3 Apr 2014

The Basic Characteristics of Modern Chinese Grammar

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Grammar is a set of rules in the language for making words and sentences. For example, we have these words 牛肉niú ròu(beef) 我wǒ(I) 吃chī(to eat) 明天míngtiān(tomorrow) 完wán(finish) 要yào( would like or want) ,we can use these words to make following sentences:

1、 wǒ chī niú ròu (I eat beef.)
我吃牛肉。

2、 wǒ yào chī niú ròu (I want to eat beef.)
我要吃牛肉。

3、wǒ chī niú ròu le (I ate beef)
我吃牛肉了。

4、 wǒ mínɡ tiān chī niú ròu ( tomorrow I eat beef.)
我明天吃牛肉。

In these four sentences, the meanings are different, because in the Chinese language, there are many varied syntax and grammar rules.

Generally speaking, the basic grammar rules work in the following aspects :

1. Less of grammatical morphology .


Viewed from the world language types perpsective, Chinese is an analytic language. In grammatical category expression (like gender, number, case, tense, aspect and voice), the Chinese do not rely on the fixed grammatical form. For example: Chinese nouns don’t have gender differences, The French and German nouns, on the other hand, have the differences of masculine and feminine gender. Moreover, with Chinese pronouns such as 我(wǒ) , whether it be the subject, object or attribute, there are no morphological differences.The Chinese verb such as吃chī(to eat) , also has no morphological changes .

wǒ chī niú ròu ( I eat beef.) 我吃牛肉。

tā chī niú ròu (she eats beef.) 她吃牛肉。

wǒ men chī niú ròu (we eat beef.) 我们吃牛肉。

zuó tiān wǒ chī niú ròu le (yesterday,I ate beef.) 昨天我吃牛肉了。

However, in modern Chinese, le(了) ɡuò(过) zhe(着) be seen as the true sense of formation parts. With the exception of these, there are almost no other Morphological Components.
Many foreign students think there are no grammar rules in Chinese, but this is wrong, Chinese is not without grammar rules. Rather, it has a completely different rules set than Indo-European languages

2. Word order plays an important role to express meaning. The same words with different combinations of the order will express different meanings and grammatical relations.

shuí dōu rèn shí wánɡ xiān shenɡ (everyone knows Mr wang)
谁 都 认 识 王 先 生

shuí wánɡ xiān shenɡ dōu rèn shí (Mr wang knows everyone)
谁 王 先 生 都 认 识

wánɡ xiān shenɡ shuí dōu rèn shí (everyone knows Mr wang or Mr wang knows everyone)
王 先 生 谁 都 认 识

3. Function words are an important grammatical means in Chinese.,Chinese has a lot of function words, such as prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs, particles, modal particle and so on. These function words have an important role for expressing the syntactical and semantic relations. the The Chinese adverb especially is an example of a function word that can make Chinese a difficult language for people to master.

Compared with many global languages, the Chinese language has its own uniqueness. By understanding the basic Chinese grammar rules, students will have an easier time learning Chinese and consequently improving the Chinese level.