City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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Group 8

As Korean and Chinese have different sentence structures, it may be difficult for Koreans when learning Chinese to construct grammatical sentences. For example, the sentence order to construct Korean sentences would be SOV or SV while Chinese would be SVO. Are there any other differences between Korean and Chinese?
asked Nov 19, 2022 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ellie (160 points)
edited Nov 19, 2022 by Ellie | 147 views

1 Answer

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Firstly, it is noticed that the sentence orders and particles are different between Korean and Chinese. The linear order of words in a sentence is the most remarkable feature of syntax in Chinese as it can define different types of words (Sun, 2006). 

For example, if the words ‘我吃飯’ were changed to follow the Korean word order ‘我飯吃’, the original meaning of the sentence would be disappeared and also become ungrammatical. More than that, part of speech and lexical categories can be identified by the restricted SVO word order in Chinese. Nouns have common syntactic properties so that they are flexible in occurring at the beginnings or ends of the sentences and placing either before or after verbs. 

Second, Chinese and Korean have different practices to indicate the tenses and aspects. In the Chinese language system, there has no grammaticalized tense and no form of change in verbs. As a result, it makes use of a wide variety of inflection-like markers attached to the free words (e.g., aspectual particles) for indicating the temporal differences in sentences (Sun, 2006) and time phrases for indicating the tenses.

 For example, ⌜我昨天吃了一個蘋果。⌟; ‘I ate an apple yesterday.’ in translation. In the sentence, the use of ‘’, the perfective aspectual particle indicates the perfective aspect that the event is bounded and already reached an endpoint (Sun, 2006), an apple was eaten. While the past tense is marked by the temporal adverb ‘昨天’ in Chinese.

Reference

Sun, C. (2006). Inflection-like affixes. In Chinese: A linguistic introduction (pp. 64–72). essay, Cambridge University Press. Retrieved October 28, 2022, from

https://julac-cuh.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/852JULAC_CUH/vit3jk/alma991012924939703408.

answered Nov 19, 2022 by Ellie (160 points)

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