City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Apr 27 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 79 views

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The direct object may have the semantic role denoting a resultant object, which is an object whose referent exists only by virtue of the action indicated by a verb. It is the meaning of a verb such as 发明‘fāmíng’ (invent) or 制造‘zhìzào’ (make, manufacture), 建立‘jiànlì’ (build), 贬值‘biānzhí’ (weave), 烙(饼)‘lào (bǐng)’ (make (a cake)), etc. that decides if its object is resultant:

1a.中国古代科学家张衡发明了地动仪。

Zhōngguó gǔdài kēxuéjiā Zhāng Héng fāmíng le dìdòngyí.

(The ancient Chinese scientist Zhang Heng invented the seismograph.)

1b. 姐姐画了一张山水画。

Jiějie huà le yī zhāng shānshuǐhuà.

(My older sister painted a landscape painting.)

1c.农民在挖地。

Nóngmín zài wā dì.

(The farmer was digging the ground.)

1d.农民在地上挖了个洞。

Nóngmín zài dìshang wā le gè dòng.

(The farmer dug a hole in the ground.)

The direct object 地动仪‘dìdòngyí’ (seismograph) and 山水画‘shānshuǐhuà’ (landscape painting) are resultant objects. Compare (1c) and (1d), the direct object 地‘dì’ (ground) has the affected or Patient semantic role, while 洞‘dòng’ (hole) is a resultant object.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Apr 27 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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