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Say It Right Series

Does 了 have an evil twin?

Posted by henning July 28, 2007 in the Group General Discussion.

Yesterday, sitting at the plattform of the Stuttgart train station, I thought to hear my son saying 火车走了 (well, the "火" got in a kiddy pronounciation accident).

I told my wife: "Technically he is wrong. The train is just going ("zou-ing"). It has not completely left the station yet."

But she insited that the sentence was right, because he did not say "了" but "啦":

 火车走啦!

I always thought 啦 is for mood only, but yesterday I learned it can also be a marker for continuous action. Only in conversional speech.  Taking the function of 正在. Although they are not fully replacible because you cannot say 火车火车走走. 

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