A Corpus-Based Study of Semantics of English and Chinese Pressure Antonyms "Light/Heavy"


  • Yihao Li




Corpus; “light-qing”; “heavy-zhong”; semantics; conceptual metaphor.


This study delves into the antonymous pair "light/heavy," commonly used in everyday interpersonal discourse, focusing on a comprehensive comparative analysis of the Chinese and English pressure antonyms "light/heavy." To learn more about this language phenomena, data taken from the Center for Chinese Linguistics PKU Corpus and the British National Corpus are analyzed. The analysis follows the framework of conceptual metaphor theory and is based on a semantic approach. The study reveals that, when analyzed under the prism of conceptual metaphor, the definitions of "light" and "heavy" embrace 14 other categories in addition to the weight domain. Notably, in the Chinese language, "light" and "heavy" take on connotations related to attitudes and social statuses, symbolizing contempt and respect, respectively. These nuanced connotations are absent in their English counterparts. The implications of these findings carry significance for Chinese-English translation and the field of second language acquisition, particularly concerning pressure antonyms.


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How to Cite

Li , Y. (2024). A Corpus-Based Study of Semantics of English and Chinese Pressure Antonyms "Light/Heavy". Journal of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, 28, 590-597. https://doi.org/10.54097/wbpk1t41