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In general when using auxiliary verbs, where the auxiliary verb is in the past tense while the main verb isn't. An example:

  • Because I like to read Chinese books, I began teaching myself Mandarin.
  • 因为我喜欢读中国书,所以我开始了自学汉语。

Is my placement of 了 correct? If not, what would be the appropriate way to convey this?

  • 了 is not mandatory in this case. 因为我喜欢读中国书,所以我开始自学汉语 is just fine. Your sentence is fine too. – dan Nov 11 at 23:55
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    I would prefer 因为我喜欢读中文(?)书,所以我开始自学汉语了。 – tsh Nov 12 at 7:44
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I think it's OK with or without 了

因为我喜欢读中文书,所以我开始了自学汉语。

因为我喜欢读中文书,所以我开始自学汉语。

The problem, as I see it, is: How can you know you like to read Chinese books before you have studied Chinese?? You cannot have read any! Kind of grates on logic!

为了能够看懂中文,我开始了自学汉语。
In order to be able to read Chinese, I began to study the Chinese language.

  • I've read translated chinese novels..... – 小奥利奥 Nov 12 at 0:28
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    @小奥利奥 in that case, you can say 因为我喜欢读(来自)中国的书,所以我开始自学汉语. – sylvia Nov 12 at 12:53

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