City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 4 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 19 views

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Most time-position adverbials, especially those realized by NPs, readily take the sentence-initial position, assuming the function of a sentential adverbial. They provide a temporal frame within which the event described by the sentence occurs. This is shown by (1e, f). In (1f), the time adverbial ‘jìn le fángjiān yǐhòu’ (after entering the room) occurs initially, designating a temporal frame within which the event of starting to write the report takes place. The point in time denoted by the adverb ‘lìkè’ in the sense of ‘immediately, or at the moment’, signifies a temporal state, which starts almost at the same time with the event of writing the report. This explains its preverbal position.

1a. 他原来是一个老师。

Tā yuánlái shì gè lǎoshī.

(He originally was a teacher.)

1b. 他最近遇到了一些麻烦。

Tā zuìjìn yùdào le yīxiē máfan.

(Recently he was in trouble.)

1c. 小王毕业以前就去工作了。

Xiǎowáng bìyè yǐqián jiù qù gōngzuò le .

(Xiao Wang had begun working before he graduated.)

1d. 刘老师以前曾在上海住过一段时间。

Liú lǎoshī yǐqián céng zài Shànghǎi zhù guò yī duàn shíjiān.

(Teacher Liu once lived in Shanghai for some time.)

1e. 午饭后你能到我的办公室来一下吗?

Wǔfàn hòu nǐ néng dào wǒ de bàngōngshì lái yīxià ma?

(After lunch will you please come to my office?)

1f. 进了房间以后立刻动手写报告。

Jìn le fángjiān yǐhòu tā lìkè dòngshǒu xiě bàogào.

(After entering the room, he immediately started to write a report.)

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

answered Jun 4 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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1,439 questions
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12,845 users