|carolgreen481||Date: Monday, 2012-09-03, 6:24 AM | Message # 1|
|Chinese is considered to be a topic-prominent language, where the topic of the sentence (defined as "old" information whereupon the sentence is based) takes precedence in the sentence. For example, the following sentences do not seem to follow normal subject-first word order, but adhere perfectly to the topic–comment structure (Traditional Characters in square brackets): |
院子(yuànzi)里(lǐ) 停着(tíngzhe) 一(yí) 辆(liàng) 车(chē)。 [院子裏停著一輛車。]
Literally: In the courtyard is parked a car. (A car is parked in the courtyard.)
今天(jīntiān) 爬(pá) 山(shān)， 明天(míngtiān) 露(lù) 营(yíng)。 [今天爬山，明天露營。]
Today climb mountains, tomorrow camp outdoors. This is an example of a pro-drop sentence. The subject of this sentence (for instance, "we" or "I" or "our school group") would be determined by context.
饭(fàn) 做(zuò) 好(hǎo) 了(le)。[飯做好了]
Literally: Food done complete LE. (Food is ready.) LE indicates that the action is done.
Mandarin is classified as an SVO language, because verbs precede rather than follow objects in simple sentences. Unlike most SVO languages, most modifiers of nouns, verbs and adjectives precede the head (modified item), as is often the case in SOV languages like Turkish and Japanese. Hence
Prepositional phrases modifying a verb precede the verb
Genitive constructions precede the head noun
Relative clauses precede the head noun
Adjectives precede nouns
The standard of comparison in a comparative adjective precedes the adjective
Furthermore, Chinese uses postpositions in many constructions rather than prepositions, for example:
"table-on" = on the table
"house-in" = in the house
Mandarin also relies on the formation of adjectival phrases rather than subordination, for example:
"the I-had-ridden horse" = the horse that I had ridden
"(cause people worries)'s matter" or "to people worrisome matter" = matter that worries people
Moreover, verb phrases come at the end of a clause if the object or indirect object is "marked." For example, there are two types of accusative cases in Mandarin. Accusative I is the typical subject–verb–object ordering. Accusative II, also known as the bǎ construction, results in a change of state in the object, and implies a stronger sense in which something is done to the object, and is marked with the prefix 把 bǎ and by a movement of the verb phrase to the end of the clause.