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Lesson 8 – Intermediate – Four Chinese Adjectives Formation Ways

As we all know, grammar plays the key role of forming a systematic language. During the process oflearning Mandarin Chinese, many foreigners may think the grammar in Chinese language is difficult to learn because it is too complicated. Therefore, we should learn them one by one and step by step.

Among so many grammatical factors, the words are the very basic. However, we have various types of words such as noun, verb, adjective and adverb and so on. Among them, the adjective has the most formation ways. It makes it more difficult for learners to study Chinese because the adjectives of different forming ways have different grammatical features.

For the purpose of helping Chinese language learners to learn Mandarin better, we conclude four formation ways of the adjectives. The one comes first is the monosyllabic adjectives. That is to say, the word is actually just one Chinese character. Here are some frequently used provided for students: 大、多、红、白、真、假、对、错.

Another type should be some ordinary two-syllable adjectives such as 伟大, 美丽, 干净, 庄严, 清楚, 重要 and so on. What’s more, those who take qualified Mandarin program in China should learn the adjectives with affixes. For this kind of adjectives, both prefixes and suffixes can be added. However, they can be classified into three types as follows.

The first classification is the adjectives have the suffixes with the repeated one syllable. The followings are often seen when foreigners learn Chinese language in China: 绿油油、红通通、黑黢黢、阴森森、亮晶晶、暖洋洋、厚敦敦、直溜溜、冷清清、沉甸甸、干巴巴、香喷喷、孤零零、甜哄哄、硬梆梆.

Another type should be the suffixes that composed of two different syllables. Between the adjectives and suffixes, there are some insert characters like “里”, “不” and “了”, which should be unstressed. Westerners who study in China should know the following examples: 黑不溜秋、白不呲咧、脏了咕唧、傻里吧唧、黑古隆咚、湿不济济、黏了吧叽、灰不溜秋、小不溜丢、光不出溜、傻不愣登、苦里呱叽.

For the classification just mentioned above, the meanings of these words carry a kind of emotional coloring of detestation. The last but not least sort of adjectives with affixes learners should know when they learn to speak Chinese is to add prefixes before the adjectives such as “滴溜圆” and “稀巴烂”.

There are specific rules to decide which affix is used with which adjective. Therefore, foreign learners can’t use them at will when they learn Mandarin in China. Some of the affixes have certain connection with the around adjectives in meanings. Here are some examples: “冷” and “清清” in the word “冷清清”, “孤” and “零零” in “孤零零” and “亮” and “晶晶” in “亮晶晶”. Some of them don’t have any relationship with each other.

In the past time, the usage of affixes to the words is very numerous and disorderly, at present, it becomes uniform and unified. Besides, when you study in Chinese school in China, you should also know that the function of the affix is to make it more lively and vivid when we use adjectives to describe certain things.

The last formation way of adjectives is the compound adjectives that are combined with an adjective morpheme and a noun morpheme or verb morpheme. When westerners learn Chinese in China, they will know that the objects of noun morpheme or verb morpheme have relationship with the meaning expressed by the adjective morpheme. Such words are “雪白”, “漆黑”, “冰凉”, “滚热”, “笔直”, “通红” and “煞白”.

Here, “雪白” means something is so “白(white)” that it is just like the “雪(snow)”. In the same sense, “冰凉” indicates things are as “凉(cold)” as “冰(ice)”.

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