City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Aug 16 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 66 views
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Theoretically, any motion verb can potentially occur with any directional compound complement. But in the case when the motion verb has a built-in meaning of direction, it can take only a certain form of DCC. This is shown here:

升上来 shēng shànglái (rise up (toward the speaker)), or

升上去 shēng shàngqù (rise up (away from the speaker)),

but not * 升下来/下去 *shēng xià lái/qù (*rise down)

降下去 jiàng xiàqù (fall (down) (away from the speaker)),

but not * 降上来 * jiàng shànglái (*fall up),

喝下去 hē xiàqù (drink down),

but not * 喝下来 * Hē xiàlái (*drink down (towards the speaker)),

吐出来 tǔ chūlái (spit out),

but not * 吐进去 * tǔ jìnqù (*spit in), etc.

This restriction of collocation is due to the built-in directional meaning of each verb. An object cannot descend without going down, nor can anything rise without going up. Likewise, drink something down cannot have an orientation towards the speaker. Hence the impossibility of the combination ‘Hē xiàlai’ (*drink down (toward the speaker)), so there is only ‘hē xiàqu’.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Aug 16 by Ariel (34,480 points)
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