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to cut, chop (off)

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by ThomasK, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I am interested in how languages express the difference between chopping (or cutting), the action, and chopping off something. In Dutch we use a prefix, just as in English a phrasal verb is used (containing a particle ?).

    Can Chinese express that ? How then ?
     
  2. donnamatch New Member

    US
    Mandarin Chinese
    I'm not sure if I really got what you mean...
    chopping: 切
    chopping off sth: 切掉
    “掉”here is to describe the condition of the object, kind of like "off" in English
    Another example:
    chopping up :切碎
    “碎”here means the object becomes smashed after the action of cutting
     
  3. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Singapore
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    Sorry, I don't quite get what you mean. Do you mean "chopping" as a noun, and "chopping" as a verb? Can you perhaps provide sentences to illustrate what you meant?
     
  4. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    OK, I am sorry. I meant :
    - I have chopping X into pieces
    - I chopped off a branch of the tree...
     
  5. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Singapore
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    In that case donnamatch has answered you in the 2nd post:
    Actually, there are different words for "chopping" in Mandarin, depend on what is being "chopped" (a tree, firewood, a hand...).
     
  6. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    It reminds me of a case, but it might rather be 'chop (resulting into) a condition', I guess. Can you use 掉 in a different way?
     
  7. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Singapore
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    Yes. 掉 as a suffix means "off" or "detach".

    We can have:
    "broke off" (literal, not figurative) 断掉
    "take off" (clothes, not airplane) 脱掉
    "tear off" (paper, not "running") 撕掉
    "chop off" (tree branches, for example) 砍掉
    "chop off" (body parts, or meat) 剁掉

    掉 by itself means "drop" (accidental vertical descending motion)
     
  8. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    This is quite interesting: can I then say you iuxtapose verbs, or words (maybe verbs are not a real category in Chinese) and thus create new meanings, instead of adding affixes?
    I did wonder also about why you use two different verbs (...) for the branches and the meat - or did you mean pruning in the case of the branches ?
     
  9. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Yes, they're "serial verbs" ... the first verb is what the agent does (砍 "chop") and the second verb is what the patient suffers (掉 "fall off"). But we use affixes too to indicate the direction of the action.
     
  10. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Could you illustrate this by giving me some verbs with (different) affixes ?
     
  11. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    z.B.
    -
    Der Schnee
    faellt vom Himmel herab. 天空

    -
    Er lief
    die Treppe herauf. 樓梯
     
  12. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Singapore
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    Excuse my bad attempt at explaining grammar of Chinese. I've never studies Chinese grammar since it comes natural to me. We group characters together to form words, so new words can be formed by grouping characters in new ways.

    No, I don't mean pruning. I used 2 different verbs because "chopping wood" and "chopping flesh" are 2 different concepts in Chinese. Furthermore "chopping vegetable" in Chinese uses yet another verb, which is the same verb as used in "slicing bread". Since you've mentioned "pruning", I'll like to add that we "prune plants" but "trim hair", yet in Chinese we see them both as "cutting something into desired shape so that they appear neat", and therefore they are the same verb in Chinese.

    We can't map words one-to-one across different languages :)
     
  13. Silverelf Junior Member

    Singapore
    Teochew. Mandarin.
    It's not exactly creating a new meaning in this case. 砍's basic meaning remains the same but 掉 is a supplemental description affixed to 砍.

    We do have verbs in Chinese. In fact, I doubt that there is a language that does not have verbs...
     
  14. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks, S & S. Very interesting to see how you link two 'cutting acts' and how you express a logic that we do not see. But for example: in Dutch we can shave [scheren] a hedge and a beard, whereas we prune trees [snoeien]. And also interesting that you refer to a basic meaning. But would you have that with this cutting: are pruning, shaving, hair-cutting, all based on a single verb form like cutting ?

    I agree that verbs are very common, but I mainly wished to suggest that there are no declinations/ verb endings in Chinese (correct ?) and that nouns and verbs have the same shape/..., or is that wrong? (I know no Chinese, I am sorry).
     
  15. Silverelf Junior Member

    Singapore
    Teochew. Mandarin.
    Actually, according to what I see from your example, it's the same. You use the same verb for certain actions [scheren - hedge, beard] and different verbs for others [scheren - hedge, snoeien - beard].

    Not too sure what you mean by linking two cutting acts though. If you meant 掉, that word in itself does not mean cutting / chopping or anything similar. It works like 'off' in 'cut off' or 'chop off'.


    You are right, we do not conjugate verbs.
     
  16. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks. Well, I meant that maybe you had quite some 'basic' verbs in Chinese and that you could make additional meanings by adding elements, however, going further than phrasal verbs in English (or in Dutch: af-snijden, off-cut), in that for example snoeien/ pruning would be 砍 + a word/ symbol. But that is not the case, I guess.

    Thus it would be great for me to discover that there were a language that not only had phrasal verbs or something similar, but also ways of expressing driving as going + wheeling, riding as going + <animal>. This wishful thinking is due to me wishing to reduce for didactic reasons the number of verbs to some basic verbs : like cutting + near synonyms and phrasal verbs, going + idem, taking + idem, etc. Not in Chinese, I gather. Well, too bad, but thanks a lot !
     
  17. Silverelf Junior Member

    Singapore
    Teochew. Mandarin.
    I actually did not know what phrasal verbs meant but I am just looking it up. In so far as I can gather, there should be similar 'phrasal verb' functions in other languages.

    At the moment, as I do not really understand phrasal verbs, I take it as a combination of multiple verbs to create a meaning that is different from the original. I should think that we have that in Chinese as well but at the moment my stomach is calling louder than my brain so I should have to think about it for a while after food.

    Please do let me know if my understanding of phrasal verbs is inaccurate.
     
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Phrasal verbs do not combine verbs and verbs, but verbs and particles or some kind of prepositions (up, down, out, in, over, ...): come in, take over, go down, etc. What I read with you looks very similar.

    What I had hoped is that you had one basic verb of cutting and then some specifications adding extra meaning to the basic verb (turning cutting into pruning as cut + <X>, shaving as cut + Y, etc.
     
  19. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    So you're looking for an oligosynthetic language ... Good luck.;)
     
  20. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks a lot for the hint, Ghabi, I did not know that; unfortunately there are no natural oligosynthetic languages, so I read, and therefore it is not that interesting to me: my hypothesis does not hold therefore. I have been checking all kinds of translations of Cutting different kinds of things, and it's so funny to see that where one bunch of speakers recognizes a parallel, others don't.

    Well, human views are not based on some Platonic ideas, I guess... But thanks !
     

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