Remember Hong Kong

Remember the heroic deed of the brave sacrificed themselves in The Battle of Hong Kong.

U9L1 Pivotal construction(兼語式)

 

In this Cantonese grammar lesson, pivotal construction(兼語式)will be introduced.  Basically, pivotal construction is created by connecting a sentence in predicative-object(謂賓式)with a sentence in subject-predicative(主謂式)or in predicative-object again.  The noun that serves as the object of the first predicate and the subject of the second predicate is called pivot(兼語).

Combination patterns of pivotal construction

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Predicative-object(謂賓式)+ Subject-predicative(主謂式)

 

Predicative-object(謂賓式)+ Predicative-object(謂賓式)

 

The following are the usages of pivotal construction.

Usages of pivotal construction

Usage 1To express that the second predicate is the result or the possible result of the first predicate.
Usage 2To express that the second predicate is the reason for the action of the first predicate to happen.
Usage 3To emphasize a noun as the actor of an action by using 係[hai6]
Usage 4To insert indefinite reference on a noun by using 有[jau5]

Usage 1

Pivotal construction can be used to express that the second predicate is the result or the possible result of the first predicate.

lou5 baan2 pai1 zeon2 ngo5 fong3 gaa3

老闆批准我放假。

My boss grants my leave.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerb
Words in sentence老闆批准放假

 

soeng6 si1 bik1 ngo5 ci4 zik1

上司逼我辭職。

My supervisor forces me to quit.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence上司

 

ngo5 neoi5 pang4 jau5 fan1 fu3 ngo5 maai5 sau2 seon3

我女朋友吩咐我買手信。

My girlfriend asks me to buy souvenirs.

 

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence我女朋友吩咐手信

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head女朋友

 

aa3 maa1 giu3 gung1 jan4 zyu2 faan6

阿媽叫工人煮飯。

My mum asks the helper to cook the meal.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence阿媽工人

 

aa3 maa1 sai2 aa3 baa4 gaau3 ngo5 zou6 gung1 fo3

阿媽使阿爸教我做功課。

My mum makes my dad teach me to do homework.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePivotalPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence阿媽使阿爸功課

 

baan1 zyu2 jam6 hyun3 ngo5 nou5 lik6 duk6 syu1

班主任勸我努力讀書。

My class teacher persuades me to study hard.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounAdverbVerbNoun
Words in sentence班主任努力

Usage 2

Pivotal construction can be used to indicate that the second predicate is the reason for the action of the first predicate to happen.

keoi5 dei6 haa1 ngo5 hai6 ai2 zai2

佢哋蝦我係矮仔。

They bully me as I am short.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence佢哋矮仔

 

ngo5 zaan3 keoi5 zou6 je5 hou2 kan4 lik6

我讚佢做嘢好勤力。

I applaud him as he is hard-working.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence佢哋矮仔

 

ngo5 lou5 baan2 naau6 ngo5 seng4 jat6 se4 wong4

我老闆鬧我成日蛇王。

My boss scolded me for always working sloppily.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounVerbNounNounVerb
Words in sentence我老闆成日蛇王

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head老闆

 

ngo5 neoi5 pang4 jau5 jan1 soeng2 ngo5 jau5 soeng6 zeon3 sam1

我女朋友欣賞我有上進心。

My girlfriend appreciates that I am ambitious.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speechNounVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence我女朋友欣賞上進心

 

Subject of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head女朋友

Usage 3: Using 係[hai6] to emphasize the actor of an action

Other than being a linking verb(繫詞)that indicates the subject equal to the object, the verb 係[hai6] can also be used in pivotal construction(兼語式)to emphasize the pivot(兼語)as the actor of an action.

hai6 keoi5 sik6 zo2 go3 daan6 gou1

係佢食咗個蛋糕。

He is the one who has eaten the cake.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/個蛋糕

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head蛋糕

 

hai6 aa3 maa1 jung6 saai3 nei5 di1 cin2

係阿媽用晒你啲錢。

Mum is the one who has completely spent your money.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/阿媽你啲錢

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier你啲
Head

 

hai6 keoi5 gong2 zo2 daai6 waa6

係佢講咗大話。

He is the one who has told a lie.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/大話

 

hai6 go2 go3 ging1 gei2 bong1 ngo5 maai5 bou2 him2

係嗰個經紀幫我買保險。

That broker is the one who helps me buy insurance.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Object 2
Part of speech/VerbNounPrepositionNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence/嗰個經紀保險

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰個
Head經紀

 

hai6 ni1 go3 siu1 fong4 jun4 gau3 zo2 ngo5 dei6

係呢個消防員救咗我哋。

This firefighter is the one who saves us.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/呢個消防員我哋

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier呢個
Head消防員

Emphasize negation

You can also emphasize the pivot is not the actor of an action by negating with adverb(副詞)唔[m4].

m4 hai6 ngo5 tau1 nei5 go3 ngan4 baau1 。

唔係我偷你個銀包。(我冇偷你個銀包)

I am not the one who has stolen your wallet.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speech/AdverbVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence/你個銀包

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier你個
Head銀包

 

m4 hai6 ngo5 daa2 keoi5

唔係我打佢。

I am not the one who has punched him.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speech/AdverbVerbNounVerbNoun
Words in sentence/

Usage 4: using 有[jau5] to indicate an indirect reference

In Unit 2 Lesson 13, you have learnt the difference between definite reference(確定指稱)and indefinite reference(不定指稱)and several ways to indicate the reference(指稱)of a noun.  In addition to using counter or subject and object to indicate the reference of a noun, you can also use the verb(動詞)有[jau5] in pivotal construction to indicate the pivot(兼語)possesses an indefinite reference(不定指稱).

jau5 di1 jan4 hou2 zung1 ji3 sik6 lau4 lin4

有啲人好中意食榴槤。

There are some people who like eating Durian.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotAdverbialPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNounAdverbAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence/啲人中意食榴槤

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

jau5 zek3 maau1 sei2 zo2

有隻貓死咗。

A cat has died.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePredicative suffix
Part of speech/VerbNounAdjectivePredicative suffix
Words in sentence/隻貓

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

jau5 si4 hau6 hoeng1 gong2 wui5 lok6 bou6 jyu5

有時候香港會落暴雨。

Sometimes Hong Kong will have heavy rain.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate
Part of speech/VerbNounSentence
Words in sentence/時候香港會落暴雨

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence香港落暴雨

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

jau5 jat1 jat6,ngo5 hai2 gaai1 dou6 zong6 gin3 keoi5

有一日,我喺街度撞見佢。

On a random day, I bumped into him on the street.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate
Part of speech/VerbNounSentence
Words in sentence/一日我喺街度撞見佢

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Predicate of that sentence
Type of sentence structurePredicative expression in series
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Object 2
Part of speechNounPrepositionNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence街度撞見

 

Predicate 2 of that sentence

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

 

Object 1 of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

jau5 go3 hoeng1 gong2 jan4 hai2 mei5 gwok3 bei2 jan4 laai1 zo2

有個香港人喺美國畀人拉咗。

A Hong Konger has been arrested in United States.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate 1Object 1Predicate 2Object 2Predicate 3Predicative suffix 3
Part of speech/VerbNounPrepositionNounPrepositionNounVerbPredicative suffix
Words in sentence/個香港人美國

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head香港人

 

jau5 tiu4 jau2 tau1 zo2 keoi5 bou6 din6 waa2

有條友偷咗佢部電話。

Someone has stolen his phone.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speech/VerbNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence/條友佢部電話

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier佢部
Head電話

 

jau5 go3 jan2 soeng2 gin3 nei5

有個人想見你。

Someone wants to see you.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNounAuxiliary VerbClause
Words in sentence/個人見你

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

jau5 baan1 jan4 soeng2 lo2 nei5 meng6

有班人想攞你命。

Some group of people want to kill you.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNounAuxiliary VerbClause
Words in sentence/班人攞你命

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Object of that sentence

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

 

Object of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

jau5 jat1 paai2 ngo5 hou2 m4 hoi1 sam1

有一排我好唔開心。

I was very upset for a while.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate
Part of speech/VerbNounSentence
Words in sentence/一排我好唔開心

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence好; 唔開心

 

jau5 jat1 ci3 bei2 coi3 ngo5 lo2 zo2 gun3 gwan1

有一次比賽我攞咗冠軍。

I have got the champion in a competition.

Type of sentence structurePivotal construction
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePivotPredicate
Part of speech/VerbNounSentence
Words in sentence/一次比賽我攞咗冠軍

 

Pivot of that sentence

Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier一次
Head比賽

 

Predicate of that sentence

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence冠軍

 

 

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 242-245, 248。

That’s it for this Cantonese grammar lesson!  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!

Leave a Reply

  • Newsletters

    Sign up and subscribe our newsletters for lessons and products update, promotional offers and giveaway

  • ×

    Cart

    Sign up and subscribe our newsletters for lessons and products update, promotional offers and giveaway