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U12L2 Cantonese grammar 啩 [gwaa3]

In this lesson, the grammar of particle(助詞) 啩 [gwaa3] in Cantonese will be introduced.  It is believed that the pronunciation of 啩 [gwaa3] is created by combining verb 估 [gwu2] with particle 啊 [aa3] and the meaning of 啩 [gwaa3] is derived from the verb 估 [gwu2].

Usage of grammar of particle 啩 [gwaa3] in Cantonese

Particle 啩 [gwaa3] is used to express the doubt of speaker on the sentence that he is saying.  Particle 啩 [gwaa3] has implied that the speaker is guessing, thus you can add 我估 [ngo5 gwu2] to all sentences using 啩 without changing its meaning.

keoi5 gam1 nin4 sap6 baat3 seoi3 gwaa3

佢今年十八歲啩。(我估佢今年十八歲啩)

I guess he is 18 years old this year.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounNounNounParticle
Words in sentence今年十八歲

 

ngo5 gu2 ni1 go3 ngoi6 gwok3 jan4 sik1 jung6 faai3 zi2 gwaa3

我估呢個外國人識用筷子啩。

I guess this foreigner knows how to use chopsticks.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounVerbSentenceParticle
Words in sentence呢個外國人識用筷子

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence呢個外國人用筷子

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier呢個
Head外國人

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

ting1 jat6 m4 wui5 lok6 ju5 gwaa3

聽日唔會落雨啩。(我估聽日唔會落雨啩)

I guess tomorrow would not rain.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounNounParticle
Words in sentence聽日唔會落雨

 

Predicate of that sentence

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

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

keoi5 hai6 hoeng1 gong2 jan4 gwaa3

佢係香港人啩。(我估佢係香港人啩)

I guess he is a Hongkonger.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounLinking verbNounParticle
Words in sentence香港人

 

hoeng1 gong2 jan4 zi1 hau6 wui5 hok6 sik1 tyun4 git3 gwaa3

香港人之後會學識團結啩。(我估香港人之後會學識團結啩)

I guess Hongkongers would learn how to be united later.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounNounAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence香港人之後學識團結

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/ClauseNoun
Words in sentence/學識團結

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/VerbVerb
Words in sentence/

 

ni1 go3 mo1 seot6 si1 m4 wui5 sat1 sau2 gwaa3

呢個魔術師唔會失手掛。(我估呢個魔術師唔會失手掛)

I guess this magician won’t fail.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence呢個魔術師失手

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier呢個
Head魔術師

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

ngo5 naam4 pang4 jau5 m4 wui5 tau1 sik6 gwaa3

我男朋友唔會偷食啩。(我估我男朋友唔會偷食啩)

I guess my boyfriend won’t cheat.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence我男朋友偷食

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head男朋友

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

Reference

  1. 鄧思穎(2017)。粤語語法講義。香港:商務印書館,頁 220-222, 329-330
  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 193

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of particle 啩 [gwaa3] 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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