City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 18, 2021 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 186 views

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Sentences with manner adverbials showing semantic blend with result can occur in the construction “Verb + De complement”

1a. 战士把手中的枪握得{紧紧的}。

Zhànshi bǎ shǒuzhōng de qiāng wò de jǐnjǐnde.

(The soldiers held the guns tightly in their hands.

1b. 战士站得{笔直}。

Zhànshimen zhàn de bǐzhí.

(The soldiers stood straight.)

1c. 他把四个大字写得{工工整整的}。

Tā bǎ sì gè dà zì xiě de gōnggōngzhěngzhěng de.

(He wrote the four Chinese characters very neatly.)

1d. 老太太把钱包抓得{死死的}。

Lǎo tàitai bǎ qiánbāo zhuā de sǐsǐde.

(The old lady clutched her purse tightly)

1e. 她们把房间打扫得{很彻底}。

Tāmen bǎ fángjiān dǎsǎo de hén chèdǐ.

(They cleaned the room very thoroughly.

1f. 老师给把这个词的用法给我们讲得{很详细}。

Lǎoshī bǎ zhègè cí de yòngfa gěi wǒmen jiǎng de hěn zǐxì.

(The teacher explained to us the usage of this word in great detail.)

1g. 李老师把学生们的作业批改得{很仔细}。

Lǐ lǎoshī bǎ xuéshengmen de zuòye pīgǎi de hěn zǐxì.

(Teacher Li corrected his students’ homework very carefully.)

It stands to reason that some manner adverbials have the implication of result or intensification. When a person conducts an action in a certain manner, the participants involved (the subject, object, or instrument) will be affected in a way related to the meaning of manner, thus a certain result ensues. For instance, in (1b), the verb ‘zhàn’ (stand) is a posture verb, the subject referent is both agentive and affected, for he could control his action and posture (thus agentive), and chooses to obtain the state, and as a result he is in the state of ‘zhàn de bǐzhí’ (stand straight), so he also has the semantic role of being ‘affected’. In (1c), the old lady clutches her purse tightly, thus the object ‘purse’ is in such a resultative state of being held so firmly that it would be very difficult to get it out of her hand. Realizing the semantic blend of the notion of manner and result or intensification (relating to degree, when an action is conducted to a certain degree, a resultative state obtains, too), we can understand why the construction with an adverbial modifier can be transformed into the construction of De complement, as shown by the sentences of (1).

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Jun 18, 2021 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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