I'm Chinese learner and as everybody else I'm puzzled by the verbal aspect
了. My research into the subject gave such results:
了belongs to a class of perfective aspect markers just as many other markers 过, verb duplication, RVC (verb resulative aspect) etc.
了is a existential aspect marker (aka factual, aka actuality marker, aka reality marker). In other words
了marks what really happened or 100% going to happen. That's why you can't negate it with
So the classical test for comprehension would be to translate following phrases:
我吃饭. (I'm eating). No questions here.
我吃完饭. Is this unacceptable? The idea here is to tell that "I completed eating process but it is not real in some sense." Looks like this is a part of a bigger sentence in future tense, in my opinion.
我吃饭了. ("Now I eat!" or "I will eat now!"). No questions here.
我吃完饭了. "Now I've eaten and completed the "meal eating" i.e. the plate is empty!" I can't feel much difference between this sentence and (8).
我吃了饭.(Uncompleted sentence. "I ate."). So this states that eating took place, but no result of it is mentioned. But native spekers say that the sentence is not complete and something is missing. Why is this the case?
我吃了饭了. (I was eating, you know! Don't give me another plate!) Negation:
但是没吃完(Negation is acceptable since it's negation of 完 and not of 了. (We do not negate that food eating took place, we negate that it was completed.)
我吃完了饭. I have eaten and completed the action of eating. Just a fact with now connection to anything. Negation:
但是没吃完(unacceptable) since I just stated that 完 was actualized (了)
我吃完了饭了. (I have eaten and completed the action of eating by now.)
By the way:
我吃了饭is not complete to most Chinese natives but
他当了兵is absolutely complete. The difference here, I guess, is inside
当(resultive) verbs. Any comments on that?
Any comments on the difference between (4) and (8) sentence would be much appreciated.
Please, don't tell me that
了is about completion of a verb (it is not as
过is about as much completed actions as