City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 10, 2021 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 40 views

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‘jùdà de’ (enormously), ‘gāodù de’ (highly), ‘qiángliè de’ (strongly), ‘shēnkè de’ (profoundly), ‘shēnchén de’ (deeply), ‘jǐnjí de’ (badly, urgently), ‘yánzhòng de’ (seriously, gravely), ‘měngliè de’ (violently), ‘jiānjué de’ (resolutely), etc., this type of amplifier denotes a high point on the scale of intensity or a high degree, and it normally occurs with gradable verbs such as stative verbs having emotive sense:

1a. 我们极其欣赏老舍的“茶馆”。

Wǒmen jíqí xīnshǎng Lao Shě de "Chaguǎn"

(We greatly enjoyed Lao She’s “The Teahouse”.)

1b. 这辆车需修理。

Zhè liàng chē jí xū xiūlǐ.

(The car needed to be fixed badly)

1c. 我们深刻地痛恨那个不合理的旧制度。

Wǒmen shēnshen de tònghèn nà gè bù hélǐ de jiù zhìdù.

(We deeply hated that unfair old system.)

1d. 他们深深地思念故乡。

Tāmwn shēnshen de sīniàn gùxiāng.

(They profoundly miss their hometown.)

1e. *他们深深地错过了火车。

Tāmen shēnshen de cuòguò le huǒchē.

(*They deeply missed the train.)

1f. 他们强烈地抗议政府的和谈主张 。

Tāmen qiángliè de kàngyì zhèngfǔ de hétán zhǔzhāng.

(They strongly protested the government’s position of ‘peace talks’.)

Compare (1e) with (1d). (1e) is wrong, because the verb ‘cuòguò’ (miss) is not gradable, so the intensifying adverb ‘shēnshen de’ (deeply, profoundly) cannot modify the nongradable verb.

Amplifiers have semantic selection of the verbs they can modify, for example, ‘dàjiā’ (greatly), ‘gāodù’ (highly) tend to occur with verbs having a favorable implication, as in ‘dàjiā/gāodù de zànyáng/zànshǎng’ (greatly/highly praise/appreciate), while ‘chètóuchèwěi’ (utterly) is used with verbs having unfavorable implication, as in ‘chètóuchèwěi de bàolù yěxīn’ (utterly lay bare one’s wild ambition). The verbs in question are largely expressive of the speaker’s attitude.

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

answered Jun 10, 2021 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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1,648 questions
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