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YuehanHao

Question on Verb1 的 Verb1, Verb2 的 Verb2 Structure

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YuehanHao

My current book for learning Chinese is very nice, but sometimes it doesn't have enough explanation for me to understand what it is talking about in my lovely native language. In a chapter on new year traditions, it teaches a grammatical structure, Verb1 的 Verb1, Verb2 的 Verb2, as in the following example:

大年三十晚上,他们放鞭炮的放鞭炮,看电视的看电视,高兴极了。

Although I understand the individual characters, I do not understand what meaning is imparted by this technique of two different verb phrases both being separated by 的 and repeated.

Thanks if you can help teach me about this grammatical technique,

约翰好

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tanhql

他们放鞭炮的放鞭炮,看电视的看电视

those who are playing with firecrackers are playing with firecrackers, those who are watching tv are watching tv.

it's just restating what 'they' are doing.

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HashiriKata

I have the feeling that the structure "Verb1 的 Verb1, Verb2 的 Verb2" can't simply be a case of tautology.

YuehanHao, what book did you get this sentence from? Did the book give any explanation or further examples at all? (I'd guess that the structure is probably used to cite some sample activities, but really need further information to be able to say anything for sure).

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YuehanHao

HashiriKata, you summed up the feeling I was too shy to display, especially after a Chinese person I briefly asked this question said something very similar to tanhql's post. I was also a little bit curious whether people would speak this way, or if this grammatical device was a literary construction, and why someone would choose to use it rather than simply state the fact once, as I presume is normal.

Maybe this structure could be slightly similar in connotation to something I could envision in English, "the TV watchers watched TV"?

Anyway, my book is called "A Primer for Advanced Beginners of Chinese," published by Columbia University Press in the U.S. The book has zero explanation for this sentence structure, and, while it does give other examples, they are all quite alike. But here is one more, also about new year's traditions:

商店里,人们买礼物的买礼物,办年货的办年货。

Thanks to you both for your replies,

约翰好

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HashiriKata

Thanks for the information, YuehanHao! Your additional example's reinforced my feeling that the structure is used to list some typical activities that can be seen on a particular occasion. I'm sure some advanced learners or native speakers will be able to tell what other particular feelings (ie., emphasis, for instance) this structure may convey.

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seesaw

这种结构一般是用来描述“人们都在专心于或者全身心地沉浸在自己的事情中”的环境或者气氛的。

考虑下面两个句子:

  • 教室里有的人在读书,有的人在做作业。
  • 教室里读书的读书,做作业的做作业。

前一个句子是一个比较普通的描述。而后一个句子暗示了“大家都在专心”地做自己的事情。所以,后一个句子更适合用于下面的描述

  • 教室里读书的读书,做作业的做作业,没人注意到小丽在偷偷地哭。

下面是更多的例子:

  • 她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。
  • 大家唱歌的唱歌,跳舞的跳舞,玩得很尽兴。

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HashiriKata

Thanks seesaw, it's an excellent explanation!

YuehanHao, I think you can understand what seesaw wrote, but if you need any help, just say :help .

:D

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anonymoose
她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

Doesn't this example kind of contradict the explanation that the structure implies people are 专心地 doing what they're doing?

I mean, if 她们 are 装做ing 没看到小丽, then surely they are not really 专心地聊天,打电话 but rather just pretending to? :conf

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HashiriKata

她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

Doesn't this example kind of contradict the explanation that the structure implies people are 专心地 doing what they're doing?
Seesaw may have been too busy typing to notice the problem at the time :D . How about:

她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都没看到小丽。

They were too engrossed in chatting and phoning to notice Xiao Li.

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wrbt

They've got that pattern in David and Helen too. I don't remember exact phrase but it was relating to everyone at some party, kinda like:

聊天的聊天,吃点心的吃点心,喝酒的喝酒

Those who yapped banged their gums, those who ate snacks crammed food into their gaping maws, and the drinkers boozed it up.

I don't think they used that exact English translation either.

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semantic nuance
她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

It's not necessarily " pretending to be' doing things (i.e. chitchating/talking on the phone). They might have noticed Xia Li but still they (choose to) focus on their own business. V1的 V1, V2 的 V2 simply states the things people are engaged in.

Hope it helps!:)

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YuehanHao

谢谢, seesaw and everyone else for your explanations and examples. They were really helpful and and creative; the blind man now sees! (... at least on this one topic 哈哈...)

约翰好

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anonymoose
她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

It's not necessarily " pretending to be' doing things (i.e. chitchating/talking on the phone). They might have noticed Xia Li but still they (choose to) focus on their own business. V1的 V1, V2 的 V2 simply states the things people are engaged in.

Doesn't 装做 mean 'pretend'? :conf

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HashiriKata
Doesn't 装做 mean 'pretend'?

It does, but I think what semantic nuance meant is this:

她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

All were too busy talking and phoning, they pretended not seeing Xiao Li.

----

YuehanHao, out of curiosity, I've bought the book you mentioned. So, if you ever get stuck with anything in it, let me know and I may be able to help. :D

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anonymoose
It does, but I think what semantic nuance meant is this:

她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

All were too busy talking and phoning, they pretended not seeing Xiao Li.

But this isn't very logical.

Either of these two would make more sense:

1. they were too busy talking and phoning, that they didn't see Xiao Li

or

2. they were busy talking and phoning, pretending not to see Xiao Li

but 1. doesn't include 'pretend' which is clearly in the Chinese sentence, and 2. doesn't seem to fit the 的...的... structure.

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necroflux

I'm in agreement with anonymoose, if they were truly deeply engaged in their own matters as this contruction implies, they have no mental resources available to pay attention to anything else in the first place, so how could they be pretending not to notice something else? It seems redundant I guess from a logical point of view.

Maybe something is lost in translation with 裝做.

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HashiriKata

I think the answers for the 2 questions by anonymoose's post above can be seen in my previous posts (if you're willing to see :mrgreen: ), so here is just a repeat for your convenience:

1.

她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都没看到小丽。

They were too engrossed in chatting and phoning to notice Xiao Li.

(Note the absence of the word 装做 in the example!)

2.

她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

All were too busy talking and phoning, they pretended not seeing Xiao Li.

(If the provided translation for 2 is not clear enough, consider the following, more elaborated versions: )

2a) Since they were all so engrossed in talking and phoning, they pretended not to see Xiao Li (and just carried on talking and phoning).

2b) Some were chatting, others were phoning, and they were all so engrossed in their own activities that they pretended not to see Xiao Li (coming/ crying or whatever).

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necroflux

Haha, thanks for the reiteration, however

2b) Some were chatting, others were phoning, and they were all so engrossed in their own activities that they pretended not to see Xiao Li (coming/ crying or whatever).

Still doesn't make sense. Think about what you're saying. You can either say that these people were all pretending to be engrossed with such things so as to ignore Xiao Li, or you can say that they were so engrossed they didn't notice her. You can't have both logically.

Perhaps the following translation would work for: 她们聊天的聊天,打电话的打电话,都装做没看到小丽。

"They were frantically chatting and talking on their cell phones, pretending not to notice 小丽."

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HashiriKata

Someone's obviously got too much time in their hands! :wink:

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necroflux

That unfortunately is very true, lol. I think I get it now anyway. :)

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