City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Jun 20, 2021 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 206 views

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The concept of process versus result has come closer to capturing the ‘psychological reality’ or the conceptualization of the world of the Chinese. It truly reflects how language works in the Chinese people’s mind. Therefore, following Tobin’s viewpoint, we will talk about aspectual meanings of the perfective and imperfective particles in terms of the notion of Result versus Process. All the Chinese aspect particles reflect this dichotomous perception of events in the world. The progressive aspect ‘zài’ and the continuous aspect ‘zhe’ focus on the process. The particles ‘le’ and ‘guo’ constitute a pair of the perfective aspect sharing markedness relationship. ‘le’, determined by its invariant meaning of ‘wánjié’ (finish, complete), is considered as the marked perfective aspect that makes a specific claim for the result of a situation; while ‘guo’, because of its invariant meaning of ‘pass a space or time’, is the unmarked perfective particle which makes no specific claim or is neutral for the semantic feature of Result, i.e., a situation may be viewed either from the point of view of Process or Result (Kang, 2001).

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Jun 20, 2021 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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1,634 questions
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77,221 users