Really confused about tenses and use of participles,the conditional and subjunctive?
I've trying for aaaages to grasp the concepts of tenses in Chinese but I just honestly cannot understand at all >.< In European languages, I can get that fine. I mean, I've just completed making a verb/tense table in Spanish of (I think) all the possible tenses in Spanish (there's about 18 entries). I then tried to do the same for Chinese, using the same tense headings. I know what you're thinking, I was perhaps stupid trying to compare Chinese alongside a romance language :P So needless to say I've been totally stuck >.<
To help, I also used the sentences that xiaophil posted in his post The Final Grammar Result but I'm still finding things hard to grasp >.< From my understanding, what determines a tense is a particle in each sentence. So this is what I've got so far:
- I read
- No particle needed
- I am reading
- 在 indicates an action is ongoing at that time
- I have read
- 过 indicates the action has been experienced in the past
- I read ('red' not reed' - past)
- 了 indicates a completed action
user76423March 29, 2010, 12:34 PM
Forget about "tenses" in the Western sense. In Chinese verbs do not express tense.
Verbs are linked with an aspect marker to indicate completion, experience, continuation, etc.
With the exception of (正)在, all aspect markers are placed behind the verb.
了 = completed action
过/過 = past experience
(正)在 = an action in progress
着/著 = a continuous state resulting from an action
起来/起來 = an action/a state which has just started
下去 = an action which is to be continued
下来/下來 = an action which is gradually changing into non-action
To express future, you say 明天我......, etc.
user76423March 29, 2010, 12:53 PM
You may buy
Ross/Ma: Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar, ISBN 0-415-70010-8
The grammar is more around Situations and Functions"
Look into the "Contents"-Tab, interesting chapters are...
30 Talking About the Present
31 Talking About Habitual Actions
32 Talking About the Future
33 Indicating Completion and Talking About the Past
34 Talking About Change, New Situations, and Changing Situations
35 Talking About Duration and Frequency
EmmaLouise1March 29, 2010, 01:02 PM
Oh, I have that book already! I guess I should have read it a bit better... whoops I think I dismissed it a bit too quickly first reading, thinking it was too difficult :/ But I'll re-read it with new found eyes and definitely check out those chapters.
trevorbMarch 29, 2010, 08:21 PM
啊哟， Now you've gone and made me buy another book, I am going to need a new book shelf!
Anything that can help me get a handle on this bit is worth a shot! I'm currently working on the principle if I listen enough and read enough eventually it will penetrate even my thick skull :-)
RJMarch 29, 2010, 08:59 PM
Claudia Ross also wrote the schaums outline on Chinese grammar which is a concise and readable summary of the way things work. Both books are great.
EmmaLouise1March 29, 2010, 12:43 PM
Ah, thanks so much Hape! That makes more sense then what I was trying to look for ^_^ So I think I'll give up on my Chinese verb table and instead just learn the aspect markers.
chenierdMarch 29, 2010, 10:47 PM
会 and 要 are also often used to indicate a future event when the time isn't explicit.
trevorbApril 11, 2010, 08:34 AM
I have the Schaums book, it is one of my tattyiest books having been carried about with me for so long!
I know also have the Ross book and am finding that useful too, but less portable :-)