speak chinese like a native


Posted by bodawei March 18, 2011 in the Group General Discussion .

离合词 (cf. QingWen on 离合词)

Just love the word 离合 (separation/come together). Or ‘reunion’ as mdbg has it. I recently revisited this topic, in celebration of getting myself a textbook, half mindful of the debate that the QingWen generated, most of which went over my head. The text book says 离合词一般不可以带宾语。I could see immediately that I would need help and asked a tutor.

My tutor starts by observing that this word 离合词 is a new foreign concept, invented by foreigners, for foreigners learning Chinese! Not that he’s being negative; he expresses a preference for the 离合词 idea over the traditional Chinese explanation using 主语,谓语,宾语,定语,状语,补语。 This is one of those things that most Chinese learn as a child rather than formally so few people except teachers are equipped to discuss it.

So what did I learn? 离合词 can be represented as AB and they can be split by things like 过,一个,他的,等等。 AB can also be said as AAB. WHY IS THIS SO? Simply because it sounds better, more natural, to split them than to use them together. So not only are they are separable, it is PREFERRED that you separate them. Say 吃了饭 not 吃饭了。

其它动词 cannot go A – B, or AAB.

I’ve posted Changye’s suggested reference: 《现代汉语离合词用法词典》 (for foreign learners)

Also from his list of离合词 a few examples (the rest are in the QingWen):

帮忙,..他帮过忙了吗? (Did he give you a hand?)

报名,.. 你报过名了吗? (Have you already signed up?)

毕业,.. 你毕过业了吗? (Have you already graduated?)

And from the text:

他生了半天气。 (He was angry for half the day.)

我们放了三天假。 (We had 3 days holiday.)

我考了两次试。 (I did the test twice.)

昨天妈妈洗了两次澡。 (Yesterday Mum showered twice.)

But 他们结婚了两次。 (They have been married twice before.) While 结婚 is a离合词 it sounds better this way – an exception to the ‘rule’. 

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