Linguists claim that subordination is universal across the world languages.

Subordination in English looks can be understood by looking into these examples:

I know a person who has a dog

I know a person who has a dog which barks at a cat

I know a person who has a dog which barks at a cat which lives in a house

I know a person who has a dog which barks at a cat which lives in a house which is located in a city which ....

You get the idea...

I would like to know how could we translate the longest English sentence from the examples into Chinese (with preserving the subordination), that is, leave everything in one sentence. like:



I am no Chinese nor English native speaker, but my intuition is telling me that this sentence, however unnatural, sounds more naturally in English than in Chinese, is that the case?

I even have doubts if subordination really exists in Chinese...

  • 1
    To be clear, "subordination" as usually defined does not require long sentences like your later examples. The first example with only one relative clause ("I know a person who has a dog") is considered to be an example of subordination in English. The following question about about embedding/recursion in Chinese might be related to yours: How did Chinese recursion evolve? – sumelic May 15 at 14:06

Just keep spamming 的-clauses. To use your example:





My own judgement is that the longer sentences don't sound natural in Chinese (because of a well known phenomenon where centre-embedding is difficult to process) whereas the first sentence you provide sounds perfectly fine structurally. (It would be improved by changing 知道 to 认识 and 有 to 养 though.)

I'd also like to echo sumelic's comment on the meaning of subordination.

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