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 (28,250 points) | 14 views

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Adverbials, as a clause element, provide information about circumstances of a situation, such as time, place, manner and means, or express the speaker’s attitude to and evaluation of the situation, or function as conjunctions linking linguistic units. Compared with other clause elements (S, V, O, and C), the adverbial element has a wide range of semantic roles, which can be distinguished as seen in the six main categories (A-F) below, each category having its own subclasses. Adverbials with different semantic roles and grammatical functions can occur in the same sentence; this explains multiple occurrences of adverbials in a sentence. Their positions, as opposed to other clause elements, are mobile, for they can appear in the initial position of a sentence, thus playing the role of connecting clauses, or occasionally at the end of a sentence, thus lending themselves to information processing. But normally, they occur before the VP they modify in terms of the PTS, PTSC or the concept of semantic scope. Before we start with our detailed discussion of adverbials, we will take a look at the outline of their semantic roles, which are: Space, Time, Process, Contingency, Modality and Degree; each category has its subsets that are shown within braces and angle brackets.

A) Space {position, direction <source>}

B) Time {position, duration <(forward span), backward span>, frequency}

C) Process {manner, means, instrument}

D) Contingency {cause, reason, (purpose), condition, concession}

E) Modality {emphasis, approximation, restriction}

F) Degree {intensification, diminution}

The above outline summarizes the semantic roles that adverbials may play in a sentence. With the outline in mind, we will proceed to examine and analyze how each type of adverbial is ordered with regard to the verb it modifies in terms of the conceptual principles concerned.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Apr 27 by Ariel (28,250 points)

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1,332 questions
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14 comments
8,470 users