an inseparable verb

Vivemafille

Senior Member
English
Is 不可分割的动词 the correct translation for the grammar term "inseparable verb"? By this, I mean two-part (phrasal) verbs between which one cannot insert a noun or pronoun:

She looks after the children. Wrong: She looks the children after.
 
  • SuperXW

    Senior Member
    In Mainland China, "phrasal verb" is usually called 短语动词 or 动词短语. To translate "inseparable phrasal verb", you can say 不可分割的短语动词/动词短语.
    But never omit "phrasal" 短语 in this term. In Chinese' concept, "looks after" are always 两个词(1 verb+1 preposition) or 一个短语(1 phrase). Calling it "inseparable verb" would be confusing.
    Hong Kong and Taiwan may have different terminologies.
     
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    zhg

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    As far as I know, this term 不可分割的动词( or 不可分动词 as opposed to 可分动词)is only used in describing those 'untrennbare' verbs in German, such a concept ,I believe, does not exist in Chinese language.
     

    Vivemafille

    Senior Member
    English
    As far as I know, this term 不可分割的动词( or 不可分动词 as opposed to 可分动词)is only used in describing those 'untrennbare' verbs in German, such a concept ,I believe, does not exist in Chinese language.
    Thank you, but I wasn't inquiring about a parallel structure in Chinese. I am an English as a Second Language teacher whose students are primarily Chinese. I was seeking the English-Chinese translation of the word for my students.
     

    brofeelgood

    Senior Member
    English, 中文
    Or 离合词 (separable) and 非离合词 (inseparable).

    得罪, 关心, 出席, 怀疑 are examples of inseparable verbs in Chinese.
     

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    That's why I said 短语"phrasal" must not be omitted.
    离合词/非离合词 could be more professional. But students would have difficulty understanding and memorizing these hard terms.
    I think 不可分割的动词短语 is your best choice in Mainland China.
     

    fyl

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    I think in Chinese the boundary between words and phrases is not clear, so it's hard to tell if the examples by brofeelgood are inseparable phrasal verbs, either way is fine.

    Not sure how grammarians would translate that term. But for most people, 不可分割的动词短语 is the best and easy to understand (in fact, isn't the English term "inseparable verb" already easy and self-explained?).

     

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    I think in Chinese the boundary between words and phrases is not clear, so it's hard to tell if the examples by brofeelgood are inseparable phrasal verbs, either way is fine.
    Not sure how grammarians would translate that term. But for most people, 不可分割的动词短语 is the best and easy to understand (in fact, isn't the English term "inseparable verb" already easy and self-explained?).
    There are fundamental differences between English and Chinese, so we cannot simply make an equation saying "word=词语" etc. Our translations often have to be one-direction, irreversible, and limited to the context.
    Chinese: 得罪, 关心, 出席, 怀疑 - 非离合词 "inseparable words". But they are clearly not like English phrasal verbs like "look after".

    Still, I doubt whether "inseparable verb" is a proper alternative of "inseparable phrasal verb" or "inseparable verb phrase" in English. "Look after" is a phrasal verb, or verb phrase. Calling it "a verb" may cause problem.
    To me and most Chinese, "inseparable verb" is very confusing. How can any regular verb be "separable"? Just by its literal meaning, aren't "look", "overlook" also "inseparable verbs"?
     
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    fyl

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Chinese: 得罪, 关心, 出席, 怀疑 - 非离合词 "inseparable words". But they are clearly not like English phrasal verbs like "look after".
    They are not like the English "look after" in some sense. But they Are like in some other sense -- they are two consecutive words (depends on how you define "word") that you can't insert the object in between, and this is the critical thing.

    Still, I doubt whether "inseparable verb" is a proper alternative of "inseparable phrasal verb" or "inseparable verb phrase" in English. "Look after" is a phrasal verb, or verb phrase. Calling it "a verb" may cause problem.
    To me and most Chinese, "inseparable verb" is very confusing. How can any regular verb be "separable"? Just by its literal meaning, aren't "look", "overlook" also "inseparable verbs"?
    This is a question on concepts. Is a phrasal verb a verb? Is a white horse a horse? (BTW, "phrasal verb" can be quite different from "verb phrase" according to definitions in Wikipedia.)
    I was not trying to make a distinction between "inseparable verb" and "inseparable phrasal verb" in my previous post. In the right context both are perfectly intelligible and there is no need to be so rigorous on these kind of subtleties to me. If you prefer to distinguish them, then just think what I said as "the term 'inseparable phrasal verb' is self-explained". I guess this is getting off-topic.
     

    retrogradedwithwind

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    短语动词 is just fine.
    And I dont think you can make your Chinese students learn totally about "phrasal verb" just through a Chinese translation.
    Telling them any word is not allowed to insert into the two word of a phrasal verb is enough.
     

    zhg

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you, but I wasn't inquiring about a parallel structure in Chinese. I am an English as a Second Language teacher whose students are primarily Chinese. I was seeking the English-Chinese translation of the word for my students.
    I agree with everybody else ,just a little suggestion if you want to explain phrasal verb, just explain phrasal verb(动词短语 Or 短语动词). Don't use the confusing term 不可分割的动词 since it already has its own meaning in German grammar.
     

    brofeelgood

    Senior Member
    English, 中文
    To me and most Chinese, "inseparable verb" is very confusing. How can any regular verb be "separable"? Just by its literal meaning, aren't "look", "overlook" also "inseparable verbs"?
    The answer is no. If you carve up the word overlook, you get look + over.
    - "He overlooked the car."
    - "He looked over the car."
    - "He looked the car over."

    All three sentences mean rather different things. So, going by definition, the word "overlook" is not a separable verb. I'm not even sure if separable verbs exist in English.

    As SuperXW pointed out, I have been remiss by conveniently labelling phrasal verbs as verbs and (in)separable phrasal verbs as (in)separable verbs, thanks to German influence. To me, the forms may be different (two words in English - hence phrasal verb, only one in German - hence verb), but the fit and functions are largely similar.

    In German, (in)separable verbs are typically made up of a verb + preposition, just like English phrasal verbs. However, they do not lose the essence of the main infinitive verb they get when deployed in their respective conjugations, in contrast to English words like overlook, understand, overtake.

    English inseparable phrasal verb = German separable example:
    - get off (the bus) in English = aussteigen in German- I get off here. = Ich steige hier aus.

    English separable phrasal verb = German separable example:
    - take off (clothes) in English = ausziehen in German
    - He takes his shirt off. = Er zieht sein Hemd aus.

    So... back to Chinese... and looking at the examples that I provided earlier... I'm embarrassed to say they do not tally with anything being separable or inseparable at all. Better examples would have been verb + preposition terms like 丢向 (sep), 交给 (sep), 跨过 (insep), 爱上 (insep).

    - 他把石头丢向人群 (separable)
    - 他向人群丢石头

    - 我把钱交给他 (separable)
    - 我交钱给他

    - 只要跨过这山头就到了 (inseparable)

    - 我爱上了她 (inseparable)

    Can anyone tell me what we call these in Chinese?
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    Taiwan may have different terminologies.
    可分動詞 vs. 不可分動詞
    可分兩字動詞 vs. 不可分兩字動詞
    可分雙字動詞 vs. 不可分雙字動詞
    可分片語動詞 vs. 不可分片語動詞
    可分式片語 vs. 不可分式片語
    可分動詞片語 vs. 不可分動詞片語
     
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