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Making Sense of Grammar
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How to distinguish the usage of LAI (來) and QU (去) in compound words?

asked Jan 2, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 25, 2018 by admin

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Directional resultatives compounds refer to verbal compounds in which the non-head verbs on the right typically come from a set of directional verbs such as 上 (sh`ang/up),  (xi`a/ down),  (j`ın/ enter),  (ch¯u/ exit),  (l´ai/ come),  (q`u/ go), etc.

Aside from the compounds consist of a Root verb functioning as the head of the compound and a directional verb listed above, some directional resultatives compounds are the combination of two directional verbs such as 出去 (ch¯u-q`u/ go out) and 出來 (ch¯u-l´ai/ come out.)

Furthermore, from a deictic viewpoint, whether 來 (l´ai) or 去 (q`u) should be used in these compounds depends on the speaker's and the listener’s locations. For instance, if one person asks another person to leave the room, he will use the verb compound ch¯u-q`u (出去/ go out) while they are in the room together; However, if the listener is in the room and the speaker is not, the speaker will use the word 出來 (ch¯u-l´ai/ come out.) instead. In summary, 來 (l´ai) or 去 (q`u) indicating a deictic center in this type of directional verb compounds always occur last.

Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun

answered Jan 2, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 25, 2018 by admin
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