Eh, eh & eh! 欸
āi : ê(2) / ê(3)
When I was younger, I was mystified as to why my parents kept on adding this 'eh' sound to every other word when they were speaking Hakka. "... Yinguêd loiyeh... tai moiyeh... laiyeh... suneh..." After about 12 years I finally found out the answer in the 4-way dictionary I bought in Moiyan!
Common uses of 欸
1. To indicate a finished action, pronounced ê(2):
佢话 gi(2) va(4) - s/he says
佢话欸 gi(2) va(4) ê(2) - s/he said
佢到 gi(2) dau(4) - s/he arrives
佢到欸 gi(2) dau(4) ê(2) - s/he arrived
Similar to the use of 了 le in Standard (Mandarin) Chinese.
2. Often used to 'complete' a noun, pronounced ê(3):
狗欸 gêu(3) ê(3) - dog
杯欸 bi(1) ê(3) - cup
Similar to the use of 子 zi in Standard (Mandarin) Chinese.
3. Meaning 'this', pronounced ê(3):
欸只碗 ê(3) zag(5) von(3) - this bowl
Similar to the use of 这 zhè in Standard (Mandarin) Chinese.