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Quest

Common Chinese Japanese Grammar

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Quest

It's a question to those who know both languages--

Do Chinese and Japanese share any common features in grammar that are not found in languages outside of East Asia?

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smithsgj

量詞!

edit: don't ask me anything else about Japanese though!

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shibo77

The "ka/ne" particle at the end to change a statement into a question, "-tachi/-gata" to make a pronoun plural, "no" for genitives, the copula. There are some more, I'm sure.

Nihongo o hanasimasen.

- Shibo :conf

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nnt

I think this one is obvious:

の and classic 之 (at least in the possesive sense)

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Altair

There are a lot of ways to answer this question.

If I make certain assumptions about your question, I can add the following. Let me know if you want any specific example phrases.

Japanese shares an adversative passive with Chinese and certain other East Asian languages. (E.g., Unluckily, I was seen by people. Watashi wa hito ni mirareta. 我被人看见了.)

Japanase has adopted a great deal of the Chinese numbering system, including a modified use of measure words. (E.g., I have three teachers. Watashi wa sensei (先生) ga sannin (三人) aru. 我有三个老师)

Reduplicative plurals like 代代 (yoyo vs. dai4dai4). 人人 (hitobito vs. ren2ren2), although the meanings are not always exactly the same.

A wide lack of distinction between singular and plural, especially if one considers Classical Chinese.

Topic comment structures like: Elephants have long noses. Zoo (象) wa hana (鼻) ga nagai. 大象鼻子长.

Both languages seem to allow complete noun deletion where context can supply what is missing, both for subjects and objects.

As far as I am aware, the above features do not occur in non-Asian languages.

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shibo77

I don't understand what is adversative passive, passive voice contrary to ..?

I hope that I will be helped!

- Shibo :help

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smithsgj

被 is often used for negative things. Being killed, hit, told off... right? So it's called adversative passive.

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shibo77

Some can be good.

我被看见了. I have been seen.

我被选中了. I have been chosen.

我被复活了. I have been resurrected. :twisted:

Some can be bad.

我被吃了! I have been eaten!! :shock:

我被杀了! I have been killed!! ....

- Shibo :conf

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Altair

Smithsgj is correct. "Adversitive passive" means that the passive use of a verb carries a sense that what is happening is adverse to the person undergoing the experiences. Here are some relevant quotes from one of my grammar books:

"The bei4 passive in Mandarin, like those of Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and other Asian languages, is used essentially to express an adverse situation, one in which something unfortunate has happened. For instance: jiao3zi5 bei4 (gou3) chi diao le....Second, it has been observed by practically all Chinese grammarians that the number of bei4 constructions that do not express adversity is increasing, particularly in the written language of modern China. This increase in the nonadversity usage of the bei4 constructions in modern Chinese is clearly due to the influence of the Indo-European languages, especially English. In fact, Chao calls such nonadvertisity bei4 sentences 'translatese.'...

"Although in spoken Mandarin the bei4 sentence, as Chao points out, is confined primarily to the expression of adverse messages, from the written language and 'translatese' the nonadversity usage of the bei4 passive has been extended into people's speech. This extension most naturally occurs with verbs representing usages borrowed or introduced ino the language during the modern age, such as xuan3 'elect', jie3fang4 'liberate', fan1(yi5) 'translate'." (Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar)

My books give numerous examples of this issue. I can confirm that Japanese works this way, where even intransitive verbs can be used in a passive form when the meaning is adverse. (E.g. watashi wa tori ni shinareta no desu. (I was "died" by my bird=My bird died on me)

A few examples might illustrate the point for Chinese.

我们的话被听到了 (wo3 men5 de hua4 bei4 tong1 dao4 le5) apparently does not mean that "our words were heard," but rather that "our words were overheard." The implication is that the fact was an unpleasant occurrence. An example of an ungrammatical construction that my book gives is 他说的话被人人都懂 (Ta shuo1 de hua4 bei4 ren2ren2 dou1 dong3). The reason given for why it is not grammatical is that there is no adverse meaning.

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ala

>>>This extension most naturally occurs with verbs representing usages borrowed or introduced ino the language during the modern age, such as xuan3 'elect'>>>

The new extensions to the passive applies mainly to Mandarin. In Shanghainese the equivalent to bei4 xuan3 would only work if the vote implied a negative task or quality. --> I was selected to die first or I was voted the most ugly. Or sarcastically, XXXX was "liberated" by YYYY.

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Altair

Ala, thanks for the info on Shanghainese. It is interesting how some facets of Mandarin can easily be adopted in other dialects, while others that would seem easily accepted are not.

I can't recall whether Cantonese agrees with Shanghainese in how one would interpret the equivalent of 被選 bei4 xuan3. The only forms that come to my mind are probably formal language borrowed directly from Mandarin. Can anyone help with this?

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Altair

I have thought of a few more features shared by Japanese and Chinese:

In English, we say "I bought a book for him." In Chinese and Japanese, this is said as I bought a book to give to him. 我给他买一本书. Hon o katte agatta.

If your spouse invites someone over to eat, and you suggest serving steak. Your spouse, who knows that the guest is a vegetarian, can say in Chinese or Japanese the equivalent of "That won't due. It's that he doesn't eat meat." 不行. 他不是吃肉的. Or, in Japanese: "Dame, niku o tabenai no (da)."

Lastly, I think that Classical Chinese can use numbers adverbially in a way that Japanese does routinely and that English cannot. I cannot recall authentic Chinese examples at the moment, but I think something like this would be correct. 老臣三人来. I cannot remember the Japanese for 臣, but I think that "hurui 臣 wa sannin kita" shows the same grammar. In both languages, using a modifying construction (i.e., 三人之臣 or sannin no 臣) would mean someing different according to what I recall, since the reference would now be to specific people. I am right at the limit of my knowledge of both languages (or a little beyond), so I hope I have got the grammar right in these examples.

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ala

This reminds me of another similar construct:

帰って行く = 回去

帰って来る = 回来

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Quest
I can't recall whether Cantonese agrees with Shanghainese in how one would interpret the equivalent of 被選 bei4 xuan3. The only forms that come to my mind are probably formal language borrowed directly from Mandarin. Can anyone help with this?

Cantonese 被 is 畀 (bei2 - Cantonese 2nd tone).

畀 means to give, to let, and 被.

我畀她打 -我被她打。

佢畀我揀中-她被我挑中

佢畀狗咬亲-他被狗咬了。

我畀钱你-我给钱你

我畀件礼物你-我给件礼物你

被(bei6) is used in Cantonese too, but I believe it's imported from Mandarin. Actually, I think 被 and 畀 had the same origin. As with many words, different dialects chose different characters, then the new characters and the new sound variants got re-imported into another dialect.

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