The Role of Translation Played in the Evolution of Mandarin: A Corpus-based Account

  • Hongwu Qin
  • Lei Kong
  • Ranran Chu
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)


This chapter begins with an overview of the studies on translational Chinese over the past decades in China. Traditionally, translation studies would take translational language as a source of examples for the discussion of translation techniques, the focus being on the choice of words or structures; little is said about the language as a whole. Nowadays, translational language is an independent system or variety, of which the holistic and macroscopic features become accessible in the era of corpus linguistics under the strong support of IT. In China, corpus-based translation studies have a history of a mere 10 years. However, such a short period marks a rapid development both in the building of parallel corpus and researches on that basis. A good case in point is the employment of parallel corpora in the study of the development of Mandarin in the twentieth century. In this study, we look into the evolution of Mandarin from a CLC (construction’s load capacity) perspective. It finds that the evolution of Mandarin is clearly shown in the increase of CLC and in the structural complexity of the constituents in the constructions, and it goes in parallel with the sudden and rapid changes typical of translational Mandarin after the May 4th Movement. However, it should be noted that, considering what original Mandarin selectively replicates are the features of translational language but not those of the source language (Western languages), the so-called Europeanization does not exist.


Language change Translational Chinese Mandarin Corpus 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongwu Qin
    • 1
  • Lei Kong
    • 1
  • Ranran Chu
    • 1
  1. 1.Qufu Normal UniversityQufuChina

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