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U4L6 Cantonese grammar 吓 [haa5]

U4L6 Cantonese grammar 吓 [haa5]

In this lesson, the grammar of 吓 [haa5] in Cantonese will be introduced.  吓 [haa5] is a predicative suffix(謂詞詞尾)that indicates an action has been done for a very short period of time, to a small extent or in a low frequency.  It is commonly used in imperative sentence(祈使句)and interrogative sentence(疑問句)to downplay the suggestion or the question.

Usage 1 of 吓 [haa5] in Cantonese grammar

吓 [haa5] can be used in imperative sentence(祈使句)to downplay a suggestion, in order to encourage the listener to comply.  It is more natural to use particle(助詞)啦 [laa1] with 吓, and this particle will be introduced in a future lesson.

nei5 si3 haa5 sik6 lau4 lin4 laa1

你試吓食榴槤啦。

Try eating a little bit of durian.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectParticle
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixClauseParticle
Words in sentence食榴槤

 

nei5 hok6 haa5 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2 laa1

你學吓講廣東話啦。

Learn to speak a little bit of Cantonese.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectParticle
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixClauseParticle
Words in sentence講廣東話

 

nei5 wan1 haa5 syu1 laa1

你溫吓書啦。

Study a bit.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectParticle
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounParticle
Words in sentence

 

吓 [haa5] can also be used in an interrogative sentence(疑問句)to downplay a question, in order to make the listener comfortable enough to answer.

m4 goi1,ngo5 soeng2 man6 haa5 ci3 so2 hai2 bin1 dou6 aa3

唔該,我想問吓廁所喺邊度啊?

Excuse me, may I ask where is the toilet?

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticles
Part of speechNounAuxiliary verbClauseParticles
Words in sentence問吓廁所喺邊度

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbPredicative suffixClause
Words in sentence/廁所喺邊度

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence廁所邊度

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

Usage 2 of 吓 [haa5] in Cantonese grammar

You can also use 吓 [haa5] with adverb(副詞)就 [zau6] to indicate that something unexpected and surprising happens after something has been done for a short period of time, to a small extent or in a low frequency.

This usage has to be used in form of complex sentences(偏正句), which the sentence containing 吓 has to be followed by another sentence.  Under that structure, the first half containing 吓 is to indicate the time for the second half to take place; it is similar to what you have learnt previously in Unit 2 Lesson 7 that uses 時候 [si4 hau6] as the subject to indicate the time for the rest of the sentence to take place.

To a small extent

go2 go3 sai3 lou6 bei2 jan4 waa6 haa5 zau6 haam3

嗰個細佬畀人話吓就喊。

That kid cries after he has been scolded lightly.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceComplex sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueUnknownTrue
Words in sentence嗰個細佬畀人話吓就喊

 

Sentence 1 of the sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Predicative suffix
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbPredicative suffix
Words in sentence嗰個細佬

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰個
Head細佬

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbVerb
Words in sentence/

 

go2 go3 hou2 zi6 daai6 ge3 jan4 bei2 jan4 zaan3 haa5 zau6 m4 sik1 zyun1 cung4 jan4

嗰個好自大嘅人畀人讚吓就唔識尊重人。

That arrogant guy forgets how to respect people once he has been praised.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceComplex sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueUnknownTrue
Words in sentence嗰個好自大嘅人畀人讚吓就唔識尊重人

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structure Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Predicative suffix
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbPredicative suffix
Words in sentence嗰個好自大嘅人

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰個好自大
Head

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speech/AdverbAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence/尊重人

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/尊重

 

For a short period of time

keoi5 mong6 haa5 bun2 syu1 zau6 heoi3 haau2 si3

佢望吓本書就去考試。

He attends the exam after he read the book for a while.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceComplex sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueUnknownTrue
Words in sentence佢望吓本書就去考試

 

Sentence 1 of the sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence本書

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speech/AdverbVerbNoun
Words in sentence/考試

 

keoi5 faan1 haa5 gung1 zau6 waa6 gui6

佢返吓工就話攰。

He said he was tired after he has worked for a while.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceComplex sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueUnknownTrue
Words in sentence佢返吓工就話攰

 

Sentence 1 of the sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speech/AdverbVerbAdjective
Words in sentence/

 

In a very low frequency

keoi5 sik6 haa5 faan6 zau6 waa6 baau2

佢食吓飯就話飽。

He said he is full after eating a little bit of his meal.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceComplex sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueUnknownTrue
Words in sentence佢食吓飯就話飽

 

Sentence 1 of the sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speech/AdverbVerbAdjective
Words in sentence/

 

ngo5 jam2 haa5 zau2 zau6 zeoi3 zo2

我飲吓酒就醉咗。

I got drunk after drinking a little bit of alcohol.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceComplex sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueUnknownTrue
Words in sentence我飲吓酒就醉咗

 

Sentence 1 of the sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicatePredicative suffix
Part of speech/AdverbAdjectivePredicative suffix
Words in sentence/

Reference

  1. 鄧思穎(2017)。粤語語法講義。香港:商務印書館,頁 94

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of 吓 [haa5] 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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