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nipponman

Nominatives in Chinese

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nipponman

Hello. How do you make the -ing form of verbs in chinese. Or a better question still, is there a -ing form in Chinese? I believe it is called the Nominative form in English (I already know both static and dynamic progressive forms!) In Japanese it is really simple so it gotta be at least possible in Chinese, right? Here's an example:"I like swimming" 我喜歡游泳??? I don't think that is right because that means "I like to swim", so maybe a better example sentence is: "swimming sure is fun!" "游泳??纔有樂趣" Is that right???

Thanx for any help

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Pravit

I don't know English grammar that well, but I believe "nominative" is used in most languages to describe the form of a noun when it is the subject, for instance "Who(nominative) took the cookies?" as opposed to "To whom(not nominative) did you give the cookies?", or "He(nominative) saw them(not nominative)." At any rate, it seems you want the "-ing" form of the verb in the sense that it actually becomes a noun(I believe it is called the gerund), as opposed to the present progressive("she is swimming"). I am not sure if an exact analogue to what you are describing exists in Chinese, but then again, I don't know much about it yet. As for the progressive forms, I'm sure you know more about them than me.

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nipponman

You're right, I meant nominalizer not nominative :wall! Well anyway thanx, anybody else?

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anonymoose

Unfortunately, languages as different as English and Chinese do not have a one-to-one correspondence between them. That is to say, just because there is an ___ing form in English doesn't mean there is an equivalent in Chinese.

The example you gave, 我喜歡游泳, could equally as well be translated as I like swimming as I like to swim. The point is that Chinese words do not inflect to show these differences as they do in other languages.

Let's take 游泳 as an example and make another sentence out of it. 游泳很好玩. Now you see the form of 游泳 is the same as in your example, but my example would have to be translated as swimming is fun, in which you have the nominalized form of swim.

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HashiriKata
I meant nominalizer not nominative. Well anyway thanx, anybody else?

的 is a nominalizer in Chinese. You put a verb in front of it to turn the thing into a noun (the one who, the thing which), just like you do with "no" in japanese.

(Sorry, I can't input any Chinese or Japanese at the moment (except cut&paste), so can't easily give you some examples)

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nipponman

Thanks everyone.

To:Hashirikata

的 is a nominalizer in Chinese. You put a verb in front of it to turn the thing into a noun (the one who, the thing which), just like you do with "no" in japanese.

(Sorry, I can't input any Chinese or Japanese at the moment (except cut&paste), so can't easily give you some examples)

Hmm, I think that they are different. In Japanese の (and こと for that matter) are definitely used to nominalize verbs, e.g. ""外には働くのが(又はことが)難しいんだが。。。" Meaning "Working outside (as opposed to inside) is hard..."

But with 的 in chinese, at least from what you have explained, it seems that that is more of a relative clause maker, e.g. "我們不可能把所有重疊國語形容詞一一記在腦裏...." "Meaning we can't take all chinese adjective that (relative pronoun here) (can be) reduplicate(d) and memorize them one by one (in our brains)." A simpler example of what you're talking about would be 讀書的男孩 meaning "The boy who reads books/attends school" not much of a nominalization, wouldn't you agree?

Thanks everyone for your help

P.s. the Japanese equivalent for your explanation with 的 would be placing the noun after the verb, e.g. "競走に走る人が。。。,隼の里に拾った刀が碎けたみたいね!" Meaning, "The people that run in the race..." and "The sword (katana) that (you) picked up in the hayabusa village seems like it was broken doesn't it."

EDIT: Forgot some quotation marks and mistranslated 讀書.

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HashiriKata
Hmm, I think that they are different.

Of course they are. But they are also very similar ! :D .

I'm pretty much disabled at the moment (my laptop is "hospitalised" and I'm also completely bewitched by Jiangxin at the moment, no will left for serious work :lol: ), but you shouldn't be bothered too much about nominalisation in Chinese for now (fairly advanced) and one day I'll come back to you with some fine explanations, I promise! :wink:

(Unless someone else can help you meanwhile, that is.)

Cheers,

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nipponman

Cool, I Hope my Japanese was good.

Later

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xiaocai

“的”字在中文语法里面不是用来把动词变为名词的。如例子“讀書的男孩”里面,“的”字是一个附加在定语后面的结构助词。

如果非要说的话,是把名词或者动词变为“形容词性”。不过我想这种说法也是不严格的。

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HashiriKata

Hi xiaocai,

The “的” I intend to talk about is the "是...的” type, not the 的 which normally precedes a noun. I'm sorry I didn't have time to make it a bit clearer. The “的” in "是...的” is a kind of nominalizer and I'll come back to it when I've got a bit of time.

Cheers,

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Claw
The “的” I intend to talk about is the "是...的” type, not the 的 which normally precedes a noun. I'm sorry I didn't have time to make it a bit clearer. The “的” in "是...的” is a kind of nominalizer and I'll come back to it when I've got a bit of time.

However, 是…的 is not really the nominalizer being described by nipponman. In English, adding the -ing at the end of a verb makes it into a noun (called a gerund in English) that refers to the specific action described by the verb. The word "swimming" refers to the specific action of moving in the water.

However, the 是…的 construction does not accomplish that function. Instead, adding 是…的 around a verb makes the clause refer to the one who does the action described by the verb, not the actual action itself. 是游泳的 refers not to swimming, but one who does the swimming.

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HashiriKata
However, 是…的 is not really the nominalizer being described by nipponman.

Aren't the calls just too irresistable! :mrgreen:

Anyway, see you all later,

:D

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madizi

There, in fact, could be one form in Chinese similar to -ing form in English. If you want to emphasize that action is stil in progress, then you use 正在 .

For example:

I'm swimming. 我正在游泳. (or "I right now am (in the action of) swimming.")

Hope this helps. :D

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Claw

madizi: you're describing the present participle form of a verb in English, which happens to look like a gerund (they both feature the -ing suffix), but their usage differs. A gerund is a noun, while a participle is still a verb. The easy test is to see if you can substitute "it" with the word. Since a gerund is a noun, you should be able to do the substitution without any change in the meaning.

I like swimming -> I like it; the new sentence means the same thing as long as you know what "it" refers to, so "swimming" in this case is a gerund.

I am swimming -> I am it; the new sentence has completely changed its meaning as a result of the substituion, so "swimming" is a participle.

In Chinese, prefixing 正在 to indicate the -ing ending can only be done in the latter case, where the word is a present participle.

A gerund has no such distinction in Chinese, and most of the time you can just use the verb itself as a gerund. So 我喜歡游泳 is the best translation for "I like swimming." It is true that this can also be translated as "I like to swim," but Chinese makes no distinction between the gerund and infinitive forms.

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madizi

Thanks, Claw. Have to learn a little bit more of English grammar... :D

But, yes, what I wrote about usage of "zheng zai" is in accordance with your second example. That's what I thought.

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HashiriKata
The “的” I intend to talk about is the "是...的” type, not the 的 which normally precedes a noun. I'm sorry I didn't have time to make it a bit clearer. The “的” in "是...的” is a kind of nominalizer and I'll come back to it when I've got a bit of time.

Hello, I'm back!

So what nipponman wants to find out is about "nominalizers" in Chinese and the only nominalizer in Chinese I could think of was 的, but my brief reply has probably caused misunderstanding rather than helped. So here we're back to square one and I'll start with "Nominalization" instead (and still end up with the nominalizer 的 mentioned above).

Since we're from all sorts of linguistic backgrounds, I'll offer some simple definitions to eliminate possible misunderstandings:

- To nominalize something is to enable that thing to function as a noun (= nominal).

- A nominalizer is an element that can be used to make something else function as a noun.

So here we go:

1. An example of nominalization:

"Writing Chinese characters is difficult", in which the verb "write" has to assume the function of a noun to be grammatical. The "ing" bit has enabled the phrase "Writing Chinese characters" to function as a noun phrase, this "ing" bit is therefore a nominalizer by definition.

In Japanese (I'll refer to Japanese in this post for the benefit of nipponman), we'll get:

漢字を書くのは難しい, in which の (or こと) is the nominalizer, which is necessary for the sentence to be grammatical.

In Chinese, the verb 写 (as in 我不会写汉字) doesn't need a nominalizer to make 写汉字 function as a noun phrase: 写汉字很难.

Of course, nominalization can occur in the object position:

他不喜欢写汉字/ 彼は漢字を書くのがきらいです/ He doesn't like writing Chinese characters.

So, as many have suggested above, a verb in Chinese doesn't need any nominalizer in order to function as a noun. And if you're used to nominalizers in Japanese or English, you may consider the nominalizer employed here is ø [zero].

2. The nominalizer 的:

(a). However, in the special case of the "是...的" pattern, the 的 can be considered a nominalizer in Chinese:

Some examples of nominalization with 的:

你是在哪看见他的?(あなたはどこで彼に会ったの?/ Where did you meet him?)

我是骑车来的。(僕は自転車で来たんです/ I came on my bike)

她的男朋友是什么时候走的?(彼女の彼氏はいつ出かけたの?/ When did her boyfriend leave?)

我们是从日本来的。(私たちは日本から来たのです/ We came from Japan)

The pattern of the sentences above is in the form : N1+V+N2 (or Subject+ 是 +Nominalization), where the N2 is a verb phrase which has been nominalized with 的. (cf. 他是日本人/ 彼は日本人です).

(B). The nominalizer 的 above is not to be confused with the 的 in relative clauses, where the head noun has been understood:

这是我的 / これは私のだ (from such a sentence as 这是我的东西 / これは私の物だ)

你没有我喜欢的/ あなたは私が好きなのを持ってない (from such a sentence as 你没有我喜欢的书/ あなたは私が好きな本を持ってない)

The difference between the two types (a) & (B) can be recognized in two ways:

- In the context, you can normally supply a missing noun to (B) but not to (a). The sentences in (a) are normally grammatically complete.

- You use type (a) to isolate information (and therefore, to emphasize); whereas you use type (B) to omit unnecessary information (and therefore, to de-emphasize).

I hope the above explanations have clarified things a little.

Cheers,

HK

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rmontelatici

Hashirikata:

Your post is very clear and I understand the difference between (a) and (B) quite well.

However I am not really convinced about 的(a) being a nominalizer.

You are saying (correct me if I misunderstood your explanation) that 的 in the 是(V)的 pattern is a nominalizer because it makes (V) play the role of a noun. Do you state it becomes a noun because of its position after the verb 是 ? It seems to be no other way to check whether (V)的 is a noun, because as you said, you cannot supply anything more after 的(a).

Conversely, why not stating that 是 is a nominalizer ? Would it make less sense ? :conf

I think that the grammatical function of 的(a) cannot be established on the basis of so little evidence. Maybe one cannot extract this kind of information from a rigid pattern like 是...的. :-?

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nipponman

Wow, I'd like to thank everyone for the replies, especially hashirikata.

But, you still haven't convinced me that 是...的 is acting as a nominalizer.

But you have answered my original question with #1. I was quite unsure about saying 寫漢字很難. And really still am, now, I am not a chinese grammar-guy ( :D ) but shouldn't it be 寫漢字很難? or am I missing something???

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Pravit
But you have answered my original question with #1. I was quite unsure about saying 寫漢字很難. And really still am, now, I am not a chinese grammar-guy ( Very Happy ) but shouldn't it be 寫漢字寫很難? or am I missing something???

Let me try my hand, although if I say anything wrong feel free to correct me, everyone.

寫漢字

Writing Chinese characters

很難

(is) very hard

寫漢字寫很難

I don't think that's grammatically correct. Even if you inserted a 得, like this:

寫漢字寫得很難

it still wouldn't make much sense, since I don't think you can use 難 to describe the action of 寫.

Now I'm wondering how you would say "He writes Chinese characters with difficulty." :-?

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skylee

I am not good at grammar at all.

But 寫漢字寫很難 is incorrect. 寫漢字很難 and 寫漢字是很難的 are OK, meaning "Writing Chinese characters is difficult". 寫漢字寫得很難 does not make sense (as Pravit says), but you can say 寫漢字寫得很快 / 慢 / 漂亮.

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