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Chinese word order for time, location and name

word order.png

Word order is one of the most basic and yet trickiest grammars in Chinese. Straightforward word order is simple enough, but there are lots of variations, and the rules that govern how words are ordered are often less than obvious.

词序是中文里最为基础也是最棘手的语法之一。直接了当的词序是足够简单,但也有许多变化,并且支配语序的规则经常不太明显。

There is one principle that governs ordering of information in Chinese which is quite simple, though, and that is the principle of going from background information to focal information. This principle can be applied on a grammatical level, but this post is going to look at a few easy cases where one single rule allows you to remember how to handle a wide range of information relating to time, location and names.

不过,有一个比较简单的支配中文信息词序的规则,那就是从背景信息到焦点信息的原则。这个原则适用于语法层面,但本文将探讨几篇短文案例,其中一个简单的原则可以让你记住如何处理各种不同关于时间、地点以及姓名的信息。

The general rule is that Chinese puts the biggest (relating to background information) first and the smallest (often more focal information) later.

一般原则就是中文是将大的(与背景相关的信息)放于前而小的(经常是焦点信息)放于后。

Let's look at a few examples from each category:

一起看看每一类的一些例子:

Time – 时间

Time in Chinese is given with the largest unit first, usually years, then followed by month, day, hour, minute, second and so on. This is different from many other countries. In the United States, 9/8/2015 means September 8, 2015, for example. In Chinese this would be:

中文里的时间是以最大的单位开头,通常是年份,然后再跟上月份、日期、小时、分钟和秒等等。这一点与其他国家都不一样。例如,在美国,"9/8/2015"指的是"September 8, 2015",而中文则是:

2015年9月8号

2015-09-08

If you want to write out hours, minutes and seconds, you need to use the appropriate Chinese words:

要是你想写"hours"、"minutes"和"seconds",那你需要使用合适的中文词语:

10时8分34秒

10:08:34

Remember, the rule is putting the biggest unit first.

注意,原则就是将最大的单位放在最前面。

Location – 地点

The same rule holds true for giving information about location, such as addresses or information about where a city is. Let's look at the second case first. In English, we would say:

该原则同样适用于描述地点信息,比如地址或某个城市的位置信息。先一起看看第二个例子。在英文里,我们会说:

He has moved to Melbourne, Australia.

In Chinese, it's the other way around and one would say:

在中文里,则是另外的方式,一种说法是:

她搬到澳洲的墨尔本了。

tā bāndào àozhōu de mòěrběn le.

Note that the largest unit comes first.

注意,最大的单位置于最前。

The same is true for addresses. This is the address of the Beijing Language and Culture University: 北京市海淀区学院路15号.

同样的原则也适用于地址。这是北京语言大学的地址:北京市海淀区学院路15号。

Let's break that down:

我们拆分一下:

City: 北京市

District: 海淀区

Street: 学院路

Number: 15号

Names 姓名

Names of people in Chinese are also ordered in this way, with the largest unit (family name) placed before the smallest unit (personal name). For example:

中文里人的名字也是按照这样的顺序,最大的单位(姓)放于最小的单位(名字)之前。例如:

张小四

zhāng xiǎo sì

"张" is family name and "小四" is personal name.

"张"是姓,而"小四"是名字。


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2016-06-21

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