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) | 25 views

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Space is a relational concept. The Chinese language encodes nine spatial relations, they are: coincidence, interiority, exteriority, superiority, inferiority, anteriority, posteriority, laterality and opposition. It is suggested in the literature that the constant relational nature of space can be expressed by the abstract formal relation between two participants: ‘X spatially relates to Y’, where X is the located object and Y the reference object. The spatial relations mentioned above describe how the located object is related to the reference object. In Chinese spatial relations are encoded by position words, and a reference object is expressed by a compound position word, which, in our definition, refers to the combination of a general NP and a position word, like ‘xiāngzi shàngbiān’ (the top of the box), ‘wūzi lǐbiān’ (the interior of the room), etc.

[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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