[ta lái liao] t'a lai lo = "he come finish," = "he has come."
This may be turned into the definite past tense by inserting some indication of time; e.g.
[ta zao shàng lái liao] = "he came this morning."
Here we see that the same words may be indefinite or definite according to circumstances.
It is perhaps more startling to find that the same words may be both active and passive.
Thus, [diu] tiu is the root-idea of "loss," "to lose," and [liao] puts it into the past tense.
Now [wo diu liao] means, and can only mean, "I have lost"--something understood, or to be expressed. Strike out [wo] and substitute [shiu] "a book." No Chinaman would think that the new sentence meant "The book has lost"--something understood, or to be expressed, as for instance its cover; but he would grasp at once the real sense, "The book is or has been lost."
In the case of such, a phrase as "The book has lost" its cover, quite