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) | 49 views

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1a. 小明圆圆地划了一个圈。

Xiǎo míng yuányuán de huà le yī gè quān.

(Xiao Ming drew a perfectly round circle.)

1b. 他辣辣地做了一碗汤。

Tā là là de zuò le yī wǎn tāng.

(He made a bowl of very hot soup.)

In (1), the adverbials ‘yuányuán de’ (round) and ‘làlà de’ (hot) refer more to the process of conducting the actions named by the verbs than to the results. In the process in question, the subject referent takes great care to make the circle he is drawing round, or the subject referent intentionally put a large quantity of pepper to make the soup very hot. Although grammatically they function as adverbials modifying the verbs, semantically they refer to the resultative state of the object NPs. Thus Chinese grammarians assert that their semantic reference is to the object NPs rather than to the verbs.

[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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