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 (34,480 points) | 19 views

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1a. 常务委员会每半年开{一次}会。

Chángwù wěiyuánhuì měi bànnián kāi {yicì} huì.

(The standing committee holds a meeting every half a year.)

1b. 我每隔一天去城里的办公室上班。

Wǒ měi gé yi tiān qù chénglǐde bàngōngshì shàngbān.

(I go to work in the downtown office every other day.)

1c. 他们每年夏天去缅因洲度假。

Tāmen měinián xiàtiān qù Miǎnyīnzhōu dù jià.

(They go to Maine to spend their vacation every summer.)

1d. 抗生素一天得吃{四次},每次两片。

Kàngshēngsù yi tiān děi chī {sì cì}, měi cì liǎng piàn.

(The antibiotic is to be taken four times a day, two pills each time.)

1e. 我常常一天给她打{几次}电话。

Wǒ chángchang yì tiān gěi tā dǎ {jǐcì} diànhuà.

(I often called her a few times a day.)

Empirical data indicate that an expression of definite frequency, which denotes the period of time by which the frequency is measured, is ordered before the verb as an adverbial, for it sets up a temporal scope or frame within which an action takes place, or a state obtains. In contrast, an expression which can be conceived as denoting the number of times by which the frequency is measured (like ‘liǎng cì’, (twice)) is treated as a complement and placed after the verb in Chinese grammar, as exemplified by (1d, e).

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

answered Jun 10 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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