City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Aug 15 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points)
edited Aug 15 by Ariel | 38 views

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‘jiàn’ (see): The basic invariant meaning of ‘jiàn’ as an independent verb is ‘see’, which signifies result. As a resultative complement, it is often combined with verbs of perception, like ‘kànjiàn’ (see), ‘tīngjiàn’ (hear), ‘wénjiàn’ (smell), ‘pèngjiàn’, (meet with), ‘mèngjiàn’ (dream), etc. A necessary condition for the use of ‘jiàn’ is that V1 should describe an event which happens to the actor without his volition. Thus *‘mōjiàn’ is incorrect, because ‘mō’ (to feel by hand so as to feel) is an active action of volition, so the resultative complement ‘jiàn’ cannot combine with it (Chao, 1968: 448). But ‘mèngjiàn’ (dream of) is acceptable, for the mental activity of dreaming is beyond the control or volition of the dreamer. In short, verbs of passive perception tend to combine with ‘jiàn’ (see), while verbs of active volition will combine with ‘dào’ (arrive, reach). The RVCs formed by the resultative complement ‘jiàn’ includes:

看/望/瞧/听/闻/遇/碰/梦 + 见

Kàn/wàng/qiáo/tīng/wén/yù/pèng/mèng + jiàn

Look/look/look/listen/smell at, so as to perceive/meet with/come across/dream of

See/see/see/hear/discover by using the sense of smell/come across/meet with/dream of

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Aug 15 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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