㗎 in Cantonese grammar

U8L12 Cantonese grammar 㗎 [gaa3/ gaa4]

In this lesson, the grammar of particle(助詞)  㗎 [gaa3/ gaa4] in Cantonese will be introduced.

When the head(端語)of subordination is being omitted due to repetition and particle 啊 [aa3] or 呀 [aa4] is placed beside 嘅, the meaning and the pronunciation of these two words will be combined and it would be pronounced as 㗎 [gaa3] or 㗎 [gaa4].

Particle 啊 [aa3] and 呀 [aa4] determines where can particle 㗎 [gaa3] and 㗎 [gaa4] be used.  Particle 㗎 [gaa3] can be used in all interrogative sentences except yes-no question(是非問句), working similarly with 啊 [aa3].

In addition to question, it is also common to see particle 㗎 [gaa3] being used in an answer of a question, as 啊 [aa3] can be used in all sentences.  Meanwhile, particle 㗎 [gaa4] can only be used in yes-no question like 呀 [aa4].

Grammar of using 㗎 [gaa3] as a particle in Cantonese

ni1 bui1 seoi2 hai6 bin1 go3 gaa3

呢杯水係邊個㗎?(呢杯水係邊個嘅水啊?)

Who’s cup of water is this?

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 呢杯水 邊個

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 呢杯
Head

 

Hai6 keoi5 gaa3

係佢㗎。(係佢嘅水啊。)

This is his cup of water.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech / Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence /

 

go2 bou6 ce1 hai6 bin1 go3 gaa3

嗰部車係邊個㗎?(嗰部車係邊個嘅車啊?)

Who’s car is that?

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 嗰部車 邊個

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 嗰部
Head

 

keoi5 gei2 si4 saang1 jat6 gaa3

佢幾時生日㗎?(佢係幾時生日嘅人啊?)

When is his birthday?

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Particle
Part of speech Noun Adverb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 幾時 生日

 

ni1 fuk1 waa2 zik6 gei2 cin2 gaa3

呢幅畫值幾錢㗎?(呢副畫係值幾錢嘅畫啊?)

How much is this painting?

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 呢副畫 幾錢

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 呢副
Head

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

nei5 hai6 m4 hai6 so4 gaa3

你係唔係傻㗎?(你係唔係傻嘅人啊?)

Are you stupid?

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentence Compound sentences
Components Sentence 1 Sentence 2
True value True False
Words in sentence 你係 唔係傻㗎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence (傻嘅人) (㗎)

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence (你) 傻(嘅人)

 

nei5 zung1 m4 zung1 ji3 ngo5 gaa3

你中唔中意我㗎?(你係唔係中意我嘅人啊?)

Do you like me?

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentence Compound sentences
Components Sentence 1 Sentence 2
True value True False
Words in sentence 你中 唔中意我㗎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 中(意) (我) (㗎)

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence (你) 中意

 

hok6 ce1 gwai3 m4 gwai3 gaa3

學車貴唔貴㗎?(學車係唔係貴嘅活動啊?)

Is it expensive to learn driving?

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentence Compound sentences
Components Sentence 1 Sentence 2
True value True False
Words in sentence 學車貴 唔貴㗎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Particle
Part of speech Clause Adjective Particle
Words in sentence 學車 (㗎)

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence /

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subject-predicative
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Particle
Part of speech Clause Adverb Adjective Particle
Words in sentence (學車)

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / (學) (車)

 

nei5 soeng2 sik6 tong4 seoi2 jik1 waak6 sik6 daan6 gou1 gaa3

你想食糖水抑或食蛋糕㗎?(你係想食糖水嘅人抑或係想食蛋糕嘅人啊?)

Do you want to eat sweet soup or cake?

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentence Compound sentences
Components Sentence 1 Sentence 2
True value True True
Words in sentence 你想食糖水 抑或食蛋糕㗎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Auxiliary verb Clause
Words in sentence 食糖水

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 糖水

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Conjunction Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Conjunction Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 抑或 (你) (想) 食蛋糕

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 蛋糕

 

nei5 zung1 ji3 gou1 ding6 hai6 ngai2 gaa3

你中意高定係矮㗎?(你中意高嘅女仔定係矮嘅女仔啊?)

Do you like tall girls or short girls?

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentence Compound sentences
Components Sentence 1 Sentence 2
True value True True
Words in sentence 你中意高 定係矮㗎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun
Words in sentence 中意 高(嘅女仔)

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head (女仔)

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Conjunction Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Conjunction Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 定係 (你) (中意) 矮(嘅女仔)

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head (女仔)

Grammar of using 㗎 [gaa4] as a particle in Cantonese

nei5 sik1 ngo5 aa3 go1 gaa4?

你識我阿哥㗎?(你係識我阿哥嘅人呀?)

You know my brother?

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence 我阿哥

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head 阿哥

 

nei5 zi1 cin4 heoi3 gwo3 jing1 gwok3 gaa4

你之前去過英國㗎?(你係之前去過英國嘅人呀?)

Have you been to Britain before?

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Predicative suffix Cognate object Particle
Part of speech Noun Adverb Verb Predicative suffix Noun Particle
Words in sentence 之前 英國

 

nei5 m4 zung1 ji3 sik6 sai1 gwaa1 gaa4

你唔中意食西瓜㗎?(你係唔中意食西瓜嘅人呀?)

Don’t you like eating watermelon?

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech Noun Adverb Auxiliary verb Clause Particle
Words in sentence 中意 食西瓜

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech / Verb Noun
Words in sentence / 西瓜

 

Reference

  1. 鄧思穎(2017)。粤語語法講義。香港:商務印書館,頁 159, 235
  2. 張洪年(2007)。香港粤語語法的研究(增訂版)。香港:中文大學出版社,頁 200-201

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of 㗎 [gaa3/gaa4] in Cantonese!  If you appreciate our work, sign up now and give us a LikeCoin by clicking the LikeCoin button below 5 times.  It will empower us to create more useful contents for you in the future!

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