Marking a topic with "ma"
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嘛 (ma) can be used for topic marking. It basically allows the speaker to state the topic, then gather his thoughts before making a comment on it. In this pattern, the following comment may or may not be one the speaker feels is obvious.
Topic + 嘛 ，Statement
- 大 熊猫嘛 ，大家 都 喜欢 。Pandas. Everybody likes them.
- 名牌 嘛 ，一定 不 便宜 。Brandname. It can't be cheap.
- 第 一 次 嘛 ，以后 就 会 了 。First time. You'll learn soon.
- 孩子 嘛 ，不 懂 这些 很 正常 。Kids. It's common that they don't understand these things .
- 老板 请客 嘛 ，当然 要 大方 。The boss is buying. Of course I need to be generous.