City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 1 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (32,510 points) | 33 views

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Both 嘛ma and 呗bei occur at the end of a statement implying that what is being said is obvious. 嘛ma expresses a sense of contradiction, whereas 呗bei conveys a tone of self-assertion:

这很简单嘛!

Zhè hěn jiǎn dān ma!

(But) this is very simple. (How could you think otherwise?)

这很简单呗!

Zhè hěn jiǎn dān bei!

This is very simple. (You don’t need me to tell you that!)

我没生她的气,她是我朋友嘛!

Wǒ méi shēng tā de qì,tā shì wǒ péng yǒu ma !

I wasn’t angry with her, she is my friend. (Despite what you/ others might think.)

我没生她的气,她是我朋友呗!

I wasn’t angry with her. She is my friend. (Don’t you realize?)

Wǒ méi shēng tā de qì,tā shì wǒ péng yǒu bei!

你为什么买这么贵的鞋?

Nǐ wéi shí me mǎi zhè me guì de xié ?

Why did you buy such expensive shoes?

我喜欢嘛!

Wǒ xǐ huān ma!

I like them. (Why shouldn’t I?)

我喜欢呗!

Wǒ xǐ huān bei!

Because I like them. (That’s all./That’s that.)

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Feb 1 by Ariel (32,510 points)

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1,403 questions
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9,636 users