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Say It Right Series

Learning 了

Posted by simonpettersson October 26, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: , le, methods, methodology

I'm a firm believer in methodology, at least as pertains to learning (which is why I love CPod, as it lets me design my own method instead of forcing one upon me). When something is difficult to learn, you can either sort of just let it be and you'll pick it up eventually (a method that is easy and works, but takes a long time) or you can roll up your sleeves and tackle it head-on (a method that's hard work, but will get you quicker results).

I've already discussed some of my methods in a couple of discussions here, most recently how I'm to handling measure words, which are a very difficult thing to learn and thus one I need to tackle head-on (since I don't have time for the slow, passive method). But there's another legendary feature in Chinese that's elusive and hard to master: that blasted particle "了". I need to develop a method to deal with it.

So here's what I'm thinking: I love spaced repetition. I'm using StudyArcade on my iPhone and it's brilliant. So I'm gonna get a bunch of sentences, in pairs. The paris will be similar, the only difference in the Chinese will be one or two "了" particles. Memorizing them will, I hope, get me some scaffolding on which to build an understanding of what the particle really does to a sentence.

But here's my problem: I don't master the particle yet. Which makes it difficult for me to construct these sentence pairs. So does anyone know of a way for me to get them? Is there a resource I can use? Or could maybe you, dear, beloved poddies and teachers, supply me with a few? I mean, I can make sentences where the "了" just changes the meaning from present to past tense, but it seems to be able to do so much more than this.

Also, do you think this is a descent method? Do you have any methods of your own for mastering "了"?

(I fully expect this discussion to die with hardly any answers, but hey, it's worth a shot.)

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