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Title: The subjectivity of some probability adverbs
Authors: Shi, D
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Springer
Source: Lecture notes in computer science (including subseries Lecture notes in artificial intelligence and lecture notes in bioinformatics), 2016, v. 10085 How to cite?
Journal: Lecture notes in computer science (including subseries Lecture notes in artificial intelligence and lecture notes in bioinformatics) 
Abstract: In Chinese, words like youshi (seldom), wangwang (usually) and zong (generally) are commonly considered frequency adverbs, on a par with words like ouer (rarely), changchang (often) and yizhi (always). It was discovered after analyzing large corpora data that the former are probability adverbs and only the later are frequency adverbs. Frequency and probability are the results of different calculations which require different items. A frequency adverb like the changchang (often) typically requires one set of things only, since the frequency for a given activity will remain constant no matter which time frame is adopted for the calculation. While in the case of probability adverbs, two sets are required for calculating probability. This is why using wangwang (usually) is not acceptable without a proper context. More importantly, youshi (seldom), wangwang (usually) and zong (generally) are subjective adverbs that express the speaker’s evaluation of the proposition. Such an evaluation is always against a baseline. The wangwang (usually) means the speaker thinks that the probability is close to the baseline, which should be the statistical average of 0.5. The youshi (probably) may be based on a statistic baseline but it could simply express the speaker’s subjective opinion. The sentence “Ni zenme zong bu jie wode dianhua?” (How dare you not answer my call in general?) is a girl’s whining against her boyfriend and her baseline for not answering her phone call is 0, a purely subjective decision.
Description: 17th Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop, CLSW 2016, Singapore, 20-22 May 2016
ISBN: 9783319495071
ISSN: 0302-9743
EISSN: 1611-3349
Appears in Collections:Conference Paper

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