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) | 30 views

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‘X zài Y wàibian’ (X is outside Y) (e.g., Qiú zài xiāngzi wàibian.) (The ball is outside the box): The compound position noun ‘Y wàibian’ (outside Y) refers to the outer surface of or the space projected outward from the outside of the reference object. The phrase ‘X zài Y wàibian’ (X is outside Y) expresses a spatial relation of exteriority whereby the located object is external to or occupies a space projected from the exterior of the reference object. Exteriority and interiority are semantically related by converseness. If X is interior to Y, then Y is exterior

to X, and vice versa.

1a. 箱子外边捆了好几道绳子。

Xiāngzi wàibian kǔn le hǎojǐ dào shéngzi.

(The box was bound on the outside a few times with string.)

1b. 他在图书馆外边吸烟。

Tā zài túshūguǎn wàibian xīyān.

(He was smoking outside the library.)

In (1a) the located object ‘string’ has direct contact or coincidence with the reference object ‘the outer surface of the box’, in (1b) the located object stays in the space projected outward from the exterior of the reference object ‘the library’.

[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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