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 (34,470 points) | 25 views

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The clause element adverbial expresses information about circumstances of a situation named by the verb, such as the time when, or the place where the situation takes place, the manner and means in which the situation is conducted, etc. Adverbial also expresses the speaker’s attitude to or evaluation of the situation, it can function as a conjunction linking sentences. Adverbial, as a clause element, is generally more peripheral and mobile than other clause elements in that it may be omitted without affecting the basic meaning of the sentence, or it may be moved to the initial position as a sentential adverbial qualifying the whole sentence, or placed at the end of the sentence as a piece of information to be highlighted, as shown by (1):

1a. 母亲的声声呼唤,留在了我心里,永远永远

Mǔqin de shēng shēng hūhuàn,liú zài le wǒ xīnli,yǒngyuǎn yǒngyuǎn.

(The callings of my mother were left in my heart, forever, forever.)

1b. 在硝烟弥漫的岁月里,他慢慢成长了,从班长,排长到连长

Zài xiāoyānmímàn de suìyuè lǐ,tā mànmàn chéngzhǎng le,cóng bānzhǎng páizhǎng dào liánzhǎng.

(In those years of war, he grew up gradually, from a squad leader, to a platoon leader, and to a company commander.)

In (1a), the temporal adverbial 永远永远‘yǒngyuǎn yǒngyuǎn’ (forever), which is repeated for the effect of intensification of the meaning, is ordered at the sentence final position, where it receives End-Focus and is thus highlighted. In (1b), the adverbial, realized by the prepositional phrase, is moved from its normal preverbal position to the end of the sentence (normally, it should occur before the verb 成长‘chéngzhǎng’ (grow up)), for the purpose of emphasizing the gradual process of the subject referent’s maturity and progress.

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

answered Apr 27 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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