A Corpus-based Contrastive Study on Semantic Prosody of English near Synonyms: A Case Study of Motive and MotivationA Corpus-based Contrastive Study on Semantic Prosody of English near Synonyms: A Case Study of Motive and Motivation


  • QIAN WANG Northwestern Polytechincal Unviersity




Collocation, Corpus, Semantic Prosody, Synonyms.


Corpus-based studies on semantic prosody of synonyms provide a new lens to teaching and learning synonyms in English. However, using corpus-based approach to facilitate teaching and learning English synonyms is still in its infancy in China. This study, based on Chinese Learner English Corpus (CLEC) and Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), conducts a contrastive analysis of English near synonyms “motive” and “motivation” in terms of frequency, collocation features and semantic prosody between Chinese English Foreign Language learners and native English speakers. Findings suggest that the node word is underused by English learners. Furthermore, motive tends to co-occur with collocates related to illegal activities while motivation is apt to appear with collocates involved with normal or beneficial activities. In addition, Chinese language Learners overuse negative semantic prosody of motivation and positive semantic prosody of motive. Reasons for underuse and misuse are explored and research implications are discussed as well.

Author Biography

  • QIAN WANG, Northwestern Polytechincal Unviersity
    Associate Professor, School of Foreign Studies


Anthony, L. AntConc. Downloaded from http://www.laurenceanthony.net/

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