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Chinese Essential Grammar 2nd Ed

Chinese Essential Grammar 2nd Ed

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The semantic relations between serial predicates or comments may be-
long to any of the following categories:

(1) Sequence: The action of the yrst verb takes place before that of
the second. The yrst verb often carries the aspect marker le:

!

Taxià le kè

(lit. he ynish asp class return home
!5huí jiA le.go p) He ynished class and went home.

!

TachC le yào(lit. she eat asp medicine go sleep p)
!5qùshuìjiào le.She took her medicine and went tobed.

Note: As discussed in 8.3.1, if an unqualiyed noun follows a verb carry-
ing the aspect marker le, the sentence needs to be completed with
another clause or verbal phrase.

(2) Purpose: The action described by the second verb is the purpose
of the yrst verb (often lái [to come] or [to go]):

!"

Tamenlái LúndEn(lit. they come London visit us)

!5

tànwàng wNmen.

They came to London to visitus.

!

Wnqù shAngdiàn

(lit. I go shop buy things)

5

mKi dDngxi.

I am going to the shops to
do some shopping.

ZánmenyuB

(lit. we appoint (one) mw time

( )

(yC) gè shíjiAn

talk (one) talk p) Let]s make an

( ) 5tán (yC) tán ba.

appointment to have a talk.

!"

Wn dàibiKo dàjiA

(lit. I represent everybody

!5

xiàng nín zhùhè.

to polite:you congratulate)
On behalf of everybody
I congratulate you.

Note: Coverbal phrases indicating [service] may often be used after lái
[
come] or [go] in a purpose serial construction:

!

Ta lái tì wn

(lit. she come for me iron

5

yùn ycfu.

clothes) She came to iron
my clothes for me.

Wn qù gli

(lit. I go for him arrange-hair)

5

ta lmfà.

I]ll go and cut his hair.

Serial
construc-
tions

168

III

Sentences

Sometimes lái may lose its motion meaning and simply indic-
ate an intention:

5

Wnlái tántán.

(lit. I come talk-talk)
I]ll say a few words.

!"

Wnláigli nmmen(lit. I come for you introduce

!5

jièshào yc xià.

one time) Let me introduce you.

To enhance the meaning of purpose (or lack of purpose), words
such as ymbiàn [so as to] and ymmikn [so as not to] are
used before the second verbal expression.

Ta xuéxí

(lit. she studies Chinese,

3

Zhdngwén,

so-that to China go travel)

!

yMbiàn dào

She is studying Chinese so

/ 5Zhdngguó qù

that she can go and travel

lwyóu/lwxíng.

in China.

( )

Wn méi(ynu)

(lit. I not grasp this mw matter

!

bk zhèi jiàn shì

tell him, so-as-not-to make

3

gàosu ta,

him sad) I did not tell him

yMmiKn shm

about this matter so as not

5

ta nánguò.

to make him sad.

(3)In constructions we have met which are essentially serial con-
structions, for example:

(a)Using coverbs yòng, zuò, etc.:

!"

Wnmenzuò

(lit. we sit lift go-up

5

diàntC shàng

three zoor) We went up

san lóu.

to the second zoor by lift.

Nm néng yòng

(lit. you can use Chinese

!9

ZhDngwén

say p) Can you say [it]

shud ma?

in Chinese?

(b)Using the aspect marker D zhe:

D

Tawòzhe wNde(lit. she grasp asp my

7‘ ]5

shNu shud:

hand say: thank-thank

[Xièxie nm].

you) Shaking my hand,
she said: [Thank you].

(c) bk, bèi, bm constructions (see Chapters 7 and 20).

(4)Where the main verbal phrase is followed by a second verbal
phrase which conveys no new information but reiterates the

169

same idea from a different perspective by means of a negative,
antonymous expression:

Ta zhua zhù

(lit. he catch hold me not

5

wnbù fàng.

let-go) He held me yrmly and
didn]t let me go.

!"

Wn ykole yc

(lit. I bite asp one mw bread

( )

knu miànbao

not-have swallow down-go)

5

méi(yNu)

I took a bite from the bread

tEn xiàqù.

but did not swallow it.

(5)Where the verb ynu, indicating possession or existence, is
followed by its object and then by another verb (sometimes
preceded by a modal verb) expressing intentional action directed
back to the object:

!"5WnméiyNu

(lit. I not-have money use) I

qiányòng.

haven]t got any money to spend.

!"

WnyNu

(lit. I have one mw letter

5

yc fbng xìn

want write) I have got a letter

yào xiL.

to write.

!

NmyNu

(lit. you have what clothes

!"9shénme ycfu

want ironing p) What clothes

yào yùn ma?

have you got [for me] to
iron?

NkryNu

(lit. where there-are cigarette

( ) 9

(xiang)yanmài?sell) Where do they sell
cigarettes?

If the object of ynu is an abstract noun, the following verb
phrase may be of any length, expressing the need (or lack of need)
for further action:

!"

WnméiyNu

(lit. I not-have responsibility

5

zérèn gàosu ta.tell her) I’m not responsible
for letting her know.

!

NmyNulMyóu

(lit. you have reason not

5

bù tóngyì.

agree) You have reasons
to disagree.

!"

NmméiyNu

(lit. you not-have right every

!"

quánlì mli tianday to here come talk-nonsense)

!"5dào zhèr lái

You don]t have the right to come
húshud badào.here and talk nonsense every day.

Serial
construc-
tions

170

III

Sentences

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