Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ALESN Monday night Cantonese I Class Summary and Notes 4/8/19

Hi Everyone,

Finally, a week when I am sending out this email with a more reasonable timeframe for you all to consider and review.

This past Monday, we reviewed lesson 5's vocabulary and dialogue, then moved through the pronunciation points, the grammar points, and the drills. This put us in a position to begin lesson 6 next week. Yay!

Of particular note when reviewing lesson 5:
  • Please review all of the politeness terms and phrases in the vocabulary for this lesson. With the exception of the sentence final particle LEH5 (which I need to research), all of the vocabulary for this lesson is still very much in use everyday throughout the Cantonese speaking diaspora.
  • Remember the various ways that the guest attempted to politely decline the offers for cigarette, food and beverage before ultimately capitulating to all but one offer (the final offer declined with LEH5).
  • Pronunciation review: comparing and contrasting short and long vowel pronunciations for:
    • AI vs. AAI
    • ANG vs. AANG
    • AK vs. AAK (with explanation of the -K "stop tone" final sound and a review of -P, -T, and -K final stop tone consonants used in Cantonese, reminding you that they are not so much spoken as FELT)
    • AU vs. AAU
  • Politeness culture notes. I had elaborated on these concepts during your previous class, so we skilled this section in the book, but I recommend that you all read it and see how the book explains Cantonese host-guest politeness behaviors in polite society. Again, I recommend my Hong Kong friend Cecilie's Cantocourse Youtube spoof video entitled, "In Polite Society." I wrote about this last week in your email/blog entry and have mentioned it in class at least twice.
  • Grammar points:
    • LAAK3 as the sentence final particle LA3 with the added -K final stop tone sound for enthusiasm or liveliness. We discussed LA3 as a sentence final particle signifying change: The situation used to be this way (whatever "old way" the situation was), but now things have changed and it is this way LA3 (a "new situation," in whatever way the situation is now "new")
    • Sentence suffix LEH5: again, I need to research this and find out if it is still in use. I have never, to my knowledge, encountered this sentence final particle in my personal studies of Cantonese or during my 3 months in Hong Kong.
    • Sentence final particle LA1 for polite suggestion, softening what would otherwise be an order or even a "barked order." Please review the use of this particle in Lesson 5's dialogue and make sure you understand it.
    • The verb suffix/verb final particle HAH5, indicating casualness or TO DO THE VERY A LITTLE BIT. Most often used with SI3, TO TRY, as in "SI3 HAH5 LA1" "try a little bit," when offering food to a guest, etc. Can also be used with other verbs -- in particular with YAM2 and SIHK6, to drink and to eat, from Lesson 5. Drink a little bit; eat a little bit...
    • and finally, the use of YIU3 (TO WANT) as a helping verb meaning TO NEED TO DO ANOTHER VERB -- or MUST TO THAT VERB. The big example from the dialogue was "NGOH5 YIU3 JAU2 LA3." "I NEED to go." Not "I want to go," but rather, " I NEED to go." We pointed out that in question form, we can either ask "NEIH5 YIU3 MH4 YIU3 [VERB]?" or "NEIH5 SAI2 MH4 SAI2 [VERB]?" for "Do you NEED to [verb]?" -- but that SAI2 MH4 SAI2 [NEED NOT NEED][ TO DO A VERB]? might be the more common way to be very clear that we are asking, "Do you NEED to do this verb?" Please let me know if this is unclear and we can discuss at the beginning of next Monday's class.
  • DRILLS: We went through all of the various drills for Lesson 5, doing 2 or 3 examples from each drill. Everyone did very well with these and there didn't appear to be any questions or sticking points where students were struggling in any way.
I was very encouraged with everyone's pronunciation and tones this past Monday, and with everyone's apparently comprehension of the material. Assuming that your apparent comprehension was actual comprehension, we are definitely ready to begin lesson 6 next week.

Very best wishes to All and see everyone next Monday!

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