City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Apr 27, 2021 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 453 views

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The intransitive stance verbs, like 坐‘zuò’ (sit), 站‘zhàn’ (stand), 躺‘tǎng’ (lie), 待‘dāi’ (stay), 住‘zhù’ (live) etc., and transitive verbs related to stance verbs, like 抱/背/拿‘bào/bēi/ná’ (carry/hold) 穿/戴‘chuān/dài’ (wear), assign to the subject referent the semantic role of positioner. Stance verbs differ from other stative verbs, in that they signal a state (or a static posture) that is in the subject referent’s control. The transitive verbs mentioned above are causative, and the positioner subject is capable of controlling the states, too.

1a. 周末我们要住在“红屋顶”旅馆。

Zhōumò wǒmen yào zhù zài ‘hóng wūdǐng” lǚguǎn.

(We will stay at “Red Roof” Hotel this weekend.)

1b. 他很不情愿地提着那个大旅行包。

Tā hěn bù qíngyuàn de tí zhe nàge dà lǚxíng bāo.

(He reluctantly carried that large traveling bag.)

1c. 战士们背着背包,扛着枪。

Zhànshì men bēizhe bēibāo, gāng zhe qiāng.

(The soldiers were carrying their rucksacks on their backs, and their rifles on their shoulders.)

Since the subject referent is in control of the state, the positioner subject, like the agentive subject, allows the occurrence of an adverbial of purpose or of volition, as shown by (1b).

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.

answered Apr 27, 2021 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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