Adverbs of frequency in Chinese and English
M.M. McCoy
Seven ambiguous adverbs of frequency, in both English and Chinese written versions were presented for an estimate of the percentage of occasions bilingual subjects in Hong Kong would have in mind when using them. "Usually", "often" and "frequently" (通常, 時常, 很多時) were found to be indistinguishable from one another as were "sometimes" and "occasionally" (有事, 間中). Response set increases t11e likelihood of difference in meaning. The imprecision of the common indications of frequency is discussed with emphasis on the appearance of such adverbs in questionnaire items and responses. Strings of adverbs which may be used together with confidence that interpretations will be both distinct and in a consistent frequency direction are supplied in both English and Chinese.