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'That' in Mandarin

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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 18 Mar 2012, 23:39

ehophi wrote:
smithsgj wrote:
Chris wrote:There is no complementizer "that" in Chinese. You just string the sentences together: "I wish you would come." In written Chinese you'll often see a comma where "that" would be in English.


There is a sort of complementizer, 說.

eg

有些人覺得說(SHUO)他很不盡情理


I have two questions about this claim:

Does treating 說 as an (often elliptical) complementizer always allow for its presence or absence in complement phrases? That is, in your cited example, could I just as well say, "有些人覺得他很不盡情理?" and remain grammatically coherent? Also, could I insert 說 into every complement phrase, e.g.: "我希望妳會來。" and still be grammatically coherent?


I have no idea WTF a complementizer is, but you're correct in that you could chuck it in after almost anything like hope, think etc. It's NOT correct Mandarin though, this is an example of Taiwanese Mandarin. We're taught to drop the shuo when teaching Chinese in the CSL Teaching classes here.
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby ehophi » 20 Mar 2012, 09:07

tsukinodeynatsu wrote:I have no idea WTF a complementizer is, but you're correct in that you could chuck it in after almost anything like hope, think etc. It's NOT correct Mandarin though, this is an example of Taiwanese Mandarin. We're taught to drop the shuo when teaching Chinese in the CSL Teaching classes here.


A complementizer is any term in a language which serves to transform whole sentences into something called a complement phrase. Complement phrases can be used as adverb phrases, noun phrases, or noun modifiers.

An English example:
You will go to lunch at some time. ("at some time" is an adverb phrase).
*You will go to lunch when. ("when" is a complementizer).
when you will go to lunch ("when you will go to lunch" is a complement phrase).

He said when he will go to lunch to his boss. ("when he will go to lunch" is a noun phrase)
He told me the time when he will go to lunch. ("when he will go to lunch" is a complement phrase on the noun phrase "the time" - a.k.a. a relative clause)

Complement phrases modify either noun phrases or whole sentences, and sometimes certain complementizers go into each group.

For instance, 'that' as a complementizer can be used for noun phrases. ("We know [the fact] that he can't stand up.")
The other two are adverbial, and have different semantic meanings (Consequential: "He's so weak that he can't stand up.") (Explanation: "We're so sad that he can't stand up.")
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 20 Mar 2012, 21:14

Doesn't sound like they really exist in Chinese. Or they do, but it all just follows the time + action sentence pattern.

I mean this in as non-insulting a way as possible, but do you actually go outside and talk to people? Or chat to your building guard or something? These all seem like very basic sentence structures that you can pick up through conversation, I don't think I ever really studied them past asking 'What does that mean?' when someone else said it.

Quick references though..
你十點就要去吃飯
當他回來你就去吃飯

他跟他老闆講他幾點要去吃飯
他跟我說了他幾點要去吃飯 (not sure on the grammar with this one, because my Mandarin's too TWified)
(台灣國語:他有跟我講他幾點要去吃飯)
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby ehophi » 21 Mar 2012, 12:32

tsukinodeynatsu wrote:Doesn't sound like they really exist in Chinese. Or they do, but it all just follows the time + action sentence pattern.

I mean this in as non-insulting a way as possible, but do you actually go outside and talk to people? Or chat to your building guard or something? These all seem like very basic sentence structures that you can pick up through conversation, I don't think I ever really studied them past asking 'What does that mean?' when someone else said it.

Quick references though..
你十點就要去吃飯
當他回來你就去吃飯

他跟他老闆講他幾點要去吃飯
他跟我說了他幾點要去吃飯 (not sure on the grammar with this one, because my Mandarin's too TWified)
(台灣國語:他有跟我講他幾點要去吃飯)


It's because I talk to people that I have the questions, but make most of my comprehensions by analysis and parsing.

For instance, your translations are literally speaking different:

"他十點就要去吃飯。" --> "You'll eat [food] at ten o'clock."
The complement phrase of this sentence is "他幾點就要去吃飯" --> "[at] what time he'll eat [food]."

"他跟他老闆講他幾點要去吃飯。" --> He said [at] what time he'll eat [food] to his boss."
"他跟我說了他幾點要去吃飯。" --> He said [at] what time he'll eat [food] to me."
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby Rotalsnart » 22 Mar 2012, 09:32

ehophi wrote:Does treating 說 as an (often elliptical) complementizer always allow for its presence or absence in complement phrases? That is, in your cited example, could I just as well say, "有些人覺得他很不盡情理?" and remain grammatically coherent?


The only thing that changes here by removing the "說" is the register. With "說", the register is an informal, spoken-language, adolescent-sounding register. Without the 說, it is a neutral register.
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 23 Mar 2012, 02:23

ehophi wrote:For instance, your translations are literally speaking different:


Well, if you're speaking Chinese, you ARE speaking different! :lol: Different language, different set of rules. Not everything matches up to English (and, in fact, most of it doesn't).

I think that's where most people get confused and go astray when trying to learn Mandarin, they tend to think that this exists in English and therefore MUST exist in Mandarin.

Once again, I have no idea what on earth you were talking about in your post, though.
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby ehophi » 27 Mar 2012, 09:26

tsukinodeynatsu wrote:
ehophi wrote:For instance, your translations are literally speaking different:


Well, if you're speaking Chinese, you ARE speaking different! :lol: Different language, different set of rules. Not everything matches up to English (and, in fact, most of it doesn't).

I think that's where most people get confused and go astray when trying to learn Mandarin, they tend to think that this exists in English and therefore MUST exist in Mandarin.

Once again, I have no idea what on earth you were talking about in your post, though.


Yes, I'm aware that not every sentence of English bijects every sentence of Mandarin. However, one should recognize that transliterations actually match to completely different sentences, as this avoids to needless confusions about how sentences, phrases, and words of different languages match or don't match.

Here's an easy illustration: These are two sentences of arithmetic: -(4 + 7) = -11 and -4 - 7 = -11. Most people insist that "they say the same thing." That shows a superficial understanding of arithmetic, however. It's more accurate to say that the two sentences state an equivalent fact in different ways. We could prove the first sentence from the second sentence, and vice versa.

Natural languages do the same thing. Take sentences like, "John hit the road." and "John beat it." These don't "say the same thing," either. However, they state an equivalent fact in different ways, and we would infer that "John hit the road" implies that "John beat it," and vice versa.

If you accept this, then you would have to accept that two sentences may offer similar or identical information, but strictly speaking, form unique sentences. Your sentences, however, don't do that, because we would not (rationally) infer that "He said when he'll eat [food] to his boss," implies, "他跟他老闆講他幾點要去吃飯。/ He said at what time he'll eat [food] to his boss." Couldn't I very easily tell you when I'm going to lunch without telling you the time on a clock?

If we can't translate a sentence to another most literally, then we don't need to insist that an approximate translation which says something different "says the same thing." At most, we could say that the two sentences are similar in certain ways.

You'd have to understand what I was talking about in my earlier post to get any meaning out of any further details.
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby smithsgj » 29 Mar 2012, 21:13

Rotalsnart wrote:
ehophi wrote:Does treating 說 as an (often elliptical) complementizer always allow for its presence or absence in complement phrases? That is, in your cited example, could I just as well say, "有些人覺得他很不盡情理?" and remain grammatically coherent?


The only thing that changes here by removing the "說" is the register. With "說", the register is an informal, spoken-language, adolescent-sounding register. Without the 說, it is a neutral register.


I'll go with informal and spoken language. Not sure where the adolescent tag comes from because I think I've heard plenty of adults use it. Most common usage is probably 他告訴我說... here would need a short pause or an 啊 I think if you deleted the 说
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 03 Apr 2012, 22:30

ehophi wrote:
tsukinodeynatsu wrote:
ehophi wrote:For instance, your translations are literally speaking different:


Well, if you're speaking Chinese, you ARE speaking different! :lol: Different language, different set of rules. Not everything matches up to English (and, in fact, most of it doesn't).

I think that's where most people get confused and go astray when trying to learn Mandarin, they tend to think that this exists in English and therefore MUST exist in Mandarin.

Once again, I have no idea what on earth you were talking about in your post, though.


Yes, I'm aware that not every sentence of English bijects every sentence of Mandarin. However, one should recognize that transliterations actually match to completely different sentences, as this avoids to needless confusions about how sentences, phrases, and words of different languages match or don't match.

Here's an easy illustration: These are two sentences of arithmetic: -(4 + 7) = -11 and -4 - 7 = -11. Most people insist that "they say the same thing." That shows a superficial understanding of arithmetic, however. It's more accurate to say that the two sentences state an equivalent fact in different ways. We could prove the first sentence from the second sentence, and vice versa.

Natural languages do the same thing. Take sentences like, "John hit the road." and "John beat it." These don't "say the same thing," either. However, they state an equivalent fact in different ways, and we would infer that "John hit the road" implies that "John beat it," and vice versa.

If you accept this, then you would have to accept that two sentences may offer similar or identical information, but strictly speaking, form unique sentences. Your sentences, however, don't do that, because we would not (rationally) infer that "He said when he'll eat [food] to his boss," implies, "他跟他老闆講他幾點要去吃飯。/ He said at what time he'll eat [food] to his boss." Couldn't I very easily tell you when I'm going to lunch without telling you the time on a clock?

If we can't translate a sentence to another most literally, then we don't need to insist that an approximate translation which says something different "says the same thing." At most, we could say that the two sentences are similar in certain ways.

You'd have to understand what I was talking about in my earlier post to get any meaning out of any further details.


You are completely confusing me, I've had a look at your earlier posts but I'm just not very good at all the grammatical technicalities.

The only other way I can think of of saying 'he told his boss what time he'd be going to eat lunch' is 他跟他老闆講他什麼時候要吃飯 (or 何時, of course). It's not used quite as much as 幾點 though.
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Re: 'That' in Mandarin

Postby ironlady » 03 Apr 2012, 23:03

I do understand the grammatical technicalities, but I don't think the OP is going to find much of an appreciative audience for that kind of thing around these parts.
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