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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi, everybody! Olivia here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Cantonese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What are the final particles?
Explanation
There are lots of final particles in Cantonese. The use of the particles is to modify the attitude of the speaker or the tone of the sentence. The common final particles are 呀(aa3), 㗎(gaa3), 啦(laa3), 咩(me1), 囉(lo1), etc.
Let's get into more details. Do you need to know all the final particles?
The “finale particles” in Cantonese are called 尾音 (mei2 jam1). You do not have to use all of the final particles, unless you fully understand the meaning and usage of them. The sentence may sound extremely strange or rude if you put the wrong tone or final particle at the end of the sentence. However being able to use final particles will make your Cantonese sound more fluent.
Why does it sound more natural when you use final particles?
The use of final particles can soften the tone of statements and add a sense of impatience, surprise, doubt, uncertainty or disapproval to the speaker's attitude. If you can master the correct usage of these final particles, your Cantonese definitely sounds more natural and fluent.
Let's compare a few sentences with and without the final particle. 佢返咗學 (keoi5 faan1 zo2 hok6) is a simple sentence meaning "He went to school". Now, let's add the final particle 啩 (gwaa3) to the sentence: 佢返咗學啩 (keoi5 faan1 zo2 hok6 gwaa3), it becomes "(I guess) he went to school (but I'm not completely sure)".
Another final particle that makes a big difference is 啫 (ze1), for example: 十蚊 means "10 dollars", and 十蚊啫 "(it's only) 10 dollars."
Besides paying attention to the correct usage of the final particle, using a different tone of the same particle will add a different meaning. For example, 得㗎! (dak1 gaa3!) means "OK, it will do!" But 得㗎? (dak1 gaa4?) means "Are you sure?" or "Really?"

Outro

How was it? Pretty interesting right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
"See you next time!", 下次見! (haa6 ci3 gin3!)

5 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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What Cantonese learning question do you have?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 04:05 AM
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Hi Hugh,


So glad that you find this topic interesting! 😉 Unfortunately, we don't have other lessons talking about the final particles, but there is a very useful online resource about it as well: https://cantonese.sheik.co.uk/essays/cantonese_particles.htm


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Hugh
Thursday at 12:06 PM
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Hi,


Are there other lessons on final particles? I'd like to spend a bit of time on them and this lesson is very short. A focus on the most used particles (as, laa etc.) would be super helpful!


Thanks,

Hugh

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:15 AM
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Hi Crag,


Thanks for your question.

咩 (me1) is used in questions showing surprise and disbelief, while 囉 (lo1) tells a conclusion that should be obvious. 👍


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Craig
Friday at 10:42 PM
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What are me1 and lo1 used for as final particles?