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SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese word and character frequencies based on film subtitles

Qing Cai and Marc Brysbaert (UGent)
(2010) PLOS ONE. 5(6).
Author
Organization
Abstract
Background: Word frequency is the most important variable in language research. However, despite the growing interest in the Chinese language, there are only a few sources of word frequency available to researchers, and the quality is less than what researchers in other languages are used to. Methodology: Following recent work by New, Brysbaert, and colleagues in English, French and Dutch, we assembled a database of word and character frequencies based on a corpus of film and television subtitles (46.8 million character, 33.5 million words). In line with what has been found in the other languages, the new word and character frequencies explain significantly more of the variance in Chinese word naming and lexical decision performance than measures based on written texts. Conclusions: Our results confirm that word frequencies based on subtitles are a good estimate of daily language exposure and capture much of the variance in word processing efficiency. In addition, our database is the first to include information about the contextual diversity of the words and to provide good frequency estimates for multi-character words and the different syntactic roles in which the words are used. The word frequencies are freely available for research purposes.
Keywords
LEXICON, NORMS, ENGLISH

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Chicago
Cai, Qing, and Marc Brysbaert. 2010. “SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese Word and Character Frequencies Based on Film Subtitles.” Plos One 5 (6).
APA
Cai, Q., & Brysbaert, M. (2010). SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese word and character frequencies based on film subtitles. PLOS ONE, 5(6).
Vancouver
1.
Cai Q, Brysbaert M. SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese word and character frequencies based on film subtitles. PLOS ONE. 2010;5(6).
MLA
Cai, Qing, and Marc Brysbaert. “SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese Word and Character Frequencies Based on Film Subtitles.” PLOS ONE 5.6 (2010): n. pag. Print.
@article{1045459,
  abstract     = {Background: Word frequency is the most important variable in language research. However, despite the growing interest in the Chinese language, there are only a few sources of word frequency available to researchers, and the quality is less than what researchers in other languages are used to. Methodology: Following recent work by New, Brysbaert, and colleagues in English, French and Dutch, we assembled a database of word and character frequencies based on a corpus of film and television subtitles (46.8 million character, 33.5 million words). In line with what has been found in the other languages, the new word and character frequencies explain significantly more of the variance in Chinese word naming and lexical decision performance than measures based on written texts. Conclusions: Our results confirm that word frequencies based on subtitles are a good estimate of daily language exposure and capture much of the variance in word processing efficiency. In addition, our database is the first to include information about the contextual diversity of the words and to provide good frequency estimates for multi-character words and the different syntactic roles in which the words are used. The word frequencies are freely available for research purposes.},
  articleno    = {e10729},
  author       = {Cai, Qing and Brysbaert, Marc},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  journal      = {PLOS ONE},
  keyword      = {LEXICON,NORMS,ENGLISH},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  title        = {SUBTLEX-CH: Chinese word and character frequencies based on film subtitles},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010729},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2010},
}

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