City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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Chinese grammar is that words often function as verbs, nouns, or both, depending on their context. Determining the use of word class without context is challenging in Chinese due to the lack of morphosyntactic transformation.

asked Nov 21, 2022 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ellen Tse (160 points)
edited Nov 21, 2022 by Ellen Tse | 159 views

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To classify the noun, Chinese nouns can be preceded by a [Numeral + Classifier] sequence, which is one of their distinctive features. For example, 四磅 豬肉 ‘four pounds of pork.’

Another characteristic of nouns is that they can neither be negated by bù 不 ‘not’ nor be modified by the intensifier hěn 很 ‘very.’

But verbs can be negated by bù 不 ‘not’ in Chinese. For example,  我[不]休息 ‘I do not rest.’

Action verbs are compatible with aspect markers, such as the progressive aspect marker zài 在. For instance, 我[在]研究這個問題, ‘I am studying this problem.’  Stative verbs can be modified by the intensifier hěn 很, such as 我 [很]尊敬他 ‘I respect him (a lot).’

Reference:

Cheung, C. C. H. (2016). Chinese: Parts of speech. The Routledge encyclopedia of the Chinese language, 242-294. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262300838_Cheung_Chi-Hang_Candice_2016_Chinese_Parts_of_speech_In_Sin-Wai_Chan_ed_The_Routledge_Encyclopedia_of_the_Chinese_Language_New_York_Routledge

answered Nov 21, 2022 by Ellen Tse (160 points)

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