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耐心 / 耐烦

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by baosheng, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    Hello/大家好,

    I sometimes hear the words 耐心/耐烦 (both meaning "patient" (adj)) and would like to know if there are any differences in meaning/usage/frequency between them. For example, is one of them used in the negative more often?

    Thanks/谢谢!
     
  2. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    They both means "patient" but 耐心 tends to be used in the positive (eg, 有耐心), whereas 耐烦 tends to be used in the negative (eg, 不耐烦).
     
  3. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada
    Canada, English
    Thanks for your help, xiaolijie!
     
  4. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    耐心
    verb: 耐著性子 to endure against one's heart's desire.
    noun: a heart capable of enduring discontentment. Because of its nominal function, 耐心 is often associated with 有/没 to describe a personality trait (e.g., 他很有耐心, 他没有耐心).

    耐烦
    verb: 忍受麻烦/烦闷 to endure troubles/disquiet.
    adjective: able to endure troubles/disquiet (e.g., 她教大伙识字很耐烦). Due to its function as an adjective/verb, 耐烦 is often associated with 不 (i.e., 不耐烦 "not able to endure troubles", "no longer able to endure disquiet", "impatient").

    Patience demands practice and is often part of personality. When we say somebody "loses patience", we usually refer to his reaction on a particular occasion. 不耐烦 is the more common choice of words for the negative sense because it doesn't make direct reference to personality or 心 "heart", which is more of a long-term attribute.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  5. tarlou Senior Member

    Chinese
    With the help of a dictionary, I can only find the following contexts that 耐心 is used (probably) as an adjective:
    耐心(地)+verb
    你耐心点
    Maybe there are more contexts that 耐心 is an adjective. But at least for these two cases, 耐心 cannot be idiomatically negated. And 你耐心点 may be a special phrase and can't be generalized. 他是耐心的人, 他很耐心, etc are bad sentences to me (有耐心 is needed).

    As for 耐烦, it seems to me that it can only appear in the phrase '不耐烦' in the modern language (at least in my dialect). Although 她教大伙识字很耐烦 seems to be from a contemporary novel, this is a bit strange to me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  6. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    Neither of them looks like an adjective to me.
    你耐心点 structurally parallels 你小心点 (小心 is a verb here, meaning 注意,留心, 留神) or 你大声点 (大声 is a verb here, meaning 放大声量). 你多吃点, 你少喝点.
    耐心 in "耐心(地)+verb" is obviously an adverb, not an adjective. Many Chinese adverbs were actually derived from verbs (e.g., 轻易 "readily, lightly" as in 轻易杀人 came from a verb meaning "轻视" or "轻率" as in 常有轻易人之志, 其轻易权贵如此, 休得轻易). In other words, the transition of 耐心 from a verb to an adverb did not necessarily go through adjectivization first. The archaic forms of "耐心+verb" can actually be interpreted as 耐心 (verb1) + verb2. For instance, 且须耐心等待 = must endure against your heart's desire and wait.
    I'm not quite sure what you meant. Both cases can be negated by following the pattern of a regular verb: 你不耐心等待, 却跑到这儿干什么? Parallel to 你不煮饭烧菜 (verb1 + verb2), 却跑到这儿干什么? 你不耐心点, 是無法见到她的 parallel to 你不多吃点, 是無法早日康复的. Of course, like a regular verb, it can be negated by 没 as well.
    Agreed. 耐心 doesn't behave like an adjective. If it is used by some people as an adjective, this development must have occurred late in time after it has acquired the nominal function and closely linked to 有/没.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  7. tarlou Senior Member

    Chinese
    I also doubt if they are adjectives. I list 耐心+verb only because my dictionary says so (and I don't know why). For 你耐心点, I was not sure what kind of word it is...

    OK. May be you are right.
    However, I was not sure what is negated in your first example. 你不耐心等待 sounds like 你不(耐心等待) to me, where 不 is negating 等待 and 耐心 is just an adverb on 等待. It sounds like "you don't wait patiently" instead of "you wait impatiently".
    And for both "你不耐心等待" and "你不耐心点", they are not pure negations. They are actually "If you don't ..., then ...". Pure negations of "耐心等待" and "耐心点" should be simple statements meaning "不耐烦地等待" and "急躁点"...
    Anyway I'm never sure about grammars, these are just my thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  8. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    We can test if the dictionary is correct:
    他小心开车 ==> 他开车小心 :tick:
    他公平待人 ==> 他待人公平 :tick:
    他爽快做事 ==> 他做事爽快 :tick:
    他耐心等死 ==> 他等死耐心 :cross:
    小心, 公平, and 爽快 can be an adjective, but 耐心 cannot.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  9. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    I think the word 耐烦 does not exist for most speakers.
    If you want to negate 不耐烦, you have to use 没有不耐烦.

    不耐烦 is like "happy" and "sad", mainly used to describe one's temporary mental state or behavior.
    有耐心/没有耐心 is more likely used to describe one's quality.

    很耐心 does not sound absolutely wrong to me, especially when it comes after 得.
    I just don't use 很耐心 to describe one's character.
    It doesn't sound wrong with a definite time reference.
    e.g. 前台人员很耐心(=表现得很耐心),帮我解决了问题。

    It seems that the second one is unusual mainly because 等死 is not a repeatable or habitual action.
    他讲课很耐心 is OK.
    等死很耐心 is unusual, but 等复活(computer game)很耐心 sounds fine.


    For events with definite time reference, e.g.
    他(当时)开车很小心。
    他(当时)开车开得很小心。
    他(当时)讲课很(有)耐心。
    他(当时)讲课讲得(有)很耐心。
    all sound fine.

    If the action is imperfect, (which is main used when you tell a long story,) both 小心 and 耐心 can be used as adverbs.
    他小心的开着车,不跟我说话。
    他耐心地给我讲解,但是我还是听不懂。

    EDIT:
    不耐烦 does sound like "showing unhappiness".
    But 他做题不耐心 is better than 他做题很不耐烦.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  10. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    I think you prove the point: 耐心 can be an adjective :thumbsup: although I normally say 很有耐心.
     
  11. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    According to my observation, it can be argued that, 耐心 can be an adjective only when it functions as an adverb. :D
     
  12. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    Although I'm convinced that some people do accept the adjectival use of 耐心, I still need more opinions from others to confirm that such usage is considered "standard". 前台人员很耐心, 表现得很耐心, 他讲课讲得很耐心 all sound somewhat strange to me as if there is a dialectal feel to them. I would have said 前台人员很有耐心 表现得很有耐心, 他很耐心讲课. For me, 他耐心讲课 :tick: ==> 他讲课耐心 :cross:.
    Will you agree that for the purpose of teaching Chinese as a second language, we'd better say that 耐心 shall not be used as an adjective unless there is a 有 preceding it (i.e., 有耐心 as a whole is an adjectival phrase, wherein 耐心 is a noun)?
     
  13. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    Google "表现得很有耐心" and "表现得很耐心", you will get about 3x results with the former.
    "前台人员很有耐心" and "前台人员很耐心" will give you roughly the same number of results (both about 20).

    I agree that, as the adjective usage is quite painful to learn, a junior learner can just skip it.
     
  14. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    Another note:
    不耐烦 can be used as a verb.

    他不耐烦做这些事情。
    不耐烦=觉得烦,不愿意=懒得
     
  15. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    "很有耐心的老师" 416,000 results vs. "很耐心的老师" 119,000 results
    "很有耐心的人" 12,800,000 results vs. "很耐心的人" 1,330,000 results
    "等得很有耐心" 12,100,000 results vs. "等得很耐心" 4,180,000 results
    "讲得很有耐心" 8,210,000 results vs. "讲得很耐心" 588,000 results
    "讲课很有耐心" 942,000 results vs. "讲课很耐心" 342,000 results
    I have to conclude that 有耐心 is still the standard form. The significant number of google results where 耐心 serves as an adjective suggests that it is in the process of gaining full acceptance.
     
  16. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    Where did you learn this kind of "reasoning"? Don't you think that it's equally possible to say that it's falling out of use due to its small number compared to that of 有耐心 ?
    (Either way is nonsensical, that is! :D )
     
  17. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    "Falling out of use" implies that it was once popular and has been in existence for some time. In that case, we are likely to find examples from a dictionary even if it were "old-fashioned", "obsolete", or "archaic". I have not yet found such examples from a dictionary or a 明清章回小说. Most, if not all, of the examples found in published books are very recent works. But I agree with you I should not have even mentioned my speculation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013

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