March 25th, 2013

Thesaurus of Synonyms

The function and formation of semantic Systems: A new Chinese Thesaurus of Synonyms

Mei Jiaju

Multilingua vol. 5, issue 4 (1986), 205-209.

Some groups of synonyms comprise a great number of synonyms while others comprise very few. Under měi lì (beautiful) we have collected more than one hundred synonyms but we have only 17 words under : 丑陋 chǒu lòu (ugly). The dictionary has 141 hǎo (good) and 50 huài (bad) only; 173 tián (sweet) and 3 kǔ (bitter); 27 xiāng (fragrant) and 17 chòu (malodorous). Why are there more words with a complimentary sense than words with derogatory sense? Is it possible that it is related to the development of society and human psychology?