Saturday, November 6, 2010

Particles and Markers

Mandarin has a number of particles and markers that serve grammatical functions and to indicate moods. The following are the abbreviations I use in the literal translations:  

PCA (particle of completed action)
This refers to the "le" we find which indicates the past tense or a completed action. There are other functions such as indicating that a situation has just changed or is about to change.

QP (question particle)
This refers to (1)  "ma" we find at the end of a yes/no question and (2) "ne" to ask "How about ...?" e.g. "Wǒ xiǎng hē kā fēi. Nǐ ne?" (I want to have coffee. How about you?)

EF (emphatic final)
This refers to the "ne" and "ā" we find at the end of sentences to convey a friendly and interested mood.

PAS (possessive adjectival suffix)
This is the "de" we add to function as the apostrophe "s"

IP (interjection particle)
We add small sounds here and there again to convey mood of surprise, interest e.g. "yā"

MW (measure word)
This is the "gè" etc we add after the number and before the noun when we are counting nouns. Also after "nà", "zhè" and "nǎ" when we want to say "that + noun", "this + noun" and "which + noun".

EAM (experienced action marker)
Specifically this refers to "guò" after a verb which indicates that the speaker has done the action at least once.

SP (suggestion particle)
This refers to the "ba" we add after a request or suggestion.

PCP (present continuous particle)
This refers to the "zhe" after a verb to indicate the "+ ing" function.

BCM (bǎ construction marker)
The bǎ (把)construction is used to make sentences with transitive verbs.
e.g. Wǒ bǎ hé tong fàng zài le zǒng cái de zhuō zi shàng (我把合同放在了总裁的桌子上) = I placed the contract on the president's table.
The sentence pattern is: subject + bǎ + object + verb

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