Summer ZhangWhy do we still need to learn Chinese Sentence Structure
As a Chinese teacher (https://www.lingobus.com/teacher-overview) and once a linguistics student, it’s absolutely true that learning grammar is not fun.
Not to mention that most modern Chinese language learning methods for (https://www.lingobus.com/) kids (https://www.lingobus.com/) encourage forgoing teaching any grammar rules in the class. This is because learning grammar will bog down the classes and add to their overall difficulty.
So why do we still need to learn it?
[b]The importance of learning grammar[/b]
Let’s first figure out the differences between the learning processes of children and adults in regards to second language learning. For children,learning a language is more about forming a habit. Children don’t learn to say children will learn things they are interested in. Therefore, when say but say to learn. That is to teaching children a new language, experienced language teachers will employ the right methods to first attract their attention, then they will integrate the language points into fun activities like games, video materials or interactive group projects, and so on.
Yet, adults, also teenagers, learn languages in a different way. First, they use an analytical ability when learning rather than by purely memorizing things. Secondly, grown-ups don’t want to be embarrassed, which makes it harder for them to open their mouth in front of others as they are worried they might be wrong. In other words, we are shier and less brave than our children. Besides, compared with children, adults are better at learning rules but are no better than kids at imitating.
At it’s core, adults learn while learning and children acquire while doing things.
Modern teaching methodology for kids abandons grammar and always tries to nurture kids to use the language. But for adults, grammar has always been important. We don’t want to make mistakes and we want to learn it systematically. Perhaps it might also be that as adults we don’t like to be treated as children even in the classroom.
Like learning any other subjects, when learning a language, we learn from the basic rules first and then expand to the minor details. So grammar is like the foundations of a building, it’s what we must learn at first.
[b]The basic structure of Chinese sentences[/b]
The good news is that Chinese sentence structure shares a basic similarity with English, the basic order of the words in declarative sentences is the same in the two languages. For example:
Wǒ ài nǐ
I love you.
The above two sentences are in the same order. We call it SVO structure: Subject+Verb+Object. This is different from languages that are SOV. (So I love you in those languages are I You love.)
This is a basic rule in a language. You can “create” numberless sentences following this rule:
wǒ shì měiguó rén.
I am American.
Wǒ xǐhuān píngguǒ.
I like apple.
A sentence that only has “S+V+O” is usually not enough to express what we really want to say, it’s just too simple! We have to add more information, details, feelings, etc. In Chinese, you can add most of the information related to the verb in the sentence before the central verb. Take a look at the following examples:
Wǒ hěn xǐhuān píngguǒ.
I like apple a lot.
Wǒ bù xǐhuān píngguǒ.
I don’t like apple.
Information about places, time should also be put before the verb.
Wǒ zài zhōngguó xuéxí
I study in China.
wǒ qùnián zài zhōngguó xuéxí.
Last year, I studied in China.
After the “core” of the sentence, the verb, let’s take a look at the subject and object. How to add information, mainly description, to the sentence? It’s very easy in Chinese, you can put the descriptive words before the subject and object.
A big red apple
For some words, you have to use the auxiliary word “的” between the adjective and the noun.
You will soon encounter more types of sentences, like questions and imperative sentences and even exclamatory sentences. Basically, all you have to do is to make some changes on the SVO, or add a word with a certain function in order to generate the type you need.
After having a clear knowledge o language can be quite flexible, it is critically important to make sure that the grammar is right at the first stage. So in the future, all you need to do is to gain more vocabulary and improve the authenticity.Chinese the basic grammar rules, you will find it easier to form a sentence that you want.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and have learned some new important rules in relation to sentence structure in Chinese. Of course, don’t forget to practice! Why not register at Lingo Bus to receive a 1-on-1 online Chinese class for your child, plus many free learning materials that you can also enjoy! Click the button below to get it started!