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Making Sense of Grammar
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Does LE (了) mark ‘boundedness’?

asked Jan 2, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)

1 Answer

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It is stated commonly that le is used in a series of bounded events. For examples,

         1) 他吃了兩碗飯。                      2) *他吃了飯。

             tā chī-le liǎng-wǎn fàn                tā chī-le fàn

             he eat-LE two-bowl rice               he eat-LE rice  

In example (2), there is no numerical classifier before the noun phrases. The event is showed unbounded. Then the sentence is ungrammatical. However, it is not an issue about le, but it is about informativeness. Here is an acceptable discourse,

            Q: 你昨天吃了什麼?                       A: 我吃了飯。

                  nǐ  zuò-le shíme?                              wo chī-le fàn  

                  you do-le what?                                eat-le meal

                  ‘What did you eat yesterday?’        ‘I had meals.’

answered Jan 2, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
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