U7L3 Cantonese grammar 啦 [laa1]

In this lesson, the grammar of particle(助詞)and particle 啦 [laa1] in Cantonese will be introduced. 

What is particle in Cantonese?

Particle(助詞)is always located at the very end of a sentence and independent from all sentence structure.  It is the most difficult grammar concept for foreigner to master due to its complexity and the need of understanding context when using them.  Below are particles that can be used in imperative sentence(祈使句)and we will cover them one by one.

Particles for imperative sentence

啦[laa1] 咧[le4]
喎[wo5] 噃[bo3]
啊[aa3] 罷啦[baa2 laa1]
好過[hou2 gwo3] 好喎[hou2 wo3]
係啦[hai2 laa1] 吖嗱[aai laa4]
喇喂[la3 wei3] 啊嗄[a3 haa2]
先[sin1]

Usage 1 of particle 啦 [laa1] in Cantonese grammar

Particle 啦[laa1] can be used to soften a sentence that asks for a favor.  Compare with sentences without using any particle, it sounds softer and politer.

bong1 ngo5 laa1

幫我啦。

Help me.

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

 

nei5 gaau3 haa5 ngo5 laa1

你教吓我啦。

Teach me.

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

 

bei2 fan6 gung1 fo3 ngo5 caau1 laa1

畀份功課我抄啦。

Give me your homework for me to copy.

Type of sentence structure  Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Indirect object Predicate 2 Object 2 Particle
Part of speech / Verb Noun Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence / 份功課 (功課)

 

bong1 ngo5 sai2 wun2 laa1

幫我洗碗啦。

Help me wash dishes.

Type of sentence structure  Predicative expression in series
Functions in sentence Subject Predicate 1 Object 1 Predicate 2 Object 2 Particle
Part of speech / Verb Noun Verb Noun Particle
Words in sentence /

 

 

Usage 2 of particle 啦 [laa1] in Cantonese grammar

啦[laa1] can also be used to urge the listener to do something.  Comparing with sentence without particle, it sounds softer and politer.

m4 hou2 king1 gai2 laa1

唔好傾偈啦!

Stop talking!

Type of sentence structure Predicative-object
Functions in sentence Subject Adverbial Predicate Object Particle
Part of speech / Adverb Auxiliary verb Verb Particle
Words in sentence / 傾偈

 

sik6 faan6 laa1

食飯啦!

Eat your meal!

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

 

paai4 deoi2 laa1

排隊啦!

Line up!

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

 

Reference

  1. 鄧思穎(2017)。粤語語法講義。香港:商務印書館,頁 249

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