Chinese is a language without case markings on words, but it does make some steps in that direction. It sometimes marks what in some languages would be an accusative or oblique case noun with 把/将 and leaves it in front of the verb. What is the motivation for this? Speech rhythm? Effect? Emphasis? I believed all such sentences could be rewritten without 把, but maybe this one can't?

那时戏剧界有一种很不好地风气,就是把戏剧当成一种时髦。

As far as I know, 当成 means 'regard as, treat as, consider as' if a person is mentioned, or 'regarded as, treated as, considered as' if a person is not mentioned, which implies a third party regarding 1 object as something else, here '戏剧‘ as ‘时髦’

Therefore, ',就是把戏剧当成一种时髦。' is a passive construction, neither '戏剧‘ nor '时髦‘ are regarding anything, a person is doing that.

Theatre was regarded as a vogue.

Why would you say 1.',就是把戏剧当成一种时髦。' rather than 2.‘,就是戏剧当成一种时髦。‘ We know 'theatre' cannot regard things, people do that.

Is 2. wrong? Can I rewrite 3. 你把我当成什么人? as '你当成我(为)什么人? In 3. we see the 'regarder', 你, whereas in 1. the 'regarder' is not mentioned.

It is said that 把 marks the 'object' of a verb, in which case ,'把戏剧当成一种时髦' has 2 objects and no subject, so to speak, namely '戏剧‘ and '时髦‘。 The person or persons 'regarding' it are not mentioned.

However, even for me as a 老外, ‘就是当成戏剧一种时髦’ sounds terrible. Maybe '就是人们当成戏剧为一种时髦‘ is acceptable.

Rule: When the regarder is not mentioned, fill the gap before the verb with 把X, where X is the thing regarded.

Does that account for this syntax??

  • I missed that: 你就是说这句话可以这样: 就是戏剧界当成戏剧(为?)一种时髦。 下一句话: 但我认为,戏剧有一种独特地精神,它是非常严肃的,不是随随便便什么人都能完儿的。 – Gangosa Nov 25 '16 at 3:23
  • Similar question has been answered in chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/19325/… Please check – 超酷爆帅型男 Nov 26 '16 at 15:30

it's a simulation of english grammar, after may fourth movement.

就是把戲劇當成一種時髦 is roughly:

that's, (就是) to treat (把) drama (戲劇) as (當成) a (一種) trendy things (時髦)

imo, modern days 白話文 is un-xxxx-able; using western (english?) grammar to write, or analyse written chinese is, well .... i'm not dare to say it openly.

personally, i read & write literary chinese as far as i can.

edited.

那時戲劇界有一種很不好地風氣,就是把戲劇當成一種時髦。

this sentence in literary chinese, it could be (there're ways to express the idea, here's just one of the attempt) written as:

時風澆薄﹒以戲為髦

that, the structure of "把 a 當成 b" is represented as "以a為b"; so, the character "把" was seldom used in such situation.

But this use of 把 is not found in old Chinese texts from say 1000 years ago? 

no, 把 was not used in such situation in the past; based on my experience.

  • What you are saying is: this syntax is not really Chinese? It was developed to simulate English? Is this form of syntax not found in Old Chinese? – Gangosa Nov 25 '16 at 2:56
  • 3 "of course" :( the modern days written vernacular chinese is completely different from literary chinese, there're too much western influences. the internet archive has a copy of "lessons in elementary wenli", which was printed in 1913, with text in written vernacular chinese, literary chinese & english; one might glimpse the infant period of 白話文. archive.org/details/lessonsinelement00balliala – 水巷孑蠻 Nov 25 '16 at 3:22
  • But this use of 把 is not found in old Chinese texts from say 1000 years ago? – Gangosa Nov 25 '16 at 3:28
  • the comment area is hard to use. anyway, i edited the answer, have a look. – 水巷孑蠻 Nov 25 '16 at 3:52
  • Thanks again! All things, including languages, change. If you read Charles Dickens, whose books are only around 180 years old, the English is very different from today's English. If you go back to the original Shakespeare, not many English people would understand it in its original form and that is only 400 years ago. Chaucer, about 1000 years old, is completely unintelligible to most English speakers. – Gangosa Nov 25 '16 at 4:08

http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/characters/821/

[7] [prep] used before a direct object and a verb often carrying the sense of disposal | [粵] 將

把 can be a disposal marker. It indicates the object after it, is being acted upon on by the verb or verb phrase that follows.

In "戏剧当成一种时髦", "戏剧" is in the usual position of a subject in a sentence. However, we know it is actually the object. To denote this fact, we use a disposal marker "把".

  • 他們(subject, omitted)

  • 把/將(disposal marker, indicates the following noun is the object)

  • 戏剧(object)

  • 当成一种时髦(verb phrase act upon the object)

A simpler example:

他殺了

  • 他(subject)

  • 殺(verb)

  • 了 ([aspect marker] indicating completed action)

  • object (needed)

把他殺了/將他殺了

  • subject (omitted)

  • 把/將 (disposal marker)

  • 他(object)

  • 殺(verb)

  • 了 ([aspect marker] indicating completed action)

Usually, the verb 殺 is placed after the subject,

For example:

  • 我殺了他(I killed him)

placing aspect marker before the object change the sentence structure to the following:

  • 我把他殺了 (he was killed by me) / 我將他殺了 (he was killed by me)

The motive of using 把 or 將, is to emphasize the object

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