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U1L4 Cantonese grammar 𡁵 [gan2]

U1L4 Cantonese grammar 𡁵 [gan2]

In this lesson, the grammar of verb(動詞)and 𡁵 [gan2] in Cantonese will be introduced.

Intransitive verb

Being similar with English, Cantonese has a division of transitive and intransitive verb.  Structure of subject-predicative(主謂式)is used when an intransitive verb is used as predicate.

Ngo5 heoi3

我去。

I go.

Types of sentence structure

Subject-predicative

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Words in sentence

 

Keoi5 zau2

佢走。

He/she leaves.

Types of sentence structure

Subject-predicative

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Words in sentence

Transitive verb

When you are using a transitive verb, you have to insert an object to the sentence.  For those sentences which have to possess an object to make sense, it follows the structure of predicative-object (謂賓式).  In this lesson, only noun would be used to as an object; you can actually use adjective, verb or even a complete sentence as an object of a sentence in Cantonese.

Ngo5 sik6 faan6

我食飯。

I have a meal.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Noun

Words in sentence

 

Ngo5 zou6 gaa1 mou6

我做家務。

I do housework.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Noun

Words in sentence

家務

 

Maa4 maa1 sai2 saam1

媽媽洗衫。

Mother washes clothes.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Noun

Words in sentence

媽媽


Grammar of  𡁵 [gan2] in Cantonese

In Cantonese, there is no tense but aspect; aspect is referring to the status of certain actions.  To express an action is being carry out at the moment, you need to add a predicative suffix(謂詞詞尾)𡁵 [gan2] after the verb.  The original meaning of the word being used as predicative suffix is totally not related with the sentence or with their function.

Ngo5 sik6 gan2 faan6

我食𡁵飯。

I am having a meal.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

𡁵

 

Ngo5 zou6 gan2 gaa1 mou6

我做𡁵家務。

I am doing housework.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

𡁵

家務

gei1 si1 zaa1 gan2 fei1 gei1

機師揸𡁵飛機。

The pilot is piloting.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

機師

𡁵

飛機

 

si1 gei1 zaa1 gan2 ce1

司機揸𡁵車。

The driver is driving.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

司機

𡁵

 

cyu4 si1 zyu2 gan2 je5 sik6

廚師煮𡁵嘢食。

The chief is cooking some food.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

廚師

𡁵

嘢食

 

gau2 zai2 paau2 gan2

狗仔跑𡁵。

The puppy is running.

Type of sentence structure

Subject-predicative

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Words in sentence

狗仔

𡁵

 

zoek3 zai2 fei1 gan2

雀仔飛𡁵。

The bird is flying.

Type of sentence structure

Subject-predicative

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Words in sentence

雀仔

𡁵

 

zyu1 zai2 fan3 gan2 gaau3

豬仔瞓𡁵覺。

The piggy is sleeping.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

豬仔

𡁵

 

gung1 jan4 ze4 ze1 maai5 gan2 sung3

工人姐姐買𡁵餸。

The maid is doing grocery.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Predicate

Predicative suffix

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Verb

Predicative suffix

Noun

Words in sentence

工人姐姐

𡁵

 

Negating sentence without predicative suffix and adverb(唔)

In addition to what you have learnt in the previous lesson, you can negate a sentence without adverb(副詞)or predicative suffix (謂詞詞尾)simply by inserting adverb 唔 [m4].

Ngo5 m4 heoi3

我唔去。

I don’t go.

Type of sentence structure

Subject-predicative

Functions in sentence

Subject

Adverbial

Predicate

Part of speech

Noun

Adverb

Verb

Words in sentence

 

Keoi5 m4 zau2

佢唔走。

He/she doesn’t leave.

Type of sentence structure

Subject-predicative

Functions in sentence

Subject

Adverbial

Predicate

Part of speech

Noun

Adverb

Verb

Words in sentence

 

Ngo5 m4 sik6 faan6

我唔食飯。

I don’t eat meal.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Adverbial

Predicate

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Adverb

Verb

noun

Words in sentence

 

Ngo5 m4 zou6 gaa1 mou6

我唔做家務。

I don’t do housework.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Adverbial

Predicate

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Adverb

Verb

noun

Words in sentence

家務

 

Maa4 maa1 m4 sai2 saam1

媽媽唔洗衫。

Mother doesn’t wash clothes.

Type of sentence structure

Predicative-object

Functions in sentence

Subject

Adverbial

Predicate

Object

Part of speech

Noun

Adverb

Verb

noun

Words in sentence

媽媽

 

Negating sentence with predicative suffix or adverb(唔係)

If that sentence has an adverb(副詞)or predicative suffix(謂詞詞尾), you have to use auxiliary verb(助動詞)係 [hai6] with 唔 [m4] to negate the sentence.  Auxiliary verb will be explained in Unit 1 Lesson 6.

Ngo5 dei6 m4 hai6 daa1 gan2 gei1

我哋唔係打𡁵機。

We are not playing video games.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence我哋打𡁵機

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/𡁵

 

Nei5 m4 hai6 wan1 gan2 syu1

你唔係溫𡁵書。

You are not studying.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence溫𡁵書

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/𡁵

 

Keoi5 dei6 m4 hai6 haau2 gan2 si3

佢哋唔係考𡁵試。

They are not having exam.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence佢哋考𡁵試

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/𡁵

 

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 156-157。
  2. 鄧思穎(2017)。粤語語法講義。香港:商務印書館,頁 78-79

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of verb(動詞)and 𡁵  [gan2] 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!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. “我哋唔係打𡁵機。”
    should be
    “We are not playing video games.”

    1. Thank you so much for correcting us! This typo has been corrected.

      Hugo Sum
      Founder of How to study Cantonese

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