City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Aug 4 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 20 views

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The semantic distinction between Activity verbs and RVCs reflects two perspectives on actions or events of the Chinese language: either focusing on the Process of an action or on the Result of an action. To accommodate this conceptual structure, the Chinese language employs two sets of verbs: Activity verbs, which focus on the Process of an action or event; and resultative verb compounds, which focus on the result of an action or event. Thus, Resultative verb compounding is a lexical means that the Chinese language uses to straightforwardly convert events with no inherent goals into events that must be exhausted in their consequences or results. Besides Activity verbs and resultative verb compounds, there is a third type of verb which can have either Process or Result readings. Examples are ‘gǒnggù’ (consolidate), ‘píngdìng’ (suppress, put down), ‘jiànlì’, (establish), ‘quèdìng’ (fix, decide) etc. For example: ‘Kāihuì de rìqī quèdìng le’ (The date for the meeting was fixed). This type of verb, when used in the perfective aspect, normally expresses result, but to emphasize the endpoint or the goal of the action named by the verb, it can be combined with a directional complement like ‘xiàlai’, as in ‘Kāihuì de rìqī quèdìng xiàlai le’ (The date for the meeting was fixed (down)), then the meaning of goal is expressed unequivocally.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.

answered Aug 4 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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