Passive constructions in English and Chinese
A corpus-based contrastive study
This article combines the corpus-based and contrastive approaches, seeking to provide a systematic account of passive constructions in two typologically distinct languages, namely British English and Mandarin Chinese. We will first explore, on the basis of written and spoken corpus data, a range of characteristics of passives in the two languages including various passive constructions, long vs. short passives, semantic, pragmatic and syntactic features as well as genre variations. On the basis of this exploration, passive constructions in the two languages are contrasted in a structured way. Methodologically, this study demonstrates that comparable monolingual corpora can be exploited fruitfully in contrastive linguistics.
Keywords: passive, genre, Chinese/English
In: Languages in Contrast 6:1. 2006 180 pp. (pp. 109–149)