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U2L14 Cantonese grammar of cognate object (同指賓語)

In this lesson, the grammar of cognate object (同指賓語)in Cantonese will be introduced.  Similar with English, verb(動詞)in Cantonese can be classified into transitive and intransitive verbs.   Transitive verbs can take an object and intransitive verbs cannot take an object but a cognate object.  Cognate object (同指賓語)is an object that can be used with intransitive verbs for indicating the frequency of a verb predicate or the extent of an adjective predicate.

Usages of cognate object in Cantonese grammar

The usages of cognate object in Cantonese grammar can be divided into the followings.

Usages of cognate object

Usage 1To indicate the time for an action to sustain
Usage 2To indicate the frequency of an action
Usage 3To indicate the extent for an adjective
Usage 4To indicate the location for verbs related with coming or going

Word order for cognate object and ordinary object

When a transitive verb takes a cognate object, the order of between cognate object and object is depending on what noun has been used as the object.

Using personal pronoun(人稱代詞)as the object

When a personal pronoun(人稱代詞)is used as the object, the cognate object should be placed after the object.

Ngo5 wan2 zo2 keoi5 bun3 go3 zung1

搵咗佢半個鐘。

I have spent half an hour finding him.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence半個鐘

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier半個
Head

Using animate object as the object

When an animate object is used as the object, the cognate object should be placed after the object.

keoi5 daa2 zo2 aa3 baa4 jat1 kyun4

佢打咗阿爸一拳。

He has punched my dad once.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence阿爸一拳

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Using inanimate object as the object

When an inanimate object is used as the object, the cognate object should be placed before the object.

ngo5 duk6 zo2 sap6 ng5 nin4 syu1 

我讀咗十五年書。

I have studied for 15 years.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixCognate ObjectObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence十五年

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier十五
Head

Usage 1 of cognate object in Cantonese grammar

Cognate object can be used to count the time for an action to sustain.

ngo5 dei6 sik1 zo2 saam1 go3 jyut6

識咗三個月。

We have met for 3 months.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence三個月

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head個月

 

lou5 si1 goi2 zo2 sap6 fan1 zung1 gyun2

老師改咗十分鐘卷。

The teacher has marked papers for 10 minutes.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixCognate objectObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence老師十分鐘

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head分鐘

Usage 2 of cognate object in Cantonese grammar

Cognate object can be used to indicate the frequency of carrying out an action.

keoi5 daa2 zo2 ngo5 jat1 kyun4

佢打咗我一拳。

He has punched me once.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence一拳

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

ngo5 sek3 zo2 keoi5 jat1 daam6

我惜咗佢一啖。

I have kissed her once.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence一啖

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

ngo5 sek3 zo2 zek3 maau1 jat1 daam6

我惜咗隻貓一啖。

I have kissed the cat once.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObjectCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence一啖

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Ngo5 heoi3 gwo3 saam1 ci3 hoi2 joeng4 gung1 jyun4

我去過三次海洋公園。

I have been to the Ocean Park three times.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixCognate objectCognate object
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence三次海洋公園

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

keoi5 daa2 zo2 jat1 kyun4 bou6 din6 si6 gei1

佢打咗一拳部電視機。

He has punched that TV once.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixCognate objectObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNounNoun
Words in sentence一拳部電視機

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head電視機

Usage 3 of cognate object in Cantonese grammar

Adjective(形容詞)can take a cognate object as well; that cognate object is used to indicate the extent of that adjective.

Ngo5 cung5 luk6 sap6 gung1 gan1

我重六十公斤。

My weight is 60kg.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateCognate object
Part of speechNounAdjectiveNoun
Words in sentence六十公斤

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier六十
Head公斤

 

Ngo5 gou1 jat1 baak3 cat1 sap6 lei4 mai5

我高一百七十厘米。

My height is 170cm.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateCognate object
Part of speechNounAdjectiveNoun
Words in sentence一百七十厘米

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier一百七十
Head厘米

 

London bridge coeng4 ji6 baak3 luk6 sap6 gau2 mai5

London bridge 長二百六十九米。

The length of London bridge is 269m.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateCognate object
Part of speechNounAdjectiveNoun
Words in sentenceLondon bridge二百六十九米

 

Cognate object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier二百六十
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 82-86

That’s it for this lesson on the grammar of cognate object 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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