Friday, September 2, 2011

Basic Course: Lesson 17 Dialogue

What can you do? That’s the key question of this lesson. Check out the vocabulary here.

1 A: 我入得來嗎,陳先生? Ngoi yìp-ak löi ma, Chïn Lhing-Sang?
  B: 請入來喲。請坐,請坐,李先生。 Tīng yìp löi yi. Tīng tu, tīng tu, Lī Lhing-Sang.
  A: 好呀,好呀,陳先生。 Hō a, hō a, Chïn Lhing-Sang.
2 A: 你聽早翻唔翻得學呀? Ni hìng-dō fan m-fan-ak hòk a?
  B: 翻得,我聽早翻得學。 Fan-ak, ngoi hìng-dō fan-ak hòk.
3 A: 你一陣上唔上得堂呢? Ni yīt-jìn* siang m̈-siang-ak höng nē?
  B: 唔上得,我一陣唔上得堂。 M̈-siang-ak, ngoi yīt-jìn* m̈-siang-ak höng.
4 A: 你今晚去唔去得街呀? Ni gim-mạn hui m̈-hui-ak gại* a?
  B: 去得,我今晚去得街。 Hui-ak, ngoi gim-mạn hui-ak gại*.
5 A: 你聽早晚來唔來得我處呢? Ni hìng-dō-mạn* löi m̈-löi-ak ngoi chụi* nē?
  B: 唔來得,我聽早晚唔來得你處。 M̈-löi-ak, ngoi hìng-dō-mạn* m̈-löi-ak ni chụi*.
6 A: 你今日去得三籓市嗎? Ni gim-ngìt hui-ak Lham-Fän-Sị* ma?
  B: 去得,我今日去得三籓市。 Hui-ak, ngoi gim-ngìt hui-ak Lham-Fän-Sị*.
7 A: 佢後日翻得工嗎? Kui hạu-ngìt fan-ak gung ma?
  B: 唔翻得,佢後日唔翻得工。 M̈-fan-ak, kui hạu-ngìt m̈-fan-ak gung.
8 A: 嚀個病人昨日朝頭早起得身嗎? Nịng gwoi bìang-ngïn dọng-ngìt jiau-häu-dō hī-ak sin ma?
  B: 起得,嚀個病人昨日朝頭早起得身。 Hī-ak, nịng gwoi bìang-ngïn dọng-ngìt jiau-häu-dō hī-ak sin.
9 A: 嚀個病人昨晚瞓得嗎? Nịng gwoi bìang-ngïn dòk-mạn* fun-ak ma?
  B: 唔瞓得,嚀個病人昨晚唔瞓得。 M̈-fun-ak, nịng gwoi bìang-ngïn dòk-mạn* m̈-fun-ak.
10 A: 我該樣做,得嗎? Ngoi kwọ-yịang* du, dak ma?
  B: 得,你該樣做得。 Dak, ni kwọ-yịang* du-ak.
  A: 佢該樣做,得唔得呀? Kui kwọ-yịang* du, dak-m̈-dak a?
  B: 唔得,佢該樣做,唔得。 M̈-dak, kui kwọ-yịang* du, m̈-dak.

The main grammar point is with the word 得 ak/āk/dak. This word generally expresses deontic modality. (You don’t have to know what “deontic modality” means, I’ve just never been able to use those words in writing!) In short, it corresponds to English expressions of ability, including can, be able and may.

得 ak

When modifying a verb, 得 is pronounced ak or sometimes āk. In this sense, 得 ak is similar to the English “can” or “may” as in, 翻得 fan-ak “can go,” 上得 “can attend,” 去得 hui-ak “can go,” 來得 löi-ak “can come,” 起得 hī-ak “can get up,” 瞓得 fun-ak “can sleep.”

The word 得 immediately follows the verb. When the verb has two components, such as 入來 yìp-löi or 瞓覺 fun-gau, then 得 intervenes between them, so you would get 入得來 yìp-ak-löi and 瞓得覺 fun-ak-gau.

When you want to say “cannot,” you should put 唔 before the entire phrase, so 唔去得 m̈-hui-ak “cannot go” or 唔瞓得 m̈-fun-ak “cannot sleep.”

When asking a yes-or-no question (or rather, an “A-唔-A question”), you place 得 after the last verb, so: 翻唔翻得 fan-m̈-fan-ak or 瞓唔瞓得 fun-m̈-fun-ak. The proper response to an A-唔-A question is A得 or 唔A得.

得 dak

When 得 stands on its own, unassociated with a verb, it’s pronounced as dak. The meaning also changes to one of general ability, and can even be translated as “okay” or “alright.” In sentence 10, the first question could be translated as either “Can I do it this way?” or “Is it okay that I do it this way?” or even “I do it this way, alright?”

At least, that’s how I understand this word. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

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