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) | 233 views

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Subject-oriented adverbials, which describe the physical or mental state of the subject referent when he undertakes an action, generally cannot be changed into the De complement construction, because a person’s physical or mental state is not the result of his performing the action, on the contrary, it already applies when he starts undertaking the action, and it continues during the whole process when the action is going on. For instance:

1a. 她恼怒地把请柬丢在桌子上。

Ta nǎonù de bǎ qǐngjiǎn diū zai zhuoshàng.

(She angrily threw the invitation card onto the table. )

1a’ *她把请柬丢在桌子上丢得 {很恼怒}。

*Tā bǎ qǐngjiǎn diū zài zhuōshang diū de hěn nǎonù.

1b. 她兴奋地,狂热地跳着舞。

Tā xīngfèn de, kuángrè de tiào zhe wǔ

(She was dancing excitedly and feverishly.)

1c. ?她跳得{很兴奋,很狂热}。

?Tā tiào de hěn xīngfèn hěn kuángrè

(? She danced so much that she became very excited and feverish.)

1d. 她热情洋溢地演讲着。

Tā rèqíngyángyì de yǎnjiǎngzhe.

(Glowing with enthusiasm, she was making a speech.)

1d’ *她演讲得{热情洋溢}。

*Tā yǎnjjiǎng de rèqíngyángyì.

Sometimes, however, it is difficult to distinguish subject-oriented adverbials from adverbials of manner. As the latter, some of them can occur in the De complement construction, as in ‘Háizimen gāoxìng de wán zhe’ (The children were happily playing), ‘Háizimen wán dehěn gāoxìng’ (The children played, and as a result, they became very happy). Nevertheless, we should be aware that subjectoriented adverbials focus on the state of the subject referent that is concomitant with the action during its process; it does not focus on the result arising from the performance of the action.

[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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