III. Extended meaning of some directional complements


Directional complements often work with verbs indicating physical movement. Typically, they are related to moving objects from one place to another or they indicate to what place the subject is moving or has moved. This is why these verbs often indicate moving something by hand or the subject’s own movement to a new place, such as bān(to move), (to take), fàng(to put), dài(to bring), tái(to lift), tuī(to push), (to pull), zǒu(to walk), pǎo(to run), and so on. When accompanied by directional complements, these verbs show the direction of the movement. However, many directional complements are stretched in meaning to make idiomatic expressions, so much so that when used with certain verbs they no longer indicate direction as in their original sense. For example, the complement chūlai出来(out), when used with the verb (to take) to form the combo ‘náchūlai拿出来(to take out)’, indicates the direction of the movement; but when used with the verb kàn(to look) to form the combo ‘kànchūlai看出来(to detect by looking)’, it no longer indicates direction . The way the complement chūlai出来(out)’ is stretched to ‘detect’ is perhaps based on the rationale that  detection is the act of picking out something hidden. The following are examples of some directional complements used in their extended meanings.




1.1 indicating the beginning and continuation of an action or a state.


1.1.1  Tiānqi qǐlai le.  


          The weather is getting hotter.


1.1.2  Xiànzài xué Zhōngwén de xuésheng duōqǐlai le.  


          (Now students who study Chinese are becoming more numerous.)


1.2 indicating the result of recollection.


1.2.1  xiǎngqǐlai le, jiào Wáng Dàshān, duì duì?  


          Now I remember. His name is Dashan Wang, right?


1.3 indicating concentration from a scattered state.


1.3.1  Zhuōzishang de shū dōu shōuqǐlai le ma?   


          Have the books on the desk been put away yet?


1.3.2  Rén zhǐyǒu tuánjiéqǐlai, zǔzhīqǐlai, cái kěyi zuò dàshì. 


          Only when people are united and organized, can they do greater things.