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JTCLT Abstract

Volume 11 Number 1, 2020
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Kang, T., & Luo, H. (2020). A Corpus-driven Contrastive Study of the Top 100 Content Words in English and Chinese. Journal of Technology and Chinese Language Teaching, 11(1), 36-56.
[康婷婷, & 骆涵 (2020). 中英最常用100个内容单词:一项基于语料库的对比研究. 科技与中文教学 (Journal of Technology and Chinese Language Teaching), 11(1), 36-56.]

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This corpus-driven study examines the construction and frequency distribution of the top 100 most frequently used content words in American English, Chinese, and American and Chinese first-year students’ compositions. First, this paper presents the top 100 most frequently used content words in American English and Chinese from two comparable corpora, i.e., the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and the Chinese National Corpus (CNC). Second, the top 100 most frequently used content words were drawn from two specific corpora consisting of American and Chinese freshmen’s English compositions. Linguistic similarities and differences in terms of the usage of content words across the two sets of comparable corpora were identified. For example, the results showed that people from both American and Chinese cultural backgrounds relied heavily on verbs and nouns in their languages. However, Chinese people tended to prefer using direction-oriented nouns and food-related words, which were nearly absent in the COCA and American freshmen’s compositions. The cultural implications associated with the linguistic similarities and differences are discussed and pedagogical implications of the findings are also offered.


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