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I don't really understand the meaning or usage of 产生了. Google translate gives 'had'. But it doesn't really seem to be widely-used. When would it be used, and why?

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产生 means "produce" (can be active or passive) 产生了 is the past tense of it. –  Gapton Jan 12 '12 at 3:07
    
产生 means "produce" (can be active or passive) –  Gapton Jan 12 '12 at 3:09
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

我和书中的人物产生了共鸣:I am able to empathize with characters in the book.

我对学中文产生了浓厚的兴趣:I have got strong interest in learning Chinese.

牛顿的著作对自然科学的发展产生了深远的影响:Newton's great works influence the development of natural science significantly.

So many examples I can give since there have been so many nouns that can be the target of the verb 产生.

I would recommend you try to pick up that list of nouns.

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If you just use 产生 in Google translate, it gives you a whole list of meanings: produce, generate, yield, emerge, bring, engender, bring about, beget, bring in, come into being, entrain, father, start up.

These give you an idea of the kind of word it is, used in prose as an all-purpose word for causation or 'giving rise to' (which is missing from the list). I'm sure someone can give you some sample sentences to illustrate how its used. It's reasonably widely used in prose that uses the kinds of expressions given above.

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产生 is a quite common way to express the emergence of new situations or phenomena. The example sentences on Jukuu are a good place to get a sense of its use. As you can see from those examples, the object of 产生 is often abstract, and the verb often expresses the consequences or effects of a situation.

Some examples of this usage:

产生矛盾: to cause conflict
产生兴趣: to lead to an interest in sth.
产生XX的效果: to have an XX effect
产生怀疑: to raise doubts (the subject here is the thing which is dubious)

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