City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 10 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 18 views

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1a. 他从孩童起就喜欢画钢笔画了。

Tā cóng háitóng qǐ jiù xǐhuan huà gāngbǐ huà le .

(He has liked to draw with a pen since he was a child.)

1b. 中国农业,自古以来在水的条件方面一直不理想

Zhōngguó nóngyè, zìgǔyǐlái zài shuǐ de tiáojiàn fāngmiàn yī zhí bù lǐxiǎng.

(Since ancient times, the water supply has not been ideal for China’s agriculture.)

1c. 大约两岁半起,儿童可以用复合句表达自己的意思。

Dàyuē liǎngsuì bàn qǐ, értóng kěyǐ yòng fùhéjù biǎodá zìjǐ de yìsi.

(From about two and a half years old, a child is capable of expressing his ideas by using complex sentences.)

1d. 近百年来,我们大大地落后了。

Jìn bǎi nián lái, wǒmen dàdàdi luòhòu le .

(We have been left far behind for the past one hundred years.)

The backward span adverbials, illustrated in the sentences of (1), all serve to set up ‘a temporal frame’ within which the continuous activity (as in 1c) happens or the states obtain (as in 1a, b, d). In (1c), for instance, the time span denoted by the adverbial ‘dàyuē liǎng suì bàn qǐ’ (from about two and half years’ old) signifies a temporal frame with the starting point of about ‘two and half years old’. This time span is open, with only an initial point but no endpoint. Within this time scope, the children’s actions of learning to express their ideas in complex sentences take place. In (1d), the state of ‘falling behind’ falls within the temporal scope expressed by the prepositional phrase ‘jìn bǎinián lái’ (in the recent one hundred years). Therefore, the verb phrases all appear after the time adverbials as described by the PTSC.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Jun 10 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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