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U12L4 Cantonese grammar 啫 [ze1]

In this lesson, the grammar of particle(助詞) 啫 [ze1] in Cantonese will be introduced.  啫 [ze1] is used to express the judgement of the speaker on an event, which the speaker believes the event is not as important as how other people think.

Grammar of 啫 [ze1] in Cantonese

In the grammar of Cantonese, particle 啫 [ze1] expresses that the speaker does not take something seriously like others.  This particle can only be used when the judgement of the speaker is different with the judgement of other people in conversation or the general public.

If the your opinion do not contradict with others, you should use other particles like 啊 [aa3] and 喎 [wo3].

nei5 daap3 co3 zo2 jat1 tai4 ze1,m4 hou2 m4 hoi1 sam1 laa1。

你答錯咗一題啫,唔好唔開心啦。

You have just missed a question (and it is not a big deal).  Don’t be sad.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueTrueFalse
Words in sentence你答錯咗一題啫唔好唔開心啦

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectParticle
Part of speechNounClausePredicative suffixNounParticle
Words in sentence答錯一題

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/VerbAdjective
Words in sentence/

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/AdverbAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence/唔開心

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

hou2 siu2 si6 ze1

好小事啫。

It is nothing.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateParticle
Part of speech/AdverbAdjectiveParticle
Words in sentence/小事

 

keoi5 tung4 nei5 waan2 haa5 ze1,m4 sai2 gam3 jing6 zan1 wo3

佢同你玩吓啫,唔使咁認真喎。

He is just playing with you (and it is not a big deal).  You don’t need to be serious.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueTrueFalse
Words in sentence佢同你玩吓啫唔使咁認真喎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative expression in series
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Predicative suffix 2Particle
Part of speechNounPrepositionNounVerbPredicative suffixParticle
Words in sentence

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/AdverbAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence/使咁認真

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/Pro-adverbAdjective
Words in sentence/認真

 

ngo5 soeng2 man6 haa5 nei5 gei2 si4 dak1 haan4 ze1,ngo5 m4 hai6 soeng2 joek3 nei5 wo3。

我想問吓你幾時得閒啫,我唔係想約你喎。

I just want to ask when will you be free.  I don’t mean I want to hang out with you.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueTrueFalse
Words in sentence我想問吓你幾時得閒啫我唔係想約你喎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence問吓你幾時得閒

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbPredicative suffixSentence
Words in sentence/你幾時得閒

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicative
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence幾時得閒

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClauseParticle
Words in sentence想約你

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/Auxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence/約你

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

nei5 dai6 jat1 ci3 caam1 gaa1 laam4 kau4 bei2 coi3,syu1 hou2 zing3 soeng4 ze1。

你第一次參加籃球比賽,輸好正常啫。

It is your first time to join a basketball competition, thus losing is expected (and it is not a big deal).

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueTrueTrue
Words in sentence你第一次參加籃球比賽輸好正常啫

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence第一次參加籃球比賽

 

Adverbial of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier第一
Head

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateParticle
Part of speechVerbAdverbAdjectiveParticle
Words in sentence正常

 

ngo5 dei6 heoi3 zo2 naam4 fei1 saam1 jat6 ze1。

我哋去咗南非三日啫。

We have just been to South Africa for 3 days (and it is not a big deal).

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixCognate objectCognate objectParticle
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNounParticle
Words in sentence我哋南非三日

 

go2 go3 neoi5 zai2 mong6 haa5 nei5 ze1,m4 doi6 biu2 keoi5 zung1 ji3 nei5 wo3

嗰個女仔望吓你啫,唔代表佢中意你喎。

That girl just looks at you (and it is not a big deal).  It doesn’t mean she likes you.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueTrueFalse
Words in sentence嗰個女仔望吓你啫唔代表佢中意你喎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectParticle
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounParticle
Words in sentence嗰個女仔

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰個
Head女仔

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/AdverbVerbSentenceParticle
Words in sentence/代表佢中意你

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence中意

 

keoi5 gong2 je5 daai6 seng1 di1 ze1,m4 doi6 biu2 keoi5 mou5 lai5 maau6 wo3。

佢講嘢大聲啲啫,唔代表佢冇禮貌喎。

He speaks loudly, yet it doesn’t mean he is impolite.

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueTrueFalse
Words in sentence佢講嘢大聲啲啫唔代表佢冇禮貌喎

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateCognate objectParticle
Part of speechSentenceAdjectiveNounParticle
Words in sentence佢講嘢大聲

 

Subject of that sentence

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

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/AdverbVerbSentenceParticle
Words in sentence/代表佢冇禮貌

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate
Part of speechNounAdjective
Words in sentence冇禮貌

Reference

  1. 鄧思穎(2017)。粤語語法講義。香港:商務印書館,頁 206-209

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of particle 啫 [ze1] 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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