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) | 215 views

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We have noted that in imperative clauses, the two constructions are interchangeable:

1a. 快点儿走!→ 走{快一点儿}

Kuài diǎnr zǒu ! →Zǒu kuài yīdiǎnr

(Walk a little faster!)

1b. 外面冷,穿一点儿!→ 外面冷,穿{多一点儿}!

Wàimian lěng ,duō chuān yīdiǎnr ! →Wàimian lěng ,chuān duō yīdiǎnr !

(It is cold outside, put on more clothes!)

1c. 明天早点儿来!→ 明天来{早点儿}!

Míngtiān zǎodiǎnér lái ! → Míngtiān lái zǎodiǎnér !

(Come a little earlier tomorrow!)

1d. 慢点儿说!→ 说{慢点儿}!

Màn diǎnr shuō ! → Shuō màn diǎnr !

(Speak a little slower!)

The interchangeability between the two constructions does not mean that adverbials and complements have the same semantic roles and same functions, nor is it the case that they are always interchangeable.

The construction with adverbial modification puts focus on the manner of how an action is executed, as we analyzed above, the state of manner is concomitant with an action during the whole process, thus adverbials of manner focus on the process, while the De construction emphasizes the result. Therefore, in the above imperative clauses, when the speaker focuses more on the result, he will use the De complement construction, otherwise he will choose the adverbial construction.

[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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