Dropping the 的

September 19, 2010, 02:35 PM posted in General Discussion

I ask my students for their names and I always say that I want 汉字,拼音还有声调 (to save me time looking up tones) 。。Today I noticed that several of them talking amongst themselves were saying '他要中国名字'.  Why not 中国的名字?  

Is this one of those situations where 的 is not required?

Is this a young person thing to drop the  的? 

Are my students unusually lazy?    

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September 21, 2010, 08:53 AM

Hi Bodawei, I know you'd like to hear from an authority, but in the meantime: Yes I think this is one of those situations where 的 is not required, and no your students aren't unusually lazy.

We didn't really focus on 国籍 nationality as noun attribute here, but this is a discussion we had on "when can we drop the 的" last year, if you're interested. The native-speaker's comment I linked to (Item #2) indicates that native speakers are often more likely to say 德国汽车 than 德国的汽车--a German car. While the context here was a string of several attributes, I would think the same applies when nationality is the sole attribute, in "street" speech at least. I've often also seen on the boards here references to 外国朋友 and 中国朋友.

I guess I would have expected your students to say 中文名字 though, rather than 中国名字. Having said that, I've had exchanges with Chinese who referred to my 日本名字, as opposed to 日语名字.

If someone said 中国的名字 it would seem to me like "China's name", not "Chinese name".

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Hi Zhenlijiang

Thanks a lot for your post and that sounds right (I will have a look at that link later.)

Yes, re the 中国名字 rather than 中文名字, I also thought at some stage that it would be the latter, but no, they say 中国名字. And I can't really rationalize that one, just accept it.

Re 德国汽车 than 德国的汽车 that's interesting, but I need to review. I had in the back of my mind that there is a rule based on two characters versus one character governing whether the 的 is used. It's one of those things that does not get in the way of communication so I probably haven't given it enough attention.

中国的名字 does indeed sound strange - not an everyday subject of discussion in China I expect.

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December 20, 2010, 09:03 AM

中文名字 is better.

中国的名字 is not correct.

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Hi windwest, so do you have any idea why many Chinese often say 中国名字 and not 中文名字 then?

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December 20, 2010, 09:09 AM

Hehe.. "unusually lazy" :p

Made me laugh :)