|WikiProject China||(Rated C-class, Top-importance)|
- 1 Is this article in need of clean up? August 31, 2007
- 2 2 January 2006
- 3 Similarities and differences among grammar systems of the dialects
- 4 Translation errors/issues
- 5 Markup used
- 6 Modal particle
- 7 Traditional and Simplified
- 8 Article Title
- 9 Bad example
- 10 Coverb
- 11 Accusative/dative
- 12 Subject-Predicate pair used as a predicate
- 13 Thanks
- 14 Perception of grammar in Chinese
- 15 moon
- 16 Mood section
- 17 Chinese translations of grammatical terms
- 18 Disambiguation
- 19 Example glosses
- 20 "Chinese Grammar"
- 21 Typo? (25 March 2011)
- 22 comparable to the similar features found within the Slavic languages or Semitic languages
- 23 '不要给我拍马屁' does not mean 'don't flatter me'
- 24 About "被"
- 25 Europeanization and Dialectization of grammar
- 26 他吃了饭
Is this article in need of clean up? August 31, 2007
I apologize for being negative, but in my humble opinion, this article could use a lot of work. Having said that, I don't want to discount the hard work that has been made and all the great effort that has been put in by all the contributors of this article thus far. There is certainly some very good content in this article and all the individuals who have contributed to this article deserve thanks. But I think this article can be a lot better. I wish I could do something to improve this article, but I do not have sufficient expertise; I am only an elementary to pre-intermediate learner of Chinese. Perhaps this article could use some good clean up. Also, I wonder a bit about the quality and accuracy of some parts of this article. For example, I noticed one blatantly false statement, which said, "'Monkey' (and certain other animals) and 'pencil' are both '隻/只 zhi' nouns." In other words, the statement said that the words for monkey and pencil both take the same measure word. This is blatantly false. The measure words for monkey and pencil merely have the same pronunciation. They are not the same word. I have since deleted that sentence, but I am a bit concerned by it because it is a mistake that only a very novice learner of Chinese would make. Can we solicit the help of some experts for feedback on the article as a whole? I think this article has the potential to be great, but I think a lot of work will be needed. 18.104.22.168 15:01, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
- This article needs to supply more detailed translations to the examples used. It seems to be written under the assumption that the person reading already understands Chinese to some degree. For example, the sentence 妈妈来了 is discussed at length without ever supplying a translation at all. Later, the article seems to expect the reader to understand the difference between 没 and 不. These are just two examples, but I feel the article would be much more helpful if it took into account that not all readers understand Chinese. LeeWilson (talk) 22:33, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
2 January 2006
I have a problem with the Mood section. 呢 does not mean or imply "pending", but rather is an interjection similar to the Japanese yo — in the example sentence provided, the idea of "pending" is provided by 還 rather than 呢, which would more likely indicate that the speaker is providing information. It is possible, for example, to say "發生什麽事？" (what happened) - "他撞倒了燈柱呢！" (he knocked over the lamppost!), where 呢 could not possibly mean pending, but rather providing the new information that he had knocked over the lamppost, and even with an overtone of surprise, shock, disbelief, or more generally exclamation. That bit needs editing, IMO. --Denihilonihil 14:36, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
I am preparing to edit this soon... Colipon 04:58, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)
May I suggest that those slashes just before the simplified versions don't look very good -- well, at least on my browser, the slash comes out too close to the initial simplified character (I don't know if it is a problem with my browser). I might suggest including also pinyin after each sample sentence, probably done most easily if someone knows a webpage to produce it automatically :)
I added a little information but failed to find the secret of how to input Chinese characters correctly. P0M 06:26, 24 Dec 2003 (UTC)
P0M: I erased my last remark. Now that I can see the Chinese I see how Taoster modified the text. Wouldn't it make sense to have the traditional as well as simplified "ma"? Kou3+ma2 is definitely wrong, and I had replaced it with the correct traditional form at one point, but that disappeared too,
- FYI, the Traditional and the Simplified characters are nearly identical aside from the 馬 simplification on the latter. Notwithstanding, 嘛 is used exclusively in colloquialism. It is not used as an interrogative particle in Mandarin, however, it can be used as a substitute for shenme. -Taoster
I don't know if it improves the readability, but I put characters on top of the pinyin. I think doing this is useful, but would like some feedback before attempting more.
- All Chinese dialects share a similar grammar system
- Well, they're quite similar, in the same way you see similar grammars among the (say) Germanic languages. -- ran (talk) 02:28, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)
- All Chinese dialects share a similar grammar system, different from those employed by other language families.
Your comments come with two problems. The sentence in the article imples Chinese languages is an exception. Are Germanic languages another exception? How much should we accept for similar? Are German and English grammars similar tho there are some differences? — Instantnood 09:26, Jan 29 2005 (UTC)
- The comment is simply there to explain that since all Chinese dialects share a similar system, most of the things explained in the article (aspect particles, topic-comment, mood particles, measure words etc.) apply in principle to all Chinese dialets. -- ran (talk) 15:07, Jan 29, 2005 (UTC)
Similarities and differences among grammar systems of the dialects
- All Chinese dialects share a similar grammar system
I am not exactly sure what Instantnood is trying to say. As with a very large number of other phenomena, languages are related together on a tree structure. Languages are different from lots of other things like the genetic connections among all human being in that it is at least not clear that Chinese and the Indo-European languages did not spring from totally different origins. I.e., some people say that there is no proof that humans didn't invent language more than once. Researchers are currently trying to puzzle out whether there is some innate structure in the human brain that ensures that all languages will follow some basic rules (even though they may play with those rules in such different ways that it is hard to see how they could be the same at some root level). What is pretty clear is that languages like German and English are twigs on a common branch -- even though they do some things in ways that are irritatingly different for speakers of one language who must learn the other language. Similarly, all of the spoken languages of Chinese share many commonalities even though they do some things differently. I'm told, for instance, that in Cantontese one says "I give money you," rather than "I give you money." Little differences like that are nothing compared to the fact that no Chinese language has tense as that concept is understood in English, German, Latin, French and the other Indo-Europeans languages. Instead, they use aspect. To find parallels to aspect that are even remotely helpful, people look to Russian, a language that is viewed by most English speakers as much "different" from English than is German. But all of the Chinese languages have that way of marking -- not time-- but answers to questions like, "Did you do it (as you were expected to)?" "Have you done it (within some time period, implied or explicit)." Zhao Yuan-ren has written a great deal about aspect as used in various Chinese languages/dialects (whatever you prefer to call them).
To me it would make sense to say something about the ways in which all forms of spoken Chinese are similar, e.g., that they all use two basic sentence formats: Topic-Comment and Subject-Predicate, that Subject-Predicate sentences position their verb after the subject and before objects, predicate nominatives, etc., and so forth.
Then it would be interesting to catalog some of the main differences. Knowing Mandarin fairly well and having only a smattering of Taiwanese I couldn't do more than mention the hearsay evidence I have on "subject + verb + indirect object + object" vs. "subject + verb + object + indirect object" mentioned above. Offhand, I can't think of any way in which Taiwanese sentence structures depart radically from Mandarin sentence structures. But listing whatever differences are to be found (and about what percent of the Chinese population uses the less common form) would give the general reader some idea of both the degree of similarity and the degree of dissimilarity among the tongues of various places and groups in China.
Some commonalities among all Chinese languages trace all of the way back to wen yan wen, e.g., the use of zhi1 (e.g., "Wu2 zhi1 you3 Kung3 Ming2 ru2 yu2 zhi1 you3 shui3.") in wen yan wen and the use of "de" in Mandarin, "eh" (not sure how to romanize it) in Taiwanese, etc. That grammatical item makes a good context with English in which the "stacking order" of modifiers goes the other way, and it would be easy to demonstrate graphically why speakers of one language may have difficulties adapting to the rules of the other language. P0M
"Swim[ming] I am the best." This translation to a sample grammatical sentence is imprecise. It should be something like "Swimming, it is my forte."
- Surely "swimming is my forte" would be “游泳是我的拿手”. “游泳我是最拿手” is literally "Swimming: I'm the most proficient". — Chameleon 14:11, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
- The original sentence uses "swimming" as a topic or focal point. The speaker is looking at a range of activities that s/her participates in, selects swimming from among them, and then pays himself/herself a compliment, indicating that (among his/her companions, schoolmates, or whatever group the social context of the sentence indictes) the speaker has an advantage. That's different from saying that it's his/her forte. "Forte" refers to the strongest capability of all the capabilities of the individual being characterized. A situation in which an individual is explaining his/her capabilities relative to his/her "in group" is a little uncomfortable in English. I think it's possible to toss off the Chinese (Youyong, wo zui nashou!) in a light way in Chinese, suggesting by yu3 diao4 and tone of voice that it's no big deal even if I have the best capability. I think in English the adept speaker of English might somewhat self-deprecatingly say, "As for swimming, I guess I'm the pick of the litter." (Comparing himself/herself to a puppy.) If you say "I am the best," you put yourself into competition with Olympic champions.
- What is the image behind the expression "na shou"? "I've got a handle on that"?P0M 21:02, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
- Since 拿 ná basically means "to grasp", I'd say it is easy to see 拿手 náshǒu as referring to someone with "a good grasp" of a discipline or being "an old hand" at it. — Chameleon 21:38, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)
- I would like to modified how the translation should be presented. For example in the first sentance instead of
院 子 里 停 着 一 辆 车。 [院子裏停著一輛車。]
In the courtyard is parked a car. (A car is parked in the courtyard.),
I think we should have it:
院 子 里 停 着 一 辆 车。 (院子裏停著一輛車。)
[courtyard] [n. suf.] [inside] [park] [v. attah.] [one] [unit measure] [car], fully translated: A car is parked in the courtyard.
Doing it this way shows the distinctive sentance structure of mandarin Chinese comparing with romantic languages.
Also, a lot of sentances sound funny in chinese as well. Take the previous posting on 游泳我是最拿手 for example. The sentance is more rounded and complete if it is said 我最拿手是游泳, couple with the full translation: "Swimming is my forte." and the translation by characters I mentioned. The sentance contrast will be so much better. If no one objects, I would like to go ahead and change all the sentances translations. --Ndhuang (talk) 11:22, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
- I think "游泳我最拿手了!" or "我最會游泳了" would be more native :) --22.214.171.124 (talk) 10:51, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I was mistaken in my question, silly me. That's not what I was looking at! Laundrypowder 02:21, 12 August 2005 (UTC)
Citation: Another category of devices unique to Chinese are the modal particles, used to express mood, or an expression of how a statement relates to reality and/or intent.
This statement is not correct. German language uses modal particles frequently as well, so Chinese language is not unique in this aspect. See German modal particle for more information. --Abdull 20:04, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
- I don't know exactly how to make the characterization more apt, but as someone who knows a little of both languages I don't think the comparison is apt. German "modal particles" are more like the final "la," "ya," etc., i.e., particles that indicates something about the speaker's subjective reaction, whereas "le" at the end of a sentence typically indicates a change of status that would need to be indicated, somehow, in a good translation. P0M 22:51, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Traditional and Simplified
This article lists both types of characters (in almost all cases), but the order is not very consistent. I'd suggest putting everything in simplified and traditional characters in brackets behind. Simplified is most used in China itself (at least as far as I have been able to see， so unless someone has a good reason to do it the other way around, let's make that default here.
I feel a much more precise title for this article is Chinese Syntax, not grammar. A redirect from this article there would be in order, too. I'm Linguist, though, so the titles may a bit pedantic.
Clay 16:19, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
- Syntax is part of grammar. the study of grammar is composed of morphology and syntax. --Voidvector (talk) 20:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
In the mood section, the example for 2 meanings of 了(le) isn't appropriate, because the 2 alternative explanations for the phrase "妈妈来了!/Māma lái le!" aren't correct. The phrase "妈妈来了!/Māma lái le!" only mean that "Mother has come", and is definitly different from "妈妈要来了!/Māma yào lái le!", which only means "Mother will come". As no definition of "perfective le" or "inceptive le" is given, it wouldn't be possible to understand any difference between the two. As much as I know, 了(le) does either indicate the end in a phrase or slightly modify the tone of the phrase. In either way, it is not possible, in most cases, for 了(le) to alter the meaning of the phrase significantly. su88 06:04, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
- Sorry, I come from taiwan(So, I'm a native speaker of Chinese^^)."媽媽來了!" mainly mean "Mom is coming soon!", but "要" just emphasizes "soon" or "be going to" in this situation.("媽媽來過了" is more appropriate for perfective )"了" is more like "!" than "has been" :)--126.96.36.199 (talk) 11:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Another bad example, and this time in the Topic prominence section. The last sentence there, ie. the one glossed as meaning "I'm the best at swimming" does not exemplify the topic-prominence principle. As the word "swimming" comes first, it's clear that this is not meant to be given information that is commented in the sentence but instead, it is an example of focusing a part of the sentence in order to, for instance, to contrast it to other implied options, which in this case would be other hobbies or sports the speaker does. I am no expert of Chinese languages (but I am a student of linguistics and am familiar with the cross-linguistic notions of topic prominence and focus fronting) so I've left the text as it is, but I hope someone would look at it. -Oghmoir 19:37, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
According to an editor, there were incorrections in this section, so I'm hiding it until someone else can fix it. FilipeS 01:13, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
Are these words (referring, as far as I know, to grammatical cases) really appropriate for Mandarin? All varieties of Chinese are almost completely isolating languages. Are these terms used in reputable Chinese grammars? Strad 03:05, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Subject-Predicate pair used as a predicate
I dimly recall I've read something about being able to use subject-predicate pair as a predicate for a sentence to describe property of a component of an entity. Something like 'I eyes-are-blue'. Can someone elaborate on that? Sorry, if this is only a misunderstanding from my part.
Just wanted to show my appreciation to those who worked on this article. The information there is very informative and helpful. You certainly manage to explain the subtleties of word order and perfectives/imperfectives better then my Chinese prof does. Basser g 06:42, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
Perception of grammar in Chinese
The article doesn't really cover a common perception held by Chinese people that Chinese language does not have grammar. This is somewhat covered in the Chinese version of this page. --Voidvector (talk) 20:29, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
- Sorry to reopen this topic so long after the original posting; I just noticed it. Anyway, I agree that it's worth at least mentioning; the question is whether we can find a reliable source for it. Of course, I personally in my time over there have frequently encountered that ＂中文没有语法！＂ tidbit of wisdom, but I wonder if any reliable sources have documented it... Politizer talk/contribs 04:22, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
- Knock-knock. We know it's not true, so is it really worth mentioning if nobody claims this? Some people's perception about the grammar is inflection. So, if Chinese doesn't have inflection, they assume, it doesn't have the grammar. Perhaps, worth mentioning that Chinese words don't have inflection and even identifying the parts of speech is impossible by the word shape. It has both positive and negative aspects from a foreign learner's point of view. --Anatoli (talk) 04:50, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think thats necessary. Maybe there can be a separate section on the Chinese language page about the perceptions of the language. But "old-wives tales" about the grammar don't deserve a mention in this section. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 12:54, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
- Agreed. Most people think their native language doesn't have grammar. It's only the languages they've learnt that have grammar. Kanguole 14:05, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
I as a non chinese speaker have trouble understanding the mood section. The two examples give -le and -ne endings which appear to be different words. But the article says: "The perfective le and the inceptive le are two different words. ... The fact that they are now written the same way in Mandarin can cause confusion." This does not match the example given of "inceptive -ne". --Pepsi Lite (talk) 01:04, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Chinese translations of grammatical terms
- note: Please also see the above section, posted at the same time as this one.
- Merged sections now.
Regarding these edits : Let's have a quick discussion here about whether or not to include these translations, before this becomes an edit war. I am also going to leave notes at WikiProject China and WikiProject Theoretical Linguistics.
Anyway, my stance is that they're unnecessary (as per Voidvector's edit summary; they're not even terms unique to Chinese) and that an individual wanting to know how to say these terms in Chinese can look them up (the better online dictionaries, such as nciku.com and dict.cn, have most of them) or can use the interwiki links at each of the respective pages on topic-prominent language, serial verb construction, etc.; the 中文 interwikis on those pages all go to Chinese WP articles that have those terms (that's how I learned a lot of the Chinese grammar terms when I first started being interested in Chinese linguistics). Politizer talk/contribs 22:12, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
- I think that only terms that are exclusively used to describe the Chinese language should have Chinese translations here, such as "measure word" and the like.--Danaman5 (talk) 23:03, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
- That's a good idea. Technically "measure word/classifier" is not exclusive to Chinese...but it is probably far more common in Chinese than other languages (as evidenced by the fact that just about anyone learning Chinese knows about measure words, whereas other people usually haven't heard of that term unless they've got a couple years of linguistics training)...so that might be ok. Politizer talk/contribs 23:09, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
- Let's expand this rather short article, rather than removing my edits with Chinese terms. Most textbooks and reference materials do that - provide the Chinese terms for grammar words.
- It makes sense for all languages, even more for Chinese, where English and Chinese terms are often much harder to link. It makes a discussion or teaching process between Anglophone and Chinese grammarians or teachers/students easier. Bilingual terms are more likely to be found by search engines. Anyway, the benefits are obvious.
- The section of complements is very short, I am planning to expand it and yes, the terms need the Chinese translations. If this article has been on your watchlist for a long time, it doesn't mean there is no room for improvement. I am asking for your cooperation. Let's help to make the article better, don't start the edit war.
- I am open for a discussion about the format - using tags, simplified/traditional/pinyin, inline or on a separate line, etc.
- I have moved my previous post as the first answer to avoid duplication. It doesn't have to be specific to Chinese to be included in the chapter. As I said, most university references provide bilingual terms. Check Japanese, Russian, Arabic grammar articles. E.g. Japanese "pronoun(代名詞 daimeishi)". So do individual articles about Chinese grammar points. There is a consensus there. Chinese grammar article deserves more attention and more information.
- Chinese grammar pages are scattered, in my opinion, adjectives, particles, etc. could be joined to one article, or at least have a short section with the link to the main page, if you think they need separate articles.
- I would agree with Anatoli's arguments for the usefulness of having Chinese names for grammatical constructions and parts of speech. Maybe it's not the first priority to add them, but it certainly makes no sense to remove them where they are supplied. True, they can be looked up in a dictionary... but then most of the content of any Wikipedia article can be looked up in a suitable reference book somewhere! Vmenkov (talk) 01:56, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
The current disambiguation at the top of the page isn't very useful; being told to "look at so-and-so page" without being told exactly where isn't very helpful. I suggest moving this page to "Standard Mandarin grammar" or "Grammar of Standard Mandarin", having "Chinese grammar" redirect there, and having a "Chinese grammar (disambiguation) page. Alternatively, "Chinese grammar" could be the disambiguation page branching off into the rest of the grammar articles. Thoughts?– DroEsperanto(t / c) 01:41, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
- Changing the title of this page wouldn't change the dablink at the top; all that would happen is the text "Chinese grammar" redirects here would be added to the beginning, but there would still be similar dablinks at the top. Creating Chinese grammar (disambiguation) might be useful, but personally I think the Chinese languages page already pretty much serves that purpose; someone looking for Wu grammar, Yue grammar, Hakka grammar, etc., can find all of them there already. As for naming, unfortunately "Chinese" is standard shorthand for "Mandarin" in most of the world (including China itself) so "Chinese grammar" will always have to redirect here, even if the formal title of this page is changed to "Mandarin grammar". Unless, that is, someone wants to write a new article on the grammatical features that are common to all the Chinese languages...but we already have that article, more or less, at Chinese languages.
- Admittedly, the treatment of Chinese languages on Wikipedia is a mess, and I left a similar message along those lines at one of these talk pages (I don't even remember where anymore... Chinese languages, Sinitic languages, Varieties of Chinese, or something like that). But a reorganization of them should probably be discussed and conducted in a top-down fashion, with an eye for all of the articles, rather than just taking care of one article at a time in an ad-hoc manner. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:26, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Can someone with a better understanding of Chinese grammar add some more detail to the examples? Interlinear glosses as seen in e.g. bǎ construction are very helpful in understanding how each part of the sentence fits together. By contrast, the examples here simply jump from Chinese to the idiomatic English translation, which isn't much help to someone who isn't already familiar with the language. 184.108.40.206 (talk) 06:26, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
- I could probably do it when I have some free time. I wrote the bǎ article so I would do the examples here in roughly the same way. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 16:18, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Typo? (25 March 2011)
In the Aspects section, re imperfectives, one finds the following sentence:
The two imperfectives may both occur in the same clause, e.g. 他正在打电话 tā zhèngzai dǎ diànhuà "He is in the middle of telephoning someone".
- This criticism seems correct -- the text appears to be flawed as both forms are not used. --220.127.116.11 (talk) 06:08, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
comparable to the similar features found within the Slavic languages or Semitic languages
'不要给我拍马屁' does not mean 'don't flatter me'
'给我' is something like Japanese's 'くれる'(...てくれる) , but with stronger tone (something like Japanese's 'てくれ') . It is unrelated to 'to me'. Here it is just like a simple order.
In this case (A speaks to B) , A could be either flattered by B or not. So, the translation is not right.
The word '被' doesn't simply show passive voice, but also a passive mood (not only passive in grammar, but also in meaning) . In some cases, the passive sense it shows can be very strong. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 09:57, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Europeanization and Dialectization of grammar
Baihua and may fourth
This is perfect acceptable. --刻意(Kèyì) 20:54, 19 August 2014 (UTC)