City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Apr 29 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 23 views

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When two positional adverbials occur in a sentence, they enter into a hierarchical relationship, with the one denoting a larger place preceding the one denoting a smaller place, according to the Chinese conceptual Principle of ‘Whole- Before-Part’. The two positional adverbials may serve two different grammatical functions; one is used as a sentential adverbial, and the other as a predication adverbial.

2a. 在北京很多人在全聚德烤鸭店吃烤鸭。

Zài Beijīng hěnduō rén zài Quánjùdé Kǎoyādiàn chī kǎoyā.

(Many people eat roast duck at Quanjude restaurant in Beijing.)

2b. *在全聚德烤鸭店很多人在北京吃烤鸭。

* Zài Quánjùdé Kǎoyādiàn hěnduō rén zài Beijīng chī kǎoyā.

(*At Quanjude restaurant, many people in Beijing eat roast duck.)

The adverbial 在北京‘zài Beijīng’ (in Beijing), which denotes a larger scope than the adverbial 在全聚德烤鸭店‘zài Quánjùdé Kǎoyādiàn’ (at Duck Restaurant Quanjude) does, can function as a sentential adverbial occurring in the initial position of the sentence, while the latter adverbial cannot.

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

answered Apr 29 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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