Chestnut-breasted whiteface Common scale-backed antbird Cinnamon-throated woodcreeper Double-banded greytail
Specifically, in these, there is the
- hyphen, and within the hyphen in some cases, there is the
-ed, so there is 3 layers of nesting:
- The whole noun phrase.
- Words separated by hyphens.
- Word parts like
How would you do a literal Chinese gloss for things like this (doesn't have to be my examples, but any complex noun phrase would work).
My "literal English gloss" for some of these might be:
Common scale-back-containing ant-bird (6 words) Double-band-containing grey-tail (5 words)
That is, the
-ed turns into a full-fledged word, and the subwords are expanded. I would expect in Chinese to find these named 6 and 5 words respectively, as well. But I imagine they are 3 or 4 words, so I'm wondering what Chinese is doing with the extra context which English provides, and how it can get by with less than what English is doing.
One that I recently made up:
Slippery-skinned yellow-green tree-toad Slippery-skinned yellow-green tree-(big-frog) Slip-inducing-skin-containing yellow-green tree-(big-frog) # or more accurately... (((Slip-inducing)-skin-containing) (yellow-green) (tree-(big-frog)))
The nesting becomes complex, and I don't see how without extra cues a language like Chinese can get the meaning across. How does it do it? What do I need to know about Chinese that will help me understand how it can handle complex noun phrases like this.
A major problem that I foresee is solved by English hyphens:
Yellow-belly tree-frog # vs. Yellow belly-tree frog
Cinnamon-band wood-creeper Cinnamon band-wood creeper
The hyphens tell you how the things relate, and intonation gives you the context when talking. I'm not sure how Chinese can handle that.