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) | 19 views

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Intensifying adverbials are concerned with the semantic category of degree. They are often similar to modality adverbials in their semantic effect, since they are about the speaker’s assessment of gradable constituents in relation to an abstractly conceived scale of intensity. They reflect the speaker’s comment on or opinion of the intensity of the predicate in question. An intensifying adverbial, on an imaginary intensity scale, can point to a high or a low point on the scale, thus having an enhancing or a lowering effect on the force of the verb or predicate it applies to. The constituent, thus affected in its force by an intensifier, should be within the semantic scope of the intensifier by following it rather than preceding it. This accounts for the preverbal position of intensifying adverbials. This rule is, in fact, in line with the general Chinese conceptual Principle of Whole-Before-Part, since the whole governs and controls the part.

[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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