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奥林匹克运动的故乡流传着这样的几句话:...

This 着 is confusing to me. I suppose this sentence here follows one of these two patterns:

  • place + verb + 着 + subject, for example 桌子上摆着一杯水.
  • verb + 着, for example 我听着音乐看报纸.

The first one would make sense to me, after all "奥林匹克运动的故乡" is a place, but there's no 在, nor 里 and I don't know why. The second one would make sense too, but what's the point of using a gerund in this sentence...?

All in all, I don't understand what's the role of 着 here.

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奥林匹克运动的故乡[n.] 流传着[v.] 这样的几句话[n.]:...

I would break this sentence in three parts as above.

“流传” is the verb here, it means "spread" or "circulating", here it means "these sentences/story goes that..." or "there's a saying ..."

“着” here means the second meaning you listed. It shows the continuity of the verb.

My translation of this sentence is: "In the hometown of Olympic sports, people say:..." It shows the meaning but not a word-to-word translation.

Here's the explanation in Modern Chinese Dictionary《现代汉语词典》:

着·zhe

1 (助)表示动作的持续:他打~红旗在前面走|他们正谈~话呢。


I'm a native Chinese, but it's my first time trying to explain modern Chinese to language learners. Let me know if I'm not clear enough. Hope it helps!

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  • The thing you cleared out is certainly the fact that it's the second pattern, not the first one. Nonetheless, I don't get why 着 is used. Would the sentence be the same correct and the same natural without 着? – musialmi Mar 28 at 16:05
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    No, without "着" the sentence does not sound right. Honestly I cannot think of a sentence where "流传" is used as a transitive verb without "着". – Jasmine Mar 28 at 16:21
  • However, I'm poor at Chinese grammar -- I've never learned that in school lol -- so I cannot explain why. – Jasmine Mar 28 at 16:22
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    But you can express the same meaning by saying it as "在奥林匹克运动的故乡流传着这样的几句话" or "这样的几句话在奥林匹克运动的故乡流传下来/开来" or “在奥林匹克运动的故乡,人们流传着这样的几句话”. However in the original sentence, “奥林匹克运动的故乡” is the subject. – Jasmine Mar 28 at 16:26

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