English speakers have been taught to follow the Subject-Verb structure of sentence composition to construct a complete sentence. For example, “Jack saw.” This contains both a subject and a verb, and is thus technically correct as a complete sentence in the English language.
Of course sentences in English can get infinitely more complicated, but for the sake of simplicity, we can embellish a sentence with a predicate. Thus the subject-verb-predicate structure. We would then have “Jack saw the horse.”
CHINESE: TOPIC-COMMENT STRUCTURE
For folks studying Chinese, it may be hard to get into thinking about things a little differently. In Chinese, while you can literally say “Jack saw the horse” in a structure and wording quite similar to that of English, it is quite common for Chinese speakers to use the topic-comment (also known as topic-and-comment) structure of sentence formation.
The topic-comment structuremeans quite literally: you introduce the topic of conversation by merely stating it, and then follow it up with a comment.
For example, “the horse” is equivalent to the topic. Then topic is followed by the comment – for example “Jack saw it.”
Thus, the complete topic-comment formation:
“The horse. Jack saw it.”
This is an example Chinese as frequently by both acclimatized foreign folks and native speakers of Chinese.
JUST THE WAY IT IS
While I’ve heard some folks say this is plain wrong, that’s just the way it is. It’s different, it’s got its up and downs, just like in English or any other language.
Just shows how rich the world of language is!
If you are seriously considering studying Chinese, or wonder about the “funny way” about how certain things are spoken, this lends some explanation – hopefully!
To email me: click here
To read other cool articles: click here
Bookmark these articles conveniently from one page by Clicking Here.
You may also subscribe to these by clicking the “Subscribe” button.
Legal stuff: Disclaimer & Safety Notice: Author does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, safety, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed or referred to. Information is provided for informational purposes only. Any actions taken on the reader’s part are taken entirely at the reader’s own risk. Author shall not be liable for any errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Furthermore, Author shall not be liable for any loss of profits, contracts, opportunities or any direct, indirect or consequential loss of any kind (including death and/or injury), business interruption or loss of property arising out of or in connection with the use of the information herein. So there.
© 2008 John Melendez – All rights reserved worldwide. Duplication in part or in full is prohibited. Violators will be prosecuted.