- KangXi: page 85, character 11
- Dai Kanwa Jiten: character 226
- Dae Jaweon: page 173, character 20
- Hanyu Da Zidian: volume 1, page 48, character 6
- Unihan data for U+4E86
|瞭 – sense “clear”|
|Historical forms of the character 了|
|Shuowen Jiezi (compiled in Han)|
|Small seal script|
|Characters in the same phonetic series (了) (Zhengzhang, 2003)|
This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.
Verb “to finish; to be completed” > perfective aspect particle (了₁, weakened form) > change-of-state modal particle (了₂).
Two kinds of particle uses of 了 can be distinguished: the perfective aspect particle after verbs (conventionally written as 了₁) and the sentence-final modal particle (了₂). It is generally accepted (Wu, 1998) that these two uses of 了 are derived from the concrete verb “to finish”. The grammaticalisation of this verb had become common in the Tang Dynasty, initially in the form of ‹verb + (object) + perfective 了› to indicate the completion of an action.
The perfective particle subsequently underwent further grammaticalisation to become the sentence-final change-of-state modal particle; Liu (1985) has demonstrated that this last step may have involved the coalescence of sentence-final 了 with 也 in certain Mandarin dialects, as the pronunciations of 了₁ and 了₂ are distinct in these lects, with 了₂ rhyming with 也.
- Used after a verb to indicate perfective aspect (action completion).
- Used at the end of a sentence to indicate a change of state.
- Used at the end of a sentence to inform the beginning of an action.
|Dialectal synonyms of 了 (“perfective particle”) [map]|
|Formal (Written Standard Chinese)||了|
|Hakka||Miaoli (N. Sixian)||了|
|Liudui (S. Sixian)||了|
- (perfective aspect particle): Most of the time, 了 is translated by a past tense. But it can also indicate that one action is completed before another.
- (change of state particle): When used as the change of state particle, 了 can be translated by “now”, “already” or “not anymore”.
- In a question, 了 is put before the particle 嗎／吗 (ma).
- to be finished; to be completed
- to end; to finish
- to understand; to comprehend
- clear; plain; understandable
- bright; intelligent; smart
- (in negative sentences) completely; utterly; entirely
- Used with 不 (bù) or 得 (de) after verbs to express possibility.
|For pronunciation and definitions of 了 – see 潦 (“to flood; a puddle; etc.”).|
(This character, 了, is the second-round simplified form of 潦.)
- Goon: りょう (ryō, Jōyō)←れう (reu, historical)
- Kan’on: りょう (ryō, Jōyō)←れう (reu, historical)
- Kun: おえる (oeru, 了える)←をへる (woferu, historical); おわる (owaru, 了わる)←をはる (wofaru, historical); しまう (shimau, 了う)←しまふ (simafu, historical); ついに (tsuini, 了に)←つひに (tufini, historical)
- A male given name
- This term needs a translation to English. Please help out and add a translation, then remove the text