How to Define and Identify Clause Elements in Mandarin Chinese

Yinghui Li, Hengbin Yan


Defining and identifying clause elements is essential to analyzing and understanding a language, in particular in the practice of teaching and learning the language as a second/foreign language. Despite this, it remains obscure how to define clause elements in Mandarin Chinese in a way operationalizable enough so that these elements can be located efficiently. The present study is intended to examine major existing definitions and identifying principles of clause elements in Mandarin Chinese (mainly the subject, the predicate, the adverbial, the complement, and the object). With a focus on the teaching and learning of Mandarin Chinese as a second/foreign language, we explore potential problems in these definitions and principles and provide preliminary proposals for improving the definitions and identifying principles of certain elements.

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