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Chinese reduplicated words not necessarily mean “every”

Chinese disyllable nouns, Chinese measure words, learning Chinese

Chinese learners have learned certain reduplicated measure words and monosyllables, which mean "every" or "each", such as 个个 (gè gè), 天天 (tiān tiān), 人人 (rén rén), 日日 (rì rì) and 夜夜 (yè yè). So when they see words like "日日夜夜 (rì rì yè yè)" or "山山水水 (shān shān shuǐ shuǐ)", they tend to comprehend these words in the same way. They will misunderstand "日日夜夜 (rì rì yè yè)" as "每日每夜 (měi rì měi yè, every day and night)".

外国学生学过量词和某些单音名词重叠式表示"每一"的意思,例如:个个、天天、人人、日日、夜夜等。于是,当他们见到"日日夜夜"、"山山水水"这样的词时,就用上述重叠意义来理解此类现象,把"日日夜夜"误认为是"每日每夜"。

 

Some disyllable nouns in Chinese can form reduplicated words which mean "many" or "much" instead of "every" or "each". For example, "日日夜夜 (rì rì yè yè)" means many days and nights; "祖国的山山水水 (zǔ guó de shān shān shuǐ shuǐ)" means thousands of mountains and rivers in homeland rather than every mountain and every river; "经历了风风雨雨 (jīng lì le fēng fēng yǔ yǔ)" means going through winds and rains (the "风雨" here is a metaphor of "ups and downs") instead of every gust of wind or rainfall. All in all, reduplicated words formed by some disyllable nouns in Chinese mean "lots of" instead of "every".

汉语某些双音名词形成重叠词,不是表示"每一"的意思,而是表示"多"的意思。比如"日日夜夜"是表示很多个白天和黑夜。"祖国的山山水水",是说祖国的许许多多的山和水,并非说每座山、每条河。"经历了风风雨雨",是说经历了许多风雨(这里的"风雨"是一种比喻的说法,意思等于"遭遇"),并不是说每一场风雨。总之,某些双音名词的重叠词,它的语法意义是表示"多",而不是表示"每一"。

 

But what about "家家户户 (jiā jiā hù hù)" or "年年月月 (nián nián yuè yuè)"? Do they mean "many" as well? Surely not. "家家户户 (jiā jiā hù hù)" means "every household and every family" while "年年月月 (nián nián yuè yuè)" means "every year and every month".

那么,"家家户户"、"年年月月"表示什么意义呢?也是表示"多"吗?这又不是了。"家家户 户"的确表示"每一家每一户","年年月月"也的确表示"每一年每一月"。

 

What's the differences between these two patterns?

这两者又有什么区别呢?

 

In fact, the "家 (jiā)", "户 (hù)", "年 (nián)" and "月 (yuè)" here are all measure words, and they still mean "every" even when reduplicated. The same pattern goes with words like "分分秒秒 (fēn fēn miǎo miǎo)" or "时时刻刻 (shí shí kè kè)", etc.

实际上,这里的"家"、"户"、"年"、"月"都有量词的性质,所以即使重叠以后还是表示"每一"。这就像"分分秒秒"、"时时刻刻"一样。

 

Summary:

可以总结一下:

 

When disyllable nouns are reduplicated, they mean "many", such as "日日夜夜 (rì rì yè yè)", "山山水水 (shān shān shuǐ shuǐ)" and "风风雨雨 (fēng fēng yǔ yǔ)".

当双音名词重叠时,它的语法意义是表"多",如"日日夜夜"、"山山水水"、"风风雨雨"。

 

The measure words still mean "every" even when they are reduplicated, for example, "分分秒秒 (fēn fēn miǎo miǎo)"  mean "every minute and every second".

当量词重叠后,仍然表示每个量词的"每一"的意思。如"分分秒秒"是"每一分,每一秒"的意思。

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2016-06-21

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