Saturday, October 9, 2021

Chinese Word Order 中文词序

Chinese Word Order 中文词序

In the Chinese language, the basic word order is subject-verb-object (SVO), as in English. Otherwise, Chinese is chiefly a head-final language, meaning that modifiers precede the words that they modify. In a noun phrase, for example, the head noun comes last, and all modifiers, including relative clauses, come in front of it.

Generally, Chinese varieties all feature SVO word order. However, especially in Standard Mandarin, SOV is "tolerated" as well. There is even a special structure to form an SOV sentence.

5 really simple example sentence structures to get you started:

Subject + Verb: "nĭ chī" ...
Subject + Verb + Object: "nĭ chī fàn" ...
Subject + Time + Verb + Object: "nĭ jīn tiān chī fàn" ...
Subject + Verb + Object + ma: "nĭ jīn tiān chī fàn ma" ...
Subject + Time + Verb: "nĭ jīn tiān chī"

词序 word order 
字 word, character, letter, calligraphy, symbol, style of writing
词 word, term, speech, statement
单词 word, individual word
话 words, word, dialect, saying, talk, speech
言 word, speech, character
言辞 words, word, what one says
笔墨 pen and ink, words, word, writings
约言 pledge, promise, word

Unlike French, German or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation (no need to memorize verb tenses) and no noun declension (e.g., gender and number distinctions). Chinese vocabulary seems to be built up in a very logical way. Once you know some basic words, your learning process will speed up.

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