register)表現得知,這兩個形容詞都偏好出現於名詞之前來修飾名詞,且他們較常被使用於非正式語域(例如: 口語和小說)。其三,從搭配詞分析可得知兩形容詞之主要差異如下:Pretty 傾向於形容人的外表與物體外觀(例如:面容以及洋裝);而charming傾向於描述內在美,這種吸引力需要花較久時間思考與感受體驗(例如:個性、書)。其四,從分析心理語言實驗結果得知,搭配詞型態(pretty-only, charming-only, and common) 影響了受試者對於句子的接受度。而在三種搭配詞型態中,受試者對於pretty-only句子接受度最低,且較不熟悉。而在描述物體時,受試者似乎不確定這兩形容詞使用差異。由此可得知,受試者對於pretty 和charming的描述對象並不熟悉。
One of the commonest lexical use problems in English learning context is related to near-synonyms. Many language learners rely on dictionaries to provide the denotational meaning of a lexical item but are less aware of the subtle differences embedded in contexts. The differences between near-synonyms are hard to identify and acquire for learners. The present thesis aims to analyze a pair of near synonymous adjectives, that is, pretty and charming, through the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). In addition, in order to understand the learning difficulty of learners, a psycholinguistic judgment task (an acceptability judgment task) based on the corpus data was also conducted.
The corpus analysis demonstrated the similarities and differences between the two adjectives from several perspectives. First, from the semantic analysis, pretty and charming shared a sense of ‘describing someone or something as pleasant or attractive’. Both males and females can be modified by the two adjectives. Moreover, in different language contexts, the two target words can be used to express negative and positive discourse functions. Second, for syntactic position and register,
pretty and charming were more commonly shown in the attributive position, tended to pre-modify the head of a noun phrase, and in informal registers (e.g., spoken and fiction). Third, as for collocational information, the main differences between the two adjectives were as follows: pretty was found to mainly co-occur with the outer beauty of people and objects (e.g., face, dress); charming tended to describe one’s inner beauty which takes more time to experience or think (e.g., personality, book). Fourth, from the analysis of psycholinguistic judgment task, one could find that the patterns of collocates (i.e.,
pretty-only, charming-only, and common) may affect the participant’s judgment of the sentences. Among the three patterns, pretty-only gained the lowest degree of acceptability, which showed that the participants might be less familiar with the collocational use of the pretty-only pattern. Furthermore, when describing an object, the participants seemed to be uncertain about the use of the two adjectives.
Based on the results, we proposed that identifying the source of beauty of their modified nouns could distinguish the uses among pretty and charming. The difference could also provide a possible reason for the difficulty of near-synonym acquisition. This thesis attempts to unveil the difficulties of learning a pair of near synonymous adjectives from the integrated corpus-based and empirical findings. The findings can be applied to the design of English teaching techniques and materials and may be regarded as the basis of analyzing synonymous adjectives in future studies.
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