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In the following sentence:

秀春决定自己教他。丈夫好像明白了秀春的意思,跟着她“鸡”,“猫”,“狗”念起来。

It seems that in this sentence, the meaning is something like the following, and it uses 地 coupled with animal nouns.

Xiuchen decided to teach him by herself. Her husbund looks like understanding her intention, reading aloud "chicken", "cat", "dog" with her.

It seems that 地 modifies nouns here. Is this usage of 地 common in Chinese? At what situation is it used as such? And should you always need ", " to modify nouns in these cases?

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It seems that 地 modifies nouns here.

This is not accurate. 地 modifies adverbial usage. The particle of speech of the word does not matter.

Is this usage of 地 common in Chinese?

The usage of 地 after adverbial is very common and standard. Use of imitative nouns as adverbial is also common, e.g. 咯咯地笑,嘤嘤地哭,叽里咕噜地说。You can think them as "xxx-soundingly" in English, e.g. "he laughed 'gege'-soundingly" = "he laughed with 'gege' sound".

At what situation is it used as such?

It's common to use imitative nouns as adverbial to describe a person or an animal making sound or movements.

And should you always need ", " to modify nouns in these cases?

Idiomatic wise, comma is the only way to connect multiple imitative words here. Conjunctives like 和 or 或 would break the 'flow'.

Think of in English, if an alien only makes three sounds, 'wug', 'tor' and 'kee', when you put them into an adjective or adverbial phrase, you don't want to connect them with 'and' or 'or'. You'll say "that 'wug, tor, kee' alien" instead of "that 'wug-or-tor-or-kee' alien". This is the same.

4

跟着她“鸡”,“猫”,“狗”地念起来。

“鸡”,“猫”,“狗”地 here works as an adverbial phrase modifying the verb 念.

“鸡”,“猫”,“狗” are basic noun words learnt by a beginner. Imagine the scene her 丈夫 following her reading these basic childish words, and you would get the idea of “鸡”,“猫”,“狗”地.

Another point is that they don't put 鸡,猫,狗地, but “鸡”,“猫”,“狗”地, because the quotation marks indicate those words are said by someone. For example, 他说: “我今天会来。” The quotation mark is used to quote what one has said.

  • Yes but why can a noun get together with 地? I learned it must be an adjective or adverb to use 地. – Blaszard Jul 4 '18 at 14:16
  • @Blaszard, “鸡”,“猫”,“狗” here is used like an adverb, describing the way of reading those basic learnt-by-children words: “鸡”,“猫”,“狗”. – dan Jul 4 '18 at 14:23
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Did you see the quotation marks outside characters "鸡",“猫”,“狗”. These refer to the pronunciations of these words. So these nouns become adv. in order to give you the image of how 秀春 read 鸡,猫,狗 with these pronunciations. This writing technique makes the scene more vivid.

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The three nouns in the “鸡”,“猫”,“狗” 地念 is considered sound expressions (what kind of character doesn’t matter) and 地 indicates adverbial use

“XX 地 verb” = 'verb with the sound of XX'

Examples:

㕵㕵地叫 = barking in the sound of 'guó, guó'

叮叮地響 = making noise of the sound of 'ding, ding'

“鸡”,“猫”,“狗” 地念 = reading with the pronunciations of 'Jī, māo, gǒu'

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