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The HSK6 Standard Course textbook (下册, p.52) contains:

他放下灯,绝望凝视眼前的茫茫黑暗,……

wherein there's a sequence of identically spaced 2-character words separated by 1-character particles. If you read it aloud, there's a mechanical, repetitive rhythm (绝望地 [pause] 凝视着 [pause] 眼前的 [pause] ...), which I fund unappealing.

Taking it to an extreme, we might write:

所有同学红色本子仔细抄写今天汉字

It sounds awful to me. I'm wondering if there's a name for this prose.

Question: Is there a name for identically spaced 2-character words separated by 1-character particles, prepositions, etc.?

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    所有(的)同学在红色(的)本子上仔细地抄写着今天的汉字。 Omitting two redundant 的 makes it easier to read
    – Tang Ho
    Commented May 27 at 2:17
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    I would call "所有的同学在红色的本子里仔细地抄写着今天的汉字。" a "clumsily structured sentence"
    – Tang Ho
    Commented May 27 at 2:28
  • Well, that's the idea; it's a random example of specific type of clunky prose. I want to know what this clunky prose is called, so when I encounter it I can say "this is an example of [...]", without spending the next few minutes defining the concept.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented May 27 at 2:58

3 Answers 3

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Your question: Is there a name for identically spaced 2-character words separated by 1-character particles, prepositions, etc.?

For example:

(1) 他放下灯,绝望凝视眼前茫茫黑暗。

(2) 所有同学在红色本子仔细抄写今天汉字。

My answer:

Those kinds of 修辞 (Stylistic Devices) are just the normal and standard modern Chinese writing methods (白话文). Because it is common, it does not have a specific name. But for those who are so-called "国学大师", they may call this style of writing “洋腔洋调”,“啰哩啰唆”. Because most of the 白话文的修辞 are simulations of western languages,and use more words than Classical Chinese writing forms (文言文).

Just as @r13 said, modern Chinese uses a lot of Auxiliary Words that modify nouns and verbs to adjectives and adverbs. Most of the nouns and verbs in Chinese languages are 2-characters words and the auxiliary words are 1-character words.

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One way to talk about it could be in terms of 抑扬, which refers to the rise and fall of stressed and unstressed syllables.

What you describe would be an example of "扬扬抑格" (an "antibacchius", in English), where the 音步 (or prosodic foot) goes 扬扬抑 (or strong-strong-weak). It's a rare and awkward pattern in English poetry - which might explain your antipathy.

In most contexts, it will probably be enough to explain that the 抑扬顿挫 (cadence, rhythm) of the sentence is 不太顺耳, or something to that effect.

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It sounds awful to me.

I don't quite understand your trouble with the type of words with or without 地/着/的, which are functioning words that the general grammar rules can explain. See the comparisons and the additional info below:

  • 绝望地(desperately/hopelessly)凝视着(stare at)眼前的茫茫黑暗(darkness in front of the eye)

  • 绝望(desperation/hopeless)凝视(stare/gaze)眼前的茫茫黑暗(darkness in front of the eye)

Similarly,

  • 所有的同学(All of the students)在(at)红色的本子里(inside of the red notepad)仔细地(carefully/attentively)抄写着(copy down)今天的(today's)汉字(Chinese letters)

  • 所有(All)同学(students)红色本子(red notepad)仔细(careful/attentive)抄写(to copy)今天(today)汉字(Chinese letters)

Additional Info: Ref: 中文語法知識

七)助詞

• 漢語助詞是由一些功能很不相同的虛詞組成,是封閉的一類,數量不多。

• 傳統研究多半偏重於語氣助詞,如「之乎者也焉」。

• 現代中文可在詞、短語或句子之後,起輔助作用的詞;或在句首,做為語氣詞。

根據它們在句法中的不同屬性,可以分為下面六小類:

  • (1)時貌助詞 (Aspectual particles):了1、、過1 。

  • (2)結構助詞 (Structural particles):、得、把、被、將、遭。

  • (3)動助詞 (Verb particles):上、下、起、開、掉、走、住、到、出。

  • (4)時相助詞 (Phase particles):完、好、過2、起來、下去。

  • (5)感嘆助詞 (Interjections):喂、咦、哦、唉、哎。

  • (6)句尾助詞 (Sentential particles):啊、嗎、吧、呢、啦、了2。

時態助詞 / 動態助詞

• 出現在動詞後面,表示行為動作的時間狀態。

  • (1)改變貌-了1。 了2 (句末,動作、行為或事件的實現)

  • (2)持續貌-著

  • (3)經驗貌-過

  • (4)進行貌-在

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  • The question asks for the name of this specific type of prose, so an answer should say something like "this specific type of prose is called [name]". If you're not familiar with prose, here's an interesting YouTube video about English prose. To make their writing more vivid and readable, writers often try to improve their prose; I've been trying to improve my Chinese prose recently.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Commented May 28 at 8:30
  • @Becky李蓓 散文(prose)是一種文體. 基本上凡是自由表達, 既不壓韻又不講究對称的舒情作品皆屬於散文的范籌. 我認為妳的問題趨向於"語句結構"(sentence structure)而非文體. 中國近代散文深受西方影響, 如妳知道此類語句的英文名称, 翻译後那應該就是答案了. :)
    – r13
    Commented May 28 at 13:57
  • @Becky李蓓 Her is a good reading about "散文", I hope you find it helpful. baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%95%A3%E6%96%87/104524
    – r13
    Commented May 28 at 14:11

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