Linguistic features of MPC - Voice

項目符號 Preliminary observations from some recurring Mobile Phone Cantonese expressions:
項目符號 Some of the following expressions may also be found in normal telephone conversation. These expressions, however, tend to be more recurrent in mobile phone talk than in normal stationary phone calls. Therefore, when talking of new forms of language, we shall not only deal with new inventions but also consider new ways of using existing forms. Here, we present some preliminary observations and their characteristics.


項目符號 Request for information:
項目符號 Participants in a mobile phone conversation often ask for information on location, as shown in examples (1) and (2), and duration, as in example (3).  Another type of requests which mobile phone users may make from time to time is due to technical problems, presumably the problem with the reception of the mobile phone, such as example (4).

項目符號 Action in progress:
項目符號 One of the obvious features within the contents of mobile phone Cantonese is that most of these expressions denote actions in progress, particularly about the ‘mobility’ of the speaker.  These expressions are often marked by action verbs in progressive forms like daap3-gan2 ce1 (traveling on a vehicle’),  zau2-gan2 (leaving),  heoi3-gan2 (‘going’), as in examples (5), (6), and (7).


 Temporal - present progressive:

There is a high tendency of using the progressive marker gan2 and the adverb ji4-gaa1 ‘now’ to indicate the immediacy of the actions that are inferred in the conversation. This can be exemplified by examples (8), (9), (10), and (11).

項目符號 Locatives:
項目符號 There are high occurrences of words that denote locations, usually indicated by adverbials e.g. hai2 zim1-saa1-zeoi2 (‘in Tsim Sha Tsui’),  hai2 gong2 daai6 (‘in HKU’).  Speakers often give information such as their location in a particular street, or probably the location of the means of transportation they are using, as illustrated in (12), (13), and (14) below.

項目符號 Arrival Prediction:
項目符號 Very Often, a speaker will try to predict and indicate when or how long it will take for them to arrive at a certain destination from their current location or point in time. This type of mobile phone Cantonese is often marked by expressions like  zung6-jiu3 (‘still-need’) or zung6-jau5 (‘still-have’), plus an indication of time and space such as sap6 fan1 zung1 (‘ten minutes’) and loeng5 go3 zaam6 (‘two stations’). In addition, zau6 is often used as a marker of futurity in the context of this type of mobile phone Cantonese. These are shown in examples (15), (16), and (17)..


tThere is usually a lack of speaker identification since both the addresser and addressee are understood in the context of a mobile phone talk. Since the speakers are more identifiable in mobile phone communications, especially with the pervasive use of caller-display functions, opening expressions like the examples in (18) and  (19) are rarely found. The caller in a mobile phone conversation seldom asks for the identification of the intended addressee.



© 2001 Adams Bodomo. All Rights Reserved