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Making Sense of Grammar
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Where should the adverb DOU (都) be placed in sentences?
asked Mar 21, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Mar 26, 2018 by admin

1 Answer

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The universal quantifier dōu (都) is fixed to the position immediately preceding the verb of the sentence. However, its scope of modification is backward looking. That is, it can only place a focus on an element preceding it giving rise to a necessary word-order change for a focused constituent that is normally postverbal.

誰都會說這些話  (sh´ei d¯ou hu`ı shu¯o zh`exi¯e hu`a/ Anyone can say these words)

 →  The focus is placed on 誰 

這些話誰都會說 (zh¯exi¯e hu`a sh´ei d¯ou hu`ı shu¯o/ These words, anyone can say them.)

 The focus is placed on 這些話

他都說些什麼話? (t¯a d¯ou shu¯o-le xi¯e sh´enme hu`a/ What did he say?)

 The focus is placed on 他

 他什麼話都說了 (t¯a sh˘enme hu`a d¯ou shu¯o-le/ He said everything.)

 The focus is placed on 什麼話

Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun

answered Mar 21, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 26, 2018 by admin
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