Learn the grammar of 呢 [ni1] and 嗰 [go2] in Cantonese in this lesson.

U2L8 Cantonese grammar 呢 [ni1] and 嗰 [go2]

In this lesson, the grammar of 呢 [ni1] and 嗰 [go2] in Cantonese will be introduced.  呢 [ni1] and 嗰 [go2] are used to describe a noun and they mean this and that respectively.

Grammar of 呢 [ni1] and 嗰 [go2]

呢 [ni1] and 嗰 [go2] are demonstrative determinatives(指示性定詞), which is a type of determinative(定詞)for making a noun specific.  Determinatives have to stick with other words and form a transient word(過渡詞)in order to be used in a sentence.  Therefore, you cannot use 呢 and 嗰 alone and they are usually used with counters(量詞).

呢/ 嗰 + counter Meanings
呢個 [ni1 go3] This
嗰個 [go2 go3] That

 

When you are referring to something with demonstrative pronoun and they are in plural, you have to use 啲[di1] as the counter.

呢/ 嗰 + plural counter Meanings
呢啲 [ni1 go3] These
嗰啲 [go2 di1] Those

 

By following the structure of subordination(偏正式), you can modifier a nouns and use it in a sentence.

ni1 go3 hai6 ping4 gwo2

呢個係蘋果。

This is an apple.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 呢個 蘋果

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

Go2 go3 hai6 din6 waa2

個係電話。

That is a phone.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 嗰個 電話

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

Ni1 go3 hai6 ngo5 ge3 din6 waa2 hou6 maa5

呢個係我電話號碼。

This is my phone number.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 呢個 電話號碼

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

  

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head 電話號碼

 

Go2 gin6 hai6 ngo5 ge3 daan6 gou1

件係我嘅蛋糕

That is my cake.

 

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 嘅蛋糕

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head 蛋糕

 

Go2 deoi1 hai6 laap6 saap3

堆係圾。

Those are rubbish.

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

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

(Those rubbish are the thing being represented by that pronoun; since 一堆(a pile of trash) is a natural phrase for native speakers, 堆 can be used to replace 個 here.)

  

Go2 go3 hai6 hon4 gwok3 jan4

個係韓國人。

That person is Korean.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 韓國人

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

If you want to make that demonstrative noun become more specific, you can attach the noun representing the type of that thing.

Go2 go3 jan4 hai6 hon4 gwok3 jan4

個人係韓國人。

That person is Korean.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 個人 韓國人

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier
Head

 

Go2 di1 jan4 hai6 jat6 bun2 jan4

嗰啲人係日本人。

Those people are Japanese.

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate Object
Part of speech Noun Linking verb Noun
Words in sentence 嗰啲 日本人

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structure Subordination
Modifier 嗰啲
Head

Reference

  1. 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 331-332。

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