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A Study of Comparative Construction in Mandarin Chinese

  • 인문논총
  • 2011, 27(), pp.91-114
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities

이경진 1

1고려대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

Generally, a comparative sentence structure, usually considered a syntactic sentence, is based on comparison between a given test subject and a test criteria in which the comparison takes place in order to distinguish the differences among the given variables. In modern Chinese, a representative comparison structure expressing equality, “NP1 跟 NP2 一樣 X” and a structure expressing superiority “A比B X” is a discussion focused not only on the purpose of comparing the use of syntax but to further clarify its use in a sentence. Focus can generally be distinguished into “foreground and background” where the foreground is, in most often cases, noted as the focus. In a comparative structure where equality is being stressed, the focus is always the given “X.” It can be said that X's stance is made concrete through the comparative act of “跟 NP2 一樣.” In a comparative structure expressing equality such as “I am tall just like you,” the term “tall” becomes the critical focus where the presenter, in order to deliver the proposition “I am tall,” presents a standard of measure which acts as a supporting element that emphasizes the foreground. Likewise, in a comparative structure expressing superiority such as “A比B X,” the focus is again “X” where “比B” is understood as the basis for comparison. In the expression “I am taller than you,” the presenter presents “~than you” as the reference point in which to compare and clarify the ambiguity of the term “I am tall,” in order to implicate the tallness of the presenter by emphasizing the term “tall” through the comparative act and hence solidifies the argument. In this regards, the presenter is able to present an objective view of the point he/she is trying to convey and this in turn can be said that the comparative structure is a method used to emphasize the stance of the test subject. Depending upon the kind of comparison given to the proposition “I am tall,” the phrase is then differentiated into a comparative act expressing equality or superiority. Therefore, we come to the conclusion that although subjects have been compared and differentiated in a comparative sentence structure, this method in itself was never meant to emphasize the act of comparison; rather, the act is meant to further solidify the stance of the test subject.

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