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Home > Useful Information > Useful Cantonese Phrases Life is short; let's living / study abroad!


Useful Cantonese Phrases


Here are some useful Cantonese phrases for your survival in Hong Kong. Chinese language is one of the hardest languages to learn in the world (because of its flexibility, which is a nice feature); and Cantonese is the hardest of the hardest. It is mostly because Cantonese has 9 tones and the same pronunciation with different tones (or even the same tone!) may means something totally different. 

Since I am not a phonetic expert, I can only think of using musical tones for advising purpose. Thus, for example, 'Thank you' in Cantonese is 多謝 doh jeh, and it will be presented here as doh(s) jeh(m). In which, (s) = so; and (m) = mi. Therefore, you would pronounce the Cantonese word like when you are singing. You may also find this little help in other sections of the site.

Hints, (d) = do (r) = re(m) = mi (f) = fa (s) = so (l) = la (t) = ti

I am so shocked why all the giant publishers in the world would never think of any way to improve their phrase book or something on the part of the tones. My friends and I had a very hard time using those books in China and they were simply useless because of the problem brought about by the tones - no one knew what we were saying even when we got the pronunciation correct.

Try to make a friend with a local student if you are looking for a Cantonese / Mandarin teacher. I am not capable for that :-)

Everything in this table is based on my knowledge of the Cantonese language. So it is not anything 'official'. I doubt about the official pronunciation all the times by the way as they sound very strange in many cases. On the other hand, many foreigners have tried using my creation and they were understood by the locals.

It may not be political correct to talk about the Cantonese bad words, but I believe its critical to know it so you would understand when the locals are being rude to you - though it wouldn't happen 99% of the time.

You need Windows Media Player to play the demo. (Download Word file)

English

Cantonese Demo

 Yes

  hai(m)

Speaker

 No

 唔係 m(d) hai(m)

 Thank you

 多謝 dor(s) jeh(m)

 Please

 唔該 m(d) goi(s)

 Sorry

 對唔住 dui(f) m(d) cui (m)

 Hello

 你好 nei(f) ho(s)

 See you

 再見 joi(f) gin(f)

 Good morning

 早晨 joe(s) son(d)

 Good afternoon

 午安 nmm(f) on(s)

 Good evening

 晚安 mount(f) on(s)

 I don't understand

 唔明 m(d) ming(d)

 I / Me

  ngoh(f)

 You

  nei(f)

 How are you

 你好嗎 nei(f) ho(s) ma(s)

 Good / Fine

  ho(s)

 No good

 唔好 m(d) ho(s)

 Restroom / Bathroom

 洗手間 sai(s) sau(s) gaan(s)

 Zero

  ling(d)

 One

  yat(s)

 Two

  yee(m)

 Three

  saam(l)

 Four

  sai(f)

 Five

  ng(f)

 Six

  luk(m)

 Seven

  chut(l)

 Eight

  baak(f)

 Nine

  gau(s)

 Ten

  sup(m)

 Eleven

  + sup(m) yat(s)

 Twenty

  + yee(m) sup(m)

 Twenty one

  + + yee(m) sup(m) yat(s)

 Hundred

 () bark(f)

 Thousand

 () chin(s)

 10 Thousands

 () mount(m)

 How much

 幾多錢 gei(f) doh(s) chin(s)

 Credit card

 信用咭 shun(f) yung(m) ka(s)

 The bill / check

 埋單 maai(d) daan(s)

 Beer

 啤酒 beh(s) jau(s)

 Water

  shui(s)

 Coke

 可樂 hall(s) loc(m)

 Train + Station

 火車 + foh(s) che(s) + jaam(m)

 Underground / Subway

 地鐵 dei(m) tit(f)

 Dorm / Residence

 宿舍 shuk(s) shair(f)

 Left

  jor(s)

 Right

  yau(m)

 

(Use the words below with caution!)

 

 Fuck + You

 diu(s) + nei(f)

 Pussy

 hai(s)

 Penis

 gau(s) / nung(s)

 Mother Fucker

 diu(s) nei(f) lo(f) mo(s)

 Suck My Dick

 hum(d) nung(s)

 Idiot / Dickhead

 chut(m) / on (m) gau(s) czai(s)

 Dickface

 nung(s) yeung(s)

 Shit / Fuck off / Drop dead

 poke(s) guy(s)

 Bastard

 hum(m) ga(s) chang(s)


Anyway, there is a illustration-phrasebook that I have bought from a bookstore here. It's very useful. Just US$15 and you have about 10,000 words with illustrations in 5 different languages! Chinese, Japanese, German, French and English! The publisher is DK - Dorling Kindersley.

Cantonese and English language programs for ethnic minority

Caritas HK - 21475988, 27413767, 24430328
HK Family Welfare Society - 24269621
HK SKH Lady MacLehose Centre - 24235064



Last updated: August, 2017 (Version 6.0); since January 01, 2007
Best viewed in 1024 x 768 resolution; IE 11 / Safari / Chrome / Firefox - By Lorencio H M Shiu; all rights reserved MMVII - MMXVII
       
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