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A Study of the Chinese Neutral Demonstractive “Nen”

  • The Journal of Study on Language and Culture of Korea and China
  • Abbr : JSLCKC
  • 2020, (57), pp.29-50
  • DOI : 10.16874/jslckc.2020..57.002
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Study on Chinese Languge and Culture
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Received : July 10, 2020
  • Accepted : August 20, 2020
  • Published : August 31, 2020

Jia Hao 1

1서강대학교 대학원 중국문화학과

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper studies the modern Chinese demonstrative pronoun "Nen" from three aspects. First of all, on the origin of "Nen", this paper summarizes two kinds of etymologies in the academic circle, namely "Ning, Neng" origin theory which starts from the head consonant letter of "Nen", and another one which starts from the ending “-m” of "nen". Based on these two etymologies, this paper holds that the original origin of "Nen" is "Er" and it is a dialect word influenced by the southern language. Secondly, this paper focuses on the use of "Nen" alone and collates the syntactic functions of the commonly used "Nen" prefixes "Nen Me" and "Nen De". It is concluded that "Nen" can be used as attributive before noun and noun group, adverbial before adjective and verb, also can be used as predicate and object, and also explained the reason why "Nen" is seldom used as subject. Finally, this paper analyzes the phenomenon that "Nen" indicates the uncertainty of distance, and thinks that "Nen" should not be regarded as a neutral demonstractive, but has the function of indicating first, and the distance semantics is based on the specific context and adds the neutral indicator. At the end of the paper, this paper points out that the case that the pronoun "Na" means the near distance and the pronoun "Zhe" means the far distance which is concluded that the deixis "Nen" has a high degree of separation from distance semantics.

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