Wo3 ting1 shuo1 le5 / 我听说了

April 03, 2012, 04:09 AM posted in I Have a Question


I heard my mandarin speaking wife say today on the telephone with another person,

"Wo3 ting1 shuo1 le5 (我听说了)" meaning something like, "I heard" or "I heard it already" or about like that.

I have heard other usages of ting1 (听) such as ting1 guo4 (过) which also means "I heard."

I would like to figure out a good way of when to use ting1 shuo1 le (听说了) and when to use ting1 guo4 (听过).


I asked my wife about this, and she said you can use ting1 shuo1 le (听说了) if you are dealing with news or stories, like if somebody asks you if you heard the latest news you could say that you heard it in this manner.

I then asked her does this include scientific concepts?  Like has anyone heard Micho Kaku's latest theory on Dark Matter and she said no, I cannot use ting1 shuo1 le (听说了) but I must use ting1 guo4 (听过) for that type of situation.


As the character shuo1 说 implies, ting1 shuo1 le (听说了) would not apply to noises like gunshots, fireworks, sirens, or non-speaking sounds.


Does anyone have more information about these two usages of ting1 听?




Profile picture
April 04, 2012, 01:03 PM

Perhaps the distinctions comes from the nature of 过, it rather indicates a change of state in yourself from not knowing to knowing. When it comes to those sorts of news or latest stories, its a little hard to assign to them status as significant enough to change your state of knowledge in something, the subjects are too fleeting and specific. 

Your wifes description of the limitied uses of 听说了 fits exactly with my intuition, but I think 听说过 is broader and can also be used in the areas covered by its 了 counterpart (ie I think you could pretty much just use that expression). 

Then of course there is 听说过了 which serves to emphasize. ;)

Profile picture
April 05, 2012, 11:01 PM

Thanks for your answer!  It offers a glimpse under the hood at some of the inner workings of Chinese thinking.