2nd Edition

Basic Cantonese A Grammar and Workbook

By Virginia Yip, Stephen Matthews Copyright 2017
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    190 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Basic Cantonese introduces the essentials of Cantonese grammar in a straightforward and systematic way.

    Each of the 28 units deals with a grammatical topic and provides associated exercises, designed to put grammar into a communicative context. Special attention is paid to topics which differ from English and European language structures.

    This new edition features:

    clear, accessible format

    • lively examples to illustrate each grammar point

    • informative keys to all exercises

    • glossary of grammatical terms

    Basic Cantonese is ideal for students new to the language. Together with its sister volume, Intermediate Cantonese, it forms a structured course of the essentials of Cantonese grammar.


    1 Consonants

    2 Vowels and diphthongs

    3 Tone

    4 Pronouns

    5 Possession: ge

    6 Possession and existence: yáuh

    7 Being: haih

    8 Noun classifiers

    9 Adjectives

    10 Adverbs of manner

    11 Adverbs of time, frequency and duration

    12 Comparison: gwo and

    13 Prepositions: space and time

    14 Negation

    15 Verbs of motion: heui and làih

    16 Verbs of giving: béi

    17 Verbs and particles

    18 Actions and events: and gwo

    19 Activities: gán and jyuh

    20 Auxiliary verbs

    21 Passives

    22 Word order and topicalization

    23 Yes/no questions

    24 Wh-questions

    25 Sentence particles

    26 Imperatives

    27 Requests and thanks

    28 Numbers, dates and times

    Key to exercises

    Glossary of grammatical terms


    Virginia Yip is Professor at the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Stephen Matthews is Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong. They are the authors of Cantonese: A Comprehensive Grammar (1994, 2nd edition 2011), The Bilingual Child: Early Development and Language Contact (2007, Cambridge University Press), and co-directors of the Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre.