Yihan ZhouDownload this article

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



Guai (乖) is one of the auto-antonyms in Chinese. It has gone through a reverse semantic change from ‘deviant’ to ‘obedient’. The current research conducts a diachronic study on the semantic change of guai from Zhou dynasty (B.C.E. 1046) to present (C.E 2017). It draws on corpus at different times to provide a panorama of the semantic change of guai and explain the mechanism of the semantic change. The data support the internal motivation hypothesis that guai developed the ‘obedient’ meaning from itself, not from borrowing.


Proceedings of the 4th Annual Linguistics Conference at UGA: 87–96.

Published June 3, 2018


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