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Mandarin Relative Clauses?

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Thursday, November 16, 2000, 4:03

I'm currently trying to understand Mandarin Chinese grammar.  I'd like
to know whether you think that the analysis of attributive adjectives
as relative clauses is justified?

What I want to say is that `hong putaojiu' (red wine) or `hao de
pengyou' (good friend(s)) is a construction like `he cha de ren' (tea
drinking persion, person who drinks tea).  I think this is an elegant
analysis, since adjectives are actually verbs in Mandarin and with
other verbs (like `to drink'+ obj), a pre-posed clause adjoined with
`de' is analysed as a relative clause.

Examples (I'll leave out a typical `very' (`hen') to make the
comparison nicer):

a) Na ge ren     he    cha.
   that  person  drink tea
       `that person drinks tea'.

   Na ge he    cha de    ren     shi pengyou.
   that  drink tea DE    person  COP friend
       `That person who drinks tea is a friend'

b) Na ge ren    mang.
   that  person (is)busy
       `That person is busy'

   Na ge mang de ren     shi pengyou
   that  busy DE person  COP friend
       `That busy person is a friend.'

I'd like to know whether who think the analysis as relative clause of
`he cha de' and `mang de' and others like `hao de' (good DE) in `hao
de pengyou' (good friend(s)) or `hong de' (red) in `hong putaojiu'
(red wine, the DE is eliminated) is justified.

I asked a person with mother tongue Mandarin about this.  Obviously,
the categorisation is less obvious as it seems, since `hao' (good)
seems to change its meaning if used attributively, preventing a clear
classification is a relative clause from the syntax only point.