This study examines the variation between the active and the bei passive in Mandarin Chinese from a probabilistic perspective. The variables considered include discourse continuity factors and adversity. Two different models were built for the active-agentless passive variation and the active-agentive passive variation. Four factors were found to have significant effect: agent thematicity, patient thematicity, adversity, and referential distance. In contrast, the effect of topic persistence and local environment is not significant. The accuracy of prediction for the active-agentless passive variation is significantly higher than the accuracy for the active-agentive passive variation. Overall, the bei passive, either agentless or agentive, is more likely to be chosen over its active counterpart, if it is adversative, has a non-thematic agent, a thematic patient, and a shorter referential distance for the patient.
- Bei passive
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Linguistics and Language