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Cantonese idiom 講人話 [gong2 jan4 waa2]

Cantonese idiom 講人話 [gong2 jan4 waa2]

Have you ever seen someone tries to get away by speaking nonsense and lying shamelessly?  When you had enough of such jerk, what would you say to him?  In this lesson, we will teach you a Cantonese idiom 講人話 [gong2 jan4 waa2], which is used for asking people to stop saying BS.

This lesson is inspired by the remark of Hong Kong journalist Nabela Qoser(利君雅)made on the Chief Executive of Hong Kong in a press conference, which she asked the CE to stop bullshitting the public with this idiom.

Cantonese idiom 講人話 [gong2 jan4 waa2]

Idiom 講人話 [gong2 jan4 waa2] can be literally translated to “to speak the language of  mankind”.  It is used to ask people to stop speaking nonsense and speak something that makes sense.

The origin of this idiom is unknown.  Nevertheless, we believe this idiom is originated from the binary opposition of 人 [jan4] and 鬼 [gwai2] in the culture of Cantonese. Literally, 人 [jan4] means human and 鬼 [gwai2] means ghost.  As ghosts are mysterious, the meaning of 鬼 [gwai2] expands and it also represents something that cannot be understood by mankind.  Therefore, 人[jan4] is used in this idiom to emphasize words spoken there(話)are sensible.

gong2 jan4 waa2 laa1!

講人話啦!

Speak sense!

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/VerbNounParticle
Words in sentence/人話

 

Particle 啦 [laa1] is used to soften an imperative sentence(祈使句).  To learn more about particle 啦 [laa1], please refer to Unit 7 Lesson 3.

nei5 jau5 mou5 loeng4 sam1 gaa3?gong2 jan4 waa2 laa1!

你有冇良心㗎?講人話啦!

Do you have any conscience?  Speak sense!

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2Particle
True valueTrueFalseParticle
Words in sentence你有(良心)(你)冇良心

 

Particle(助詞)㗎 [gaa3] is the combination of 嘅 [ge3] and particle 啊 [aa3].  To learn more about particle 㗎 [gaa3], please refer to Unit 8 Lesson 12.

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence(良心)

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence(你)良心

 

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/VerbNounParticle
Words in sentence/人話

 

nei5 jau5 mou5 jan4 sing3 gaa3?gong2 jan4 waa2 laa1!

你有冇人性㗎?講人話啦!

Do you have any conscience?  Speak sense!

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2Particle
True valueTrueFalseParticle
Words in sentence你有(人性)(你)冇人性

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence(人性)

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence(你)人性

 

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/VerbNounParticle
Words in sentence/人話

 

nei5 m4 hou2 zoi3 maak3 daai6 ngaan5 gong2 daai6 waa6 laa3,gong2 faan1 jan4 waa2 laa1!

你唔好再擘大眼講大話喇,講翻人話啦!

Stop lying through your teeth and speak sense!

Composite sentences

Type of composite sentenceCompound sentences
ComponentsSentence 1Sentence 2
True valueFalseTrue
Words in sentence你唔好再擘大眼講大話喇講翻人話啦

 

Sentence 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounAdverbAuxiliary verbSentenceParticle
Words in sentence再擘大眼講大話

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative expressions in series
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Object
Part of speech/AdverbClauseNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence/擘大大話

 

Predicate 1 of the sentence

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

 

Sentence 2 of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speech/Verb; /NounParticle
Words in sentence/講; 翻人話

 

gam3 laang5 hyut3 ge3 je5 nei5 dou1 gong2 dak1 ceot1 ge2?nei5 gong2 faan1 jan4 waa2 laa1!

咁冷血嘅嘢你都講得出嘅?你講翻人話啦!

How can you say something as ruthless as that?  Speak sense!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicate
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounSentenceParticle
Words in sentence咁冷血嘅嘢你都講得出

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier咁冷血
Head

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate

 

Part of speechNounAdverbClause
Words in sentence講得出

 

Predicate of the sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Verb
Words in sentence/講; 得

 

Type of sentence structurePredicate-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObjectParticle
Part of speechNounVerb; /NounParticle
Words in sentence講; 翻人話

Reference

  1. 曾嘉欣(2018)。「鬼」字在香港粵語句子中的語法特性。香港。

That’s it for this lesson on Cantonese idiom 講人話 [gong2 jan4 waa2]!  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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