City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 19, 2021 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 236 views

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A subtype of the spatial relationship of laterality is mediality. Mediality is the overlapping space projected laterally from two or more reference objects which is occupied by a located object.

1a. 停车场在医院和超级市场中间。

Tíngchēchǎng zài yīyuàn hé chāojí shìchǎng zhōngjiān.

(The parking lot is between the hospital and the supermarket.)

1b. 草中间有许多花儿。

Cǎo zhōngjiān yǒu xǔduō huār.

(There were a lot of flowers in the grass.)

The state of affairs of (1a) is such that the located object ‘tíngchēchǎng’ (the parking lot) occupies the intersection of the space projected laterally from the two reference objects ‘yīyuàn hé chāojí shìchǎng’ (the hospital and the supermarket). In Chinese, the position word ‘zhōngjiān’ (between, among) does not require that the number of entities involved be precisely two. The fact that ‘zhōngjiān’ does not have a number restriction is reflected in (1b), in which, the reference object ‘cǎo’ (grass) must refer to a lot of grass.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Jun 19, 2021 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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