Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese and Measure Words for Action Verbs
In today's video lesson we’ll learn how to use the two forms of reduplication of Verbs in Chinese. We'll also know how to use measure words for Action Verbs appropriately.
Grammar 1: Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese · HSK 2
The structure of Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese indicates that
- the action will cost only a short amount of time and/or
- the action will be done only for a limited amount of times
In conversations, the Reduplication of Verbs are commonly used to
- make a request or
- express one’s own anticipation.
The logic here is that, by indicating that the action will only cost a short amount of time and effort, the request of anticipation would be a relatively easy thing to do. Therefore, it should be easier to accept.
The Verbs are reduplicated in this way:
(1) For one-syllable verbs, V, there are two forms
|Verbs||Reduplication of Verbs|
The Second V in Netral Tone
一 in Neutral Tone
|xiǎng yi xiǎng
|kàn yi kàn
|wèn yi wèn
(2) For two-syllable verbs, Vv, the form is
|Verbs||Reduplication of Verbs|
Reduplication of Verbs are commonly used in Chinese conversations. For example,
- ràng wǒ kànkan ba
Let me look-look!
Let me have a look really quick!
- nǐ néng tīng yi tīng ma
Can you listen-one-listen?
Can you listen "really quick"?
- nǐ xiǎng bu xiǎng qù yùndòng yùndòng
(Do) you want (or) not want to exercise-exercise
(Do) you want to exercise "really quick"?
Grammar 2: Measure Words for Action Verbs · HSK 2
In Chinese, Measure Words for Action Verbs(See also Types of Verbs in Chinese) are usually there to measure how many times an action has been done. There are only a limited amount of them and in today's lesson we'll use three:
- 次 cì: to measure how many times a general action has been done
- 顿 dùn: to measure how many times the action of having or making meals has been done
- 场 chǎng: to measure how many times the action of watching the full length of game(movie, performance, ...) has been done
Just like Measure Words for Nouns and Nouns Phrases [(I), (II) and (III)], Measure Words for action Verbs can be used following (1) a number, (2) pronouns 这zhè, 那nà, 每měi, or (3) question pronouns 哪nǎ, 几jǐ, 多少duōshao
Verb + Number/(Question) Pronouns + Measure Word (+ Object)
- míngtiān wǒ xiūxi, wǒmen kěyǐ chūqù chī yí dùn fàn
Tomorrow I (am) off, we can go out to eat meal (for) (one) "dun".
- nǐ yào bu yào hé wǒmen yìqǐ kàn nàchǎng diànyǐng
(Do) you want to watch movie (for) that "chang" with us or not?
- nǐ dǎsuàn kàn nǎchǎng bǐsài
For which "chang" (do) you want to watch game?
- nǐ yào bāng tā duōshao cì
How many times (do) you need to help him?
NOTE: ① when the number before a Measure Word is 一, it can be omitted.
Grammar 3: Special Measure Words for Action Verbs: 下 (V一下) · HSK 2
下 is to measure how many times a general action has been done as well, but using 下 indicates that the action only costs a short amount of time and/or a little bit of effort. Most of the times, it’s used with number 一 in the structure V一下.
Verb + 一下
- qǐngwèn, nǐ néng gàosu wǒ yíxia ma
Excuse me, could you tell me "one-xia/really quick"?
- wǒ xiǎng zhǎo yíxia Zhāng Lǎoshī
I want to seek Teacher Zhang "one-xia/really quick".
Also, because it indicates “short amount of time”, 一下 can also be used in the same way that Reduplication of Verb are used, to soften the tone of a request or the expression of one’s own anticipation.
For example the following two sentences have the same meaning
- nǐ néng zhǎo yíxia ma
Could you look for (it) "one-xia/really quick"?
- nǐ néng zhǎozhao ma
Could you look for -look for (it) "really quick"?