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Lesson 1: Hái Jūnggwok Jūngsān Daaihhohk ge1 ge
The particle *ge* indicates that what precedes it modifies what follows it--here, ' a university cafeteria.' The modifying element can be a simple noun or a complex clause. *Ge* is commonly used to indicate possession but is sometimes deleted---especially when the modification relationship is clear or when what is being modified is a person, such as *ngóh a-màh* 'my grandmother' in this lesson.
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Haauhyùhn Chāantēng


(Lòh Ōn-Nèih heui haauhyùhn chāantēng sihkfaahn, pungdou lóuhpàhngyáuh Chàhn GitmìhngPlay Video
.)
.)
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Lòh2 Lòh
Surnames precede given names in Chinese. Titles, when present, follow the whole name. What we call the last name in English comes first in Chinese. To avoid confusion, we will use the terms 'family name' or 'surname' and 'given name.'
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: Ah, A3 A
In Cantonese the affix *a-* is often attached to a given name and sometimes to a surname to show familiarity. Notice that later in the dialogue *a-* is also attached to the word for grandmother. Sometimes, *síu* 'small' or *lóuh* 'old' is used for a similar purpose with friends names, but *síu* and *lóuh* are more common in Northern Chinese. Also, use of the given name alone is more intimate than its counterpart in English and is usually reserved for close friends. Often the full name (surname and given name together) is used with peers (such as classmates and co-workers) who are casual acquaintances.
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-Mìhng, haih néih ā4 haih néih ā
The basic sentence in Cantonese is Subject-Verb-Object. In this sentence, the subject is omitted, as it frequently is when that subject is obvious or redundent.
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. Néih dōu lèih sihkfaahn.5 sihkfaahn.
Literally 'to eat rice.' This is a common type of verb phrase in Cantonese. Many transitive verbs (those that need an object) take a generic object when no other is present. Thus, 'to eat' is rendered as 'eat-rice' when it is used generically (or of course, when it is in fact rice). *Faahn* 'rice' is dropped when an object is present (for example, *sihkmihn* 'eat noodles').
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Chàhn: Ah, Ōn-Nèih, haih néih ā6 ā
One of the distinctive features of Cantonese (as well as other varieties of Chinese) is its use of final particles (sometimes called modal particles). These can be question markers, or serve to indicate the mood of the utterances or the commitment that the speaker has to a statement.

Final particles in this lesson are:
ā enthusiasm
a question particle, or softening of statement (note tone difference
with previous particle)
nē continuation of topic, 'and ...?'
ma question particle, makes a statement a question
lō seeking agreement, settlement, etc.


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. Hóu noih m̀hgin ā, néih hóu7 hóu
Cantonese has what are often referred to as 'stative verbs'; words that can be used as adjectives and can also serve as main verbs (i.e., predicates). In this phrase *hóu* means 'to be well' and there is no need for a seperate 'to be' verb as is required in English. In other contexts *hóu* can mean 'very,' 'good,' 'fine,' or 'O.K.' The specific use and function of each form is determined largely by its position in the sentence.
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ma?
Lòh: Ngóh hóu hóu, dòjeh. Néih 8
The particle *nē* is used to continue a thread in the discourse, indicating how that which directly precedes *nē* relates to the previous topic. In this case, 'speaking of doing well, how do you fare?' Or, simply, 'how about you?'
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?
Chàhn : Géi hóu, jauhhaih hóu mòhng. Néih bàhbā màhmā hóu ma9 ma
There are several ways to form questions in Cantonese. Two of the most common methods are found in this dialogue. In this sentence, the final particle *ma* is attached to a statement to form a question.
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?
Lòh: Kéuihdeih dōu hóu. Hahgo sìngkèih, kéuihdeih heui Faatgwok tái ngóh10 ngóh
Cantonese has no case markings--that is, the same word is used whether it functions as a subject, object, possesive, etc. For example, depending on its placement in the sentence, *ngóh* can mean 'I,' 'me,' or 'my.'
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a-màh.
Ou, A-Mìhng, ngóh yáuh yāt go11 go
Like many Asian languages, Cantonese has classifiers (CL). Classifiers precede nouns when either a number or a specifier (e.g., 'this' or 'that' ) is part of the phrase: Number/ Specifier + Classifier + Noun. In this phrase *yāt + go + pàhngyáuh* 'One + Classifier (for humans and other nouns) + friend.' Every noun in Cantonese has an associated classifier which relates to the inherent nature of the noun, although often
abstractly. There are numerous classifers in Cantonese. Some examples are as follows:

Jēung: for open, flat objects such as maps, paper, and tables.
Bún for bound things such as books.
Tìuh: for long, thin objects such as string, roads, etc.
Jī: for writing instruments such as pens, pencils, writing brushes.

We will deal with classifers more in later lessons.
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pàhngyáuh giu Làhm Yèuhng-Jí, haih
Yahtbúnyàhn. Kéuih dōu hohk ngoihyúh. Néih séung m̀hséung12 séung m̀hséung
In addition to the *ma* question form , Cantonese also has what are called choice questions. These types of questions are formed by combining the affirmative and negative forms of the verb. For example, *séung m̀hséung* in this sentence can mean 'do you want [it or some]?' (lit. 'want-not want'). The response can be either *séung* 'want to' or *m̀hséung* 'not want to.' Optionally, choice question sentences can take the final particle *a*.
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sīkdāk kéuih a?
Chàhn: Hóu ā. Kéuih haih m̀hhaih hohksāang a?
Lòh: Haih. Kéuih hohk Jūngmàhn. Tīngyaht ngóh tùhng néihdeih13 tùhng néihdeih
This type of construction --called a 'coverbial phrase'--- is common in Cantonese. A coverbial phrase usually comes before the main verb and often corresponds to the prepositional phase in English (in fact, some grammarians use the term "prepositional phrase" to refer to the Chinese coverbial phrase). This sentence, then, is literally rendered as:
'Tomorrow I for you-pl (or with you-pl) introduce...' or more naturally as 'I will introduce you tomorrow...'
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gaaisiuh, hóu ma?
Chàhn: Hóu ā! Ōn-Nèih, ngóhdeih yātchàih sihkfaahn 14
This particle indicates that the speaker is seeking agreement or a settlement. Here Chan Git-Ming is seeking agreement concerning lunch.
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! Juhng hóyíh kìngháhgái15 kìngháhgái
Means 'to chat a bit.' The base form of the word is *kìnggái*. The affix *háh* is a common way to express a more casual or diminished sense of the action expressed by the verb, often translated into English as 'a little.' *Háh* is usually affixed to the end of the verb, except in the case of a few two-syllable verbs, such as the one in this sentence, where it is placed within the word
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tìm, dím a?
Lòh: Hóu ā. Gó jèung16 jèung
Classifier for flat things.
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tòih dím a?
Chàhn: M̀hcho, ngóhdeih yātchàih gwoheui.

____________Additional Notes____________
This lesson with Chinese Characters This lesson with Chinese Characters
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[ Conventions and Grammatical Terms17 Conventions and Grammatical Terms

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| Particles18 Particles

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| Greetings19 Greetings
Chinese people often greet one another by stating the obvious, as in the first exchange of this dialogue: * haih néih ā* 'It's you!' or *Néih dōu lèihsihkfaahn* 'You've come to eat.' As part of a greeting a person might also note that you are going to class or work, getting on a bus, or that you are eating. Although these greetings sound a little odd to the non-Chinese ear, they are conventional, similar to an English speaker asking 'how are you?' when we usually do not expect a real response.
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| Variation Notes20 Variation Notes

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]



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Copyright 1995-2017 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Used under license, see https://languagecanvas.com

 

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  1. ge

    The particle *ge* indicates that what precedes it modifies what follows it--here, ' a university cafeteria.' The modifying element can be a simple noun or a complex clause. *Ge* is commonly used to indicate possession but is sometimes deleted---especially when the modification relationship is clear or when what is being modified is a person, such as *ngóh a-màh* 'my grandmother' in this lesson.

  2. Lòh

    Surnames precede given names in Chinese. Titles, when present, follow the whole name. What we call the last name in English comes first in Chinese. To avoid confusion, we will use the terms 'family name' or 'surname' and 'given name.'

  3. A

    In Cantonese the affix *a-* is often attached to a given name and sometimes to a surname to show familiarity. Notice that later in the dialogue *a-* is also attached to the word for grandmother. Sometimes, *síu* 'small' or *lóuh* 'old' is used for a similar purpose with friends names, but *síu* and *lóuh* are more common in Northern Chinese. Also, use of the given name alone is more intimate than its counterpart in English and is usually reserved for close friends. Often the full name (surname and given name together) is used with peers (such as classmates and co-workers) who are casual acquaintances.

  4. haih néih ā

    The basic sentence in Cantonese is Subject-Verb-Object. In this sentence, the subject is omitted, as it frequently is when that subject is obvious or redundent.

  5. sihkfaahn.

    Literally 'to eat rice.' This is a common type of verb phrase in Cantonese. Many transitive verbs (those that need an object) take a generic object when no other is present. Thus, 'to eat' is rendered as 'eat-rice' when it is used generically (or of course, when it is in fact rice). *Faahn* 'rice' is dropped when an object is present (for example, *sihkmihn* 'eat noodles').

  6. ā

    One of the distinctive features of Cantonese (as well as other varieties of Chinese) is its use of final particles (sometimes called modal particles). These can be question markers, or serve to indicate the mood of the utterances or the commitment that the speaker has to a statement.

    Final particles in this lesson are:
    ā enthusiasm
    a question particle, or softening of statement (note tone difference
    with previous particle)
    nē continuation of topic, 'and ...?'
    ma question particle, makes a statement a question
    lō seeking agreement, settlement, etc.


  7. hóu

    Cantonese has what are often referred to as 'stative verbs'; words that can be used as adjectives and can also serve as main verbs (i.e., predicates). In this phrase *hóu* means 'to be well' and there is no need for a seperate 'to be' verb as is required in English. In other contexts *hóu* can mean 'very,' 'good,' 'fine,' or 'O.K.' The specific use and function of each form is determined largely by its position in the sentence.

  8. The particle *nē* is used to continue a thread in the discourse, indicating how that which directly precedes *nē* relates to the previous topic. In this case, 'speaking of doing well, how do you fare?' Or, simply, 'how about you?'

  9. ma

    There are several ways to form questions in Cantonese. Two of the most common methods are found in this dialogue. In this sentence, the final particle *ma* is attached to a statement to form a question.

  10. ngóh

    Cantonese has no case markings--that is, the same word is used whether it functions as a subject, object, possesive, etc. For example, depending on its placement in the sentence, *ngóh* can mean 'I,' 'me,' or 'my.'

  11. go

    Like many Asian languages, Cantonese has classifiers (CL). Classifiers precede nouns when either a number or a specifier (e.g., 'this' or 'that' ) is part of the phrase: Number/ Specifier + Classifier + Noun. In this phrase *yāt + go + pàhngyáuh* 'One + Classifier (for humans and other nouns) + friend.' Every noun in Cantonese has an associated classifier which relates to the inherent nature of the noun, although often
    abstractly. There are numerous classifers in Cantonese. Some examples are as follows:

    Jēung: for open, flat objects such as maps, paper, and tables.
    Bún for bound things such as books.
    Tìuh: for long, thin objects such as string, roads, etc.
    Jī: for writing instruments such as pens, pencils, writing brushes.

    We will deal with classifers more in later lessons.

  12. séung m̀hséung

    In addition to the *ma* question form , Cantonese also has what are called choice questions. These types of questions are formed by combining the affirmative and negative forms of the verb. For example, *séung m̀hséung* in this sentence can mean 'do you want [it or some]?' (lit. 'want-not want'). The response can be either *séung* 'want to' or *m̀hséung* 'not want to.' Optionally, choice question sentences can take the final particle *a*.

  13. tùhng néihdeih

    This type of construction --called a 'coverbial phrase'--- is common in Cantonese. A coverbial phrase usually comes before the main verb and often corresponds to the prepositional phase in English (in fact, some grammarians use the term "prepositional phrase" to refer to the Chinese coverbial phrase). This sentence, then, is literally rendered as:
    'Tomorrow I for you-pl (or with you-pl) introduce...' or more naturally as 'I will introduce you tomorrow...'

  14. This particle indicates that the speaker is seeking agreement or a settlement. Here Chan Git-Ming is seeking agreement concerning lunch.

  15. kìngháhgái

    Means 'to chat a bit.' The base form of the word is *kìnggái*. The affix *háh* is a common way to express a more casual or diminished sense of the action expressed by the verb, often translated into English as 'a little.' *Háh* is usually affixed to the end of the verb, except in the case of a few two-syllable verbs, such as the one in this sentence, where it is placed within the word

  16. jèung

    Classifier for flat things.

  17. Conventions and Grammatical Terms

  18. Particles

  19. Greetings

    Chinese people often greet one another by stating the obvious, as in the first exchange of this dialogue: * haih néih ā* 'It's you!' or *Néih dōu lèihsihkfaahn* 'You've come to eat.' As part of a greeting a person might also note that you are going to class or work, getting on a bus, or that you are eating. Although these greetings sound a little odd to the non-Chinese ear, they are conventional, similar to an English speaker asking 'how are you?' when we usually do not expect a real response.

  20. Variation Notes

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Cantonese: Word View, click below to listen
Lesson 1: Hái Jūnggwok Jūngsān Daaihhohkge Haauhyùhn Chāantēng


(Lòh Ōn-Nèih heui haauhyùhn chāantēng sihkfaahn, pungdou lóuhpàhngyáuh Chàhn GitmìhngPlay Video
.)

Lòh: Ah, A-Mìhng, haih néih ā. Néih dōu lèih sihkfaahn.
Chàhn: Ah, Ōn-Nèih, haih néih ā. Hóu noih m̀hgin ā, néih hóu ma?
Lòh: Ngóh hóu hóu, dòjeh. Néih ?
Chàhn : Géi hóu, jauhhaih hóu mòhng. Néih bàhbā màhmā hóu ma?
Lòh: Kéuihdeih dōu hóu. Hahgo sìngkèih, kéuihdeih heui Faatgwok tái ngóh a-màh.
Ou, A-Mìhng, ngóh yáuh yātgo pàhngyáuh giu Làhm Yèuhng-Jí, haih
Yahtbúnyàhn. Kéuih dōu hohk ngoihyúh. Néih séung m̀hséung sīkdāk kéuih a?
Chàhn: Hóu ā. Kéuih haih m̀hhaih hohksāang a?
Lòh: Haih. Kéuih hohk Jūngmàhn. Tīngyaht ngóh tùhng néihdeih gaaisiuh, hóu ma?
Chàhn: Hóu ā! Ōn-Nèih, ngóhdeih yātchàih sihkfaahn ! Juhng hóyíh kìngháhgái
tìm, dím a?
Lòh: Hóu ā. Gójèung tòih dím a?
Chàhn: M̀hcho, ngóhdeih yātchàih gwoheui.

____________Additional Notes____________
This lesson with Chinese Characters
[Conventions and Grammatical Terms | Particles | Greetings | Variation Notes ]



We welcome your feedback on these lessons. If you would like to use exercises for each lesson such as Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blank, and Listening Dictation that keep track of your score and progress ad-free, subscribe to this course today!
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Copyright 1995-2017 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Used under license, see https://languagecanvas.com

Cantonese: Sentence View, click below to listen
Lesson 1: Hái Jūnggwok Jūngsān Daaihhohkge Haauhyùhn Chāantēng


(Lòh Ōn-Nèih heui haauhyùhn chāantēng sihkfaahn, pungdou lóuhpàhngyáuh Chàhn GitmìhngPlay Video
.)

Lòh: Ah, A-Mìhng, haih néih ā. Néih dōu lèih sihkfaahn.
Chàhn: Ah, Ōn-Nèih, haih néih ā. Hóu noih m̀hgin ā, néih hóu ma?
Lòh: Ngóh hóu hóu, dòjeh. Néih nē?
Chàhn : Géi hóu, jauhhaih hóu mòhng. Néih bàhbā màhmā hóu ma?
Lòh: Kéuihdeih dōu hóu. Hahgo sìngkèih, kéuihdeih heui Faatgwok tái ngóh a-màh.
Ou, A-Mìhng, ngóh yáuh yātgo pàhngyáuh giu Làhm Yèuhng-Jí, haih Yahtbúnyàhn. Kéuih dōu hohk ngoihyúh. Néih séung m̀hséung sīkdāk kéuih a?
Chàhn: Hóu ā. Kéuih haih m̀hhaih hohksāang a?
Lòh: Haih. Kéuih hohk Jūngmàhn. Tīngyaht ngóh tùhng néihdeih gaaisiuh, hóu ma?
Chàhn: Hóu ā! Ōn-Nèih, ngóhdeih yātchàih sihkfaahn lō! Juhng hóyíh kìngháhgái tìm, dím a?
Lòh: Hóu ā. Gójèung tòih dím a?
Chàhn: M̀hcho, ngóhdeih yātchàih gwoheui.

____________Additional Notes____________
This lesson with Chinese Characters
[Conventions and Grammatical Terms | Particles | Greetings | Variation Notes ]



We welcome your feedback on these lessons. If you would like to use exercises for each lesson such as Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blank, and Listening Dictation that keep track of your score and progress ad-free, subscribe to this course today!
Follow us on: Facebook Twitter

Copyright 1995-2017 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Used under license, see https://languagecanvas.com

American English: Word View, click below to listen
Lesson 1: Hái Jūnggwok Jūngsān Daaihhohkge Haauhyùhn Chāantēng


(Lòh Ōn-Nèih heui haauhyùhn chāantēng sihkfaahn, pungdou lóuhpàhngyáuh Chàhn GitmìhngPlay Video
.)

Lòh: Ah, A-Mìhng, haih néih ā. Néih dōu lèih sihkfaahn.
Chàhn: Ah, Ōn-Nèih, haih néih ā. Hóu noih m̀hgin ā, néih hóu ma?
Lòh: Ngóh hóu hóu, dòjeh. Néih ?
Chàhn : Géi hóu, jauhhaih hóu mòhng. Néih bàhbā màhmā hóu ma?
Lòh: Kéuihdeih dōu hóu. Hahgo sìngkèih, kéuihdeih heui Faatgwok tái ngóh a-màh.
Ou, A-Mìhng, ngóh yáuh yātgo pàhngyáuh giu Làhm Yèuhng-Jí, haih
Yahtbúnyàhn. Kéuih dōu hohk ngoihyúh. Néih séung m̀hséung sīkdāk kéuih a?
Chàhn: Hóu ā. Kéuih haih m̀hhaih hohksāang a?
Lòh: Haih. Kéuih hohk Jūngmàhn. Tīngyaht ngóh tùhng néihdeih gaaisiuh, hóu ma?
Chàhn: Hóu ā! Ōn-Nèih, ngóhdeih yātchàih sihkfaahn ! Juhng hóyíh kìngháhgái
tìm, dím a?
Lòh: Hóu ā. Gójèung tòih dím a?
Chàhn: M̀hcho, ngóhdeih yātchàih gwoheui.

____________Additional Notes____________
This lesson with Chinese Characters
[Conventions and Grammatical Terms | Particles | Greetings | Variation Notes ]



We welcome your feedback on these lessons. If you would like to use exercises for each lesson such as Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blank, and Listening Dictation that keep track of your score and progress ad-free, subscribe to this course today!
Follow us on: Facebook Twitter

Copyright 1995-2017 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Used under license, see https://languagecanvas.com

American English: Sentence View, click below to listen
Lesson 1: Hái Jūnggwok Jūngsān Daaihhohkge Haauhyùhn Chāantēng


(Lòh Ōn-Nèih heui haauhyùhn chāantēng sihkfaahn, pungdou lóuhpàhngyáuh Chàhn GitmìhngPlay Video
.)

Lòh: Ah, A-Mìhng, haih néih ā. Néih dōu lèih sihkfaahn.
Chàhn: Ah, Ōn-Nèih, haih néih ā. Hóu noih m̀hgin ā, néih hóu ma?
Lòh: Ngóh hóu hóu, dòjeh. Néih nē?
Chàhn : Géi hóu, jauhhaih hóu mòhng. Néih bàhbā màhmā hóu ma?
Lòh: Kéuihdeih dōu hóu. Hahgo sìngkèih, kéuihdeih heui Faatgwok tái ngóh a-màh.
Ou, A-Mìhng, ngóh yáuh yātgo pàhngyáuh giu Làhm Yèuhng-Jí, haih Yahtbúnyàhn. Kéuih dōu hohk ngoihyúh. Néih séung m̀hséung sīkdāk kéuih a?
Chàhn: Hóu ā. Kéuih haih m̀hhaih hohksāang a?
Lòh: Haih. Kéuih hohk Jūngmàhn. Tīngyaht ngóh tùhng néihdeih gaaisiuh, hóu ma?
Chàhn: Hóu ā! Ōn-Nèih, ngóhdeih yātchàih sihkfaahn lō! Juhng hóyíh kìngháhgái tìm, dím a?
Lòh: Hóu ā. Gójèung tòih dím a?
Chàhn: M̀hcho, ngóhdeih yātchàih gwoheui.

____________Additional Notes____________
This lesson with Chinese Characters
[Conventions and Grammatical Terms | Particles | Greetings | Variation Notes ]



We welcome your feedback on these lessons. If you would like to use exercises for each lesson such as Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blank, and Listening Dictation that keep track of your score and progress ad-free, subscribe to this course today!
Follow us on: Facebook Twitter

Copyright 1995-2017 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona. Used under license, see https://languagecanvas.com