City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
0 like 0 dislike
19 views
asked Jun 18 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 19 views

1 Answer

0 like 0 dislike
When ‘shàngbiān’ expresses the spatial relationship of coincidence, it requires direct or derived contact of the located object and the reference object. The reference object may be a surface or a line. Its specific meaning is determined by the semantic and pragmatic context, as shown:

1a. 桌子上边放着一个球。

Zhuōzi shàngbian fàngzhe yī ge qiú.

(On the table was placed a ball.)

1b. 绳子上边晾着两件衣服。

Shéngzi shàngbian liàng zhe liǎng jiàn yīfu.

(On the clothes line were airing two pieces of clothing.)

1c. 山顶上(边) 有一个塔。

Shāndǐng shàng yǒu yī ge tǎ.

(On top of the hill there is a pagoda.)

1d. 钉子上(边)挂着一顶帽子。

Dīngzi shàng guàzhe yī dǐng màozi.

(On the nail was hanging a hat.)

In all the cases of (1), the located objects and the reference objects have the relationship of contact or ‘coincidence’. Chinese differentiates types of coincidence by relying on the semantic contents of the two spatially related objects. Thus in (1a), the ‘ball’ has contact with a two dimensional reference object, namely, the top of the table. In the case of (1b), the located object ‘the clothes’ have contact with a linear or one dimensional reference object ‘the clothesline’, while in the situations of (1c, d), the coincidence of the located and the reference object is the overlap of points, it has the punctual nature.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Jun 18 by Ariel (34,470 points)

1,435 questions

1,732 answers

21 comments

11,701 users

1,435 questions
1,732 answers
21 comments
11,701 users