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I am reading a Cantonese statement: 我日日都開行冷氣。 What is the function of 行? For me, it would have been perfectly fine as 我日日都開冷氣。 As in, I turn on the a/c everyday.

Please give insights. Thanks

3 Answers 3

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「行」 here is certainly a sound-alike word of a forgotten character that means "vigorous/ fierce/ relentless" and pronounced as /haang4/

A better sound-alike word for this character is [恆] because 恆 has the meaning of 'constant' which is close to 'relentless' in meaning

For example:

  • 雨落得好[恆] = the rain come down [relentlessly]

  • 吹[恆]晒 = boast [vigorously]

  • 拖[恆]馬 = gather force [fiercely --> powerfully]

恆 might even be the correct character but I can't find this adverbial usage of 恆 in any dictionary. Maybe this usage of 恆 is too colloquial

There's also a possibility that the character /haang4/ here is a corrupted pronunciation of '狠' /han2/ which means: 1. ruthless; relentless; savage 2. resolutely; vigorously; severely

Example:

力度好[恆/狠]/haang4/ = the force is very [vigorous --> powerful]

衝勢好[恆/狠]/haang4/ = the momentum is very [savage --> powerful]

我日日都開[恆]冷氣 means: I turn my AC on [fiercely/ vigorously --> fully/ maximumly] every day

Edit:

I consulted an expert. The character is pronounced /hang4/ not /haang4/ Therefore the borrowed word is or , not 恆

From the expert's answer

All the 3 above Canto dictionaries lists out three identical definitions as follows:

(1) pulling straight; straining tight: 掹 [mang1] 衡條繩, 將條鐵線掹衡啲。

(2) swelling; inflated: 車呔泵得太衡, 個波唔夠衡。

(3) vigorously; relentlessly: 踩拫油, 個轆轉得好衡, 呢個牌子賣得好拫。

Notice: all three definitions above seem to link to "fully"

我日日都開冷氣 should be 我日日都開冷氣 or 我日日都開冷氣

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  • If I were to chose between 衡 or 拫, in the context of the topic in question, I would go for 衡 as it means more like the "weight" or "strength" in the measurement of something, thus closer to the "maximum setting" of the AC? Good to get an extra view on this because when we speak we may not consciously have the written form in mind all the time, especially in Cantonese which have so many near sounding words. Apr 13, 2022 at 11:15
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For me, it would have been perfectly fine as 我日日都開冷氣。

Not quite.

There is a difference between 我日日都開冷氣 & 我日日都開行冷氣.

The former simply says "I switch on the AC everyday", and the latter, "I switch on the AC everyday to its maximum setting", as we all know ACs have low, medium and high or maximum settings.

I agree with Tang Ho that the sentence meant 開恆 because 恆 and 行 are pronounced exactly the same in Cantonese.

So, 開行 or rather 開恆 means "switched on to the maximum" in the context of the sentence in question.

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我日日都開(部)冷氣。 => I turn on (the) a/c everyday.

我日日都開(部)冷氣。 => I run (the) a/c on max everyday.

我日日都開部冷氣行一行。 => I max out the a/c all the way everyday.

So its function is to emphasize the extreme power setting.

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