Comparative Analysis of the Russian Adverb чрезвычайно and the Chinese Adverb 非常 in the Meaning of ‘extremely’

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The research is devoted to an actual topic - a comparative description of adverbs of degree and measure in the Russian and Chinese languages. The object of the comparative analysis of this study is the adverbs of degree and measure of the Russian and Chinese languages чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’. The subject of the study is the similarities and differences in the field of pragmatics and semantic compatibility of the adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’. The purpose of this work is to reveal semantic and pragmatic properties of the adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’. The article involves the following methods: descriptive method, observation method, comparative analysis method, example confirmation method. The scientific novelty of the research lies in the fact that in a comparative study of adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] in the strong meaning ‘extremely’ in Russian and Chinese has not been previously carried out. Based on the analysis of theoretical provisions and linguistic material derived from the National Corpus of the Russian Language and Chinese fiction, as well as explanatory dictionaries of Russian and Chinese, we can conclude that despite the coincidence of the semantics of the adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ their usage varies. To avoid mistakes, it is necessary to take into account the similarities and differences in the field of semantic compatibility and pragmatics of these adverbs. The study can be useful in teaching Russian as a foreign language and theory and practice of translation from Chinese into Russian and vice versa.

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A comparative study of adverbs in Russian and Chinese has been carried out in a number of linguistic works. Interest in considering an adverb in a comparative aspect is associated with a number of reasons, primarily with the fact that in the field of adverbalization there are several similar features of the two languages under consideration. Thus, for example, in Russian and Chinese, adverbs are described as belonging to the class of derived or non-derived units. Derived adverbs in both compared languages are mainly formed from adjectives and nouns — a suffixal way for this group in both languages.

It is known that the Chinese language differs from the Russian language in a number of grammatical features at the level of morphology and at the level of syntax. The Chinese language is characterized by the economy of grammatical means, which is manifested in various aspects of the grammatical structure of the Chinese language. This is also seen on the example of adverbs in the works of Russian and Chinese scientists. L.V. Adamchuk conducted a study of the classification of adverbs of degree and measure, which shows the principles of singling out an adverb as a part of speech according to the syntactic criterion, describes the similarities of the functioning of adverbs in the Chinese language in comparison with the Russian language and considers grammatical characteristics of adverbs [1]. Zhao Meng’s research shows that adverbialization in Chinese is characterized by a tendency for forms that perform the functions of modifiers in a sentence to acquire adverbial meanings, which are subsequently assigned to them due to regular use in speech. Gradually, they pass the stage of isolation from the original part of speech, undergo significant grammatical and semantic changes, and thus turn into adverbs [2]. He Ping conducted a semantic description of adverbs of degree and measure in Russian using the example of adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’, очень [ochen’] ‘very’ and весьма [ves’ma] ‘notably’ and pointed out that in most cases they can be replaced in a sentence with each other, however, there are differences between them in terms of semantics: очень [ochen’] ‘very’ gives an objective assessment and чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ and весьма [ves’ma] ‘notably’ give very subjective assessment [3]. Jia Xiaoxu compared the definition and classification principles of degree and measure adverbs in two languages, in which he divided them into quantitative, comparative and subjective. Comparing adverbs of degree and measure in Chinese and Russian, Jia Xiaoxu found that there is not much difference in meaning between them and noted that adverbs of degree and measure in Chinese can be combined with nouns, which is not possible in Russian [4]. Zhang Yuehong describes the dialects of the Chinese language from the point of view of the theory of Moscow Semantic School and explores the semantic scope of Chinese dialects. The semantic scope, according to the author of the work, is a generalized concept of octant as applied to predicates in a broad sense, which include some valences in their semantic structure. The semantic sphere of a lexeme, according to a certain valence, is a fragment of the meaning of a sentence that fills this valency [5].

Thus, today a grammatical theory of adverbs is being created, in which a comparative description of adverbs of degree and measure in Russian and Chinese is relevant. An accurate understanding of the semantics of the adverb is important for interpreting the meaning of the entire sentence as a whole and for describing the semantic relationship between the adverb and the central predicate of the sentence.

The theoretical and methodological basis of the study were the works of the following Russian and Chinese linguists: L.V. Adamchuk [1], Zhao Meng [2], He Ping [3], Jia Xiaoxu [4], Zhang Yuehong [5], N.Yu. Shvedova [6], V.A. Beloshapkova [7], S.A. Grigorieva [8], Li Quan [9], Yang Zhongxiang [10], Zhang Guibin [11], Zhou Xiaobing [12], V.I. Gorelov [13], T.F. Efremova [14], Huang Ying [15], Lu Danjing [16], Xi Lusheng, Mao Diguang [17], O.N. Lyashevskaya, S.A. Sharov [18], S.I. Ozhegov [19], Zhang Yisheng [20], Huang Yujiao [21], Chen Jinxiang [22], E.N. Vinogradova, L.P. Klobukova [23], Li Yuming [24], etc.

Definition and classification  of adverbs of degree and measure  in Russian and Chinese

Adverbs of degree and measure play an important communicative role in expressing modifier meanings, the degree of expressiveness of the action; they obviously increase the information capacity of the narrative without significantly expanding the volume of the message. When studying adverbs of degree and measure in Russian and Chinese, it is necessary to first consider their definition and classification.

Adverbs of degree and measure mainly express the intensity of the manifestation of a feature and usually define an adjective or an adverb, therefore they belong to the category of qualitative adverbs, for example: очень [ochen’] ‘very’, слишком [slishkom] ‘too’, абсолютно [absolyutno] ‘absolutely’, совершенно [sovershenno] ‘completely’, чересчур [chereschur] ‘too much’, чуть-чуть [chut’-chut’] ‘just a little’, немного [nemnogo] ‘a little’, etc. [6. P. 864]. This category of adverbs also includes the adverbs studied in this work чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’.

Adverbs of degree and measure indicate the quantity, measure or degree of expression of a feature. In other words, they can be called quantitative adverbs. They answer the questions: to what extent? how much? how many? in what degree? etc. Adverbs with the meaning of degree and measure can be combined with verbs, adjectives and adverbs [6. P. 515].

V.A. Beloshapkova distinguished two categories of adverbs of degree and measure: 1) with intense meaning: весьма [ves’ma] ‘notably’, слишком [slishkom] ‘too’, очень [ochen’] ‘very’, чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’, etc. 2) with a weakened meaning: чуть-чуть [chut’-chut’] ‘just a little’, почти [pochti] ‘almost’, etc. [7. P. 519]. S.A. Grigorieva divided adverbs of degree and measure into three categories based on the concept of norm: 1) less than normal: мало [malo] ‘little’, чуть [chut’] ‘slightly’, etc.; 2) normal: достаточно [dostatochno] ‘enough’, довольно [dovol’no] ‘quite’, etc.; 3) more than normal: крайне [krayne] ‘utterly’, очень [ochen’] ‘very’, чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’, etc. [8].

As for the definition of adverbs of degree and measure in Chinese, Li Quan believes that adverbs of degree and measure indicate the degree of manifestation of a feature and define only qualitative adjectives, verbs denoting a mental state, or verb-object constructions. For example: 非常新鲜 [fei chang xin xian] ‘extremely fresh’, 很后悔 [hěn hòuhuǐ] ‘very sorry’, 有点气人 [yǒudiǎn qì rén] ‘a little annoying’, etc. [9. P. 87]. Yang Zhongxiang believes that the semantic feature of adverbs of degree and measure is the expression of the degree of manifestation of a feature or certain actions [10. P. 78].

Zhang Guibin and Zhou Xiaobing classified adverbs of degree and measure in more detail. Zhang Guibin divided adverbs of degree and measure into four categories: 超高级 [chāo gāojí] ‘super high’, for example: 最 [zuì] ‘the most’; 极高级 [jí gāojí] ‘high’, for example: 更 [gèng] ‘more’; 次高级 [cì gāojí] ‘lower than high, but higher than low’, for example: 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’; 较低级 [jiào dī jí] ‘low’, for example: 稍 [shāo] ‘just a little’ [11. P. 93].

Zhou Xiaobing believes that adverbs of degree and measure can be divided into three categories: 程度过头 [chéngdù guòtóu] ‘excessive degree’; 程度高 [chéngdù gāo] ‘medium-high degree’; 程度低 [chéngdù dī] ‘low degree’ [12. P. 101].

Despite the fact that the classifications of adverbs of degree and measure in Chinese and Russian languages differ, they can be roughly divided into three categories: adverbs of low, medium and high degree. In this work, the main attention is paid to the most used adverbs of the high degree of Russian and Chinese languages чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ [13. P. 37]. The paper introduces a comparative analysis of their similarities and differences in terms of semantic compatibility and pragmatics.

Comparison of the semantic compatibility  of adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno]  and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’

In New dictionary of Russian language by T.F. Efremova чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ means the manifestation of the highest degree of a feature [14]. In the Xinghua Chinese dictionary, the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ is also interpreted as an indication of a strong, high degree of manifestation of something [25. P. 126]. It can be considered that the adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ have many similarities, the differences are observed in the semantic compatibility of these adverbs (see Table 1) [10. P. 83–87; 15. P. 215–220].

Table 1 / Таблица 1
Semantic compatibility of adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno]  and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ / 
Семантическая сочетаемость наречий чрезвычайно  и 非常 [fēicháng]  ‘extremely’


with quality adjectives

with verbs

with adverbs

with nouns



wish, fear



[yīngjùn] красивый
[krasivyy] ‘beautiful’

[xīwàng] желать
‘wish’, 害怕
[boyat’sya] ‘fear’

[dàshēng de] громко
[gromko] ‘loudly’


To conduct a detailed analysis of the compatibility of чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’, let us consider 18 examples from the national corpora of Russian [26] and Chinese [27].

  1. With quality adjectives.
    1. 他大约28岁左右,身材高大,肩膀宽阔,身体健康,非常英俊无比. [tā dàyuē 28 suì zuǒyòu, shēncái gāodà, jiānbǎng kuānkuò, shēntǐ jiànkāng, fēicháng yīngjùn wúbǐ] [27]. Это был очень высокий, широкоплечий, здоровый и чрезвычайно красивый молодой человек, лет 28-ми [Eto byl ochen’ vysokiy, shirokoplechiy, zdorovyy i chrezvychayno krasivyy molodoy chelovek, let 28-mi] [26] ‘He was a very tall, broad-shouldered, healthy and extremely handsome young man, about 28 years old’.
    2. 需要专门研究一下这个非常重要的问题 [xūyào zhuānmén yánjiū yīxià zhège fēicháng zhòngyào de wèntí] [27]. Это чрезвычайно важная проблема требует специального изучения [eto chrezvychayno vazhnaya problema trebuyet spetsial’nogo izucheniya] [26] ‘This extremely important problem requires special study’.

Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be combined with quality adjectives, but they cannot be used with adjectives that themselves express a high degree of manifestation of a feature or quality: ярко-красный [yarko-krasnyy] ‘bright red’, белоснежный [belosnezhnyy] ‘snow-white’, 鲜红 [xiānhóng] ] ‘bright red’, 雪白 [xuěbái] ‘snow-white’, etc.

  1. With verbs.

1) Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be used with modal verbs such as wish, need, etc.

    1. 非常希望避免进一步的解释,这对你会更有好处 [wǒ fēicháng xīwàng bìmiǎn jìnyībù de jiěshì, zhè duì nǐ huì gèng yǒu hǎochù] [27]. Я чрезвычайно желаю избежать дальнейших объяснений, да и вам это будет выгоднее [ya chrezvychayno zhelayu izbezhat’ dal’neyshikh ob’yasneniy, da i vam eto budet vygodneye] [26] ‘I extremely wish to avoid further explanations, and it will be more profitable for you’.
    2. 据推测,布尔什维克政府不会持续太久,移民将返回那个非常 需要受过法律教育人才的俄罗斯 [jù tuīcè, bù’ěrshéwéikè zhèngfǔ bù huì chíxù tài jiǔ, yímín jiāng fǎnhuí nàgè fēicháng xūyào shòuguò fǎlǜ jiàoyù réncái de èluósī] [27]. Предполагалось, что большевицкая власть продержится недолго и эмигранты вернутся в Россию, которая будет чрезвычайно нуждаться в юридически образованных людях [predpolagalos’, chto bol’shevitskaya vlast’ proderzhitsya nedolgo i emigranty vernutsya v Rossiyu, kotoraya budet chrezvychayno nuzhdat’sya v yuridicheski obrazovannykh lyudyakh] [26] ‘It was assumed that the Bolshevik power would not last long and the emigrants would return to Russia, which would extremely need legally educated people’.

2) Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be combined with verbs of mental state.

    1. 非常害怕他是个酒鬼 [wǒ fēicháng hàipà tā tā shìgè jiǔguǐ] [27]. Я чрезвычайно боюсь, не пьян ли он? [ya chrezvychayno boyus’, ne p’yan li on] [26] ‘I am extremely afraid if he is drunk’.
    2. 我们对一切都非常感兴趣 [wǒmen duì yīqiè dōu fēicháng gǎn xìngqù] [27]. Нас всё это чрезвычайно интересует [Nas vso eto chrezvychayno interesuyet] [26] ‘We are extremely interested in all this’. In these examples, to be afraid and to be interested refer to the verbs of the mental state.
  1. With adverbs.
    1. 正是这话,让商人、仆从等人都笑了,笑得非常大声 [zhèng shì zhè huà, ràng shāngrén, púcóng děng rén dōu xiàole, xiào dé fēicháng dàshēng] [27]. Это-то и веселило и купца, и лакея, и всех, и они чрезвычайно громко и развязно смеялись [eto-to i veselilo i kuptsa, i lakeya, i vsekh, i oni chrezvychayno gromko i razvyazno smeyalis’] [26] ‘This amused the merchant, the lackey, and everyone, and they laughed extremely loudly and cheekily’.
    2. 新的书籍制作方式传播速度非常快 [Xīn de shūjí zhìzuò fāngshì chuánbò sùdù fēicháng kuài] [27]. Новый способ изготовления книг распространился чрезвычайно быстро [Novyy sposob izgotovleniya knig rasprostranilsya chrezvychayno bistro] [26] ‘The new way of making books has spread extremely quickly’.

Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ cannot be used with adverbs of manner, for example: 跑步地 [pǎobù de] ‘in a running way’, etc.

The analysis of the examples allows us to conclude that the semantic valency of the adverbs Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ almost coincide. However, in China in recent decades, there has been a new trend in the use of the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ — in modern Chinese, the phrase 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ + noun is increasingly common [15. P. 76]. For example: a) nouns denoting a person or place: (1) 非常绅士 [fēicháng shēnshì] ‘very (real) gentleman’ — implies a mandatory set of qualities of a well-mannered, educated and decent person, (2) 非常西方 [fēicháng xīfāng] ‘very western’ — the character of a person is very open or the architecture is very European; b) abstract nouns with qualitative semantics: (3) 非常青春 [fēicháng qīngchūn] ‘very young’. Thus, the speaker expresses more information in a short statement, which is popular among native Chinese speakers, in particular, in the oral speech of the younger generation [16. P. 26]. Whereas the Russian adverb чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ is impossible to combine with nouns, since this does not correspond to the accepted rules of word usage.

Comparison of the pragmatics  of adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno]  and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’

  1. Differences in styles.

The stylistic features of adverbs are reflected in the frequency of their use in oral and written forms. Table 2. Frequency of use in different styles combines statistics on the frequency of use of adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ in different styles based on the Frequency Dictionary of the Modern Russian Language [17. P. 682] and the Frequency Dictionary of Modern Chinese [28. P. 862]. The frequency of use is expressed in IPM (instances per million words).

Table 2 / Таблица 2
Frequency of use in different styles /
Частота использования наречий в разных стилях


Publicistic style (IPM)

Popular scientific style (IPM)

Fiction (IPM)

Colloquial and everyday speech (IPM)

Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’





非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’





When comparing the data given in the table, we can see that both adverbs can be used in oral and written speech. The frequency of their use in writing styles varies: чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ is often used in newspapers and magazines, and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ is often used in fiction.

  1. Differences in the distribution by types of sentences (narrative, imperative and exclamatory).

To analyze the use of the considered adverbs in different types of sentences, we have taken examples from literary texts and national corpora of the Russian and Chinese languages.

  1. Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be used in narrative sentences, for example:
    1. 姑姑给侄子留下了一个歇斯底里、非常不幸的女人的印象 [gūgū gěi zhízi liú xiàle yīgè xiēsīdǐlǐ, fēicháng bùxìng de nǚrén de yìnxiàng].На племянника тётка произвела впечатление женщины истеричной и чрезвычайно несчастливой [na plemyannika totka proizvela vpechatleniye zhenshchiny isterichnoy i chrezvychayno neschastlivoy] [26] ‘The aunt impressed her nephew as a hysterical and extremely unhappy woman’.
    2. 苏联的金属非常便宜 [sūlián de jīnshǔ fēicháng piányí] [25]. Металл в Советском Союзе был чрезвычайно дешевый [metall v Sovetskom Soyuze byl chrezvychayno deshevyy] [26]. ‘Metal in the Soviet Union was extremely cheap’.

The adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ are characterized by a high degree of emotionality: according to the Chinese Xinghua dictionary, the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ has an unusual, special and strong emotional connotation [24. P. 127]. The Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language also explains the word чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ as: unusual, special [18]. Therefore, such assessments as 非常不幸 [fēicháng bùxìng] ‘extremely unhappy’, 非常便宜 [fēicháng piányí] ‘extremely cheap’ have a clear emotional connotation. However, in Chinese comparative sentences we cannot use such adverbs of degree and measure as 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ [19. P. 244], but in Russian we can, for example: он чрезвычайно смелый по сравнению со мной [on chrezvychayno smelyy po sravneniyu so mnoy] ‘he is extremely brave compared to me’ [25].

2 .The adverb чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ can be used in imperative sentences, for example: делай это чрезвычайно осторожно! [delay eto chrezvychayno ostorozhno] ‘do it extremely carefully’.

非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ cannot be used in such sentences, since in Chinese adverbs of degree and measure can only be used to determine the real modality, and the imperative sentence is unfulfilled [19. P. 247–249].

3. The adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be used in exclamatory sentences, for example: 种新型的炸弹!威力非常大! [zhǒng xīnxíng de zhàdàn!
Wēilì fēicháng dà] [25] ‘a new type of bomb! extremely powerful!’.

Thus, there are both similarities and differences in the use of the adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’.

  1. Differences in function in sentences

Adverbs of degree and measure in Russian mainly indicate various characteristics of actions or states. From a syntactical point of view, the adverb чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ acts as a modifier in sentences, which is a common and frequent occurrence [3]. For example:

  1. Оценки количественных изменений пространственной мобильности чрезвычайно сложная задача [otsenki kolichestvennykh izmeneniy prostranstvennoy mobil’nosti — chrezvychayno slozhnaya zadacha] [25] ‘Estimating quantitative changes in spatial mobility is an extremely difficult task’.
  2. У нас оно ничего этого не делает, зато чрезвычайно активно вмешивается в экономику, более того сращивается с ней [u nas ono nichego etogo ne delayet, zato chrezvychayno aktivno vmeshivayetsya v ekonomiku, boleye togo — srashchivayetsya s ney] [25] ‘In our country, it does nothing of the sort, but it intervenes extremely actively in the economy, moreover, it merges with it’.
  3. Иван Прокофьевич человек крутого характера, но зато редких добродетелей; напротив того, Прокофий Иванович чрезвычайно любит редьку с мёдом [Ivan Prokof’yevich chelovek krutogo kharaktera, no zato redkikh dobrodeteley; naprotiv togo, Prokofiy Ivanovich chrezvychayno lyubit red’ku s modom] [25] ‘Ivan Prokofievich is a man of strong character, but rare virtues; on the contrary, Prokofy Ivanovich extremely loves radishes with honey’.

In the three sentences above, чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ is combined with the adjective сложная [slozhnaya] ‘difficult’, the adverb активно [aktivno] ‘actively’, the verb любить [lyubit’] ‘love’ and serves as a modifier.

The adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be used both as a modifier and as a complement [20].

In modern Chinese, 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ is used as a modifier and combined with adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and nouns. This adverb can be repeated in a sentence to give expressiveness to the statement and enhance the meaning [21]. For example:

  1. 我们还可以记住一件非常重要的事情:物质不是我们内心产生邪恶的根源 [Wǒmen hái kěyǐ jì zhù yī jiàn fēicháng zhòngyào de shìqíng: Wùzhí bùshì wǒmen nèixīn chǎnshēng xié’è de gēnyuán] [27]. И мы можем ещё одно помнить, чрезвычайно важное: не тело является причиной и источником зла в нас [i my mozhem yeshcho odno pomnit’, chrezvychayno vazhnoye: ne telo yavlyayetsya prichinoy i istochnikom zla v nas] [26] ‘And we can remember one more thing, extremely important: it is not the body that is the cause and source of evil in us’.
  2. 他不记得果戈理,但他非常喜欢休克疗法 [tā bù jìdé guǒ gē lǐ, dàn tā fēicháng xǐhuān xiūkè liáofǎ] [27]. Гоголя он не помнил, но шоковая терапия ему чрезвычайно понравилась [Gogolya on ne pomnil, no shokovaya terapiya yemu yemu chrezvychayno ponravilas’] [26] ‘He didn’t remember Gogol, but he really liked the shock therapy’.
  3. 别说开车,连大白天走路也变得非常危险 [bié shuō kāichē, lián dà báitiān zǒulù yě biàn dé fēicháng wéixiǎn] [27]. Не то, что проехать, пройти даже средь бела дня стало чрезвычайно опасно [ne to, chto proyekhat’, proyti dazhe sred’ bela dnya stalo chrezvychayno opasno] [26] ‘Not only that it has become extremely dangerous to pass, even in broad daylight’.
  4. 影片《非常岁月》获得了很高的评价 [yǐngpiàn «fēicháng suìyuè» huòdéle hěn gāo de píngjià] [27]. Фильм «Годы» получил высокие оценки [fil’m «Gody» poluchil vysokiye otsenki] ‘The film Years received high marks’. Here, the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] is combined with a noun and cannot be translated as ‘extremely’.

When using the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] as a complement, its compatibility becomes more limited. It mainly includes words such as: 热闹 [rènào] ‘fun’, 快乐 [kuàilè] ‘happily’, 美丽 [měilì] ‘beautiful(ly)’ and other laudatory lexemes [21]. For example:

  1. 宴会上,众宾客齐聚一堂,热闹非常 [yànhuì shàng, zhòng bīnkè qí jù yītáng, rènào fēicháng]. На банкете собрались все гости, и было очень весело [na bankete sobralis’ vse gosti, i bylo ochen’ veselo] [26] ‘All the guests gathered at the banquet, and it was a lot of fun’.
  2. 多亏你,我们相识,结了婚,快乐非常 [duōkuī nǐ, wǒmen xiāngshí, jiéle hūn, kuàilè fēicháng]. Мы познакомились благодаря вам, поженились, живем очень счастливо [my poznakomilis’ blagodarya vam, pozhenilis’, zhivem ochen’ schastlivo] [26] ‘We met thanks to you, got married and live very happily’.
  3. 坐在隔壁的女人,美丽非常 [zuò zài gébì de nǚrén, měilì fēicháng]. Женщина, рядом сидящая, очень красива [Zhenshchina, ryadom sidyashchaya, ochen’ krasiva] [25] ‘The woman sitting next to me is very beautiful’.

Analyzing the above examples, we can notice that the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ in Chinese acts as a modifier or object depending on its position in relation to the word it defines: in cases where 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ stands before the word being defined, it is a modifier, in cases where 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ is after the word being defined it is an object.

In negative sentences, the words не [ne] and [bu] ‘no’ can only be placed after adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ to express a negative emotional coloring [22]. For example:

  1. 非常不喜欢历史上的“理性主义方法” [tā fēicháng bù xǐhuān lìshǐ shàng de “lǐxìng zhǔyì fāngfǎ” [27]. Ему чрезвычайно не нравится «рационалистический подход» в истории [yemu chrezvychayno ne nravitsya «ratsionalisticheskiy podkhod» v istorii] [26] ‘He extremely dislikes (does not like) the “rationalistic approach” in history’.
  2. 必须说,整个动员是非常不经济的,而且使人民付出了惨重的代价 [bìxū shuō, zhěnggè dòngyuán shì fēicháng bù jīngjì de, érqiě shǐ rénmín fùchūle cǎnzhòng de dàijià] [27]. Нужно сказать, что вся мобилизация производилась чрезвычайно не экономно и стоила народу очень дорого [nuzhno skazat’, chto vsya mobilizatsiya proizvodilas’ chrezvychayno ne ekonomno i stoila narodu ochen’ dorogo] [26] ‘It must be said that the entire mobilization was carried out extremely uneconomically (not economically) and cost the people very dearly’.

Thus, the adverbs чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be used as modifiers, but 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can also be used as an object.


A comparative study of the adverbs of degree and measure чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ from the point of view of semantic compatibility and pragmatics showed that, although the lexical meaning of these adverbs in dictionaries is the same, they have differences in use.

Semantic compatibility of чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ are practically the same: both adverbs can be used with quality adjectives, adverbs, modal verbs and verbs of mental state, they cannot be used with state adjectives and action adverbs. However, in Chinese there is a tendency to combine 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ with nouns, which is impossible in Russian.

Чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be seen in both spoken and written language. The adverb чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] is most common in journalistic style — in newspapers and magazines, and 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ — in literary texts. Both adverbs are met in narrative sentences with a pronounced emotional coloring. The difference is that 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ can be used in exclamatory sentences, and чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] — in imperatives and in sentences with comparidon. From the point of view of syntactic functions, the adverb 非常 [fēicháng] ‘extremely’ in sentences can act as a modifier and object, while чрезвычайно [chrezvychayno] ‘extremely’ performs only the functions of a modifier. Their use in negative sentences is the same.

Thus, in order to avoid mistakes in the use of these adverbs, it is necessary to know and take into account the differences between them, since they are not equivalent.


About the authors

Jin Lian

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

PhD student of the Department of General and Russian Linguistics, Faculty of Philology 6 , Miklukho-Maklaya st., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Olesya V. Lazareva

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1227-4493

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor of the General and Russian Linguistics Department, Philological faculty

6 , Miklukho-Maklaya st., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Olga S. Lazareva

Centre of Sports and Education “Sambo-70” of Committee of Physical culture and sport of Moscow

Centre of Sports and Education “Sambo-70” of Committee of Physical culture and sport of Moscow, Russian Federation an English teacher of the highest category, Russian, Literature, a Russian language teacher for foreigners, an honorary worker of education of Moscow 4B, Academic Vinogradov st., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117133


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Copyright (c) 2022 Lian J., Lazareva O.V., Lazareva O.S.

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