语法 Grammar

Noun phrase omission

by 卡梅尔 on September 5, 2011

Another very interesting grammar point from my favourite Mandarin grammar book.

“Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar” by Claudia Ross and Jing-heng Sheng Ma 2006 Routledge

Noun phrase omission
In English, when a series of noun phrases refer to the same entity, all instances after the first reference typically occur as pronouns. In Mandarin it is more common to simply omit the noun phrase when it needs to be repeated in a sentence, BUT only when it occurs in the same grammatical role as the first instance.

In this example, the first reference and the omitted noun phrases are subjects of the verb.
张美丽每天都很忙。(—)早上六点起床,(—)七点出门,(—)晚上九点才回家。
Zhāng měilì měi tiān dū hěn máng ( – ) zǎoshang liù diǎn qǐchuáng, ( – ) qī diǎn chūmén, ( – ) wǎnshàng jiǔ diǎn cái huí jiā.
Meili Zhang is very busy every day. She gets up at 6 o’clock, she leaves the house at 7 o’clock, and she doesn’t get home at night until 9 o’clock.

In this example, the first reference and the omitted noun phrase are objects of the verb.
她买了裙子,到家以后马上穿上了(—)。
Tā mǎile qúnzi, dàojiā yǐhòu mǎshàng chuān shàngle ( – ).
She bought a skirt, when she got home she immediately put it on.

When a noun phrase with identical reference occurs in a different grammatical role from the first instance, it occurs as a pronoun and is not omitted. In this example, the first reference is the object of 喜欢 xǐhuan ‘to like’. In the second reference, it is the subject of the sentence.
我们都喜欢那个孩子。她又可爱又乖。
Wǒmen dōu xǐhuan nàgè háizi, tā yòu kě’ài yòu guāi.
We all like that child. She is both cute and well-behaved.

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Expressions that introduce the topic of a sentence

by 卡梅尔 on September 4, 2011

The following is from my favourite grammar book by Ross and Ma. I hope they don’t mind if I use their work for my posts, which are a great way of revising for me.
I hope that you, the readers of this post, also find it helpful, and btw, I can recommend the book!

至于 zhì yú Concerning, regarding, as for…
对于 duì yú Concerning, regarding, as for…
关于 guān yú Concerning, regarding, as for…

对来说 duì lái shuō As for me …
提到 tí dào Speaking about (topic)
谈到 tán dào Speaking about (topic)

至于我们两个认得事情,你就不要管了。
Zhìyú wǒmen liǎng gèrén de shìqíng, nǐ jiù bùyào guǎnle.
As for the matter between the two of us, you don’t have to worry.

对我来说,教书是一件很快乐的事。
Duì wǒ lái shuō, jiāoshū shì yī jiàn hěn kuàilè de shì.
As for me, teaching is a very enjoyable task.

谈到语法,我是一窍不通。
Tán dào yǔfǎ, wǒ shì yīqiào bùtōng.
Speaking of grammar, I know nothing.

This last one is my sentence, adapted from a sentence about football!

If any one would like to offer some more examples, please do so as a comment. Thank you!

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Topicalisation

by 卡梅尔 on September 4, 2011

The following is taken from “Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar” by Claudia Ross and Jing-heng Sheng Ma (2006 Routledge) and I thank them for a making a very good book 😉

Topicalisation

In Mandarin, a noun phrase may be identified as the topic of a sentence when it occurs at the beginning of the sentence. If another noun phrase in the sentence has the same reference as the topic, it is typically omitted. In the following sentences, the first noun phrase is the topic. The omitted phrase is indicated as ( ).

那个饭馆,服务不好。
Nàgè fànguǎn, fúwù bù hǎo.
That restaurant, the service is not good.

( )美国大学,学费很贵。
( )Měiguó dàxué, xuéfèi hěn guì.
(In) American universities, tuition is very expensive.

中国长城,我听说( )冬天最美。
Zhōngguó chángchéng, wǒ tīng shuō ( ) dōngtiān zuìměi.
The Great Wall of China, I hear (it) is prettiest in the winter.

汉字,我怎么写( )也写不好。
Hànzì, wǒ zěnme xiě ( ) yě xiě bù hǎo.
Chinese characters, no matter how I write them I don’t write (them) well.

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