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LEARN CANTONESE 1

DIALOGUES AND VOCABULARY

by
ELIZABETH LATIMORE BOYLE, PAULINE NG DELBRIDGE
BRIAN KING

HANYU PRESS
TORONTO

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Table of Contents
1 Good Morning.........................................................................................................................................9
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................11
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................13
dialogue 1.1.....................................................................................................................................13
Good Morning, Mr Ho............................................................................................................... 13
dialogue 1.2.....................................................................................................................................14
Good Morning, Mr Chan........................................................................................................... 14
dialogue 1.3.....................................................................................................................................14
Good Morning, Miss Chan........................................................................................................ 14
dialogue 1.4.....................................................................................................................................15
Good Morning, Miss Cheung.....................................................................................................15
dialogue 1.5.....................................................................................................................................15
Good Morning, Mr Ho............................................................................................................... 15
dialogue 1.6.....................................................................................................................................16
Good Morning, Mr Cheung....................................................................................................... 16
dialogue 1.7.....................................................................................................................................17
Good Morning, Miss Chan........................................................................................................ 17
2 What's your name?................................................................................................................................ 19
Vocabulary ..........................................................................................................................................21
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................24
dialogue 2.1.....................................................................................................................................24
What's your name, miss? (polite)...............................................................................................24
dialogue 2.2.....................................................................................................................................24
What's your name? (informal)....................................................................................................25
3 Do you speak Mandarin?.......................................................................................................................27
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................29
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................31
dialogue 3.1.....................................................................................................................................31
Does Mr Lee speak Japanese?................................................................................................... 31
dialogue 3.2.....................................................................................................................................32
Do you speak Mandarin?........................................................................................................... 32
dialogue 3.3.....................................................................................................................................33
Who are you teaching Cantonese to?......................................................................................... 33
4 What time is it?..................................................................................................................................... 35
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................37
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................39
dialogue 4.1.....................................................................................................................................39
Your watch is ten minutes slow................................................................................................. 39
dialogue 4.2.....................................................................................................................................40
My watch is 5 minutes fast........................................................................................................ 40
dialogue 4.3.....................................................................................................................................40
What time is it, Mr Wong?........................................................................................................ 40
5 What would you like to drink?............................................................................................................43
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................45
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................47

dialogue 5.1 ....................................................................................................................................47


Tea or coffee?.............................................................................................................................47
dialogue 5.2.....................................................................................................................................48
Have some tea. .......................................................................................................................... 48
dialogue 5.3.....................................................................................................................................49
What time will you be having dinner, then?.............................................................................. 49
6 How much are the pants?...................................................................................................................... 51
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................53
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................55
dialogue 6.1.....................................................................................................................................55
I'd like to buy some pants...........................................................................................................55
dialogue 6.2.....................................................................................................................................55
Is this shirt $24?......................................................................................................................... 55
dialogue 6.3.....................................................................................................................................56
This one is only $20................................................................................................................... 56
7 I'd like to buy some... ........................................................................................................................... 59
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................61
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................63
dialogue 7.1.....................................................................................................................................63
I'd like to buy some beer............................................................................................................ 63
dialogue 7.2.....................................................................................................................................64
How much is this cloth a yard?..................................................................................................64
dialogue 7.3.....................................................................................................................................64
I'd like to buy some pork............................................................................................................64
8 What size do you take?......................................................................................................................... 67
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................69
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................71
dialogue 8.1.....................................................................................................................................71
Is it for you?............................................................................................................................... 71
dialogue 8.2.....................................................................................................................................72
Do you have anything cheaper? ................................................................................................ 72
dialogue 8.3.....................................................................................................................................73
What size do you take? ............................................................................................................. 73
dialogue 8.4.....................................................................................................................................74
I don't need that much! ..............................................................................................................74
9 Who would you like to speak to?..........................................................................................................77
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................79
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................81
dialogue 9.1.....................................................................................................................................81
I'd like to speak to Mrs Ho......................................................................................................... 81
dialogue 9.2.....................................................................................................................................82
I'm sorry, he's gone out...............................................................................................................82
dialogue 9.3.....................................................................................................................................83
He's gone to the office................................................................................................................83
10 Talking about location.........................................................................................................................85
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................87
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................89

dialogue 10.1...................................................................................................................................89
Is your office on the Hong Kong side?...................................................................................... 89
dialogue 10.2...................................................................................................................................90
Where did you buy that sweater?............................................................................................... 90
dialogue 10.3...................................................................................................................................90
Do you know where the Mandarin Hotel is?............................................................................. 90
11 Doing things for others........................................................................................................................93
Vocabulary...........................................................................................................................................95
Dialogues.............................................................................................................................................97
dialogue 11.1...................................................................................................................................97
Just a moment - I'll go get some change. .................................................................................. 97
dialogue 11.2...................................................................................................................................98
How would you like that? ......................................................................................................... 98
dialogue 11.3...................................................................................................................................99
I'm really sorry...I forgot. ...........................................................................................................99
12 Talking about immediate plans ........................................................................................................ 101
Vocabulary.........................................................................................................................................103
Dialogues...........................................................................................................................................105
dialogue 12.1.................................................................................................................................105
What's the problem? ..............................................................................................................105
dialogue 12.2.................................................................................................................................106
Off home, then?....................................................................................................................... 106
dialogue 12.3.................................................................................................................................107
I'm going shopping...................................................................................................................107
13 Going places......................................................................................................................................109
Vocabulary.........................................................................................................................................111
Dialogues...........................................................................................................................................113
dialogue 13.1.................................................................................................................................113
Hey, isn't that your friend in that black car behind us?............................................................ 113
dialogue 13.2.................................................................................................................................114
Who are you having Yam Cha with?....................................................................................... 114
dialogue 13.3.................................................................................................................................115
Excuse me, is this Queen's Road Central?............................................................................... 115
dialogue 13.4.................................................................................................................................116
524 Nathan Road, please. ........................................................................................................116
14 Eating at a restaurant......................................................................................................................... 119
Vocabulary.........................................................................................................................................121
Dialogues...........................................................................................................................................123
dialogue 14.1. ...............................................................................................................................123
Miss Lee! So, where are you off to?........................................................................................ 123
dialogue 14.2. ...............................................................................................................................125
What kind of soup would you like?......................................................................................... 125
dialogue 14.3. ...............................................................................................................................127
What kind of food do you like to eat?......................................................................................127
dialogue 14.4.................................................................................................................................128
It's nearly 12:30 - let's have lunch!...........................................................................................128
15 Asking directions.............................................................................................................................. 131

Vocabulary.........................................................................................................................................133
Dialogues...........................................................................................................................................135
dialogue 15.1.................................................................................................................................135
How do I get there?.................................................................................................................. 135
dialogue 15.2.................................................................................................................................136
Which department does she work in? ..................................................................................... 136
dialogue 15.3.................................................................................................................................137
Excuse me, is Mr Wong at home?........................................................................................... 137
dialogue 15.4.................................................................................................................................138
Who's teaching you Cantonese these days?............................................................................. 138
GLOSSARY...........................................................................................................................................141
CANTONESE - ENGLISH............................................................................................................... 143

1 Good Morning

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. a

sentence suffix

2. Chhn

Chan

3. Deuimhjyuh

sorry

4. haih

is, am, are, were, etc.

5. Hh

Ho (surname)

6. hohksang

student

7. Jung

Cheung

8. Joigin

Goodbye

9. Jushn

Good morning

10. Luh

Lu

11. Lih

Li

12. Mh

Ma

13. mh-

not

14. mhgnyiu

That's all right; It doesn't matter; Never


mind.

15. ngh

I, me, my

16. Sang

Mr.

17. snsang

man (see notes); teacher

18. Snsang

Mr. (see notes)

19. sing

have the surname

20. suj

unmarried woman; woman, lady

21. Suj

Miss

22. Tai

Mrs.

23. taaitai

married woman (see notes)

24. Taaitai

Mrs. (see notes)

25. Whng

Wong

11

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues

dialogue 1.1
Good Morning, Mr Ho.
A:

B:

A:

B:

, ,

A:

B:

A:

A:

Hh Sang, jushn.

B:

Lih Tai, jushn.

A:

Deuimhjyuh, ngh mhhaih Lih Tai. Ngh sing Chhn.

B:

A, deuimhjyuh, Chhn Suj.

A:

Mhgnyiu.

B:

Joigin.

A:

Joigin.

A:

Good morning, Mr Ho.

B:

Good morning, Mrs Lee.

A:

Excuse me, I'm not Mrs. Lee. My name is Chan.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Miss Chan.

A:

That's all right.

B:

Goodbye.

A:

Goodbye.

13

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 1.2
Good Morning, Mr Chan.
A:

B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

Chhn Sang, jushn.

B:

Deuimhjyuh, ngh mhhaih Chhn Sang. Ngh sing Jung.

B:

A, deuimhjyuh, Jung Sang.

A:

Mhgnyiu.

A:

Good morning, Mr Chan.

B:

Excuse me, I'm not Mr. Chan. My name is Cheung.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Mr Cheung.

A:

That's all right.

dialogue 1.3
Good Morning, Miss Chan.

A:

B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

Chhn Suj, jushn.

B:

Deuimhjyuh, ngh mhhaih Chhn Suj. Ngh sing Whng .

B:

A, deuimhjyuh, Whng Suj.

14

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

Mhgnyiu.

A:

Good morning, Miss Chan.

B:

Excuse me, I'm not Miss Chan. My name is Wong.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Miss Wong.

A:

That's all right.

dialogue 1.4
Good Morning, Miss Cheung.
A:

B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

Jung Suj jushn.

B:

Deuimhjyu, ngh mhhaih Jung Suj. Ngh sing Lih.

A:

A, deuimhjyuh, Lih Suj.

B:

Mhgnyiu.

A:

Good morning, Miss Cheung.

B:

Excuse me, I'm not Miss Cheung. My name is Lee.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Miss Lee.

A:

That's all right.

dialogue 1.5
Good Morning, Mr Ho.
A:

,
15

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

Hh Sang jushn.

B:

Deuimhjyuh, ngh mhhaih Hh Sang. Ngh sing Whng.

A:

A, deuimhjyuh, Whng Sang.

B:

Mhgnyiu.

A:

Good morning, Mr Ho.

B:

Excuse me, I'm not Mr Ho. My name is Wong.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Mr Wong.

A:

That's all right.

dialogue 1.6
Good Morning, Mr Cheung.
A:

B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

Jung Sang jushn.

B:

Deuimhjyuh, ngh mhhaih Jung Sang. Ngh sing Lih.

A:

A, deuimhjyuh, Lih Sang.

B:

Mhgnyiu.

A:

Good morning, Mr Cheung.

B:

Excuse me, I'm not Mr Cheung. My name is Lee.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Mr Lee.

A:

That's all right.

16

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 1.7

Good Morning, Miss Chan.


A:

B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

Chhn Suj jushn.

B:

Deuimhjyuh, ngh mhhaih Chhn Suj. Ngh sing Luh.

A:

A, deuimhjyuh, Luh Suj.

B:

Mhgnyiu.

A:

Good morning, Miss Chan

B:

Excuse me, I'm not Miss Chan. My name is Lau.

B:

Oh, excuse me, Miss Lau.

A:

That's all right.

17

2 What's your name?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. Snsang

Mr.

2. gwaising?

What's your (sur)name? (polite)

3. a

final particle

4. Ngh sing Whng

My (sur)name is Wong

5. Whng Suj

Miss Wong

6. n?

final particle roughly equiv. to "and


what about?". Also used to soften a
question.

7. Snsang n?

And you, sir?

8. susing

My (sur)name is...(polite)

9. susing Luh

My (sur)name is Lau

10. Luh Sang

Mr. Lau

11. mtyh?/myh?/

What?

What's (your, his etc)

myh?
12. sing myh a?

(sur)name (informal)
13. phngyuh

friend

14. nih

you

15. nih phngyuh

your friend

16. nih phngyuh

What's your friend's name?

17. Mh

Ma (surname)

18. sing Mh

to have the surname Ma

19. ge

grammatical focus marker similar to

sing myh?

Mandarin "de"
20. sing Mh ge

to be (sur)named Ma

21. kuih

he

22. kuih sing Mh ge

he is named Ma

23. Gwngdng

Guangdong (Canton)

21

LEARN CANTONESE
24. yhn

man, person

25. Gwngdngyhn

Cantonese (person)

26. haih mhhaih ya?

isn't it?

27. kuih haih mhhaih

Is he Cantonese?

Gwngdngyhn n?
28. Seuhnghi

Shanghai

29. Seuhnghiyhn

Shanghainese (person)

30. mhhaih ya, kuih

No, he's Shanghainese

31. gm

so; then

32. gm, nih n?

, ?

so, how about you?

33. du

too; also

34. du haih Seuhnghiyhn

to be a Shanghainese too

35. ngh du haih

I'm Shanghainese too

36. Jnggwokyhn

Chinese (person)

37. Mihgwokyhn

American (person)

38. nghdeih

we

39. kuihdeih

they

40. nihdeih

you (plur)

41. Tihsanyhn

Taishanese (person)

42. Yahtbnyhn

Japanese (person)

43. Ynggwokyhn

English (person)

44. hohksang

student

45. snsang

teacher

haih Seuhnghiyhn

Seuhnghiyhn

22

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues

dialogue 2.1

What's your name, miss? (polite)


Man :

Woman:

Man :

Woman:

? ?

Man :

Man :

Suj gwaising a?

Woman:

Ngh sing Chhn. Snsang gwaising a?

Man :

Susing Hh. Chhn suj haih mhhaih Gwngdngyhn a?

Woman:

Mhhaih a. Ngh haih Seuhnghiyhn. Nih n?


Nih haih mhhaih Mihgwokyhn a?

Man :

Haih a. Ngh haih Mihgwokyhn.

Man:

What's your name, Miss?

Woman:

Chan. And yours, Sir?

Man:

Ho. Are you from Guangdong?

Woman:

No, I'm from Shanghai. How about you?


Are you American?

Man:

Yes, I am.

dialogue 2.2

24

LEARN CANTONESE
What's your name? (informal)
S1:

S2:

S1:

S2:

S1:

S2:

S1:

S2:

S1:

Nih sing myh a?

S2:

Ngh sing Whng.

S1:

Nih phngyuh n?

S2:

Kuih du haih sing Whng ge.

S1:

Nih haih mhhaih Gwngdngyhn a?

S2:

Haih.

S1:

Nih phngyuh haih mhhaih du haih Gwngdngyhn a?

S2:

hhaih a. Kuih haih Seuhnghiyhn.

S1:

So, what's your name?

S2:

Wong.

S1:

And your friend?

S2:

His name's Wong, too.

S1:

Are you from Guangdong?

S2:

Yes.

S1:

Is your friend from Guangdong, too?

S2:

No, he's from Shanghai.

25

3 Do you speak Mandarin?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. bngo

who?

2. chi

time, occasion

3. chngch

clear

4. daahnhaih

but

5. d

a little, some

6. dm?

how?

7. du

both

8. gaau

teach

9. ga/ge/g

sen. suf. for matter of fact assertion

10. geui

sentence

11. gng

speak

12. Gwokyh

Mandarin spoken language

13. Gwngdngw

Cantonese spoken language

14. hohk

study, learn

15. j

sen. suf. only, merely; that's all

16. j(dou)

know (something)

17. joi

again

18. joi gng ytchi

Say it again.

19. Jngmhn

Chinese (written) language

20. m

particle indicating surprise

21. mhgi nih

Please..., Would you please....

22. gh

five

23. sam

three

24. s

write

25. ssu

a little

26. sei

four

27. Seuhnghiw

Shanghainese (spoken language)

28. sung

wish to, want to, would like to

29

LEARN CANTONESE
29. sk

to know someone

30. sk

know how (to do something)

31. tng

hear, listen

32. Tihsanw

Toishan dialect

33. thng

and (connects nouns)

34. w

spoken language, dialect

35. Yahtbnw

Japanese (spoken) language

36. Yahtmn

Japanese (written) language

37. Yahtmhn

Japanese (written) language

38. yt

one

39. yt chi

once [onetime]

40. yauh

also (connects Verb Phrases)

41. yauh V, yauh V. P Adv:

...

both..., and ....

42. yih

two

43. Yngmhn

English language

44. Yngmn

English language

30

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues

dialogue 3.1

Does Mr Lee speak Japanese?


A:

B:

A:

, ?

B:

A:

B.

A:

Lih Sang sk mhsk gng Yahtbnw a?

B:

Sk ssu.

A:

Gm, kuih sk mhsk gng Yngmn n?

B:

Du sk ssu.

A:

Bngo gaau kuih gng Yngmn ge n?

B:

Haih Whng Sang gaau kuih ge.

A:

Does Mr Lee speak Japanese?

B:

A little.

A:

Does he speak English, then?

B:

He speaks a little English, too.

A:

Who taught him English?

B:

Mr Wong.

31

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 3.2

Do you speak Mandarin?


A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

,?

B:

A:

",,",

A:

Nih sk mhsk gng Gwokyh a?

B:

Deuimhjyuh. Ngh tng mhchngch mhgi nih joi gng


ytchi.

A:

Nih sk mhsk gng Gwokyh a?

B:

Sk ssu j.

A:

Gm, nih sk mhsk Yngmhn n?

B:

Sk gng, mhsk s. Nih n?

A:

Ngh du mhsk. "Yt yih sam" du mhsk gng.

A:

Do you speak Mandarin?

B:

Sorry. I didn't get that. Can you repeat it, please?

A:

Do you speak Mandarin?

B:

Just a little.

A:

Do you speak English, then?

B:

I can speak it, but I can't write. How about you?

A:

I don't know any English at all. I can't even say "one, two, three".

32

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 3.3
Who are you teaching Cantonese to?
A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

Nih gaau bngo hohk Gwngdngw a?

B:

Ngh gaau Whng Tai.

A:

Keui haih mhhaih Mihgwokyhn ne?

B:

Mhhaih a. Kuih haih Ynggwokyhn.

A:

Kuih sk mhsk s Jngmhn n?

B:

Mhsk.. Kuih hohk gng, daahnhaih mh hohk s.

A:

Kuih hohk mhhohk Gwokyh n?

B:

Ngh mh jdou a.

A:

Who do you teach Cantonese to?

B:

I teach Mrs Wong.

A:

Is she American?

B:

No, she's British.

A:

Can she write Chinese?

B:

No. She's just learning to speak, not write.

A:

Is she learning Mandarin?

B:

I don't know.

33

4 What time is it?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. amam

exactly

2. baat

eight

3. bu

watch

4. bo

sen. suf. for certainty

5. bun

half

6. chmhhd

approximately

7. cht

seven

tread on

9. daahp bun

half past

10. daahp gi?

how many five minutes past the

daahp

hour?
11. dk meih?

ready?

12. dng

wait (for)

13. dm(jng)

o'clock

14. faai

fast

15. fnjng

minute(s)

16. gu

nine

17. gi

several

18. gi?

which number?

19. gidm(jng)

What o'clock? What time?

20. go

measure for nouns

21. gwt

quarter (hour)

22. hu

OK. All right

23. jun

accurate, right

24. jh

written figure; word

25. l

sen. suf. la for change + raised doubt.

26. l

sen. suf. for polite suggestion

27. la

sen. suf. indicating change from

37

LEARN CANTONESE
condition
28. luhng

two

29. luhk

six

30. maahn

slow

31. meih

not yet

32. mhhu yisi

I'm sorry; It's embarassing.

33. ngamngam (var: amam)

exactly

34. sam go gwt

three quarters after the hour

35. sahp

ten

36. sahpyt

eleven

37. sahpyih

twelve

38. tm

in addition, also, more

39. w

interrogative sen. suf. calling for


repeat of preceding sentence, i.e., did
you say?

40. waahkj

maybe; or

41. yt go gwt

a quarter after the hour

42. yt go jh

five minutes

43. yhg

now

38

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues

dialogue 4.1

Your watch is ten minutes slow.


Man:

Woman:

Man:

, ?

Woman:

Man:

Woman:

Man:

Ngh go bu maahn ssu. Nih go haih mhhaih a?

Woman:

hhaih. Ngh go haih jun ge.

Man:

Gm, yhg gidmjng a?

Woman:

Yhg ngamngam sahpyih dm.

Man:

Ngh go bu yhg haih sahpyt dm daahp sahp.

Woman:

Gm, nih go maahn luhnggojh.

Man:

My watch is a bit slow. How about yours?

Woman:

Mine's right.

Man:

So, what time is it?

Woman:

It's 12 'o'clock right on the dot.

Man:

My watch says ten to twelve.

Woman:

Yours is ten minutes slow, then.

39

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 4.2
My watch is 5 minutes fast.
Woman:

Man:

Woman:

Man:

Woman:

Man:

Woman:

Yhg haih mhhaih baat dm samgo gwt a?

Man:

hhaih. Ngh go bu yhg haih baat dm daahp baat j.

Woman:

Nih go bu jun mhjun a?

Man:

Jun. hfaai mhmaahn.

Woman:

Gm, ngh go faai yt go jh.

Man:

Waahkj haih.

Woman:

Is it 8:45 right now?

Man:

No. My watch says it's only 8:40.

Woman:

Is your watch right?

Man:

Yes. It's neither fast or slow.

Woman:

Mine's five minutes fast, then.

Man:

Maybe it is.

dialogue 4.3
What time is it, Mr Wong?
Woman:

, ?

Man:

, ,
40

LEARN CANTONESE
Woman:

Man:

Woman:

Man:

Woman:

Jushn, Whng Sang. Nih j mhj yhg gidmjng a?

Man:

A, jushn, Chhn Suj. Ngh go bu yhg haih gu dm daahp yt.

Woman:

Nih go bu haih mhhaih faai ssu a?

Man:

Waahkj haih. Ngh mhj.

Woman:

Nih j mhj Lih Tai gidmjng hohk Gwngdngw a?

Man:

Ngh jdou. Haih sahp dm bun.

41

5 What would you like to drink?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. aak

sen. suf. a to soften abruptness + k

for liveliness
2. Aiya!

exclamation of consternation

3. bju

beer

4. bng

cake

5. chang

orange

6. chh

tea

7. chuihbn

As you wish, At your convenience

8. chuihbn chh l.

"sit anywhere you like."

9. chh

sit

10. faahn

rice (cooked)

11. gaf

coffee

12. gam

so, such

13. haakhei

polite

14. hh

Verb suffix for casual effect

15. heisui

soft drink

16. Hu aak

OK. Agreed. Response indicating


agreement.

17. jnhaih

really, indeed

18. ju

alcoholic beverage

19. ju

leave, depart

20. ju

banana

21. jyyhn

host, hostess

22. -k

a glottal stop ending to certain sentence


suffixes, giving sentence a lively
air.

23. la

sen. suf. indicating potential change

24. laak

sen. suf. la (change) + sen. suf. -k


(liveliness)

45

LEARN CANTONESE
25. lh

sen. suf. for definiteness

26. mhgi

Thank you (for service)

27. mhhu

don't (as a command)

28. mhhu haakhei

"Don't be polite."

29. mhsi

no need to, not necessary

30. mhsi la

No thanks (when offered something) [not


necessary now]

31. mhsi mhgi.

"No thanks." (to an offer)

32. mhsi haakhei

You're welcome, [not necessary] Polite


response when someone thanks you for
doing him a service [don't need to be
polite.]"You're welcome." (when
someone thanks you.)

33. nguhnaaih

milk

34. phnggw

apple

35. sui

water

36. si

try

37. sihh

give it a try

38. sihk

eat

39. sihk yn

to smoke

40. Su sihk

"I don't smoke." non-smoker's response in


refusing a cigarette, [seldom-smoke]

41. yhnhaak

guest

42. ym

drink

43. yn

tobacco; smoke

44. yiu

must, need, have to

46

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 5.1

Tea or coffee?
A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

Nih ym myh a?

B:

Ngh ym gaf. Nih n?

A:

Ngh ym chh. Sihk mhsihk bng a?

B:

Hu aak.

A:

Nih gidmjng yiu ju a?

B:

Sei dm.

A:

Jnhaih gam faai yiu ju m?

B:

Haih a, jnhaih.

A:

What would you like to drink?

B:

I'll have a coffee. How about you?

A:

I'm having tea. Do you want a pastry?

B:

Sounds good.

A:

What time do you have to leave?

B:

At 4.

A:

You really have to go so soon?

47

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

Yes, I'm afraid so.

dialogue 5.2

Have some tea.


Hostess:

Guest:

Hostess:

Guest:

Hostess:

Guest:

Hostess:

Hostess:

Ym chh l.

Guest:

Hu, mhgi.

Hostess:

Sihk bng l.

Guest:

Hu aak, mhgi.

Hostess:

Sihk yn l.

Guest:

Su sihk. hsi haakhei.

Hostess:

Nih haakhei j .

Hostess:

Have some tea.

Guest:

Ok, thanks.

Hostess:

Have a pastry.

Guest:

Thanks a lot.

Hostess:

Have a cigarette.

Guest:

I don't smoke. Thanks anyway.

Hostess:

You're welcome.

48

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 5.3

What time will you be having dinner, then?


Mrs. Wong:

Servant :

Mrs. Wong:

Servant :

, ?

Mrs. Wong:

Servant:

Mrs. Wong:

I'm having tea with Mrs. Wong at 3:30.

Servant:

Are you having pastries?

Mrs. Wong:

A few.

Servant:

What time will you be having dinner, then?

Mrs. Wong:

At 8.

Servant:

Fine.

49

6 How much are the pants?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary

1. b

M. for things with handles, such as

umbrellas
2. bt

writing implement; pen or pencil

3. bi

give

4. chn

money

5. difu

underpants, undershorts

6. dikwhn

slip, petticoat

7. deui

pair; group measure for shoes, socks,


chopsticks

8. fu

trousers

9. gau

enough

10. gi(d)

how much? how many?

11. gihn

for clothes

12. g

that

13. go

general M. for nouns

14. guhaak

customer (restricted use)

15. haih

shoes

16. j

umbrella

17. j

M. for pen, pencil, bottles

18. jng

clock

19. kwhn

skirt

20. maih

buy

21. maaht

socks

22. mn

dollar

23. mhj(dou)...

...?

I wonder...?

24. n

this

25. sauhfoyhn

Salesclerk [sellgoodspersonnel]

53

LEARN CANTONESE
26. sutsam

shirt

27. snsang

man

28. suj

lady, woman

29. tai

tie

30. tuh

M. for trousers, ties, roads

31. wi

polite M. for persons

32. yhn

person

33. yiu

+ money expression V: wants X amount,


costs X amount, (i.e the asking price is X
amount.)

34. yhlu

raincoat

35. yhnbt

pencil

36. yhnjbt

ball point pen

54

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 6.1

I'd like to buy some pants.


Clerk:

, ?

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Jushn, sung maih myh a?

Customer:

Ng sung maih tuh fu. N luhng tuh yiu gid chn a?

Clerk:

N tuh sahpbaat mn, g tuh yahyih mn.

Customer:

Gm, ngh maih n tuh l.

Clerk:

Good morning. How may I help you?

Customer:

I'd like to buy some pants. How much are these two pairs?

Clerk:

These are 18 dollars, and those are 22 dollars.

Customer:

Ok, I'll buy these, then.

dialogue 6.2

Is this shirt $24?


Customer:

Clerk:

55

LEARN CANTONESE
Customer:

, ?

Clerk:

Customer:

Customer:

N gihn sutsam haihmhhaih yahsei mn a?

Clerk:

hhaih. Haih yahgu mn.

Customer:

G gihn du haih yahgu mn, haih mhhaih n?

Clerk:

Haih. Nih haih mhhaih luhng gihn du maih n?

Customer:

hhaih. Ngh maih n gihn, mhmaih g gihn.

Customer:

Is this shirt 24 dollars?

Clerk:

No, it's 19 dollars.

Customer:

That one's 19 dollars, as well, right?

Clerk:

Right. Do you want both, then?

Customer:

No, I just want this one.

dialogue 6.3
This one is only $20.
Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Maih myh a?

Customer:

Ngh sung maih sutsam. N gihn gid chn a?

Clerk:

N gihn sahpyih mn j. Maih gid gihn n?

Customer:

Bi yt gihn ngh l.

Clerk:

How can I help you?

Customer:

I want to buy a shirt. How much is that one?

56

LEARN CANTONESE
Clerk:

This one's only 12 dollars. How many would you like?

Customer:

Give me one, please.

57

7 I'd like to buy some...

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary

1. bau

package, M. for cigarette pack

2. bohng

pound

3. bou

cloth

4. bn

M. for book

5. bun

half

6. d

some, the

7. gi

chicken

8. gn

catty, unit of weight ca 1 1/3 lb

9. g d

those (in reference to unit nouns); that


(in reference to mass nouns)

10. haih...lih ge

...

is..(grammatical structure giving


emphasis to enclosed noun)

11. huh(j)

dime

12. jek

M. for chicken, shoe, sock, ship.

13. j

M. for cigarette

14. jyyuhk

pork

15. ...lih ge

see: haih...lih ge

16. maaih

sell

17. mh

yard (in length)

18. nghnchn

money [silver money]

19. nguhyuhk

beef

20. n d

these (in reference to unit nouns) this (in


reference to mass nouns)

21. ngoi

var. of oi, want, want to have

22. oi

want, want to have, want to possess

23. sy

book

24. thng

sugar

25. ytyeuhng

same

61

LEARN CANTONESE
26. ynji

cigarette

27. y

fish

62

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues

dialogue 7.1

I'd like to buy some beer.


Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Fgei:

Maih myh a?

Customer:

Ngh sung maih bju. Gid chn j a?

Fgei:

Go baat nghnchin. Oi gid j a?

Customer:

Oi luhng j.

Fgei:

Si mhsi maih ynji a?

Customer:

Hu, bi bau ngh l!

Clerk:

How can I help you?

Customer:

I'd like some beer. How much is it a bottle?

Clerk:

$1.80. How many would you like?

Customer:

Two, please.

Clerk:

Would you like some cigarettes, as well?

Customer:

Ok, give me a pack, then.

63

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 7.2
How much is this cloth a yard?

Clerk:

Clerk:

Customer:

??

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

N d bou gid chn mh a?

Clerk:

Yahsam go bun. Nih yiu gid mh a?

Customer:

Ngh mhyiu laak. G d n? Gid chn mh a?

Clerk:

G d sahpsam go bun nghnchin mh a?


Nih maih mhmaih a?

Customer:

Hu. Ngh oi luhng mh.

Clerk:

Yahcht mn luhng mh l.

dialogue 7.3

I'd like to buy some pork.


Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

64

LEARN CANTONESE

Clerk:

Maih myh a?

Customer:

Ngh suhng maih d jyyuhk. Dm maaih n?

Clerk:

N d sei go baat nghnchn gn.


G d cht go bun nghnchn gn.

Customer:

Bi sam gn g d ngh l.

Clerk:

Sam gn yahyih go bun.

Customer:

Ngh du sung oi luhng gn n d.

Clerk:

Hu aak, gu go luhk nghn chn l.

Clerk:

How may I help you?

Customer:

I'd like to buy some pork. How much is it?

Clerk:

This is $4.80 a catty. That is $7.50 a catty.

Customer:

I'll take 3 catties of that.

Clerk:

That'll be $22.50

Customer:

I'd like 2 catties of this, too.

Clerk:

Ok, that'll be $9.60.

65

8 What size do you take?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1.

amjeuk

fits well, wellfitting

2.

sen. suf. with force of "I suppose"

3.

baahk

white

4.

bn?

which?

5.

chuhng

long (in length)

6.

chuhngsam

cheongsam

7.

dozen

8.

daaih

large

9.

daaihd

a little larger

10. disam

underwear

11. d

attaches to adjectives to mean "a little


Adj; somewhat adj; Adjer".

12. d

much, many

13. dyn

short

14. fut

wide

15. gauh

old (not new)

16. ge

one(s) = (noun substitute)

17. gi

rather, quite

18. gwai

expensive

19. hak

black

20. hu

very

21. hu

good

22. Hu mhhu a?

OK? Is (that) all right?

23. houh

number

24. husihk

good to eat; tasty

25. huym

good to drink; tasty

26. jaak

narrow

27. jeuk

wear; put on (clothes)

28. jng

type

69

LEARN CANTONESE
29. jngyi

like, prefer; like to

30. langsam

sweater

31. leng

pretty; goodlooking; good, nice (for


foods)

32. Maihsaai laak

All sold out.

33. mhhaih gi

not very..., not...

34. mhhaih hu

not very

35. muh

not have, there isn't (aren't)

36. ngamjeuk (var. amjeuk)

well fitting (for clothes), fits


well

37. phng

cheap

38. saai

completely

39. si

small

40. sn

new

41. sk

colour

42. wah

say, opine

43. yuh

have, there is (are)

70

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 8.1

Is it for you?
Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Yuh muh baahk seutsam a?

Clerk:

Haih mhhaih nih jeuk ga?

Customer:

Haih.

Clerk:

Nih jeuk gid houh a?

Customer:

Samsahpluhk, waakj samsahpbaat.

Clerk:

N gihn haih samsahpluhk.

Customer:

N gihn mh gau daaih. Yuh muh samsahpbaat ge n?

Clerk:

Deuimhjuh - samsahpbaat ge maaihsaai laak.

Customer:

Do you have any white shirts?

Clerk:

Is it for you?

Customer:

Yes.

Clerk:

What size do you take?

Customer:

36 or 38.

Clerk:

This one is 36.

71

LEARN CANTONESE
Customer:

This is too small. Do you have a 38?

Clerk:

Sorry - the 38 is sold out.

dialogue 8.2

Do you have anything cheaper?


Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Yuh muh baahk haih maaih a?

Clerk:

Yuh. Nih jng mhjngyi n deui n?

Customer:

Gi leng. Gi(d) chn deui a?

Clerk:

N deui haih Mihgwok haih. Cht'ahgu mn deui.

Customer:

Yuh muh phngd ge n?

Clerk:

Yuh. G deui haih Yahtbn haih. Yahgh mn deui j.

Customer:

Mhgi nih bi deui Yahtbn ge ngh l.

Clerk:

Hu aak.

Customer:

Do you have any white shoes?

Clerk:

Yes. What do you think of these?

Customer:

Really nice. How much are they?

72

LEARN CANTONESE
Clerk:

These are from the US. They're $79.00.

Customer:

Do you have anything cheaper?

Clerk:

These are from Japan. They're only $25.00.

Customer:

I'll take a pair of the Japanese ones, then.

Clerk:

Ok.

dialogue 8.3

What size do you take?


Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Customer:

Yuh muh maht a?

Clerk:

Yuh. N d nih jng mhjngyi n?

Customer:

Gi jngyi. Dm maaih a?

Clerk:

Luhk go bun nghnchin deui. Nih jeuk gi houh a?

Customer:

Mhji - Ngh jeuk luhk houh ge Mihgwok haih.

Clerk:

Gm, gu houh l. Nih sung maih gid deui a?

Customer:

Bi sam deui ngh l.

Clerk:

Hu aak. Oi mhoi haih n?

Customer:

Mhoi laak. Mhgi.

Customer:

Do you have any socks?

73

LEARN CANTONESE
Clerk:

Sure. How about these?

Customer:

Not bad. How much are they?

Clerk:

$6.50. What size do you take?

Customer:

I don't know. I wear a US size 6 shoe.

Clerk:

Well, that'll be a 9. How many pairs do you want?

Customer:

Give me three pairs.

Clerk:

Ok. Do you need any shoes?

Customer:

No thanks.

dialogue 8.4

I don't need that much!


Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Yuh muh thng maaih a?

Clerk:

Yuh. Maih gid bohng n? gh bohng gau mhgau a?

Customer:

Mhsi gam d. Luhng bohng gau laak. A!


Ngh sung oi nguhyuhk, dm maaih a?

Clerk:

Sei go baat nghnchn gn.

Customer:

Bi yt gn ngh l.

Clerk:

Hu.

Customer:

Do you sell sugar?

Clerk:

Sure. How much do you need? Is 5 pounds enough?

74

LEARN CANTONESE
Customer:

I don't need that much! Two pounds will do.


Oh, I want some beef. How much is it?

Clerk:

$4.80 a catty.

Customer:

I'll take one catty.

Clerk:

Ok.

75

9 Who would you like to speak to?

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1.

aan (var: ngaan)

noon, midday

2.

chut gai

go out (from one's own house)

3.

cho

mistake, make a mistake

4.

Daaihsngd

Speak louder!

5.

dng ytjn (also dng ytjahn)

wait awhile

6.

Daap cho sin!

Wrong number! [caught mistake line]

7.

hit

8.

d dihnw

make a telephone call

9.

dng

wait

10. dng

allow, let Person do something; wait


while Person does something.

11. dihnw

telephone

12. dm bun

1:30 o'clock

13. fan

return (to/from a place you habitually go


to)

14. fan gng

go [return] to work

15. fan hohk

go to school

16. fanlih

come back, return (here)

17. fan (ng)kki

go [return] home

18. gamseuhngh

approximately

19. ge

mark of the possessive, joins with


preceding personal noun (or pronoun) to
form possessive.

20. gid houh?

what number?

21. gis? or gish?

when?

22. giu

instruct, tell, order, call

23. gng Person j

tell someone

24. gng Person tng

tell someone

25. gngyhn

servant, laborer

79

LEARN CANTONESE
26. heui gai

go out (from one's own house)

27. j

verb suf. indicating accomplishment of


the action

28. joi dlih

call back (on the phone)

29. lhng

"and a little bit" in a number phrase

30. lhng

zero

31. l

fetch, to go get (something)

32. ngaan

noon, midday

33. ngkki or kki

home

34. sih

business, affair, matter

35. sihk (ng)aan

eat lunch

36. sn

first

37. sin

line, thread

38. tng

hear, listen to

39. tng dihnw

talk [listen] on the telephone

40. kki or ngkkei

home

41. wah ngh j

tell me

42. wah yhn tng

tell someone

43. wah yhn j

tell someone

44. wn

look for, search

45. wn yhn

look someone up

80

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 9.1

I'd like to speak to Mrs Ho.


Amah:

Mr. Wong:

Amah:

Mr. Wong:

Amah:

Mr. Wong:

Amah:

Mrs. Ho:

Mr. Wong:

Mrs. Ho:

Mr. Wong:

Mrs. Ho:

Mr. Wong:

Mrs. Ho:

Amah:

Wi.

Caller:

Haih mhhaih cht-sam-lhng-sei-gh-lhng a?

Amah:

Mhgi nih daaihsngd. Ngh tng mhchngch.

Caller:

Cht-sam-lhng-sei-gh-lhng, haih mhhaih a?

Amah:

Haih. Wn bngo a?

Caller:

Mhgi nih giu Hh Tai tng dihnw l.

Amah:

Hu. Dng (yt)jn.

Mrs. Ho:

Wi.

Caller:

Hh Tai, jushn.

81

LEARN CANTONESE
Mrs. Ho:

Jushn.

Caller:

Ngh haih whng Sang a. Nih j mhj Chhn Snsang ge dihnw


gid houh a?

Mrs. Ho:

A! J. Kuih ge dihnw haih gh sei sam yih yt lhng.

Caller:

Hu, mhgi.

Mrs. Ho:

Mhsi mhgi.

Amah:

Hello.

Caller:

Is this 7-3-0-4-5-0?

Amah:

Can you speak up. I can't hear.

Caller:

Is that 7-3-0-4-5-0?

Amah:

Yes. Who would you like to speak to?

Caller:

Mrs Ho, please.

Amah:

Ok. Just a minute.

Mrs. Ho:

Hello.

Caller:

Good morning, Mrs Ho.

Mrs. Ho:

Good morning.

Caller:

This is Mr Wong. Do you know Mr Chan's number?

Mrs. Ho:

Sure. His number is 543210.

Caller :

Ok, thanks.

Mrs. Ho:

You're welcome.

dialogue 9.2

I'm sorry, he's gone out.


Secretary:

Caller:

Secretary:

Caller:

Secretary:

82

LEARN CANTONESE
Caller :

,?

Secretary:

Caller :

Secretary:

Secretary:

Wi.

Caller :

Wi. Haih mhhai sam baat luhk lhng gh gu a?

Secretary:

Haih. Wn bnwi n?

Caller :

Ngh sung wn Lih Sang tng dihnw.

Secretary:

Deuimhjyuh laak. Kuih chutj gai bo.

Caller :

Gm, kuih gidmjng fanlih n?

Secretary:

Luhng dm lhng jng gamseuhngh l.

Caller :

Hu. Mhgi nih.

Secretary:

Mhsi mhgi.

Secretary:

Hello

Caller:

Hello. Is this 386059?

Secretary:

Yes, who would you like to speak to?

Caller:

Mr Lee.

Secretary:

I'm sorry, but he's out of the office right now.

Caller:

So when will he be back, then?

Secretary:

Around 2:00.

Caller:

Ok, thanks.

Secretary:

You're welcome.

dialogue 9.3
He's gone to the office.
Amah:

. ?

Caller:

Amah:

. ?

Caller:

. ?
83

LEARN CANTONESE
Amah:

Caller:

. ...

Amah :

; . , ...

Caller:

Amah:

. , .

Amah:

Wi. Wn bngo a?

Caller:

Wi. Mhgi nih giu Chhn Snsang tng dihnw l.

Amah:

Kuih fanj gng bo. Gwaising wn kuih a?

Caller:

Sing Hh ge. Kuih gish fanlih n?

Amah:

Mhj bo.

Caller:

Dng kuih fanlih mhgi nih giu kuih d dihnw bi ngh l. Ngh
dihnw haih....

Amah :

Mhgi nih dng ytjn; ngh l j bt sin. Wi, nih ge dihnw haih....

Caller:

Cht-yt-yt-yih-lhng-cht.

Amah:

Hu l. Kuih fanlih, ngh giu kuih d bi nih l.

Amah:

Hello. Who would you like to speak to?

Caller:

Hello. Mr Chan, please.

Amah:

He has gone to work. May I ask who's calling, please?

Caller:

My name's Ho. What time will he be back?

Amah:

I don't know.

Caller:

When he comes back can you tell him to call me. My number is...

Amah :

Just a minute. I'll get a pen. Ok, your number is...

Caller:

7-1-1-2-0-7.

Amah:

Ok. When he comes back, I'll tell him to call you.

84

10 Talking about location

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. bnbihn?

which side?

2. bihn

()

side

3. bndouh?

where?

4. bndeihyhn

a native of the place under discussion

5. chanst

western style restaurant

6. chhluh

Cantonese style teahouse

7. ch

vehicle: car, bus, or tram

8. ch jaahm

car stop (bus or tram stop)

9. chng mahn

"May I ask...?"

10. Daaih Douh Jng

Queen's Road Central

11. Dkfuh Douh Jng

Des Voeux Road Central

12. deuimihn

opposite side

13. du

verb suffix indicating successful


accomplishment of the action of the
verb.

14. gan

M. for buildings

15. gaaklih

next door

16. gdouh

there

17. g bihn

()

over there, on that side

18. gngs

department store; office (of a commercial


company)

19. hi

location verb, translated as: is in/at/on

20. Hunggng

Hong Kong

21. jaahm

station, stop (as train station, bus stop)

22. judim

hotel

23. jgn

nearby, hereabouts

24. Jngwahn

Central District

25. lchn

withdraw money (from bank)

26. mhtuh

pier

87

LEARN CANTONESE
27. Mhnwh Judim

Mandarin Hotel

28. mahn

ask

29. Mihgwok Judim

American Hotel,
(in HK, the Hong Kong Hilton)

30. Mihgwok Nghnhhng

Bank of America

31. mhnhu

doorway

32. N!

"there!" an exclamation used when


pointing out something to someone

33 nbihn

()

this side

34. ndouh

here

35 njgn

closeby, hereabouts

36. nghnhhng

bank

37. ngk (or k)

house

38. sjihluh

office

39. timhdu

can't see

40. tidu

see [look successfully]

41. timhtidu?

can you see?

42. ti sy

read (a book)

43. Tnsng Mhtuh

Star Ferry Pier

44. tuhsygwn

library

45. k (var: ngk)

house

46. yhnhaak

tourist

88

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 10.1

Is your office on the Hong Kong side?


A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

A:

Nih sjihluh hi mhhi Hunggng n bihn a?

B:

Hi. Hi Daaih Douh Jng.

A:

Gdouh jgn yuh muh hu ge chhluh a?

B:

Yuh. Ngh sjihluh gaaklih yuh gan hu hu ga.


Ngh hu jngyi hi gdouh ym chh ga.

A:

Ngh sjihluh jgn ge chhluh du mhhai gi hu, daahnhaih yuh


gan gi hu ge chanst. Ngh jngyi hi gdouh sihk ngaan.

A:

Is your office over here in Hong Kong? [as opposed to Kowloon etc]

B:

Yes. It's on Queen's Road Central.

A:

Are there any good restaurants [Chinese-style] around there?

B:

Yes. There's a really good one right across from my office. I really like
to go there for yam cha.

A:

There's one near my office, but it's not too good. There's a fairly good
Western-style restaurant there where I like to eat lunch.

89

LEARN CANTONESE

dialogue 10.2

Where did you buy that sweater?


Mrs. Ho:

Miss Wong:

Mrs. Ho:

Miss Wong:

Mrs. Ho:

Mrs. Ho:

Nih gihn langsam hu leng. Hi bndouh maih ga?

Miss Wong:

Hi Jngwahn yt gan gngs maih ge.

Mrs. Ho:

Bn gan n?

Miss Wong:

Hi ngh sjihluh gaaklih g gan.

Mrs. Ho:

Haih mhhaih hi chjaahm deuimihn a?

Miss Wong:

Haih. Haih g gan.

Mrs. Ho:

That's a nice sweater. Where did you buy it?

Miss Wong:

At a store in Central.

Mrs Ho:

Which store?

Miss Wong:

It's just across from my office.

Mrs Ho:

Is it the one opposite the bus station?

Miss Wong:

Yes. That's the one.

dialogue 10.3

Do you know where the Mandarin Hotel is?

Lih Sang:

Hh Sang:

?
90

LEARN CANTONESE
Lih Sang:

Hh Sang:

?
,

Lih Sang:

Hh Sang:

?
,

Lih Sang:

Wi.

Hh Sang:

Lih Sang h.

Lih Sang:

Haih a, bn wi a?

Hh Sang:

Ngh haih Hh Yaht-sn a. Nih j mhj Mihgwok Judim


hi bndouh a? Yuh go phngyuh ytjn sam dm hi gdouh dng
ngh. Kuih wah ngh j Mihgwok Judim hi Seuhnghi
Nghnhhng gaaklih, daahnhaih ngh wn mhdu.

Lih Sang:

Mihgwok Judim mhhaih hi Seuhnghi Nghnhhng gaaklih. Hi


Jnggwok Nghnhhng deuimihn. Nih j mhj Jnggwok Nghnhhng
hi bndouh a?

Hh Sang:

O. Gm, ngh j laak. Mhgisaai. Joigin.

Lih Sang:

Hello.

Hh Sang:

Is that Mr Lee?

Lih Sang:

Yes, who's speaking?

Hh Sang:

This is Yat Sin Ho. Do you know where the Mandarin Hotel is?
There's a friend who's supposed to meet me there at 3 'o'clock
He told me the Hilton was next to the Shanghai Bank, but I can't find it.

Lih Sang:

Mihgwok Judim mhhai hi Seuhnghi Nghnhhng gaaklih. Hi


Jnggwok Nghnhhng deuimihn. Nih j mhj Jnggwok Nghnhhng
hi bndouh a?

Hh Sang:

Oh, I know now. Thanks. Bye.

91

11 Doing things for others

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. ag

elder brother

2. baak

hundred

3. cheung

change money into smaller


denomination

4. cheunghi

split, break up large banknote or coin to

exchange for ones of lesser


denomination.
5. chn

thousand

6. daai

carry

7. daai...heui

take...along

8. daai...lai

...

bring...along

9. dk

all right, OK, will do

10. dk

in yuhdk .;. = available, can

11. dk...

only have ...

12. fu

M. for eyeglasses

13. gid

quite a lot

14. hi douh

(he, she, it, etc.) is here; is at (this) place

15. hud

a lot

16. husu

very little

17. jau

give change

18. jaufan

V: give back change

19. je

lend, borrow

20. jejyuh

lend or borrow temporarily

21. jung

M. for banknotes

22. j

banknote; paper

23. jyuh

temporarily, for a short time

24. mhgeidk

forget (not remember)

25. mhginj

lose, lost; "nowhere to be seen"

26. muhdk

not have available for V-ing

95

LEARN CANTONESE
27. muhgid

not much, not many

96

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues

dialogue 11.1

Just a moment - I'll go get some change.


Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

, , .

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Customer:

Clerk:

Sei j beju, luhk j heisui, sahp go chang...sahpsam go yih l.

Customer:

Nh, ndouh yt baak mn.

Clerk:

Hu, dng ngh jaufan bi nih l. Aiya, deuimhjyuh, mhgau sanj


tm. Nih yuh muh sanj a?

Customer:

Ngh du muh bo.

Clerk:

Gm, mhgi nih dng jahn, ngh wn yhn cheunghi kuih l.

Customer:

Hu l.

Clerk:

Ndouh jaufan baatsahpluhk go baat bi nih.

Customer:

Nih yuh muh yt mn ngn a?

Clerk:

Yuh, nih sung yiu gid n?

97

LEARN CANTONESE
Customer:

Mhgi nih cheung sahp mn ngh l.

Clerk:

Hu.

Customer:

Mhgisaai.

Clerk:

Four beers, six pop, ten oranges...that'll be $13.20.

Customer:

Here's $100.

Clerk:

Ok, let me get your change. Darn, sorry, I don't have enough change.
Do you have anything smaller?

Customer:

No, I'm afraid not.

Clerk:

Well, hang on a minute and I'll go get some change.

Customer:

Ok.

Clerk:

Here's your $86.80 change.

Customer:

Do you have any dollar coins?

Clerk:

Sure, how many do you need?

Customer:

Can you give me ten?

Clerk:

Ok.

Customer:

Thanks.

dialogue 11.2

How would you like that?

Mr. Whng:

Teller:

? ?

Mr. Whng:

Teller:

Mr. Whng:

Mr. Whng:

Mhgi nih thng ngh cheunghi kuih l!

Teller:

Cheung gid a? Haih mhhaih ngoisaai sahp mn j a?

98

LEARN CANTONESE
Mr. Whng:

Mhhaih. Oi sei jung yt baak mn j, sahp jung sahp mn.

Teller:

Mhgau sahp mn j bo. Oi gu jung sahp mn j, sahp go yt mn ngn,


hu mhhu a?

Mr. Whng:

Hu, oi d sangn du hu.

Mr. Whng:

I'd like to change this.

Teller:

How would you like it? Do you want all tens?

Mr. Whng:

No. I'd like four $100 bills and ten tens.

Teller:

It looks like I don't have enough tens. I can give you nine tens and ten
one dollar coins. How about that?

Mr. Whng:

That's fine. I don't mind some coins.

dialogue 11.3

I'm really sorry...I forgot.


A:

B:

A:

B:

, .

A:

B:

A:

A:

Nih gmyaht mhgeidk daai g bn sy fanlih bi ngh a?

B:

Aiya! Mhgeidk tm! Jnhaih deuimhjyuh laak! Nih gish (gisi) yiu
yuhng a?

A:

Ngh dng jahn yiu ga. Ytjn ngh hohk Yngmn muh sy ti.
Mhdk ge bo!

99

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

Gm, ngh yhg fan kki l bi nih l.

A:

Yiu fan kki l h. Mhhu laak. Nih j mhj ndouh bngo yuh
n bn sy hyh jejyuh bi ngh sn ga?

B:

A! Chhn Sang du yuhng g bn sy hohk Yngmn, dng ngh giu


kuih je bi nih l.

A:

Hu aak! Mhgisaai.

A:

You didn't remember to bring that book back today by any chance, did
you?

B:

Oh, darn! No, I didn't. I'm really sorry. When do you need it?

A:

I need it pretty soon. It'll be a real pain if I have to go to English class


without a book!

B:

Well, I'll go home and get it for you.

A:

No need to do that!. Do you know somebody who has a copy they can
lend me?

B:

Oh, yeah! Mr Chan uses that book for his English class. Let me ask him
to lend it to you.

A:

Great! Thanks.

100

12 Talking about immediate plans

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. bhb

father

2. chhnbihn

()

front (front side)

3. chngch

clear, vivid, clearly

4. daai

take/bring (someone/something) along

5. douh

road, restricted to use following named


road

6. g

M. for vehicle

7. gn

follow, come behind

8. gnjyuh

follow, come behind

9. Gulhng

Kowloon

10. hauhbihn

()

back (back side); behind

11. heui

go

12. hohkhaauh

school

13. houh

number

14. ji

son

15. jinui

children (of a family), sons and


daughters

16. jp

meet, fetch, pick up (a person)

17. jouh

do, work

18. jouh sam

make clothes, have clothes made

19. jouh sih

to work, have a job

20. jyuh

live

21. lih

come

22. lu

floor, storey of a building

23. mhm

mother

24. Muh cho

That's right.

25. nahmphngyuh

boyfriend

26. Nihdun Douh

Nathan Road

27. nui

daughter

103

LEARN CANTONESE
28. nuihphngyuh

girlfriend

29. sih

piece of business, affair, matter

30. snsang

husband

31. sung

deliver

32. taaitai

wife; married woman

33. taam

to visit

34. ti ysng

see the doctor

35. thng

with

36. yh

things, stuff

37. ysng

doctor

104

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 12.1

What's the problem?


Mrs Wong:

Mrs Li:

Mrs Wong:

Mrs Li:

Mrs Wong:

Mrs Li:

Mrs Wong:

? ?

Mrs Li:

Mrs Wong:

Mrs Li:

Whng Tai:

A, Lih Tai, thng g nui heui bn a?

Lih Tai :

Ngh daai kuih heui ti ysng a.

Whng Tai:

Myh sih a?

Lih Tai:

Kuih mhsung sihk faahn lh.

Whng Tai:

Nih daai kuih heui ti bngo ysng a?

Lih Tai :

Ngh snsang giu ngh daai kuih ti Jung Ysng. Kuih haih
nghdeih ge phngyuh.

Whng Tai:

Bngo Jung Ysng a? Haih mhhaih Seuhnghi Nghnhhng g go a?

Lih Tai:

Muh cho, haih kuih laak.

Whng Tai:

Gm, ngh sung nihdeih heui l. Ngh ngamngam yiu heui


nghnhhng l chin.

Lih Tai:

Hu aak. Mhgisaai bo.

Mrs Wong:

Hello, Mrs Li! So, where are you off to with your daughter?

105

LEARN CANTONESE
Lih Tai:

I'm taking her to the doctor.

Mrs Wong:

What's up?

Lih Tai:

She doesn't feel like eating.

Mrs Wong:

Which doctor are you taking her to?

Lih Tai:

My husband told me to take her to see Dr Cheung. He's a friend of ours.

Mrs Wong:

Which Dr Cheung? Is it the one by the Shanghai Bank?

Lih Tai:

Right! That's the one.

Mrs Wong:

Well, I'll take you there. I'm just off to the bank.

Lih Tai:

Ok. Thanks a lot.

dialogue 12.2

Off home, then?


A:

B:

- .

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

? ,

B:

A:

Nih haih mhhaih fan kki a?

B:

Mhhaih - ngh yhg yiu heui ngh nuiphngyuh kki taam kuih
mhm.

A:

Kuih mhm yuh myh sih a?

B:

Muh myh sih. Kuih giu ngh heui kuihdeih douh sihk faahn l.

A:

Okuihdeih jyuh hi bn a?

B:

Kuihdeih ngamngam jyuh hi nih hauhbihn.

106

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

Haih m? Gm, ngh sung nih heui l.

B:

Mhgisaai.

A:

Going home?

B:

No, I'm off to my girlfriend's to visit her mother?

A:

What's wrong with her mother?

B:

Nothing. She invited me over for dinner..

A:

Oh, where do they live?

B:

Just behind where you live.

A:

Really? I'll take you there, then.

B:

Thanks.

dialogue 12.3

I'm going shopping...


Wong Tai :

Wong Sang:

Wong Tai :

...

Wong Sang:

...

Wong Tai :

! ?

Wong Sang:

Wong Tai :

Ngh ytjn yiu heui gngs maih yh. Nih yuh muh chn
a?

Wong Sang:

Ngh dk ssu ja. Ngh ngamngam sung heui nghnhhng l


chn. Nih gidmjung chutgai a?

Wong Tai :

Hmmm...Ngh yiu dng Hh Tai dihnw bo.

Wong Sang:

Gm...Ngh yihg heui nghnhhng l chn sin. Nih ytjn lih ngh
sjihluh l chn, hu mhhu a?

107

LEARN CANTONESE
Wong Tai :

Hu! ...A, ...nih yuh muh yh yiu maih a?

Wong Sang:

Muh laak.

Miss Chan:

I'm going shopping in a while. Do you have any money?

Mr. Wong:

Not much. I'm planning to go to the bank. When are you going out?

Miss Chan:

Not sure. I'm waiting for Mrs Ho to call.

Mr. Wong

Well, I'll go to the bank first and then you can come to my office and
get some money. Ok?

Miss Chan:

Ok. Do you need me to get you anything?

Mr. Wong:

No. That's ok.

108

13 Going places

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. daaphaak

passenger

2. diuhtuh

turn (a car) around [reverse head]

3. dou

arrive

4. fanjyun tuh

turn (the car) around and go back [return


turn head] Make a U-turn.

5. gai

street

6. giu(jouh)

is called, is named

7. gwaisingmhng?

what is your surname and given name?


(polite)

8. gwo

pass by (a point); cross (a street); go

over to (a place)
9. gwod

beyond; a little farther on

10. Gwodtm

Go further on; Keep going (said to taxi


driver)

11. hahng

go; walk; drive

12. hyh

can, as (1) be permitted, allowed to; (2)


be willing to

13. j ch

to drive a car

14. jauh

immediately, soon; as clause connector


= then; and

15. jihk

straight

16. j

left (direction)

17. jbihn

()

left side

18. jsubihn

()

lefthand side

19. jyun

turn

20. la

as sen. suf. to imperative


sentence, gives connotation of
friendly advice

21. mng

name; given name

111

LEARN CANTONESE
22. paak ch

park a car

23. tanhauh

back (a car) up, move back

24. thng

stop

25. wi

place, seat

26. Whngn Gngs

Wing On Department Store

27. yahp

enter

28. yahpbihn

()

inside

29. yahpheui

go in; enter

30. ytjihk

straight
a) direction
b) without being diverted: straight

31. yauh

right (direction)

32. yauhbihn

()

right side

33. yauhsubihn

()

right hand side

112

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 13.1
Hey, isn't that your friend in that black car behind us?
A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

......,

B:

A:

A:

Hi hak sk g g ch hauhbihn g go yhn haih mhhaih nih


phngyuh a?

B:

Haih bo! Mhgi nih fanjyuntuh l. Ngh yuh d yh sung wah


kuih j ge.

A:

Hu aak. Kuih haih mhhaih sing Jung g?

B:

Mhhaih, kuih sing Chhn ge.

A:

Kuih giujouh myh mng a?

B:

Kuih giujouh Gwokwh.

A:

Chhn Gwokwh...Hmm...Gm, mhhaih laak.

B:

Mhhaih myh a?

A:

Kuih mhhaih Lih Suj ge nahmphngyuh laak.

A:

Hey! Isn't that guy in the black car behind us your friend?

B:

Hey, it is! Do a U-turn I've got something to tell him.

A:

Ok. Is his last name Cheung?

B:

No, it's Chan.

113

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

What's his first name?

B:

Kwok Wah.

A:

Kwok Wah Chan...Hmm...So it's not.

B:

Not what?

A:

It's not Miss Li's boyfriend.

dialogue 13.2
Who are you having Yam Cha with?

:
:

:
:
:

!
, ?
?
?

,
, ,

, ?

,

Whng Tai:

Wei!

Siu Yng:

Wei, mhm h? Ngh hih SuYng a. Ngh yhg hi Mhnwh

:
:
:
:

Judim ym chh. Nih lih mhlih a?


Whng Tai:

Nih thng bngo ym chh a?

Siu Yng:

Ngh thng Hh Mi Wh. Ndouh d bng hu leng g.


Nih lih l.

Whng Tai:

Nih yuh phngyuh hi douh, ngh mhlih la.

Su Yng:

Lih l, mhm, ngh sung nih ytjn thng ngh heui maih yh a.

Whng Tai:

Gm h, si mhsi ngh j ch lih ?

Su Yng:

Njgn hu siu wi paak ch ge bo. Nih giu dks lih l.

114

LEARN CANTONESE
Whng Tai:

Hu l, ngh jauh lih laak.

Mrs Wong:

Hello?

Siu Ying:

Hello, Mom? It's me, Siu Ying. I'm having yamcha at the Mhnwh
Hotel. Are you coming?

Mrs Wong:

Who are you with?

Siu Ying:

I'm with Mei Wah Ho. The pastries are great here. Come and join us!

Mrs Wong:

You're with your friend. Never mind.

Siu Ying:

Come on, Mom. I want to go shopping with you later.

Mrs Wong:

Shall I drive over, then?

Siu Ying:

There aren't too many parking spaces around here. You'd better take a
cab.

Mrs Wong:

Ok. I'm on my way.

dialogue 13.3
Excuse me, is this Queen's Road Central?
A:

B:

, ,

A:

(He goes on...)


A:

, ?

C:

A:

C:

A:

A:

Chng mahn n tuh haih mhhaih Daaih Douh Jng a?

B:

Mhhaih, nih hi ndouh ytjihk heui, hahng dou daih sam go gaihu
g tuh jauh haih laak.

115

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

O, mhgi.

(He goes on...)


A:

Chng mahn, Daaih Douh Jng gh baak lhng sei houh hi mhhi
njgn a?

C:

gh baak lhng sei houh h. N, chhnbihn yauhsubihn daih sam gan


jauh haih laak.

A:

G douh yuh muh wi paak ch g?

C:

Hu chh muh bo.

A:

Hu. Mhgisaai.

A:

Excuse me, but is this street Queen's Road Central?

B:

No. Just go another 3 blocks and you'll see it right there.

A:

Oh, thanks.

(He goes on)


A:

Excuse me, is 504 Queen's Road Central around here?

C:

504, eh? Yes, it's the third building over there on the right.

A:

Is there any parking there?

C:

Looks like there isn't.

A:

Ok, thanks.

dialogue 13.4
524 Nathan Road, please.
A:

B:

(They ride for awhile)


A:

,!

B:

,
, , ,

A:

, ,

B:

116

LEARN CANTONESE
(The driver makes a U-turn at the intersection and goes back)
A:

(He pays the driver $3 for the $2.70 ride)

B:

A:

Mhgi Nih Dun Douh, gh baak yihsahp sei houh.

B:

Hu.

(They ride for awhile)


A:

Gwoj daih yih go gaihu yauhbihn, thng ch l. Ei! Gwoj


la, mhgi nih tanhauh ssiu l.

B:

O, mhdk bo, hauhbihn yuh ch lih, mhhyih tanhauh.

A:

Gm, joi si gwod, fanjyuntuh l.

B:

Dk.

(The driver makes a U-turn at the intersection and goes back)


A:

Hu. Hi douh thng.

(He pays the driver $3 for the $2.70 ride)


Mhsi jau la.
B:

Djeh.

A:

524 Nathan Road, please.

B:

Ok.

(They ride for awhile)


A:

Just past the second street on the right. Whoops! You went past it. Just
back up a bit, can you?

B:

No, I can't. There's a car coming up behind.

A:

Well, go on a bit and turn round, then.

B:

Ok.

(The driver makes a U-turn at the intersection and goes back)


A:

Ok. Stop here.

(He pays the driver $3 for the $2.70 ride)


Keep the change.

117

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

Thanks.

118

14 Eating at a restaurant

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. baahk faahn

boiled or steamed rice

2. btgwo

however; but; although

3. bi

cup, glass

4. bi

M. for cup, glass

5. chau

to sautee or toss fry in small amt of oil,


as in scrambling eggs.

6. chau faahn

fried rice

7. chau mihn

fried noodles

8. choi

food; a particular food, a dish

9. choipai

menu, bill of fare

10. dm

to order (food)

11. d

additional, as modifier in Noun


phrase

12. dd

more (in addition) (follows V)

13. Djeh

Thank you. (for a gift)

14. Djehsaai.

Thank you very much.

15. duhaih

always, really

16. faaij

chopsticks

17. fgei

waiter in restaurant

18. gaaisiuh

recommend; introduce

19. gng

spoon

20. gwo

indicates experience; to have done


something before

21. Gwngdng choi

Cantonese food

22. h

shrimp

23. Hu ma?

Is that OK?

24. jug

Chinese style restaurant

25. jek

M. for spoon

26. jouh yh

do chores; have a job

121

LEARN CANTONESE
27. juhng

still, in addition, also (+ verb)

28. jngchoi

Chinese food

29. jnggwok choi

Chinese food

30. ma?

sen. suf. making a question of the


sentence it attaches to

31. Maihdan!

The check please!

32. meih

negative, "not yet"

33. mhcho

good, not bad

34. ngoihgwokyhn

foreigner(s)

35. nng

carry (something)

36. nng ...heui

take, carry off (something)

37. nng ...lih

bring (something)...here

38. Sichan

Western meal

39. Seuhnghi choi

Shanghai food

40. sui bi

water glass

41. Sihdaahn l.

Either one. No preference. As you wish.


(when offered a choice). Whatever.

42. tihh

have a look

43. tng

soup

44. tng mihn

soup noodles

45. wn

M. a bowl of...

46. wn

bowl

47. wnji

small bowl

48. Yahtbn choi

Japanese food

49. yt chi du meih.

not even once...

50. yt M du Neg V

...

Not even one...; can't V. even one M .

51. yh

work (as in jouh yh) (with restricted


use)

52. yeuhng

kind, type

122

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 14.1.
Miss Lee! So, where are you off to?

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

, ?
, ?
?
! ?
, , ?
, ?
, ?

(They arrive at the restaurant)

:
:
:
:

, ,.., ?
, ... , ,
, ?
,
,

(They finish eating)

:
:
:
:
:

,
, !
,
,

Whng Sang:

A, Lih Suj. Heui bndouh a?

Lih Suj :

O, Whng Sang. Ngh ngamngam fng gng. Nih n?

Whng Sang:

Ngh ngamngam hi nghnhhng lchn fanlaih. Sihk faahn meih a?

Lih Suj :

Meih a! Nih n?

Whng Sang:

Ngh du meih a, ngh chng nih heui sihk faahn l, hu mhhu a?

123

LEARN CANTONESE
Lih Suj:

Hu aak, heui bn gan n?

Whng Sang:

Gwngju Jug d yhm guhk gi hu leng g, nih sihkgwo meih a?

Lih Suj:

Meih sihkgwo.

Whng Sang:

Gm, nghdeih heui sihh l.

(They arrive at the restaurant)


Whng Sang:

Fgei! Nghdeih sung yiu jek yhm guhk gi, mm...Lih Suj, juhng
yiu myeh choi tm n?

Lih Suj:

Gaailan chaau nguhyuhk l, mm...yt jek gi tai d, nghdeih sihk


mhsaai, yiu bun jek jauh gau la, joi dim go si yuhng choi tng. Hu
mhhu a?

Whng Sang:

A. Hu, Lih Suj jnhaih sk dm choi ge laak. Fgei mhgi nih faai
d bo.

Lih Suj:

Ndouh d choi jnhaih mhcho, ngh du yiu daai ngh mhm lih
sihh.

(They finish eating)


Whng Sang:

Fgei, maihdan.

Fgei:

Snsang, yahsam mn l!

Whng Sang:

Ndouh yah gh mn, mhsi jau laak.

Lih Suj :

Whng Snsang, djehsaai bo.

Whng Sang:

Mhsi haakhei.

Mr. Wong:

Oh, Miss Lee. Where are you going?

Miss Lee :

Oh, Mr. Wong. I just got off work. How about you?

Mr. Wong:

I'm just on my way back from the bank to get some money. Did you eat
yet?

Miss Lee :

No. Did you?

Mr. Wong

Me neither. I'd like to treat you, ok?

Miss Lee:

Sounds good, where shall we go?

Mr. Wong

The Salt-Baked Chicken at the Guangzhou Restaurant is good. Have


you had it?

Miss Lee:

No.

Mr. Wong

Well, let's go try it!.

(They arrive at the restaurant)


Mr. Wong

Waiter, we'd like a Salt-Baked Chicken. Mm...Miss Lee, what other

124

LEARN CANTONESE
dishes do you want?
Miss Lee:

Sauteed Chinese Broccoli with Beef, mm...a whole chicken is too much
for the two of us. A half will do. Let's have some Watercress Soup, shall
we?

Mr. Wong:

Ok. You really know how to order dishes. Waiter, can you bring it as
soon as possible, please.

Miss Lee:

It's really good here. I'll have to bring my mother along some time.

(They finish eating)


Mr. Wong

Waiter, the bill, please.

Waiter:

That'll be 23 dollars, please!

Mr. Wong:

Here's 25 dollars, keep the change.

Miss Lee :

Thanks Mr. Wong, I really appreciate it.

Mr. Wong

You're welcome.

dialogue 14.2.
What kind of soup would you like?
A:

B:

A:

, !

W:

A:

, ?

B:

A:

, , ?

B:

A:

...?

B:

A:

, ,

B:

A:

125

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

A:

! !

A:

N gan jug mhcho g. D yh yauh phng yauh leng.

B:

O. Haih m?

A:

Wi, fgei! Mhgi nih nng go choipai lih tihh l,

W:

Hu. Jauh lih.

A:

Ndouh yuh Gwngdng choi, Seuhnghi choi. Nih sung sihk bn


yeuhng n?

B:

Ngh sung sihh Gwngdng choi. Mhgi nih gaaisiuhhh l.

A:

Gm, dm go yhjy, joi yiu go daaih h. Hu mhhu a?

B:

Hu aak. Giu go Yuhngju chau faahn sihh l.

A:

Mmm...Nih sung oi go myh tng tm n?

B:

Siyuhngchoi tng l.

A:

A, fgei, mhgi ld luhng j heisui lih l.

B:

Mmm, d chau faahn thng daaih h jnhaih mhcho laak.

A:

Sihk dd tm l! Mhhu haakhei a.

B:

Gau la! Djehsaai.

A:

Fgei! Maihdan!

A:

This is a pretty good restaurant. The food's great and it's not too
expensive.

B:

Oh, really?

A:

Waiter! Can we have a menu?

W:

Sure. I'll get you one.

A:

They have Cantonese and Shanghainese food here. Which would you
prefer?

B:

I'd like to try Cantonese food. Can you suggest some dishes?

A:

Well, let's have a Roast Suckling Pig, and then Prawns, shall we?

B:

Ok. Let's try a Yangzhou Fried Rice, too.

A:

Hmm...what soup would you like?

B:

Watercress.

A:

Waiter, and please bring us two bottles of pop.

B:

Mmm, the fried rice and prawns are really great.

126

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

Have some more! Don't be polite.

B:

I've had enough. Thanks a lot!.

A:

Waiter, bill, please!

dialogue 14.3.
What kind of food do you like to eat?
A:

B:

, .

A:

, ?

B:

A:

, , ?

B:

! ?

A:

, ?

B:

A:

A:

Nih jngyi sihk myh n?

B:

Nih wah l, ngh myh du sihk g.

A:

Gm, nih sung sihk Jngchoi ykwaahk sichan n?

B:

Du dk; nih wah l.

A:

Gam, nghdeih heui sihk Gwngdng choi, hu mhhu a?

B:

Hu! Nih j mhj bndouh ge Gwngdng choi husihk a?

A:

Jnggwok Chhluh ge gi hu. Heui gdouh, hu mhhu a?

B:

Hu aak. J mhj ch heui n?

A:

Mhsi la. Jnggwok Chhluh hi deuimihn j. Nghdeih hahng heui


l.

A:

What do you like to eat?

B:

It's up to you. I can eat anything.

127

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

Would you like to eat Chinese food or Western food, then?

B:

Either is fine.

A:

Let's have Cantonese food, then, shall we?

B:

Ok. Do you know a good place for Cantonese food?

A:

The China Tea House is pretty good. Let's go there, shall we?

B:

Ok. Shall we drive?

A:

No need. The China Tea House is just over there. We can walk there.

dialogue 14.4.
It's nearly 12:30 - let's have lunch!
A:

! , ?

B:

A:

B:

(In the restaurant a waiter gives them a menu card:)

A:

, ?

B:

A:

, , ,

B:

,
, ?

A:

! ,

A:

B:

A:

! , , ?

B:

A:

! (She pays the bill, leaving a tip.)

128

LEARN CANTONESE
A:

A! Yhg jauh faai sahpyih dm la. Nghdeih heui sihk aan sn , hu


mhhu a?

B:

Hu aak!

A:

Ndouh jgn yuh gan hu yuh mng ge Gwngdng jug. Ngh


daai nih heui sihh l.

B:

Hu a.

(In the restaurant a waiter gives them a menu card:)


Fgei:

Luhng wi sung dm d myh choi n?

A:

Whng Tai, nih jngyi sihk d myh a?

B:

Ngh mhsk dm g. Nih gaaisiuh gi yeuhng jauh dk la.

A:

Gam, ngh dm gi yeuhng ndouh yuh mng ge bi nih sihh la.


Fgei, yiu go glu yuhk, yt go daaih h, du yiu sige.

B:

Joi yiu yt go jyyuhk tng, hu mhhu a?

A:

Hu aak! Fgei, juhng yiu yt go jyyuhk tng tm. Faaid bo.

Fgei:

Hu.

A:

Whng Tai, sihk dd l.

B:

Gau landouh d choi jnhaih mhcho bo!

A:

Haih a. A! Yhg jauh faai yt dm bun la, nghdeih ju la, hu ma?

B:

Hu aak.

A:

Fgei! Maihdan (She pays the bill, leaving a tip.)

Fgei:

Djehsaai.

A:

It's nearly 12.30! Let's have lunch, shall we?

B:

Sure!

A:

There's a really famous Cantonese restaurant around here I'd like to take
you to.

B:

Ok.

(In the restaurant a waiter gives them a menu card:)


W:

May I take your order?

A:

Mrs Wong, what do you like to eat?

B:

I don't know how to order. Please go ahead.

A:

Well, I'll order some well-known dishes for you to try, then.
Waiter, a Sweet and Sour Pork, and an order of Prawns - make those

129

LEARN CANTONESE
small dishes.
B:

Let's have some Pork Soup, as well, shall we?

A:

Sure! Waiter, add a Pork Soup to that. Hurry, please.

W:

Ok.

A:

Mrs Wong, have some more.

B:

I've had enough, thanks. The food here is really good!

A:

Yes, it is. Oh, it's almost 1.30. Let's go, shall we?

B:

Ok.

A:

Waiter, can we have the bill, please. (She pays the bill, leaving a tip.)

W:

Thank you.

130

15 Asking directions

LEARN CANTONESE

Vocabulary
1. bouhfahn

department (in a store)

2. chng...

please (+ verb); invite

3. chut

out

4. chutheui

go out

5. chutlih

come out

6. chutbihn

outside, exterior

7. d dihnw giu ch

phone for a cab

8. dhi

open (as of a book)

9. daih

ordinal number marker: st, nd, rd, th.

10. daihyt

the first

11. deihh

ground, ground floor

12. dou

suffix to verbs of motion, indicating


arrival at goal

13. duhk

read

14. duhkdou...

read to...

15. fo

lesson

16. gaihu

street opening, i.e. intersection

17. gaish

food market

18. hahng

walk; go

19. hahbihn

()

below; under

20. hi

from

21. heui

attaches to verbs of motion, indicating


direction away from speaker

22. j

verb suf. indicating "accomplishment"

23. Jngwahn Gaish

Central Market

24. lih

V suf: attaches to verbs of motion,


indicating direction towards the speaker

25. luhhah

[floor below] downstairs

26. luhseuhng

[floor above] upstairs

133

LEARN CANTONESE
27. lohk

descend

28. lohkheui

go down

29. louhyhn

pedestrian

30. seuhng

ascend

31. seuhngbihn

above; on top

32. seuhngchi

last time

33. ...sn , yihnhauh...

...first, then...

34. wuhn sam

change clothes

35. yhn

someone

36. yuh

from

37. yihn(j)hauh

afterwards, then

38. yihp

page

134

LEARN CANTONESE

Dialogues
dialogue 15.1
How do I get there?
A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

Chng mahn nih, Mihgwok Gngs hi bndouh a?

B:

Hi Dk Douh Jng.

A:

Yuh ndouh dm heui a?

B:

Hi ndouh ytjihk hahng, gwoj daih yih go gaihu, yhnhauh jyun


yauh.

A:

Jyun yauh jhauh n?

B:

Joi ytjihk hahng, gwoj gaish, jauh haih Dk Douh Jng. Heuidou
gdouh, nih jauh tidu ga laak.

A:

Hu, mhgi.

B:

Mhsi mhgi.

A:

Excuse me, where is the American Company?

B:

It's on Des Voeux Rd Central.

A:

How do I get there?

B:

Go two blocks, then turn right.

A:

What then?

135

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

Carry on past the market, then you'll see it.

A:

Ok, thanks.

B:

You're welcome.

dialogue 15.2

Which department does she work in?

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

Chng mahn, Lih Su-lhng Suj hi bndouh a?

B:

Lih Su-lihng, kuih hi bn go bouhfahn jouh sih ga?

A:

Hi maaih langsam g go bouhfahn.

B:

O, haih laak. Kuih wah ngh j yuh wi snsang yiu wn kuih, yhg
kuih hi yahpbihn dng nih.

A:

Gm, ngh hi bndouh yahpheui a?

B:

Hmm...Nih hi ndouh ytjihk hahng, yhnhauh jyunchut jsubihn,


Lih Suj jauh hi gdouh laak.

A:

Mhgisaai.

B:

Mhsi mhgi.

A:

Excuse me, where is Miss Siu Ling Lee?

B:

Which department does she work in?

A:

She's in the sweater department.

136

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

Oh, I know. She told me that a gentleman would be coming to see her.
She's inside waiting for you.

A:

So where do I go in?

B:

Well, go straight ahead and turn left. You'll find her there.

A:

Thanks.

B:

You're welcome.

dialogue 15.3

Excuse me, is Mr Wong at home?


A:

, ?

B:

A:

B:

(Goes up)
A:

, ?

C:

A:

?
,

C:

! ! ?

A:

C:

A:

A:

Chng mahn nih, Whng Snsang hi mhhi douh a?

B:

Bn wi Whng Snsang a?

A:

Whng Whng-yihp Snsang.

B:

Mhhi ndouh bo. Chng nih suhngheui sei lu mahnhh l.

(Goes up)
A:

Chng mahn, Whng Whng-yihp Snsang hi mhhi douh a?

137

LEARN CANTONESE
C:

Nih wn bngo a? Nghdeih ndouh muh sing Whng ge bo.

A:

Haih m? Deuimhjyuh bo. Daahnhaih ngh ngamngam mahngwo yih


lu yt go yhn, kuih wah Whng Whng-yihp jyuh hi sei lu ge bo.

C:

Oh! Whng Whng-yihp! Kuih haih mhhaih gaau Gwngdngw ga?

A:

Muh cho, haih kuih laak.

C:

Kuih jyuh hi sam lu, nih hahng fan lohk heui l.

A:

Hu, mhgisaai.

A:

Excuse me. Is Mr Wong in?

B:

Which Mr Wong?

A:

Wing Yip Wong.

B:

He's not here. Try the fourth floor.

(Goes up)
A:

Excuse me. Is Wing Yip Wong there?

C:

Who are you looking for? There's nobody called Wong here.

A:

No? I'm sorry. But I just asked the guy down on the second floor and he
said Wing Yip Wong lived on the fourth floor.

C:

Oh! Wing Yip Wong! You mean the Cantonese teacher?

A:

Right. That's him.

C:

He lives on the third floor. You'd better go back down there.

A:

Ok, thanks.

dialogue 15.4

Who's teaching you Cantonese these days?


A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

138

LEARN CANTONESE
B:

A:

B:

A:

B:

A:

Yhg bngo gaau nih gng Gwngdngw a?

B:

Du haih Jung Sang.

A:

Hohkdou daih gi fo a?

B:

Daih sahpgh fo ge la.

A:

Daih sahpgh fo gng myh ga?

B:

Haih gng heui gngs maih yh g, n fo jnhaih hu yuh yuhng.


Hohkj n fo ngh jauh hyh thng gngs ge fgei gng
Gwngdngw laak.

A:

Haih h.

B:

Haih a! Go fgei juhng wah ngh ge Gwngdngw hu hu tm.

A:

Haih a. Nih ge Gwngdngw haih mhcho aak.

B:

Nih gm gng, ngh jauh jnhaih mhhu yisi la.

A:

Who's teaching you Cantonese now?

B:

It's still Mr. Cheung.

A:

Which lesson are you up to?

B:

Lesson 15.

A:

What's lesson 15 about?

B:

It's about going shopping. It's really useful. After this lesson, I'll be able
to speak Cantonese with the store clerk.

A:

That's right.

B:

Yes, and the clerk also said my Cantonese was very good.

A:

Yes. Your Cantonese is really good.

B:

If you say that, I'll really be embarassed.

139

GLOSSARY

LEARN CANTONESE

CANTONESE - ENGLISH

A
a
ag [go]
h
aak
am (var: ngam)
amam
(var: ngamngam)
am jeuk
(var: ngam jeuk)
aan (var: ngaan)
Aiya!

sen. suf. a (QV) + raised intonation for


liveliness
oh, ah. (a mild exclamation)
sen. suf., to somen abruptness
elder brother
sen. suf. with force of "I suppose."
sen. suf. a (QV) + -k (QV)
fitting, proper, right
exactly

well-fitting (for clothes), fits well

noon, midday
exclamation of consternation

baak
baahk
baahk faahn [wn] [d]
baat
bau
bhb [go]
bt [j]
btgwo
bi
bi
bju [ji] [bi] [jun]
bng [go] [d] [faai]
bn-?
bnbihn?
bndouh?
bngo

Measure for things with handles, such as


umbrellas
hundred
white
boiled or steamed rice
eight
package, Measure for cigarette pack
father
writing implement, either pen or pencil
however; but; although
give
let, allow
beer
cake
which?
which side?
where? [which place?]
whomever, whoever, whichever
143

LEARN CANTONESE
bngo?
-bihn
bu [go]
bo
bohng
bou [fai] [ft]
bouhfahn [go]
bi [jek] [go]
bi
bun
bn
bndeihyhn [go]

()

who?; which person?


side
watch, wristwatch
sen. suf. expressing certainty
pound (weight)
cloth
department (in a store)
a cup, glass
cupful, glass-full (measure of volume)
half
Measure for book
a native of the place under discussion [thisplace-person]

chmhd
chh [bi] [wh]
Chn
chhluh [gan]
chanst [gan]
chang [go]
chau

approximately
tea
Chan (surname)
Cantonese style tea-house
western style restaurant
orange
to toss-fry in small amount of oil, as in
scrambling eggs.
fried rice
fried noodles

chau faahn [wn ] [dihp]


chau mihn [wn ] [dihp]
cht
ch
ch jaahm
chng....
Chng mahn

...

chuihbn
Chuihbn chh l.

cheung

()

seven
vehicle: car, bus, or tram
car stop (bus or tram stop)
please (+ verb); invite
"May I ask...?" Polite form used to preface a
question equivalent to English "Could you
please tell me... ? "
As you wish. At your convenience.
"Sit anywhere you like." Polite phrase used
by host to guest.
change money into smaller denomi-nation
(followed by denomination desired)

144

LEARN CANTONESE
cheunghi

()

chuhng
chuhng sam [gihn]

chut
chutheui
chutlih
chutbihn
chut gai
chi
chn
chhnbihn
chn [d]
chngch
chhngyhng
cho
chh
choi [dihp] [go]
choidan [jung]
choipai [go]

split, break up a large banknote or coin for


ones of lesser denomination (followed by
denomination held)
long (in length)
cheongsaam. Chinese style dress for
women, with high collar and slit skirt
out, emerge
go out
come out
outside, exterior
to go out (from one's own house)
time, occasion
thousand
front side, in front, at the front
money
clear
circumstances, conditions
mistake (v/n)
sit
food; a particular food, a dish
menu of a specific dinner
menu, bill of fare

d
d
d dihnw
d dihnw giu ch
dhi
daai

daai...heui
daai...lai
daaih
daaihd
Daaih Douh Jng
daaihsng
Daaihsngd!

dozen
hit
make a telephone call
phone for a cab
open (as of book)
carry; bring/take something along; bring/take
someone along
take...along
bring...along
large
a little larger
Queen's Road Central
loud (voice)
Speak louder!
145

LEARN CANTONESE
daahnhaih
daap
Daap cho sin

daaphaak [d]
daahp

daahp bun
daahp gi?

daih
daihyt
difu [tuh ]
dikwhn [tuh ]
disam [gihn]
dk
dk...

yuh dk

Dkfuh Douh Jng


Dk meih?
dng
dng Person Verb

dng (yt)jn
or dng ytjahn
deihh
deui

Deuimhjyuh

but
to answer
Wrong number. [connected the wrong line]
(said over the phone)
passenger
tread on. in time expression daahp combines
with the numbers on the clock face to
indicate the 5-minute subdivisions of the
hour. Thus, daahp yt = 5 after, daahp yih =
10 after, etc.
half past (the hour)
how many five minutes past the hour? [tread
on-which number?]
ordinal number marker: -st, -nd, -rd, -th, etc
the first
underpants, undershorts
slip, petticoat
underwear
OK, all right
have only..., only have. (dk with a quantity
phrase as object implies that the quantity is
insufficient.)
available, can. (used between the verb yuh
(or its negative muh) and a second verb,
forms a phrase: "have (or not have)
available for V-ing;" "can ,V."
Des Voeux Road Central
Are you (Is he, etc.) ready?
wait (for)
allow, let Person do something; wait
while Person does something
wait awhile; in a little while
ground, ground floor
pair; group measure for shoes, socks,
chopsticks, things that come in two's
Excuse me; I beg your pardon; I'm sorry.

146

LEARN CANTONESE
deuimihn
d
d

-d

dihnw [go]
dm

dm?
dm bun
dm (jng)

diuhtuh
dd
d
d

Djeh
Djehsaai
du
du
du haih
du + neg. V
dou
-dou

Douh

-douh
-du

duhk
duhkdou ...
duhk sy

...

opposite side, facing; across the street


the; some. (plural M for individual nouns)
a little, some; the. (general M for mass
nouns)
suffixed to Adj. to mean: a little
Adj, somewhat Adj, Adj-er. Attached to
predicate Adj. means: a little too Adj.
telephone
to order (food, by pointing out your
choice from a list.)
how?
1:30 o'clock
o'clock. (represents the hour place in a time
phrase)
turn (a car) around [turn-head]
more (in addition). (follows Verb)
much, many
additional, another, more. (precedes Number
+ M phrase)
Thank you (for gift)
Thank you very much.
also
both; and
really
not even V
arrive
verb suf. to verbs of motion, indicating
arrival at goal
Road (restricted to use following named
road)
place. also see: hi douh
verb suf., indicating successful
accomplishment of the action of the verb.
what is attempted
read aloud; recite; read
read to...
to study
147

LEARN CANTONESE
dyn

short

faahn [wn] [tng]


fan
fan gng
fanheui
fan hohk
fanjyuntuh

fanlih

fan (ng)kki
faai
faaij [deui] [jek] [sung]
fnjng
fnbiht
fo
fgei [go]
fgei [go]
fu [tuh]
fu
fut

rice (cooked)
return (to/from a place you habitually go to)
go [return] to work
go back, return
go to school
turn (the car) around and go back in
the direction you had been, do a U-turn
coming. [return-turn-head] come back, return
(here)
go [return] home
fast
chopstick(s)
minute(s)
difference
lesson
clerk in a grocery store
waiter in a restaurant
trousers, slacks, long pants
pair; M. for eyeglasses
wide

ga

sen. suf: a fusion of noun-forming


boundword ge and sen.suf. a (QV)

ga (var: ge, [g] )

ga
gai [tuh]
gaaisiuh
gaihu [go]
gaish [go]
gai(sk)
gaaklih
gan

()

sen. suf. for matter of fact assertion: "that's a


fact"
M. for vehicles
street
recommend; introduce
street opening; i.e., intersection
food market
explain
next door, adjacent
M. for buildings
148

LEARN CANTONESE
gaau
gaaudou
gaf [bi] [wh]
gi [jek]
gaijuhk
gm
gamseuhngh
gm
Gm,...

gn

gn
gnjyuh
gng [jek]
gau
gauh
gu
Gaulhng
-ge

-ge
ge

teach
teach to...
coffee
chicken
continue
so ( Adj.)
approximately
that way, this way, thus, such a way
"Well then,..."say,..." (Sen. preface,
resuming the thread of previous discussion)
catty. unit of weight equalling 600 gms., ca. 1
lb 5 oz.
follow, come behind
follow, come after
spoon
enough
old (not new)
nine
Kowloon
noun-forming boundword. added to Verb
Phrase makes it a Noun Phrase
as noun substitute
possessive marker, joins with preceding
personal noun or pronoun to form
possessive.
basic; foundation
several
which number?; how many?
rather, quite
what time is it? [which number -o'clock?]
how much?, how many?
quite a lot
what number?
when?
sentence
give (an example)
M. for clothes, such as shirt, dress, raincoat

gibn

gi

gi-?

gi

gidm? (var: gidmjng?)


gid?

gid

gid houh?

gis? (var: gish?)

geui

gui

gihn

149

LEARN CANTONESE
giu

giu ch
giu(jouh)
go
go

()

gg bihn
gd

()

gdouh
gng
gng PERSON j
gng PERSON tng
guhaak [d]
gngs [gan]

...
...

gngyhn [go]
gwai
gwaising?
gwaisingmhng?

gwt
gwo

-gwo

gwod
Gwod tm

Gwokyh

Gwngdng
Gwngdng choi
Gwngdngw
Gwngdngyhn [go]

instruct, tell (someone to do something);


order; call
call a cab
is called, is named
general M. for many nouns
M. for dollar; represents the dollar place in a
money phrase
that; those
over there, on that side
those (in reference to unit nouns); that (in
reference to mass nouns)
there [that-place]
speak
tell sb something
tell sb something
customer
department store; office (of a commercial
company)
servant, laborer
expensive
what is (your) surname? (polite)
what is your surname and given name?
(polite)
quarter (hour)
pass by (a point); cross (a street); go over (to
a place)
V. suf. indicating experience; to have done
something before.
beyond; a little farther on
Go further on; i.e. Keep going. (said to taxi
driver)
Mandarin spoken language [National
language]
Kwangtung, province in SE China
Cantonese food
Cantonese spoken language
Cantonese person, person from Kwangtung
150

LEARN CANTONESE
province
h [jek]
hahbihn
-hh

()

haih [deui] [jek]


hak
haakhei
hahng
haih
haih...lih ge

...

hi PW
hi PW

hi douh
hauhbihn
heisui [ji] [jun] [bi]
heui
-heui

()

heui gai
Hunggng
Hh
hyh
hohk
hohkhaauh [gan]
hohksang [go]
houh
houh

huh(j)

hu
hu

shrimp
below, downstairs
verb suf. giving casual effect to the verb it is
joined to.
shoes
black
polite
go; walk; drive
am, is, are, was, were, etc.
is...; grammatical structure emphasizing
enclosed noun
from PW
location verb, translated as "(is) in/on/at"
(requires PW following)
(he, she, it) is here; is at (this) place
back side; behind, in the back, at the back
soft drink
go
attaches to verbs of motion, indicating
direction away from the speaker
go out (from one's own house)
Hong Kong
Ho (sur.)
be permitted, allowed to
study, learn
school
student
number; "size" (for some articles of clothing)
number (for street number in giving an
address)
dime (represents the dime place in a money
expression when the figure is less than a
dollar)
very, quite
well, good
151

LEARN CANTONESE
Hu

Hu aak.

hud
Hu ma?
hu mhhu a?
husihk
husu
huym

ja

j
j ch
jaak
jaahm
jau
jaufan
ji [go]
jinui [d]

jnhaih
jauh
ju
ju [jun] [bi]
judim [gan]
jug [gan]
j
j [b]
je
jejyuh
jek

jeuk
jun
Jung

OK. All right. Fine, Agreed. (Response


phrase indicating agreement.)
OK. Agreed. (Lively response phrase
indicating agreement.)
a lot
Is that OK?
OK? Is (that) all right?
good to eat; tasty
very little
good to drink; tasty
sen. suf: a fusion of sen. suffixes j and a,
implying not much, merely.
to clutch in the hand(s), grab
to drive a car
narrow
stop, station, as in " bus stop," 'train station"
give change
give back change [change-return]
son
children of a family, sons and daughters of a
family
really, indeed
then; and; immediately; soon
leave, depart
alcoholic beverage
hotel
Chinese style restaurant
sen. suf. only, merely; that's all
umbrella
lend, borrow
lend or borrow temporarily
M. for shoe, sock, ship, cup, spoon, chicken
and others
wear; put on (clothes)
accurate; right
Cheung (surname)
152

LEARN CANTONESE
jung

j [jung]
j

j
j(dou)
jdou
jih

M. for banknote, table, chair, newspaper, and


other sheet-shaped objects
banknote; paper
M. for pens, pencils, bottles, and other things
that are small, thin and striplike in size
to know
know (something)
point to
five minutes; written figure; character

jhauh

after

jihgi

self

jip

meet, fetch, pick up a person

ju [jek] [s]

banana

verb suf. indicating accomplishment of the


action

j
jbihn
jgn
joi
joi d lih
joi gng ytchi
joigin
jsubihn
jouh

()

()

left
left
nearby, (t)hereabouts
again
call back (on the phone)
say it again, repeat
goodbye
lefthand side
to do; work; act as

jouh sam
jouh yh
jushn
jng [go]

make clothes, have clothes made


do chores, have a job
good morning
clock

juhng
Jngchoi
Jnggwok choi
Jnggwokyhn
Jngmhn
Jngwahn

(or )

still, in addition, also (+ verb)


Chinese food
Chinese food
Chinese person
Chinese (written) language
Central District (in Hong Kong)
153

LEARN CANTONESE
Jngwahn Gaihsh
jngyi
jng
jyuh
-jyuh

Central Market (in Hong Kong)


like; prefer; like to
type, kind
live, reside
V. suf. indicating temporarily, for a short
time
pork
host, hostess
turn

jyyuhk [gn] [bohng] [d]


jyyhn [wi] [go]

jyun

-k
khmyaht
kmmaih
kuih
kuihdeih
kwhn [tuh ]

glottal stop ending to certain sen. suffixes,


giving sentence a lively air
yesterday
to close, shut (as of books)
he/him, she/her, it
they, them, their
skirt
sen. suf. for polite imperative, polite
suggestion.
sen. suf. la for change + raised intonation for
casualness
sen. suf. indicating change (that change
has occurred, or is about to occur, or may
occur)
sen. suf. to imperative sentence, giving
connotation of friendly advice
sen. suf. la indicating change or potential
change + suffix -k indicating lively mood (la
+ -k = laak)
sweater
example
example, example sentence
for the purpose of
to come
attaches to verbs of motion, indicating
direction towards the speaker
see: haih...lih ge

la
la
laak

langsam [gihn]
laih
laihgeui
lih
lih
-lih

()

...lih ge

154

LEARN CANTONESE
lu
Luh
luhhah
luhseuhng
lh
lhng

Lih
leng

luhng
lihnjaahp [go]
lhng
l
l chn
lohk
lohkheui
louhyhn [go]
luhk

floor, story of a building


Lau (surname)
downstairs
upstairs
sen. suf. for definiteness
"and a little bit" in a time phrase
following dm, thus: -dm lhng jng
= a little after the hour
Li (surname)
pretty; good-looking; good, nice (for
foods)
two; a couple
exercise, drill
zero
fetch, go get (something)
withdraw money (from bank)
to go down; to get off/out of a vehicle
go down
pedestrian
six

ma?

question marker

mhm

mother

mh
Mh
mhtuh [go]
maih
maaih
maaihsaai laak
maih
maihdan

yard (in length)


Ma (surname)
dock; pier; quay
buy
to sell
All sold out.
V. suf. meaning together, close
bill (in a restaurant)

maahn

slow

mn
mahn
mahntih [go] [d]

dollar
ask
question
155

LEARN CANTONESE
Mhnwh Judim
mtyh?
maht [deui] [jek]
m?
myh?
meih
Mihgwok Judim

Mihgwok Nghnhhng
Mihgwokyhn
mng [go]

mhmhcho

mhgnyiu
mhgeidk
mhginj
mhgi
mhgi nih...

mhhaih gi Adj
mhhaih hu Adj
mhhu V
V dk mhhu
mhhu haakhei

mhhu yisi

mhj(dou)...a?
mhsi
mhsi haakhei

...

mhsi la

mhsi mhgi.

Mandarin Hotel
what?
socks
interrogative sen. suf. indicating surprise
what?
neg: not yet
American Hotel (in HK, another name for the
Hong Kong Hilton)
Bank of America
American person
name; for persons = given name (in contrast
to surname)
not
good, "not bad" [not-mistake] (said in
commenting favourably about something)
That's all right; It doesn't matter; Never mind.
forget (not remember)
lose, lost; "nowhere to be seen"
Thank you (for a service)
Please..., Would you please... (sen. preface
preceding a request)
not very Adj, not Adj
not very Adj
don't V (as a command) [not good to...]
badly, not well
"Don't be polite." Polite phrase used by host
to urge guest to have something that he has
just politely declined.
I'm sorry; It's embarrassing. (used in
apologizing for social gaffe)
I wonder...?
no need to, not necessary
[don't need to be polite.] "No thanksI" (to an
offer) "You're welcome." (when someone
thanks you) [Not necessary] No thanks. polite
phrase used in declining a courtesy or a gim.
[Not necessary to (say) thanks]
156

LEARN CANTONESE
You're welcome. Polite response when
someone thanks you for something you have
done for him.
what?
not have, there isn't (aren't)
That's right.
not have available for V-ing; V there's none
to not have available to .;. (used in
combination with following verb)
not much, not many
doorway

myh?
muh
Muh cho
muhdk V

muhgid
mhnhu [go]

nahmphngyuh [go]
Nh!

n?
N!

Nihdun Douh
nih
nihdeih
nui [go]
nuihphngyuh [go]
gh
ngam
ngamjeuk
ngamngam
(var: amam)
ngaan (var. aan)
nghnchn [go]
nghnhhng [gan]
ngn
nghngng [fu]
nghngngdi [go]
ngahp tu
nguhnaih [d]

boyfriend
Here! (expression accompanying giving
something to someone)
interrogative sen. suf.
There! (expression accompanying pointing
out something to someone)
Nathan Road
you, your
you (plu.)
daughter
girlfriend
five
fitting, proper, right
well-fitting (for clothes), fits well
exactly, just

noon, midday
money [silver-money]
bank
coin
eyeglasses
eyeglasses case
nod the head
milk [cow-milk]
157

LEARN CANTONESE
nguhyuhk
[gn] [bohng] [d]
ngh
nghdeih
ngoi (var: oi)
ngoihgwokyhn [go]

beef

ngk (var: k) [gan],


ngkki (var: kki)
n
n bihn
n d

ndouh
njgn
nihng tu
nng
nngheui, nng...heui
nnglih, nng...lih

I , me, my
we, our, us
want, want to have, want to possess
foreigner [outside-country-person] (in
practice, this word refers to Caucasians only)
house
home
this
this side
these (in reference to individual nouns), this
(in reference to mass nouns)
here [this-place]
close by, hereabouts
shake the head
carry (something)
take, carry something away
bring something here

oi (var: ngoi)

want, want to have, want to possess

paak
paak ch
phngyuh [go]
phng
phnggw [go]

park (a car)
to park a car
friend
cheap
apple

-saai
sam
sam go gwat
sanngn [d]
Sang
Sichan [go]
sai
saimi [go]
sn

completely
three
three quarters amer the hour
small coins, small change
Mr.
Western meal
small
younger sister
new
158

LEARN CANTONESE
sahp
sahpyt
sahpyih
sauhfoyhn [go]
sudi [go]
ssu
s
sjihluh [gan]
sei
seuhngbihn
seuhngchi
Seuhnghi
Seuhnghi choi
Seuhnghiw
Seuhnghiyhn [go]
sung

()

suhng
sui [bi] [d]
sui bi [jek]
sutsam [gihn]
sgi [go]
si
sihh
sih
Sihdaahn l

shhauh
sk
sk
sk
sihk
sihk (ng)aan
sihk yn
snsang [go]

ten
eleven
twelve
salesclerk [sell-goods-personnel]
(woman's) handbag
a little
write
office [write-words-building]
four
above, upstairs
last time, the previous time
Shanghai
Shanghai food
Shanghainese (spoken language)
Shanghainese (person)
be of a mind to, wish to, would like to, want
to, considering.
(always followed by Verb) ascend
water
water glass
shirt
taxi driver; chauffeur
try
give it a try
business, affair, matter
Phrase used when offered a choice,
meaning: As you wish; Either one; Both
equally preferable.
time
to know someone
know how (to do something)
colour
eat
eat lunch
to smoke [eat-tobacco]
husband
159

LEARN CANTONESE
tng dihnwa
tm

tm
Tnsng Mhtuh
thng
tuh

Tihsan

Tihsanw
Tihsanyhn
tng [go] [wn]
tng mihn [go] [wn]
thng
Thngchoi
tuhsygwn [gan]
thng
thng
thng

talk [listen] on the telephone


sen. suf. indicating speaker is taken by
surprise by a situation contrary to his
expectation
in addition, also, more
Star Ferry Pier
to stop
M. for trousers, ties, and certain other objects
long and narrow
in shape Taishan, a county in Southern
Kwangtung about 100 mi. west of Hong
Kong
Taishan dialect
person from Taishan
soup
soup noodles
sugar
Chinese food
library
and (connects nouns)
on behalf of, for
with

k (var: ngk) [gan]


kkei (var: ngkkei)

house
home

w
w?

waahkj
wah
wah yhn j

wah yhn tng


wi
wi [go]

spoken language; dialect


interrogative sen. suf. calling for repeat of the
preceding sentence
maybe
say; opine
tell me
tell someone (any personal noun or pronoun
can fill
posxtxon; i-ii someone ICll .......
polite M. for persons
a place, seat
161

LEARN CANTONESE
wnjaahp
wn
wn yhn
lih wn yhn
heui wn yhn
wn bnwi a?

to review
look for, search
look someone up
come see someone
go see someone
(on telephone:) "Who do you wish to speak
to?"
Hello! (telephone greeting)

Wi!

Whng n Gngs
Whng
wuihw
wuhn

wuhn sam
wn [go] [jek]
wn
wnji [go] [jekj

Wing On Department Store


Wong (sur.)
conversation
to change. re money, to change into...
(followed by denomination of money
desired); to exchange one national currency
for another (followed by currency desired)
change clothes
bowl (n.)
a bowl of... (in)
small bowl

ym
yhn [go]
yhn [go]
yhnhaak [wai]
yahp
yahpbihn
yahpheui
yt
ytchih
ytchi
yt chi du meih...
yt M du Neg. V
yt go gwt
yt go jih
yt go yt go
ytjihk

[]

......

to drink
person
someone
guest
enter
inside
go in; enter
one
together
once, one time
not even once
not even one...
a quarter after the hour
five minutes; five minutes after the hour
one by one
straight a) in a straight direction b) without
162

LEARN CANTONESE

ytyeuhng
Yahtbn choi
Yahtbnw
Yahtbnyhn
Yahtmn
Yahtmhn
yauh
yauh
yauh V yauh V
yauhbihn
yauhsubihn
yuh...PW
yuhhaak [go]
yuh
yuhdk V

......
()
()

(Yuh) myh sih a?

yuh sh

yh
yh
yeuhng
ysng [go]
yih
yhg
Y!
...ykwaahk...?
yn [bau] [d]
ynji [j]
yhn(j)hauh
Yngmn
Yngmhn
Ynggwokyhn [go]
yihp

()

being interrupted or diverted.


same
Japanese food
Japanese (spoken) language
Japanese person
Japanese (written) language
Japanese (written) language
right (direction)
also (connects Verb Phrases)
both..., and....
right side
right hand side
from PW
tourist
has/have; there is/are
to have available to V, have available for Ving. (used in combination with following
verb)
What is it you want? (on the phone: May I
take a message?)
have something to attend to; have errand,
business
work; chores
things, stuff
kind, type
doctor
two
now, at this moment
Exclamation of distress
..., or...? (connects two verbal expressions)
tobacco
a cigarette
then; immediately afterwards
English language
English language
Englishman, person from England
page
163

LEARN CANTONESE
yhnhaak [wai]
yahp
yahpbihn
yahpheui
yt
ytchih
ytchi
yt chi du meih...
yt M du Neg. V
yt go gwt
yt go jih
yt go yt go
ytjihk

[]

......

ytyeuhng
Yahtbn choi
Yahtbnw
Yahtbnyhn
Yahtmn
Yahtmhn
yauh
yauh
yauh V yauh V
yauhbihn
yauhsubihn
yuh...PW
yuhhaak [go]
yuh
yuhdk V

......
()
()

(Yuh) myh sih a?

yuh sh

yh
yh

guest
enter
inside
go in; enter
one
together
once, one time
not even once
not even one...
a quarter after the hour
five minutes; five minutes after the hour
one by one
straight a) in a straight direction b) without
being interrupted or diverted.
same
Japanese food
Japanese (spoken) language
Japanese person
Japanese (written) language
Japanese (written) language
right (direction)
also (connects Verb Phrases)
both..., and....
right side
right hand side
from PW
tourist
has/have; there is/are
to have available to V, have available for Ving. (used in combination with following
verb)
What is it you want? (on the phone: May I
take a message?)
have something to attend to; have errand,
business
work; chores
things, stuff
163

LEARN CANTONESE
yeuhng
ysng [go]
yih
yhg
Y!
...ykwaahk...?
yn [bau] [d]
ynji [j]
yhn(j)hauh
Yngmn
Yngmhn
Ynggwokyhn [go]
yihp
yiu
yiu
yiu + money expression

()

yiu
y
yhjy [jek]
yhlu [gihn]
yhnbt [j]
yhnjbt [j] [d]
yuhng

kind, type
doctor
two
now, at this moment
Exclamation of distress
..., or...? (connects two verbal expressions)
tobacco
a cigarette
then; immediately afterwards
English language
English language
Englishman, person from England
page
want, require
must; need; have to
want X amount, costs X amount. (i.e., the
asking price is X amount)
going to, intend to
fish
roast suckling pig
raincoat
pencil
ballpoint pen
use

164