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What is the Disyllable Tendency of Chinese Words?

If you pay much attention to Chinese language during the process of Chinese language learning, you may find that the words in ancient Chinese are mainly the monosyllabic words while modern Chinese words are mainly multi-syllabic words, especially the disyllabic words, accounting for most of the Chinese words. There is an obvious feature in the syllabic structure of modern Chinese words, that is, most of them are disyllabic words. From the perspective of the developing process of modern Chinese words, many monosyllabic words or multi-syllabic words are gradually becoming disyllabic words.

Let’s make some examples to illustrate this point: 学and学习,友and朋友,民and人民,彩色电视机and彩电,外交部长and外长, etc. Therefore, we can the words in Chinese language have the tendency of being disyllabic words. In this point, when foreigners come to learn Chinese in China, they need to make clear two reasons of such kind of tendency.

The firs reason is that most monosyllabic words have more than one meaning and it is difficult to assure the meanings sometimes. If the disyllabic words are used, the words meanings will be expressed more precise and the related scopes are also wider and deeper. In addition, the number of syllable in Chinese language is limited and the monosyllabic words often cause confusion in pronunciation, thus bring trouble to social communication which can be solved by applying disyllabic words.

As a matter of fact, there are many accesses promote the tendency of disyllabic words. To be specific, there are fourth main approaches that the students need to understand when they attend to online Chinese Lessons as follows. Sometimes, disyllabic words can be formed by adding meaningless prefix or suffix to monosyllables such as 桌into桌子and姨into阿姨. It can be also formed by combining the monosyllabic morphemes with similar or opposite meanings together like 奇怪、皮肤、反正、喜欢, etc.

When being added an auxiliary relevant element before or after the monosyllabic elements, the disyllabic words can be formed like 耳into耳朵and净into干净. In addition, the tri-syllabic and quadric-syllable words can be omitted into disyllabic words. For examples, 落花生and花生,科学技术and科技.

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