Chinese Negation Morpheme bù in Academic Writing

  • Chen-Li Kuo


Negation can be conveyed through various forms in a language. In Chinese, bù is the most common negative form, and it can also be a morpheme of a compound word which expresses negation and/or concepts closely associated with negation, e.g. modality and contrast. In order to capture most types of Chinese words carrying these concepts, we investigate Chinese words containing bù. This study first classifies bù-related words into seven categories according to the word structure and the negative connotation of bù as a morpheme retained in the word. The categorisation is then applied to the wordlists of a research article corpus and a conversational corpus. The results show that there are many fewer occurrences of bù as a negator in research articles than in conversation, and that there is greater use of four-syllable Chinese idioms (chéngyǔ) in research articles than in conversation. In addition, different sets of bù-related words are used to express contrast and modality.
Kuo, C.-L. (2016). Chinese Negation Morpheme bù in Academic Writing. Linguistik Online, 76(2).