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他爸爸在德国也工作 / 他爸爸也在德国工作

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by gvergara, May 2, 2014.

  1. gvergara

    gvergara Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Hi, according to the rule, 也 should be placed before the verb, that'd mean that the sentence should read 他爸爸在德国工作; however, intuitively, I'd put it before the preposition (他爸爸德国工作), because we don't want to say that he also works, but rather that he also works in Germany. Which version is correct? Thanks in advance

  2. zhao1892 New Member

    也 can also be placed before the preposition, such as 在 对 和 是... So 他爸爸也在德国工作 is correct. It emphasizes on "在德国工作".
  3. SuperXW Senior Member

    Yes. I think Chinese propositions are often treated as verbs.
  4. gvergara

    gvergara Senior Member

    Santiago, Chile
    Yes, I still have difficulty grasping when is a verb or a preposition, since I've been told it can also be used to indicate progressive actions. In my example, I don't quite understand if it is actually a preposition indicating place or a kind of auxiliary indicating an ongoing event. Thanks for your answers, that's very kind of you.

  5. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    Your sentence is correct and you should rephrase "the rule" by replacing "the verb" with something more inclusive:
    也 should be placed before the predicate
    (在德国工作 is the predicate or verb phrase.)
  6. BODYholic Senior Member

    Chinese Cantonese
    Both sentences are correct but they mean different things. Consider the following conversation,

    B:我爸在德国也工作。 <--- here you can't say "我爸也在德国工作"
  7. 枫十二 Senior Member

    As for me:


  8. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    Yes, that's right. The context allows "the rule" to be bent :)
  9. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    It seems that some people think 他爸爸在德国也工作 and 他爸爸也在德国工作 are different.
    But to my ears, they are the same and the first one sound natural. Depending on the context and stress, both sentences may be ambiguous. To avoid ambiguity, we sometimes replace 也 with 还.

    Some adverbs such as 也 才 就 可 既 etc. are normally used after the last most subject-like phrase in a sentence. Subject-like normally means time, location, condition, scope and actors. Prepositional phrase are also possible.

    In this sentence, I tend to say 他爸爸还在德国工作. But as 也 is always related to the context, using 也 when speaking won't cause any problems.
  10. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    I used "after subject-like" and xiaolijie used "before predicate". I said "subject-like" because I don't know how to define the subject. So I can't answer exactly where we should/prefer to put 也.
    This may be a question Skatinginbc is good at.
  11. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    YangMuYe, It is interesting to learn that the two sentences are regarded as the same by some native speakers. For me and many others, the two sentences have different emphasis and should be applied to different contexts. I don't think the two sentences are ambiguous, since 也 can only be understood as "too". However, using 还 simply introduces more ambiguity. 还在德国工作 could be either "still working in Germany" or "(aside from doing something else) also working in Germany".
  12. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    Normally, if the context is not clear, I will emphasize the part before 也
    Following this logic, we should say:
    But the part after 也 don't need to be exactly the same. They can be just similar. So the following works, too.
    For the same reason, all these sentences work:
    Sometimes 也 shows the similarity between two sentences, but they don't need to repeat a single word.
    The use of 也 reflects how the speaker associate one event with another. The relation between events IS a kind of ambiguity even though they describes exactly the same fact. But as I said, it can usually be resolved in the context.

    Sometimes the 也 emphasize a subordinate clause, but you still have to put it after the subject.
    Last edited: May 2, 2014
  13. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Time: 他昨天来帮忙
    Location: 他在台湾受到欢迎
    Condition: 你就算遲到,心意到的話不算失禮
    Scope: 這臭味30里外聞得到
    Actor: 這部電影看了
    Object: 他寫了

    In the above cases, 也 serves as a focus-marker. The "subject-like" phrase (in red) is the focus of the sentence.
  14. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    How about the sentences I listed in #12 ? It seems that the “focus” (new information) can be anywhere in the sentence.

    I feel that 我爸爸在德国也工作 does not sound very natural to me, mainly because 我爸爸工作 does not sound natural without any context.
    我爸爸在英国工作 is OK, because the focus is on 英国.

    When I hear 也, I expect I will hear something the same. When I hear 则, I expect I will hear something different. When I hear 呢, it sounds like there is a chance I will hear something different. If there are not more than one candidate, then it should be able to be omitted.

    Saying 我爸爸在德国也工作 sounds like answering 我爸爸在德国呢, which makes 在德国 contrastive. A contrastive phrase sounds like a condition or a scope. e.g. 我在家用筷子,在公司也用筷子,在学校则用勺子,在印度呢,就用手。Different choice may lead to different conclusion. If you use 筷子 everywhere, you simply say 我用筷子. You won't say something like 我白天用筷子吃饭 because it's hard to imagine 白天 and 晚上 makes a difference when choosing chopsticks. You say 今天很漂亮 but you don't say 这个月很漂亮.

    When people ask questions like “在德国?” it's a signal that “在德国” becomes a subject and you answer “在德国这样”“在德国那样” “在德国怎么样”…
  15. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Without an extended context, the "focus" is hard to pinpoint and ambiguity consequently arises. Anyway, the focus is usually the extra "subject-like" element that precedes 也 (see Post #13):
    我爸爸在德国也有工作 (在德国 is the focus)
    白天也用筷子吃饭 (白天 is the focus)

    However, when there is no extra element preceding 也, the focus can be "anywhere" (preceding or following 也) as you said:
    我爸爸在德国工作, 他爸爸在德国工作 (他爸爸 is the focus).
    我爸爸在德国工作了十年...後來, 我爸爸在英國工作了好一陣子 (我爸爸 is old information and non-contrastive; the focus therefore switches to the predicate). Also, 我吃飽了()也喝足了 (The second 我 is old information and non-contrastive; the focus therefore falls in the predicate that follows 也).

    Rule of thumb:
    1. Contrastive focus: The contrastive element precedes 也 (e.g., 在工作, 也在工作; A: 我爸在美国工作。 B:我爸在德国也工作 See Post #6).
    2. Additional information: When 也 is used to introduce new information, rather than to draw a comparison, it precedes the new information (e.g., 我爸爸在德国工作, (我爸爸)也在英國工作; 他爸爸在德国旅游, (他爸爸在德国)也工作, See Post #7).
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  16. retrogradedwithwind Senior Member

    well, I don't think there is a big difference between 他爸爸也在德国工作 and 他爸爸在德国也工作。

    But, if like this, 他爸爸也在德国死了 and 他爸爸在德国也死了 (don't take the meaning of the sentences serious), I think the difference is big.

    Finally, I think 他爸爸也在德国工作 and 他爸爸也在德国死了 and 他爸爸在德国也死了 are awkward.
  17. Hyperpolyglot Senior Member

    Simply put, the first sentence 他爸爸在德国也工作 implies his father's first country in which he already had worked, then compares that to he also (even) works in Germany, as for the second sentence 他爸爸也在德国工作, it compares/makes a statement to another person who had already working in Germany that his father also works in Germany
  18. little black bean Junior Member

    “ 也“ emphasize the object right after it.
    也工作,emphasize工作。means his father works too.
    也在德国工作,emphasize德国。 means his father works in German too.
  19. asaisaio Senior Member

    In Chinese, 在 means "BE IN/ON/AT...". Note that there is a "be" proceeding the preposition. Hence, 在 in Chinese also means a verb, e.g. 我在家 means "I [AM AT] home", 你在中国 means "You [ARE IN] China". Note that 在 in this context is a verb.

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