Corpus of Chinese Dynastic Histories: Gender Analysis over Two Millennia

05/18/2020 ∙ by Sergey Zinin, et al. ∙ 0

Chinese dynastic histories form a large continuous linguistic space of approximately 2000 years, from the 3rd century BCE to the 18th century CE. The histories are documented in Classical (Literary) Chinese in a corpus of over 20 million characters, suitable for the computational analysis of historical lexicon and semantic change. However, there is no freely available open-source corpus of these histories, making Classical Chinese low-resource. This project introduces a new open-source corpus of twenty-four dynastic histories covered by Creative Commons license. An original list of Classical Chinese gender-specific terms was developed as a case study for analyzing the historical linguistic use of male and female terms. The study demonstrates considerable stability in the usage of these terms, with dominance of male terms. Exploration of word meanings uses keyword analysis of focus corpora created for genderspecific terms. This method yields meaningful semantic representations that can be used for future studies of diachronic semantics.

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