Click Here to Get 31% OFF
Click Here to Get 31% OFF

CantoneseClass101.com Blog

Learn Cantonese with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

100 Cantonese Adjectives Just for You!

Thumbnail

Adjectives are a very important part of our everyday language. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to describe how pretty the girl sitting next to you is or how spectacular the scenery is.

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

The more Cantonese adjectives you know, the easier for you to master the Cantonese language. Can’t wait to learn more about Cantonese adjectives? Keep reading and let CantoneseClass101 give you a hand!

Note that we will provide both written and spoken example sentences throughout the article for you. This will help you learn Cantonese adjectives in both forms. We’ve used symbols to help you identify which ones are written (w), spoken (s), or applicable to both (ws).

Now, let’s have some fun with Cantonese adjectives!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Adjectives in Cantonese

Table of Contents

  1. How to Use an Adjective
  2. Adjectives for Dimensions, Sizes, Distance, Number, Frequency, etc.
  3. Adjectives Describing Value, Conditions, etc.
  4. Adjectives Describing Personalities and Feelings
  5. Adjectives Describing Colors, Weather, Taste, Appearance, etc.
  6. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. How to Use an Adjective

Reading

There are three typical ways to use an Cantonese language adjectives in a sentence or phrase.

1- Adjective + 嘅 + Noun

We usually add 嘅 (ge3) between an adjective and a noun. For example, a “huge portion” in Cantonese is 大嘅份量 (daai6 ge3 fan6 loeng6), where 大 means “huge” and 份量 means “portion.”

Other examples include:

  • (s) 開心嘅爸爸 (hoi1 sam1 ge3 baa4 baa1)
    Meaning: “a happy dad”
  • (s) 高嘅小朋友 (gou1 ge3 siu2 pang4 jau5)
    Meaning: “a tall kid”

2- Adjective + Noun

In some instances, we can use an adjective and noun together without adding 嘅 (ge3). This implies we should treat the adjective and the noun as a unit.

Examples:

  • (ws) 大國 (daai6 gwok3)
    Meaning: “a great country”
  • (ws) 窮人 (kung4 jan4)
    Meaning: “poor people” / “the poor”
  • (ws) 高山 (gou1 saan1)
    Meaning: “tall mountain”

3- Noun + Be Verb + Adjective + 嘅

We can also put the noun at the front when we use an adjective in Cantonese. Look at the examples below:

  • Chinese Character: (s) 屋係白色嘅
    Romanization: uk1zi2 hai6 baak6 sik1 ge3
    Meaning: The house is white.
    Breakdown: 屋 is “house”; 係 is “is”; 白色 is “white”
  • Chinese Character: (s) 新書係貴嘅
    Romanization: san1 syu1 hai6 gwai3 ge3
    Meaning: The new book is expensive.
    Breakdown: 新 is “new”; 書 is “book”; 係 is “is”; 貴 is “expensive”


2. Adjectives for Dimensions, Sizes, Distance, Number, Frequency, etc.

Most Common Adjectives

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning Example
1 gou1 Tall (ws) 高山 (gou1 saan1)
Meaning: tall mountain
2 dyun2 Short (ws) 短褲 (dyun2 fu3)
Meaning: short pants
3 daai6 Big / Huge (ws) 大事 (daai6 si6)
Meaning: a huge incident
4 fut3 Wide (ws) 闊腳褲 (fut3 goek3 fu3)
Meaning: wide leg pants
5 coeng4 Long (ws) 長褲 (coeng4 fu3)
Meaning: trousers
6 hau5 Thick (ws) 厚多士 (hau5 do1 si2)
Meaning: thick toast
7 sai3 Small / Little (s) 細佬 (sai3 lou2)
Meaning: little brother
8 sau3 Thin (s) 佢好瘦 (keoi5 hou2 sau3)
Meaning: He/she is thin.
9 sam1 Deep (ws) 深山 (sam1 saan1)
Meaning: deep in the mountains
10 zaak3 Narrow (ws) 窄腳褲 (zaak3 goek3 fu3)
Meaning: narrow pants
11 jyun4 Circular / Round (s) 月亮係圓嘅 (jyut6 loeng6 hai6 jyun4 ge3)
Meaning: The moon is round.
12 zik6 Straight (ws) 直線 (zik6 sin3)
Meaning: straight line
13 siu2 Little / Few (w) 數量很少 (sou3 loeng6 han2 siu2)
Meaning: The amount is few.
14 do1 Many / Large (ws) 多數 (do1 sou3)
Meaning: large amount
15 全部 cyun4 bou6 All (ws) 全部人 (cyun4 bou6 jan4)
Meaning: all people
16 一些 jat1 se1 Some (w) 一些人 (jat1 se1 jan4)
Meaning: some people


3. Adjectives Describing Value, Conditions, etc.

Mexican Money

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning Example
1 co3 Wrong (s) 錯嘅時間 (co3 ge3 si4 gaan3)
Meaning: wrong time
2 正確 zing3 kok3 Right / Correct (ws) 正確地址 (zing3 kok3 dei6 zi2)
Meaning: correct address
3 hou2 Good (ws) 好人 (hou2 jan4)
Meaning: a good person
4 caa1 Bad / Poor (ws) 成績差 (sing4 zik1 caa1)
Meaning: poor grade
5 naan4 Difficult (s) 法文好難 (faat3 man2 hou2 naan4)
Meaning: French is difficult.
6 ji6 Easy (s) 跟我學廣東話好易 (gan1 ngo5 hok6 gwong2 dung1 waa2 hou2 ji6)
Meaning: Learning Cantonese with me is very easy.
7 san1 New (ws) 新年快樂 (san1 nin4 faai3 lok6)
Meaning: Happy new year.
8 gau6 Old (s) 我間屋好舊 (ngo5 gaan1 uk1 hou2 gau6)
Meaning: My house is really old.
9 peng4 Cheap (s) 好平呀 (hou2 peng4 aa3)
Meaning: really cheap
10 gwai3 Expensive (s) 香港啲樓好貴 (hoeng1 gong2 di1 lau2 hou2 gwai3)
Meaning: Apartments in Hong Kong are very expensive.
11 年青 nin4 cing1 Young (ws) 年青人 (nin4 cing1 jan4)
Meaning: the youth
12 lou5 Old (ws) 老人 (lou5 jan4)
Meaning: the elderly
13 faai3 Fast (s) 我跑得好快 (ngo5 paau2 dak1 hou2 faai3)
Meaning: I run really fast.
14 maan6 Slow (s) 我鍾意慢活嘅概念 (ngo5 zung1 ji3 maan6 wut6 ge3 koi3 nim6)
Meaning: I like the concept of slow-living.
15 有用 jau5 jung6 Useful (s) 學外語好有用 (hok6 ngoi6 jyu5 hou2 jau5 jung6)
Meaning: Learning a new language is very useful.
16 冇用 mou5 jung6 Useless (s) 一定唔可以做個冇用嘅人 (jat1 ding6 m4 ho2 ji3 zou6 go3 mou5 jung6 ge3 jan4)
Meaning: We must not become a useless person.
17 waai6 Bad (ws) 壞習慣 (waai6 zaap6 gwaan3)
Meaning: bad habits
18 乾淨 gon1 zeng6 Clean (s) 乾淨嘅環境 (gon1 zeng6 ge3 waan4 ging2)
Meaning: clean environment
19 污糟 wu1 zou1 Dirty (s) 污糟嘅環境 (wu1 zou1 ge3 waan4 ging2)
Meaning: dirty environment
20 cou4 Noisy (s) 佢好嘈 (keoi5 hou2 cou4)
Meaning: He/she is very noisy.
21 zing6 Quiet (s) 佢好靜 (keoi5 hou2 zing6)
Meaning: He/she is very quiet.
22 joek6 Weak (s) 佢好弱 (keoi5 hou2 joek6)
Meaning: He/She is very weak.
23 強壯 koeng4 zong3 Strong (physically) (s) 強壯嘅BB (koeng4 zong3 ge3 BB)
Meaning: strong baby
24 hung1 Empty (s) 個樽係空嘅 (go3 zeon1 hai6 hung1 ge3)
Meaning: The bottle is empty.


4. Adjectives Describing Personalities and Feelings

From Joy to Sorrow

# Chinese Characters

Romanization Meaning Example
1 不安 bat1 on1 Anxious (w) 明天考試結果就出來了,我真的很不安 (ming4 tin1 haau2 si3 gik3 gwo2 zau6 ceot1 loi4 liu5 , ngo5 zan1 dik1 han2 bat1 on1)
Meaning: The exam results are coming out tomorrow, and I’m really anxious about it.
2 勤奮 kan4 fan5 Diligent (w) 勤奮的小孩 (kan4 fan5 dik1 siu2 haai4)
Meaning: a diligent kid
3 幽默 jau1 mak6 Humorous (w) 幽默的故事 (jau1 mak6 dik1 gu3 si6)
Meaning: humorous story
4 禮貌 lai5 maau6 Polite (w) 第一次見面時,與對方握手是禮貌的動作 (dai6 jat1 ci3 gin3 min6 si4, jyu5 deoi3 fong1 ak1 sau2 si6 lai5 maau6 dik1 dung6 zok3)
Meaning: It is polite to shake hands when meeting someone for the first time.
5 活躍 wut6 joek3 Active (w) 活躍的孩子 (wut6 joek3 dik1 haai4 zi2)
Meaning: active child
6 誠實 sing4 sat6 Honest (w) 他是個誠實的人 (taa1 si6 go3 sing4 sat6 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: He is an honest person.
7 有趣 jau5 ceoi3 Funny (w) 他不穿褲子跳舞,真有趣 (taa1 bat1 cyun1 fu3 zi2 tiu3 mou5, zan1 jau5 ceoi3)
Meaning: The funny man is dancing without pants.
8 冷靜 laang5 zing6 Calm (w) 那個女人很冷靜 (naa5 go3 neoi5 jan2 han2 laang5 zing6)
Meaning: The woman is calm.
9 mun6 Boring (w) 他很悶 (taa1 han2 mun6)
Meaning: He is boring.
10 正經 zing3 ging1 Serious (ws) 正經的人 (zing3 ging1 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: a serious person
11 害羞 hoi6 sau1 Shy (w) 害羞的小孩 (hoi6 sau1 dik1 siu2 haai4)
Meaning: a shy child
12 善良 sin6 loeng4 Kind (w) 善良的人 (sin6 loeng4 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: a kind person
13 有活力 jau5 wut6 lik6 Energetic (w) 有活力的講者 (jau5 wut6 lik6 dik1 gong2 ze2)
Meaning: an energetic speaker
14 jing4 Cool (s) 我收藏型嘅T恤 (ngo5 sau1 cong4 jing4 ge3 T seot1)
Meaning: I collect cool T-shirts.
15 親切 can1 cit3 Friendly (w) 親切的叔叔 (can1 cit3 dik1 suk1 suk1)
Meaning: a friendly uncle
16 聰明 cung1 ming4 Smart (w) 聰明的孩子 (cung1 ming4 dik1 haai4 zi2)
Meaning: a smart child
17 浪漫 long6 maan6 Romantic (w) 他很浪漫 (taa1 han2 long6 maan6)
Meaning: He is romantic.
18 勇敢 jung5 gam2 Brave (w) 我是一個勇敢的人 (ngo5 si6 jat1 go3 jung5 gam2 dik1 jan4)
Meaning: I am brave.
19 內向 noi6 hoeng3 Introverted (w) 她很內向,不擅與人交際 (taa1 han2 noi6 hoeng3, bat1 sin6 jyu5 jan4 gaau1 zai3)
Meaning: She is introverted and does not know how to socialize.
20 可靠 ho2 kaau3 Reliable (w) 爸爸很可靠 (baa4 baa1 han2 ho2 kaau3)
Meaning: Dad is very reliable.
21 外向 ngoi6 hoeng3 Extroverted (w) 媽媽很外向 (maa4 maa1 han2 ngoi6 hoeng3)
Meaning: Mom is very extroverted.
22 有想像力 jau5 soeng2 zoeng6 lik6 Imaginative (w) 弟弟有想像力 (dai4 dai2 jau5 soeng2 zoeng6 lik6)
Meaning: (My) little brother is imaginative.
23 有耐性 jau5 noi6 sing3 Patient (w) 姐姐有耐性 (ze4 ze1 jau5 noi6 sing3)
Meaning: (My) elder sister is patient.
24 有同情心 jau5 tung4 cing4 sam1 Compassionate (w) 妹妹有同情心 (mui4 mui2 jau5 tung4 cing4 sam1)
Meaning: (My) little sister is compassionate.
25 驕傲 giu1 ou6 Proud (w) 哥哥很驕傲 (go4 go1 han2 giu1 ou6)
Meaning: (My) elder brother is very proud.
26 gui6 Tired (s) 我錄咗成段片,好攰呀 (ngo5 luk6 zo2 seng4 dyun6 pin2, hou2 gui6 aa3)
Meaning: I’m tired after recording this video.
27 肚餓 tou5 ngo6 Hungry (s) 好肚餓呀 (hou2 tou5 ngo6 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so hungry.
28 baau2 Full (s) 好飽呀 (hou2 baau2 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so full.
29 開心 hoi1 sam1 Happy (s) 我好開心呀 (ngo5 hou2 hoi1 sam1 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so happy.
30 傷心 soeng1 sam1 Sad (s) 我好傷心呀 (ngo5 hou2 soeng1 sam1 aa3)
Meaning: I’m so sad.


5. Adjectives Describing Colors, Weather, Taste, Appearance, etc.

Colourful Rings

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning Example
1 黑色 hak1 sik1 Black (w) 黑色的手機 (hak1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: black cellphone
2 藍色 laam4 sik1 Blue (w) 藍色的手機 (laam4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: blue cellphone
3 灰色 fui1 sik1 Gray (w) 灰色的手機 (fui1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: gray cellphone
4 綠色 luk6 sik1 Green (w) 綠色的手機 (luk6 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: green cellphone
5 橙色 caang2 sik1 Orange (w) 橙色的手機 (caang2 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: orange cellphone
6 紫色 zi2 sik1 Purple (w) 紫色的手機 (zi2 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: purple cellphone
7 紅色 hung4 sik1 Red (w) 紅色的手機 (hung4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: red cellphone
8 青色 ceng1 sik1 Cyan-blue (w) 青色的手機 (ceng1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: cyan-blue cellphone
9 米色 mai5 sik1 Beige (w) 米色的手機 (mai5 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: beige cellphone
10 粉紅色 fan2 hung4 sik1 Pink (w) 粉紅色的手機 (fan2 hung4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: pink cellphone
11 白色 baak6 sik1 White (w) 白色的手機 (baak6 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: white cellphone
12 黃色 wong4 sik1 Yellow (w) 黃色的手機 (wong4 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: yellow cellphone
13 啡色 fei1 sik1 Brown (w) 啡色的手機 (fei1 sik1 dik1 sau2 gei1)
Meaning: brown cellphone
14 laang5 Cold (w) 今天很 (gam1 tin1 han2 laang5)
Meaning: It’s cold today.
15 jit6 Hot (w) 今天很 (gam1 tin1 han2 jit6)
Meaning: It’s hot today.
16 溫暖 wan1 nyun5 Warm (w) 今天很溫暖 (gam1 tin1 han2 wan1 nyun5)
Meaning: It’s warm today.
17 潮濕 ciu4 sap1 Humid (w) 今天很潮濕 (gam1 tin1 han2 ciu4 sap1)
Meaning: It’s humid today.
18 saai3 Sunny (w) 今天很 (gam1 tin1 han2 saai3)
Meaning: It’s sunny today.
19 有風 jau5 fung1 Windy (w) 今天有風 (gam1 tin1 jau5 fung1)
Meaning: It’s windy today.
20 天晴 tin1 ceng4 Sunny (w) 今天天晴 (gam1 tin1 tin1 ceng4)
Meaning: It’s sunny today.
21 密雲 mat6 wan4 Cloudy (w) 今天密雲 (gam1 tin1 mat6 wan4)
Meaning: It’s cloudy today.
22 fu2 Bitter (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 fu2)
Meaning: This dish is bitter.
23 新鮮 san1 sin1 Fresh (w) 這道菜很新鮮 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 san1 sin1)
Meaning: This dish is fresh.
24 haam4 Salty (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 haam4)
Meaning: This dish is salty.
25 syun1 Sour (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 syun1)
Meaning: This dish is sour.
26 laat6 Spicy (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 laat6)
Meaning: This dish is spicy.
27 tim4 Sweet (w) 這道菜很 (ze2 dou6 coi3 han2 tim4)
Meaning: This dish is sweet.
28 得意 dak1 ji3 Cute (s) 好得意呀 (hou2 dak1 ji3 aa3)
Meaning: It’s so cute.
29 核突 wat6 dat6 Ugly (s) 佢好核突 (keoi5 hou2 wat6 dat6)
Meaning: He is so ugly.
30 leng3 Beautiful (s) 林嘉欣好 (lam4 gaa1 jan1 hou2 leng3)
Meaning: Karena Lam is very beautiful.


6. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Improve Pronunciation

Did you learn any new Cantonese adjectives? Is there anything you’re still fuzzy on? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help! To practice, why not write us a paragraph about yourself in the comments using some of these adjectives? We look forward to hearing what you have to say. :)
Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Adjectives in Cantonese

10 Netflix Hong Kong Shows Not to Miss Out On!

Thumbnail

Learning Cantonese is a headache to many—after all, with nine tones and 20k+ characters, Cantonese is one of the most difficult languages to master! But, with the right tools, you can certainly learn Cantonese a lot quicker and more effectively—in this case, those tools would be a great Cantonese course and the best Netflix Hong Kong shows.

Watching shows and movies in Cantonese on Netflix is a great way to sharpen language skills. Without even noticing, you’ll end up understanding the spoken language a lot better, and improve your pronunciation simply because you’ve gained familiarity with Cantonese as a whole.

Do you want to learn Cantonese on Netflix, while also learning more about the Hong Kong culture? Here are ten Netflix Hong Kong shows for you to work through in your spare time!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Table of Contents

  1. S Storm
  2. Vulgaria
  3. Initial D
  4. Cold War
  5. Royal Tramp
  6. The Midnight After
  7. A Complicated Story
  8. Justice, My Foot!
  9. Sixty Million Dollar Man
  10. OCTB
  11. Bonus: More Cantonese TV Shows and Movies!
  12. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. S Storm

  • Cantonese Title: S風暴
  • Romanization: S fung1 bou6
  • Director: David Lam
  • Stars: Louis Koo; Julian Cheung; Vic Chou

S Storm is a 2016 crime action movie, and the second film in the Storm film series, following 2014’s Z Storm.

Currently one of the best Cantonese Netflix films, S Storm depicts a classic run-in between the Independent Commission Against Corruption (a.k.a. ICAC) and the Hong Kong Police Force, which was triggered by the murder of the trader by a lone assassin. William Luk from ICAC refuses to disclose any information regarding the murder case to Julian Cheung, the chief investigator of the case from the Hong Kong police, even though he witnessed the incident.

The story continues to unfold as the police uncover that the murder case was actually tied to illegal bookmaking on football betting, and an international crime syndicate…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 廉政公署
    Romanization: lim4 zing3 gung1 cyu5
    Meaning: Independent Commission Against Corruption
  • Character: 貪污
    Romanization: taam1 wu1
    Meaning: Corruption
  • Character: 兇殺案
    Romanization: hung1 saat3 ngon3
    Meaning: Murder case
  • Character: 犯罪
    Romanization: faan6 zeoi6
    Meaning: Commiting a crime
  • Character: 調查
    Romanization: diu6 caa4
    Meaning: Investigation


2. Vulgaria

  • Cantonese Title: 低俗喜劇
  • Romanization: dai1 zuk6 hei2 kek6
  • Director: Ho-Cheung Pang
  • Stars: Chapman To; Kristal Tin; Ronald Cheng

Looking for Cantonese films on Netflix to make you laugh? Vulgaria is a 2012 comedy that tells the story of how a divorced movie producer strives to fulfill his daughter’s dream of seeing him being interviewed by a major HK TV broadcaster, despite the fact that he’s poor and struggling to make alimony payments to his ex-wife…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 喜劇
    Romanization: hei2 kek6
    Meaning: Comedy
  • Character: 女兒
    Romanization: neoi5 ji4
    Meaning: Daughter
  • Character: 監製
    Romanization: gaam1 zai3
    Meaning: Movie producer
  • Character: 婚姻
    Romanization: fan1 jan1
    Meaning: Marriage
  • Character: 電影
    Romanization: din6 jing2
    Meaning: Movie


3. Initial D

Best Ways to Learn

  • Cantonese Title: 頭文字D
  • Romanization: tau4 man4 zi6 D
  • Director: Andrew Lau; Alan Mak
  • Stars: Shawn Yue; Edison Chen; Jay Chou

Initial D, released in 2005, is an action film adapted from the Japanese Initial D manga series. The movie is about Takumi Fujiwara, a high school student, who has decided to focus on drift racing after winning his first competition. This is a sport he unknowingly perfects while delivering tofu with his father’s Toyota AE86…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 父親
    Romanization: fu6 can1
    Meaning: Father
  • Character: 豆腐
    Romanization: dau6 fu6
    Meaning: Tofu
  • Character: 漂移
    Romanization: piu1 ji4
    Meaning: Drifting
  • Character: 汽車
    Romanization: hei3 ce1
    Meaning: Car
  • Character: 擊敗
    Romanization: gik1 baai6
    Meaning: Defeat


4. Cold War

  • Cantonese Title: 寒戰
  • Romanization: hon4 zin3
  • Director: Longman Leung; Sunny Luk
  • Stars: Aaron Kwok; Tony Ka Fai Leung; Charlie Yeung

Cold War—the opening film at the 17th Busan International Film Festival—is a 2012 Hong Kong police thriller film. Its name derives from the code name used in the police operation, and the film has a sequel called Cold War 2.

During the investigation of a missing Hong Kong Police Force van, they find that the terrorists possess detailed knowledge of the police’s procedures and can always plan several steps ahead. In the absence of the Chief Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner M.B. Lee leads an operation code-named “Cold War,” and declares a state of emergency…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 警隊
    Romanization: ging2 deoi2
    Meaning: Police force
  • Character: 副處長
    Romanization: fu3 cyu3 zoeng2
    Meaning: Deputy Commissioner
  • Character: 行動
    Romanization: hang4 dung6
    Meaning: Operation
  • Character: 贖金
    Romanization: suk6 gam1
    Meaning: Ransom
  • Character: 代號
    Romanization: doi6 hou6
    Meaning: Code name


5. Royal Tramp

  • Cantonese Title: 鹿鼎記
  • Romanization: luk6 ding2 gei3
  • Director: Jing Wong
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Man Cheung; Chingmy Yau

Royal Tramp is a 1992 comedy based on Louis Cha’s novel The Deer and the Cauldron, and it stars the famous Stephen Chow, who played the protagonist Wai Siu-bo.

The story revolves around Wai Siu-bo, resourceful and cunning, who was made a member of the Heaven and Earth Society after rescuing its leader. Yet he performs poorly in his first assignment, and is subsequently made a servant to the very person the Heaven and Earth Society aim to overthrow…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 機智
    Romanization: gei1 zi3
    Meaning: Smart
  • Character: 決鬥
    Romanization: kyut3 dau3
    Meaning: Battle
  • Character: 皇帝
    Romanization: wong4 dai3
    Meaning: Emperor
  • Character: 皇宮
    Romanization: wong4 gung1
    Meaning: Royal Palace


6. The Midnight After

Improve Pronunciation

  • Cantonese Title: 那夜凌晨,我坐上了旺角開往大埔的紅VAN
  • Romanization: naa5 je6 ling4 san4, ngo5 co5 soeng5 liu5 wong6 gok3 hoi1 wong5 daai6 bou3 dik1 hung4 VAN
  • Director: Fruit Chan
  • Stars: Suet Lam; Lam Wong; Cheuk-Ling Tin

The Midnight After is a 2014 satirical horror comedy film based on the web-novel Lost on a Red Mini Bus to Taipo. The movie begins with seventeen people taking a Hong Kong minibus to Tai Po. After the minibus enters a tunnel, a passenger notices that the traffic has disappeared and the city is quieter than usual….

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 凌晨
    Romanization: ling4 san4
    Meaning: Midnight
  • Character: 小巴
    Romanization: siu2 baa1
    Meaning: Minibus
  • Character: 隧道
    Romanization: seoi6 dou6
    Meaning: Tunnel
  • Character: 消失
    Romanization: siu1 sat1
    Meaning: Disappear
  • Character: 神秘
    Romanization: san4 bei3
    Meaning: Mysterious


7. A Complicated Story

  • Cantonese Title: 一個複雜故事
  • Romanization: jat1 go3 fuk1 zaap6 gu3 si6
  • Director: Kiwi Chow
  • Stars: Jacky Cheung; Zhi-Ying Zhu; Stephanie Che

A Complicated Story is a 2013 film based on the novel with the same title. It’s about Liu Yazi, a student from Mainland China in a Hong Kong University, who has decided to become a surrogate mother to pay for her brother’s medical expenses. However, she’s asked to terminate the contract during her pregnancy… One of the best Cantonese dramas on Netflix for language learners.

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 複雜
    Romanization: fuk1 zaap6
    Meaning: Complicated
  • Character: 代孕
    Romanization: doi6 jan6
    Meaning: Surrogacy
  • Character: 合約
    Romanization: hap6 joek3
    Meaning: Contract
  • Character: 秘密
    Romanization: bei3 mat6
    Meaning: Secret
  • Character: 學生
    Romanization: hok6 saang1
    Meaning: Student


8. Justice, My Foot!

  • Cantonese Title: 審死官
  • Romanization: sam2 sei2 gun1
  • Director: Johnnie To
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Anita Mui; Man-Tat Ng

Justice, My Foot! is a 1992 film about a lawyer called Sung. Sung is intelligent and excellent in speech. By leveraging his talents and skills, he quickly becomes the best lawyer in the region. And he’ll do whatever it takes to win the case—even neglecting right and wrong. But, because of this, none of his newborns survive more than a year…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 言語
    Romanization: jin4 jyu5
    Meaning: Speech
  • Character: 狀師
    Romanization: zong6 si1
    Meaning: Lawyer (ancient Chinese)
  • Character: 正義
    Romanization: zing3 ji6
    Meaning: Justice
  • Character: 賄賂
    Romanization: kui2 lou6
    Meaning: Bribery
  • Character: 勸告
    Romanization: hyun3 gou3
    Meaning: Persuasion


9. Sixty Million Dollar Man

  • Cantonese Title: 百變星君
  • Romanization: baak3 bin3 sing1 gwan1
  • Director: Jing Wong; Wai Man Yip
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Gigi Leung; Man-Tat Ng

Sixty Million Dollar Man is a 1995 comedy, and one of the great Cantonese movies on Netflix of this genre. It revolves around a rich kid studying in Hawaii. Arrogant and powerful, he enjoys fooling people around him. Things change, however, when he meets a beautiful young lady…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 作弄
    Romanization: zok3 nung6
    Meaning: Trick
  • Character: 夏威夷
    Romanization: haa6 wai1 ji4
    Meaning: Hawaii
  • Character: 富有
    Romanization: fu3 jau5
    Meaning: Rich
  • Character: 迷戀
    Romanization: mai4 lyun2
    Meaning: Obsess
  • Character: 同學
    Romanization: tung4 hok6
    Meaning: Classmate


10. OCTB

  • Cantonese Title: 反黑
  • Romanization: faan2 hak1
  • Director: Jones Soong Pounh Chong
  • Stars: Jordan Chan; Danny Chan; Ken Wong

OCTB, which stands for Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, is a 2017 drama series that takes you back to the 1980s and shows you what would happen when an undercover detective crosses paths with familiar faces in the mafia underworld…

1- Related Words & Phrases in the Show:

  • Character: 黑社會
    Romanization: haak1 se5 wui2
    Meaning: Underworld
  • Character: 臥底
    Romanization: ngo6 dai2
    Meaning: Undercover
  • Character: 酒吧
    Romanization: zau2 baa1
    Meaning: Bar
  • Character: 手槍
    Romanization: sau2 coeng1
    Meaning: Handgun
  • Character: 警署
    Romanization: ging2 cyu5
    Meaning: Police station


11. Bonus: More Cantonese TV Shows and Movies!

Genres of Movies

Craving more Cantonese TV shows and movies after watching the ones above? Check out our recommendations on Hong Kong TV shows and movies!


12. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We hope that you enjoy these shows improve your Cantonese along the way! Which of these Cantonese shows on Netflix do you want to watch first and why? Do you have any favorite Hong Kong media to share? Let us know in the comments!

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

元宵節: The Chinese Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

The Chinese Lantern Festivals that take place in Hong Kong each year are quite a sight, and offer an exhilarating experience! Traditionally based on many Chinese legends and stories, this holiday is a time to be with loved ones, admire beautiful Chinese lanterns, and maybe even find or reunite with your true love.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the Hong Kong Spring Lantern Festival, from its traditional meaning to modern-day celebrations.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

1. What is the Chinese Lantern Festival in Hong Kong?

In Chinese culture, the Lantern Festival, or 元宵節 (jyun4 siu1 zit3), is considered a time of passion and romance. This holiday also goes by the name of “Chinese Valentine’s Day.”

This is because, in ancient times, young girls were not allowed to go out except during the Lantern Festival on this day. So unmarried men and women took this opportunity to meet, and lovers to reunite.

However, this holiday isn’t as big in Hong Kong as it is in mainland China. In fact, people in Hong Kong don’t have much passion for the Lantern Festival. This is partially because the Lantern Festival isn’t a public holiday. Besides, Hong Kong was under British colonial rule for almost one hundred years, and they’ve gotten used to Valentine’s Day already.

Despite this, during the Lantern Festival, Hong Kong families will still get together and eat dumplings.

2. Chinese Lantern Festival Dates

Paper Lanterns For the Spring Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

The Lantern Festival is celebrated each year on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar, or 正月十五 (zing1 jyut6 sap6 ng5) in Cantonese. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years.

  • 2020: February 8
  • 2021: February 26
  • 2022: February 15
  • 2023: February 5
  • 2024: February 24
  • 2025: February 12
  • 2026: March 3
  • 2027: February 20
  • 2028: February 9
  • 2029: February 27

3. How is Chinese Valentine’s Day Celebrated?

Chinese Man Hanging a Spring Lantern Festival Lantern with Grandson

There are many colorful and exciting festivities for the Lantern Festival in Hong Kong, though the most important thing is for families and loved ones to be with each other.

During the Chinese Lantern Festival, Hong Kong locals admire beautiful lanterns. A grand Lantern Carnival is held in Hong Kong every year, offering many programs including lantern displays, ethnic dance, traditional stage arts, and even a fireworks show. There’s also a lighting-up ceremony and game booths for families to enjoy together.

Another favorite activity is to 猜燈謎 (caai1 dang1 mai4), or solve riddles that are written on lanterns. Trying to solve the lantern riddle gives people something to think about while admiring the lanterns.

During the Lantern Festival, you can also see the lively dragon and lion dances. 舞獅 (mou5 si1), or the lion dance, is a kind of traditional performing art with martial arts techniques. To perform it, two dancers are dressed in lion costumes, one wearing the head and the other wearing the lower body. This lion jumps and rolls to the tune of music from gongs and drums, full of energy. Keep in mind that the lion in the Chinese lion dance is very different from lions in Western cultures, so if you have a chance, please enjoy it!

As we mentioned earlier, the Spring Festival is a perfect time to be with loved ones. Many Hongkongers get together with family members to enjoy a nice meal together, including 湯圓 (tong1 jyun2), or the glutinous rice ball. You may recall that glutinous rice balls are also eaten during the Winter Solstice celebration because they symbolize unity and reunion; people consume them during the Lantern Festival for the same reason.

4. Chinese Love Stories

How many people through the ages have looked toward the sky at night, hungering for love, and imagining their own future? And how many writers through the ages have wanted to express the genuine feelings of being human?

Some people say that Chinese people aren’t very romantic by nature. However, some of the most beautiful love stories come from Chinese culture and folklore.

Two of the most popular Chinese love stories are those of the Butterfly Lovers and of the Cowherd and the Weaver. Why not read up on these yourself?

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for the Spring Lantern Festival

Glutinous Rice Balls

Are you ready to review some of the Cantonese vocabulary words we saw in this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for this holiday!

  • 元宵節 (jyun4 siu1 zit3) — Lantern Festival
  • 舞獅 (mou5 si1) — lion dance
  • 正月十五 (zing1 jyut6 sap6 ng5) — the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar calendar
  • 猜燈謎 (caai1 dang1 mai4) — solve riddles that are written on lanterns
  • 彩燈 (coi2 dang1) — paper lantern
  • 元宵綵燈會 (jyun4 siu1 coi2 dang1 wui5) — Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival
  • 掛燈籠 (gwaa3 dang1 lung4) — hang lantern
  • 湯圓 (tong1 jyun2) — glutinous rice ball
  • 月圓之夜 (jyut6 jyun4 zi1 je6) — full moon night
  • 舞龍 (mou5 lung4) — dragon dance
  • 花燈 (faa1 dang1) — colorful lantern

To hear the pronunciation of each word or phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Cantonese Spring Lantern Festival vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Lantern Festival in Hong Kong is an essential component of traditional Chinese culture and is a celebration you don’t want to miss experiencing.

What are your thoughts on this Chinese holiday? Is there a Valentine’s Day celebration in your country? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese or Cantonese holidays, you may find the following pages useful:

And for more information on Cantonese culture in general, check out these pages:

Whatever your reasons for taking an interest in Cantonese culture or learning the language, know that CantoneseClass101.com is the best place to expand your knowledge and improve your skills! With tons of lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone.

What are you waiting for? Create your free lifetime account today and learn Cantonese like never before.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Complete Guide of Cantonese Conjunctions and Connecting Words

Thumbnail

Conjunctive adverbs are a crucial part of every language. They allow us to connect our thoughts, make comparisons, and string together sentences. There are various Cantonese conjunctions you can choose from to formulate your ideas. Trust us when we say that learning Cantonese conjunctions is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your language-learning!

Without further ado, let’s go through Cantonese conjunctions in detail below!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Table of Contents

  1. Cantonese Conjunction Overview
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts (And)
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition (If)
  4. Conjunctions to Express Causality (So)
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition (But)
  6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose (So that)
  7. Conjunctions to Express Progression (Not only)
  8. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Cantonese Conjunction Overview

Sentence Patterns

“Conjunction” is 連接詞 (lin4 zip3 ci4) in Cantonese.

A conjunction, in grammar, is a part of speech that connects words, phrases, or clauses. It helps us to express our ideas and thoughts in a more coherent way. Like “but,” “and,” “so,” and “because” in English, there are specific words used to connect our thoughts in Cantonese. Below we have classified the Cantonese conjunctions into several categories based on their purposes and meanings.


2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts (And)

Connect

1- 和

Meaning: And
Romanization: wo4
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; interchangeable with 跟 and 與

  • Example Sentence: 我和Ron是好朋友。
  • Romanization: ngo5 wo4 “Ron” si6 hou2 pang4 jau5
  • Meaning: Ron and I are good friends.

2- 跟

Meaning: And
Romanization: gan1
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; interchangeable with 和 and 與

  • Example Sentence: 我跟Hermione是同學。
  • Romanization: ngo5 gan1 “Hermione” si6 tung4 hok6
  • Meaning: Hermione and I are classmates.

3- 與

Meaning: And
Romanization: jyu5
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; interchangeable with 和 and 跟

  • Example Sentence: 我與Tom是敵人。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jyu5 “Tom” si6 dik6 jan4
  • Meaning: Tom and I are enemies.

4- 及

Meaning: And
Romanization: kap6
Usage: Formal; usually used only in writing; unlike the more universal “and”s introduced above, we seldom use 及 with pronouns

  • Example Sentence: 我喜歡艾迪瑞德曼祖迪羅
  • Romanization: ngo5 hei2 fun1 ngaai6 dik6 seoi6 dak1 maan6 kap6 zou2 dik6 lo4
  • Meaning: I like Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law.

5- 同

Meaning: And
Romanization: tung4
Usage: Informal; more common in spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence: 今晚我同Hagrid食飯。
  • Romanization: gam1 maan5 ngo5 tung4 “Hagrid” sik6 faan6
  • Meaning: I will be having dinner with Hagrid tonight.

6- 或

Meaning: Or
Romanization: waak6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese

  • Example Sentence: 她希望和Ron或Viktor跳舞。
  • Romanization: taa1 hei1 mong6 wo4 “Ron” waak6 “Viktor” tiu3 mou5
  • Meaning: She is hoping to dance with Ron or Viktor.

7- 或者

Meaning: Or
Romanization: waak6 ze2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 她可能被分到葛來分多、史萊哲林、雷文克勞或者赫夫帕夫。
  • Romanization: taa1 ho2 nang4 bei6 fan1 dou3 got3 loi4 fan1 do1, si2 loi4 zit3 lam4, leoi4 man4 hak1 lou4 waak6 ze2 hak1 fu1 paak3 fu1
  • Meaning: She might be assigned to Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff.

8- 還是

Meaning: Or
Romanization: waan4 si6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese

  • Example Sentence: 你喜歡Ginny還是Cho?
  • Romanization: nei5 hei2 fun1 “Ginny” waan4 si6 “Cho”
  • Meaning: Do you like Ginny or Cho?


3. Conjunctions to Express Condition (If)

1- 除非

Meaning: Unless
Romanization: ceoi4 fei1
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 除非你來,否則我是不會去的。
  • Romanization: ceoi4 fei1 nei5 loi4, fau2 zak1 ngo5 si6 bat1 wui5 heoi3 dik1
  • Meaning: I am not going unless you come with me.

2- 如果

Meaning: If
Romanization: jyu4 gwo2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 如果Harry是“那個活下來的女孩”,結果會是甚麼?
  • Romanization: jyu4 gwo2 “Harry” si6 “naa5 go3 wut6 haa6 loi4 dik1 neoi5 haai4 ”, git3 gwo2 wui5 si6 sam6 mo1
  • Meaning: What would happen if Harry is “the girl who lived?”

3- 即使

Meaning: Even if
Romanization: zik1 si2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 即使下雨我也要去。
  • Romanization: zik1 si2 haa6 jyu5 ngo5 jaa5 jiu3 heoi3
  • Meaning: I will still go even if it rains.

4- 只要

Meaning: If only
Romanization: zi2 jiu3
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 只要永不放棄就能成功。
  • Romanization: zi2 jiu3 wing5 bat1 fong3 hei3 zau6 nang4 sing4 gung1
  • Meaning: We can succeed if only we don’t give up.


4. Conjunctions to Express Causality (So)

Question Mark

1- 因為

Meaning: Since
Romanization: jan1 wai6
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese; interchangeable with 由於

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): Vincent和Gregory因為肚餓吃了蛋糕。
  • Romanization: “Vincent” wo4 “Gregory” jan1 wai6 tou5 ngo6 hek3 liu5 daan2 gou1
  • Meaning: Vincent and Gregory ate the cakes since they were hungry.

2- 由於

Meaning: Since
Romanization: jau4 jyu1
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese; interchangeable with 因為

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 由於他身體不好,所以不能上課。
  • Romanization: jau4 jyu1 taa1 san1 tai2 bat1 hou2, so2 ji5 bat1 nang4 soeng5 fo3
  • Meaning: He can’t make it to school since he’s ill.

3- 因此

Meaning: So
Romanization: jan1 ci2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 情人節快到了,因此很多人買禮物。
  • Romanization: cing4 jan4 zit3 faai3 dou3 liu5, jan1 ci2 han2 do1 jan4 maai5 lai5 mat6
  • Meaning: Valentine’s Day is approaching, so a lot of people have bought presents.

4- 於是

Meaning: So
Romanization: jyu1 si6
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他沒有準時出現,於是我們決定先出發。
  • Romanization: taa1 mut6 jau5 zeon2 si4 ceot1 jin6, jyu1 si6 ngo5 mun4 kyut3 ding6 sin1 ceot1 faat3
  • Meaning: He didn’t arrive on time, so we decided to head out first.


5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition (But)

A Woman Holding Her Mouth

1- 但是

Meaning: But
Romanization: daan6 si6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 可是

  • Example Sentence: 我想看電視,但是還沒有寫完作業。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 hon3 din6 si6, daan6 si6 waan4 mut6 jau5 se2 jyun4 zok3 jip6
  • Meaning: I want to watch TV, but I haven’t finished my homework.

2- 可是

Meaning: But
Romanization: ho2 si6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 但是

  • Example Sentence: 我跟Severus不熟,可是他一直針對我。
  • Romanization: ngo5 gan1 “Severus” bat1 suk6, ho2 si6 taa1 jat1 zik6 zam1 deoi3 ngo5
  • Meaning: I don’t know Severus well, but he has been picking on me.

3- 但係

Meaning: But
Romanization: daan6 hai6
Usage: Can be used in spoken Cantonese only

  • Example Sentence: 但係好貴喎。
  • Romanization: daan6 hai6 hou2 gwai3 wo3
  • Meaning: But that’s expensive.

4- 不過

Meaning: But
Romanization: bat1 gwo3
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Spoken Cantonese): 個手術好成功,不過病人未醒。
  • Romanization: go3 sau2 seot6 hou2 sing4 gung1, bat1 gwo3 beng6 jan4 mei6 seng2
  • Meaning: The surgery was successful, but the patient is still unconscious.

5- 雖然

Meaning: Although
Romanization: seoi1 jin4
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他雖然年紀小,但是跑步卻很快。
  • Romanization: taa1 seoi1 jin4 nin4 gei2 siu2, daan6 si6 paau2 bou6 koek3 han2 faai3
  • Meaning: Although he is young, he runs fast.

Note: As opposed to English, it’s common to use both “although” and “but” in Cantonese, as demonstrated in the example sentence.


6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose (So that)

Improve Listening

1- 以

Meaning: So as to
Romanization: ji5
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他正在積蓄金錢以備晚年。
  • Romanization: taa1 zing3 zoi6 zik1 cuk1 gam1 cin4 ji5 bei6 maan5 nin4
  • Meaning: He is saving up so as to prepare for retirement.

2- 為了

Meaning: To
Romanization: wai4 liu5
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 他積極準備是為了順利地通過考試。
  • Romanization: taa1 zik1 gik6 zeon2 bei6 si6 wai4 liu5 seon6 lei6 dei6 tung1 gwo3 haau2 si3
  • Meaning: He is working hard to pass the exam.


7. Conjunctions to Express Progression (Not only)

“Plus” Sign

1- 不但

Meaning: Not only
Romanization: bat1 daan6
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 不僅

  • Example Sentence: Hedwig不但是我的信使,更是我的朋友。
  • Romanization: “Hedwig” bat1 daan6 si6 ngo5 dik1 seon3 si2, gang3 si6 ngo5 dik1 pang4 jau5
  • Meaning: Not only does Hedwig deliver my mail, but she is also my friend.

2- 不僅

Meaning: Not only
Romanization: bat1 gan2
Usage: More common in written Cantonese; interchangeable with 不但

  • Example Sentence: 不僅他一個人有這種想法。
  • Romanization: bat1 gan2 taa1 jat1 go3 jan4 jau5 ze2 zung2 soeng2 faat3
  • Meaning: He is not the only one who thinks like that.

3- 而且

Meaning: Also
Romanization: ji4 ce2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Written Cantonese): 我的作業做完了,而且全部正確。
  • Romanization: ngo5 dik1 zok3 jip6 zou6 jyun4 liu5, ji4 ce2 cyun4 bou6 zing3 kok3
  • Meaning: Not only have I completed all my tasks, but they are also all correct.

4- 況且

Meaning: Additionally; not to mention
Romanization: fong3 ce2
Usage: Can be used in both written and spoken Cantonese

  • Example Sentence (in Spoken Cantonese): 送快件太貴喇,況且易碎品嚟㗎喎。
  • Romanization: sung3 faai3 gin2 taai3 gwai3 laa3, fong3 ce2 ji6 seoi3 ban2 lei4 gaa3 wo3
  • Meaning: Sending a package by carrier is too expensive, and not to mention, this object is very fragile.


8. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Improve Listening Part 2

We hoped you enjoyed learning about Cantonese conjunctions with us. Did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments!

Want to level up your Cantonese after mastering Cantonese conjunctions? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning Cantonese now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Guide to Cantonese Customs and Etiquette

Thumbnail

Some say manners and etiquette are outdated and no longer matter in this day and age—why bother to care about how others think or feel? Why don’t we just “be our true self” and “show our personality?”

However, decent manners and etiquette are never out of style. They’re the cornerstone of civilization. Without them, a society will become disorganized; its members will demonstrate disrespect for one another and ultimately lead to chaos, insults, falsehoods, and many more unpleasant consequences.

That’s why we’ve set out to help you learn Cantonese customs and etiquette in Hong Kong for your time here.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Table of Contents

  1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You
  2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong
  3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong
  4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong
  5. Do’s and Don’ts - Transportation in Hong Kong
  6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese


1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You

Thanks

Manners Maketh Man.

Manners tell who you truly are and represent your inner self, while etiquette sets out a guideline on how you’re expected to behave in public. They touch on every aspect of our lives.

Things like saying 多謝 (do1 ze6) or “thank you” when someone offers help, greeting a colleague with 早晨 (zou2 san4) or “good morning,” and offering your seat to the elderly show that you care about and respect others.

Understanding the social etiquette in Hong Kong will come in handy when you’re making a new friend or interacting with the locals. By demonstrating your respect and avoiding behaviors that are deemed “offensive,” your relationships with them will be more sound and smooth.


2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong

1- 面 (min2)

(min2) is a unique concept in Chinese society. This concept of cultural etiquette in Hong Kong describes one’s status, dignity, and integrity. You can also refer to 面 (min2) as the feeling of being respected and honored by others.

This is a crucial concept in Hong Kong society. Further, a similar concept that will help you foster your relationships with the locals is 畀面 (bei2 min2), meaning:

  • The ability to hold back when criticizing someone to make that person feel respected.
  • Taking actions to demonstrate your admiration and regard for that person.

面 (min2) is closely tied to a number of unique concepts governing the culture of Hong Kong and Chinese communities:

  • 關係 (gwaan1 hai6) meaning “relationship.”
  • 中庸 (zung1 jung4) which is a prevailing mindset from Confucianism of not going for the extremes, both in terms of praise and criticism.
  • 人情 (jan4 cing4) which is a sense of human touch and affection/owing someone a favor. Feel free to click the above links if you want to know more.

2- Respect for Seniors

According to Hong Kong social etiquette, age usually determines seniority. In family settings, it’s expected that everyone will respect the elder ones in accordance with filial piety, a deeply rooted virtue in many Southeast Asian countries. HongKongers usually worship their ancestors at least twice a year, which stems from the belief that children are indebted to their parents forever.


3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong

Chinese Food

If you’re going to dine at a traditional Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong, tables will typically be large and round to accommodate a group of friends or family. Most dishes are shared instead of à la carte, and they’re placed in the center of the table where everyone gets to take a portion of the dishes.

General Food Manners & Restaurant Etiquette in Hong Kong

  • DON’T put your hand below or above someone else’s hand while taking the food from a serving plate.
    DO wait until the other person finishes grabbing his or her food before you start taking yours.
  • DON’T take food from the serving plates and put it into your mouth directly.
    DO put it into your bowl first before you eat.
  • If you like only a part of the dish, DON’T look for your favorite part on the serving plate.
    DO this only while it’s in your bowl.
  • DO leave bits of food on your plate to show that you were satisfied.
    DON’T leave your plate empty, because the host may think you didn’t have enough food.
  • DON’T spin your table counterclockwise; always spin it clockwise.

Hygiene

Chopsticks

  • DON’T point at someone or something with your chopsticks.
  • DON’T use your own chopsticks to grab food from the serving plate.
    DO use “public chopsticks” (chopsticks that are placed at the center of the table for grabbing the food).
  • DO place your chopsticks on the rest provided if you’re not using them.
  • DON’T shake your chopsticks if they’re wet from soup.
  • DON’T place your chopsticks across each other.
  • DON’T put your chopsticks in your rice bowl in an upright position; this is only done at funerals.

Tea

  • DO open the lid of the teapot or place the lid upside-down if you would like to request more tea.
  • DO tap your fingers several times by your cup to thank a person for pouring tea for you.
  • DON’T take the first sip; wait for the senior host to do so first.


4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong

Gift

If you’re invited to someone’s house in Hong Kong, you’re expected to bring a gift with you. Check out the guidelines below:

  • DON’T present four gifts, as “four'’ sounds similar to “death” in Cantonese. If you would like to bring multiple gifts with you, try three (similar to “life” in Cantonese), eight (similar to “prosperity” in Cantonese) or nine (similar to “eternity” in Cantonese).
  • DO make sure you hand your gift over with both hands.
  • DO insist on handing over the gift. Sometimes the host may refuse the gift a couple of times before accepting it. This is part of the traditional Hong Kong culture.
  • DON’T wrap your gift in white or black, as they’re considered unlucky colors.
    DO try lucky colors like red or gold instead.
  • DON’T unwrap the gift on the spot.
  • DON’T pick clocks or watches as gifts. “Giving a clock” in Cantonese sounds like attending a funeral.
  • DON’T pick shoes as gifts, as the Cantonese word for “shoes” sounds like “rough,” which suggests bad luck.


5. Do’s and Don’ts - Transportation in Hong Kong

Bad Phrases

General Manners on Public Transportation (Bus, MTR, etc.)

  • DO keep quiet and be considerate. Avoid obstructive behavior and public displays of affection.
  • DON’T eat, drink, or smoke on public transportation.
  • DO give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, the disabled, and families with babies.
  • DON’T litter.
  • DON’T take up more than one seat.

MTR Map

MTR: Hong Kong’s Railway System

  • DO have your Octopus card or ticket ready before you go through the gate in the MTR station. MTR is one of the busiest train systems in the world. Trains come in every minute during rush hour and take on around 4.6-million passengers every day. If you only search for your ticket or card at the gate, you’ll definitely feel the pressure from other impatient commuters.
  • DO stand on the right side of the escalator to allow other commuters to walk on the left.
  • DO let passengers get off before entering the MTR carriage.
  • DON’T lean up against the poles, as other passengers will need to hold onto the poles.
  • Even if you’re yet to arrive at your destination, DO let people out when you’re at a stop and DON’T stand at the doorway.
  • DO pull your legs in to avoid tripping other commuters.
  • DO move inside the train compartment.


6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong

Business Phrases

When it comes to social etiquette in Hong Kong, there aren’t many special gestures (such as bowing) for when you greet someone in Hong Kong. Simply saying Cantonese greeting words will do:

  • Cantonese character: 你好
  • Romanization: nei5 hou2
  • Meaning: “Hello” (formal)
  • Cantonese character: 哈囉
  • Romanization: haa1 lo3
  • Meaning: “Hello” (informal)

If you would like to express your enthusiasm in meeting someone, you can wave your hands while saying hello to him or her. Avoid hugging, bowing, or kissing on the cheek.

To know more about how to appropriately greet someone in Hong Kong, check out our article on How to Say Hello in Cantonese!


7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new about etiquette in Hong Kong. Are etiquette rules here similar or very different than those in your country? We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Talking About Tomorrow in Cantonese: Dates in Cantonese

Thumbnail

Although English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, learning how to describe dates in Cantonese would be of great benefit to you. Mastering Cantonese dates will not only help you communicate better with the locals, it will also ensure that you won’t miss out on any important meetings or fun events in town.

In this article, we’ll go over how to say dates in Cantonese, how it differs from how to write dates in Cantonese, and even give you some background information on the Chinese calendar.

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

Can’t wait to learn about Cantonese dates? Let CantoneseClass101.com give you a hand!

Table of Contents

  1. Traditional Chinese Calendar and Modern Calendar
  2. Cantonese Years
  3. Cantonese Months
  4. Cantonese Days
  5. Cantonese Date Format
  6. The Week in Cantonese
  7. Other Terms Related to Cantonese Dates
  8. Simple Sentences
  9. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Cantonese


1. Traditional Chinese Calendar and Modern Calendar

The traditional Chinese calendar, which can be referred to as either 農曆 (nung4 lik6), 舊曆 (gau6 lik6), or 陰曆 (jam1 lik6) in Cantonese, is a lunisolar calendar which reckons years, months, and days according to astronomical phenomena.

Although modern day Hong Kong uses the Gregorian calendar which aligns with most countries in the world, the traditional Chinese calendar still governs some of the holidays (e.g. the Chinese New Year) and guides people in selecting days for weddings, funerals, moving, or starting a business.


2. Cantonese Years

年 (nin4) is “year” in Cantonese. To express a year in Cantonese, simply convert the number to Chinese characters and add them in front of the character 年 (nin4). For example, the year “2009″ is 二零零九年 (ji6 ling4 ling4 gau2 nin4) in Cantonese.

Person Looking at a Calendar

More examples:

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      一八八零年      jat1 baat3 baat3 ling4 nin4      Year 1880
2      一九八四年      jat1 gau2 baat3 sei3 nin4      Year 1984
3      二零一九年      ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4      Year 2019
4      二零四七年      ji6 ling4 sei3 cat1 nin4      Year 2047
5      二零六六年      ji6 ling4 luk6 luk6 nin4      Year 2066


3. Cantonese Months

Months

月 (jyut6) is “month” in Cantonese. To express a month in Cantonese, simply add the appropriate number in front of the character 月 (jyut6). For example, December is the twelfth month, so “December” in Cantonese is 十二月 (sap6 ji6 jyut6).

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      一月      jat1 jyut6      January
2      二月      ji6 jyut6      February
3      三月      saam1 jyut6      March
4      四月      sei3 jyut6      April
5      五月      ng5 jyut6      May
6      六月      luk6 jyut6      June
7      七月      cat1 jyut6      July
8      八月      baat3 jyut6      August
9      九月      gau2 jyut6      September
10      十月      sap6 jyut6      October
11      十一月      sap6 jat1 jyut6      November
12      十二月      sap6 ji6 jyut6      December

You can also visit our vocabulary list to familiarize yourself with Cantonese months!


4. Cantonese Days

Weekdays

日 (jat6) is “day” in Cantonese. To express a day in Cantonese, simply add the appropriate number in front of the character 日 (jat6). For example, the eleventh day of the month is “11,” so 11th in the context of a date is 十一日 (sap6 jat1 jat6).

Note that 日 (jat6) is the formal, written form to express a date. If you want to express a date in spoken form, replace 日 (jat6) with 號 (hou6). For example, 一日 (jat1 jat6) becomes 一號 (jat1 hou6). Also, when there’s 二十 (ji6 sap6), replace it with 廿 (jaa6) when speaking. Take the 21st of the month as an example: 二十一日 (ji6 sap6 jat1 jat6) becomes 廿一號 (jaa6 jat1 hou6).

A Calendar

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      一日      jat1 jat6      1st
2      二日      ji6 jat6      2nd
3      三日      saam1 jat6      3rd
4      四日      sei3 jat6      4th
5      五日      ng5 jat6      5th
6      六日      luk6 jat6      6th
7      七日      cat1 jat6      7th
8      八日      baat3 jat6      8th
9      九日      gau2 jat6      9th
10      十日      sap6 jat6      10th
11      十一日      sap6 jat1 jat6      11th
12      十二日      sap6 ji6 jat6      12th
13      十三日      sap6 saam1 jat6      13th
14      十四日      sap6 sei3 jat6      14th
15      十五日      sap6 ng5 jat6      15th
16      十六日      sap6 luk6 jat6      16th
17      十七日      sap6 cat1 jat6      17th
18      十八日      sap6 baat3 jat6      18th
19      十九日      sap6 gau2 jat6      19th
20      二十日      ji6 sap6 jat6      20th
21      二十一日      ji6 sap6 jat1 jat6      21st
22      二十二日      ji6 sap6 ji6 jat6      22nd
23      二十三日      ji6 sap6 saam1 jat6      23rd
24      二十四日      ji6 sap6 sei3 jat6      24th
25      二十五日      ji6 sap6 ng5 jat6      25th
26      二十六日      ji6 sap6 luk6 jat6      26th
27      二十七日      ji6 sap6 cat1 jat6      27th
28      二十八日      ji6 sap6 baat3 jat6      28th
29      二十九日      ji6 sap6 gau2 jat6      29th
30      三十日      saam1 sap6 jat6      30th
31      三十一日      saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6      31st


5. Cantonese Date Format

Numbers

The date is written in the following format in Hong Kong: [year]年 [month]月 [day]日 (nin4 / jyut6 / jat6). Simply insert the appropriate numbers in front of 年 (nin4), 月 (jyut6), and 日 (jat6).

Again, if you would like to say the date out loud, change 日 (jat6) to 號 (hou6).

For example:

# Chinese Characters Romanization Meaning
1 一九七八年一月九日 jat1 gau2 cat1 baat3 nin4 jat1 jyut6 gau2 jat6 Jan 9, 1978
2 一九八四年十一月十五日 jat1 gau2 baat3 sei3 nin4 sap6 jat1 jyut6 sap6 ng5 jat6 Nov 15, 1984
3 二零一九年十二月二十八日 ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4 sap6 ji6 jyut6 ji6 sap6 baat3 jat6 Dec 28, 2019
4 二零三五年十月三十日 ji6 ling4 saam1 ng5 nin4 sap6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat6 Oct 30, 2035
5 三月六日 saam1 jyut6 luk6 jat6 Mar 6
6 八月二十七日 baat3 jyut6 ji6 sap6 cat1 jat6 Aug 27
7 十一月二十九日 sap6 jat1 jyut6 ji6 sap6 gau2 jat6 Nov 29
8 十二月三十一日 sap6 ji6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 Dec 31


6. The Week in Cantonese

Person Marking Something on a Calendar

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      禮拜      lai5 baai3      Week (casual)
2      星期      sing1 kei4      Week (both formal and casual)
3      星期一      sing1 kei4 jat1      Monday
4      星期二      sing1 kei4 ji6      Tuesday
5      星期三      sing1 kei4 saam1      Wednesday
6      星期四      sing1 kei4 sei3      Thursday
7      星期五      sing1 kei4 ng5      Friday
8      星期六      sing1 kei4 luk6      Saturday
9      星期日      sing1 kei4 jat6      Sunday

Make sure to check out our list on Cantonese weeks and days, too!


7. Other Terms Related to Cantonese Dates

#      Chinese Characters      Romanization      Meaning
1      今日      gam1 jat6      Today (casual)
2      今天      gam1 tin1m      Today (formal)
3      尋日      cam4 jat6      Yesterday (casual)
4      昨天      zok3 tin1      Yesterday (formal)
5      聽日      ting1 jat6      Tomorrow (casual)
6      明天      ming4 tin1      Tomorrow (formal)
7      前日      cin4 jat6      The day before yesterday
8      後日      hau6 jat6      The day after tomorrow
9      閏年日      jeon6 nin4 jat6      Leap year day
10      閒日      haan4 jat2      Weekday
11      週末      zau1 mut6      Weekend
12      日期      jat6 kei4      Date


8. Simple Sentences

Want to learn some simple sentences related to dates? We have examples in both written and spoken form—familiarize yourself with the examples below!

Pencil and Paper

1- 我昨天請假一天

Romanization: ngo5 zok3 tin1 ceng2 gaa3 jat1 tin1
Meaning: I took a day off yesterday.
Form: written form

2- 今天是九月十日星期六

Romanization: gam1 tin1 si6 gau2 jyut6 sap6 jat6 sing1 kei4 luk6
Meaning: Today is September 10th, Saturday.
Form: written form

3- 二月二十九日是閏年日

Romanization: ji6 jyut6 ji6 sap6 gau2 jat6 si6 jeon6 nin4 jat6
Meaning: Leap year day is February 29th.
Form: written form

4- 你幾時得閒?

Romanization: nei5 gei2 si4 dak1 haan4
Meaning: When will you be free?
Form: spoken form

5- 五月三十一日是世界無煙日

Romanization: ng5 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 si6 sai3 gaai3 mou4 jin1 jat6
Meaning: May 31st is World No Smoking Day.
Form: written form

6- 邊日方便你?

Romanization: bin1 jat6 fong1 bin6 nei5?
Meaning: Which day is good for you?
Form: spoken form

7- 唔好意思,我星期五唔得閒

Romanization: m4 hou2 ji3 si1, ngo5 sing1 kei4 ng5 m4 dak1 haan4
Meaning: I’m sorry, but I’m not available on Friday.
Form: spoken form

8- 學校於八月暫停開放

Romanization: hok6 haau6 jyu1 baat3 jyut6 zaam6 ting4 hoi1 fong3
Meaning: The school is closed in August.
Form: written form

9- 我哋可唔可以約下星期開會?

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 joek3 haa6 sing1 kei4 hoi1 wui2
Meaning: Can we set up a meeting next week?
Form: spoken form

10- 我們在六月結婚

Romanization: ngo5 mun4 zoi6 luk6 jyut6 git3 fan1
Meaning: We are getting married in June.
Form: written form

11- 星期五方唔方便?

Romanization: sing1 kei4 ng5 fong1 m4 fong1 bin6
Meaning: Does Friday work for you?
Form: spoken form

12- 三月在北半球及南半球分別代表春季及秋季的來臨

Romanization: saam1 jyut6 zoi6 bak1 bun3 kau4 kap6 naam4 bun3 kau4 fan1 bit6 doi6 biu2 ceon1 gwai3 kap6 cau1 gwai3 dik1 loi4 lam4
Meaning: March marks the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere.
Form: written form

13- 明天見

Romanization: ming4 tin1 gin3
Meaning: See you tomorrow!
Form: written form

14- 十二月三十一日是除夕

Romanization: sap6 ji6 jyut6 saam1 sap6 jat1 jat6 si6 ceoi4 zik6
Meaning: December 31st is New Year’s Eve.
Form: written form

15- 星期一、星期二、星期三、星期四及星期五都是平日

Romanization: sing1 kei4 jat1, sing1 kei4 ji6, sing1 kei4 saam1, sing1 kei4 sei3 kap6 sing1 kei4 ng5 dou1 si6 ping4 jat2
Meaning: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are weekdays.
Form: written form

16- 今日係星期日

Romanization: gam1 jat6 hai6 sing1 kei4 jat6
Meaning: Today is Sunday.
Form: spoken form

17- 你今個禮拜得唔得閒?

Romanization: nei5 gam1 go3 lai5 baai1 dak1 m4 dak1 haan4?
Meaning: Are you free this week?
Form: spoken form

18- 今日全部堂都取消

Romanization: gam1 jat6 cyun4 bou6 tong4 dou1 ceoi2 siu1
Meaning: All classes for today got cancelled.
Form: spoken form


9. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about dates in Cantonese now. We hope you feel more comfortable about how to write dates in Cantonese—to practice, be sure to include today’s date in Cantonese in your comment! We look forward to hearing from you.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Cantonese

Cantonese Family: “Grandmother” in Cantonese and More!

Thumbnail

Although English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, learning how to describe your family in Cantonese will be of great benefit to you. Not only will it help you understand the local culture better, but it can also facilitate communication with the locals and show respect, especially considering that family is a strong institution here.

Hong Kong Victoria Harbour

Want to learn more about Hong Kong families in general and familiarize yourself with basic Cantonese family expressions? Keep reading and let CantoneseClass101.com give you a hand!

In this article, we’ll go over essential information including family titles in Cantonese, family Cantonese words, how to say family in Cantonese, and family relations in Cantonese.

By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll be much more informed on family meaning in Cantonese, and will be saying things like “grandmother” in Cantonese like it’s nothing!

But first…

Table of Contents

  1. What is Family in Cantonese Culture?
  2. Terms for Family Members in Cantonese
  3. More Family Terms in Cantonese: Terms for Relatives
  4. Terms for Family Members as a Married Person
  5. Endearment Terms for the Family in Cantonese
  6. Simple Sentences to Talk About Family in Cantonese
  7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Cantonese


1. What is Family in Cantonese Culture?

Parent Phrases

Even though many locals have adopted Western ways of living, Chinese concepts like “family solidarity” and “family glory” are still prevalent. It’s also common for a grown-up to live with their family or parents, partly due to the sky-rocketed property prices and rent, as well as the strong emphasis on family bonding in Hong Kong.

Many HongKongers are living in nuclear families, usually with only one or two children, as most living spaces in Hong Kong are small. The traditional role of a mother is to take care of the family, though many HongKongers choose to hire a housemaid to carry out the domestic duties so that the mother can work full-time.

Age determines the seniority of a family. It’s expected for everyone to respect their elders in accordance with filial piety, a deeply rooted virtue in many Southeast Asian countries. HongKongers usually worship their ancestors at least twice a year, which stems from the belief that children are eternally indebted to their parents. This respect for seniority can also be observed through language; for example, “brother” is further classified as “elder brother” and “younger brother.”


2. Terms for Family Members in Cantonese

Family Words

Unlike in English, there are very specific terms in Cantonese to refer to family members. For example, “grandfather” is further broken down to describe whether one is talking about the grandfather on the paternal or maternal side. “Sister” is further broken down according to age. Check out the detailed family tree in Cantonese below!

#           Chinese Characters           Romanization                     Meaning
1           家庭           gaa1 ting4                     Family
2           父母           fu6 mou5                     Parents
3           父親           fu6 can1                     Father (formal - usually only appears in writing)
4           爸爸           baa4 baa1                     Father (less formal - applicable to both writing and speaking)
5           母親           mou5 can1                     Mother (formal - usually only appears in writing)
6           媽媽           maa4 maa1                     Mother (less formal - applicable to both writing and speaking)
7           孩子           haai4 zi2                     Children (formal - usually only appears in writing)
8           小朋友           siu2 pang4 jau5                     Children (less formal - applicable to both writing and speaking)
9           仔女           zai2 neoi2                     Children (less formal - applicable to both writing and speaking)
10           仔           zai2                     Son
11           女           neoi2                     Daughter
12           兄弟姊妹           hing1 dai6 zi2 mui6                     Siblings
13           哥哥           go4 go1                     Elder brother
14           弟弟           dai4 dai2                     Younger brother
15           姐姐           ze4 ze1                     Elder sister
16           妹妹           mui4 mui2                     Younger sister
17           爺爺           je4 je2                     Grandfather (father’s father)
18           公公           gung4 gung1                     Grandfather (mother’s father); interchangeable with #19
19           外公           ngoi6 gung1                     Grandfather (mother’s father); interchangeable with #18
20           嫲嫲           maa4 maa4                     Grandmother (father’s mother)
21           婆婆           po4 po2                     Grandmother (mother’s mother); interchangeable with #22
22           外婆           ngoi6 po4                     Grandmother (mother’s mother); interchangeable with #21
23           孫仔           syun1 zai2                     Grandson (son’s son)
24           外孫           ngoi6 syun1                     Grandson (daughter’s son)
25           孫女           syun1 neoi2                     Granddaughter (son’s daughter)
26           外孫女           ngoi6 syun1 neoi2                     Granddaughter (daughter’s daughter)


3. More Family Terms in Cantonese: Terms for Relatives

family Gathering with Food

#           Chinese Characters           Romanization           Meaning
1           伯父           baak3 fu6 Uncle (father’s elder brother)
2           叔父           suk1 fu6           Uncle (father’s younger brother)
3           姑丈           gu1 zoeng2           Uncle (father’s sister’s husband)
4           舅父           kau5 fu2           Uncle (mother’s brother)
5           姨丈           ji4 zoeng2           Uncle (mother’s sister’s husband)
6           叔叔           suk1 suk1           Uncle (general)
7           姑媽           gu1 maa1           Aunt (father’s elder sister)
8           姑姐           gu1 ze1           Aunt (father’s younger sister)
9           伯娘           baak3 noeng4           Aunt (father’s elder brother’s wife)
10           阿嬸           aa3 sam2           Aunt (father’s younger brother’s wife)
11           姨媽           ji4 maa1           Aunt (mother’s elder sister)
12           阿姨           aa3 ji1           Aunt (mother’s younger sister)
13           舅母           kau5 mou5           Aunt (mother’s brother’s wife)
14           姨姨           ji1 ji1           Aunt (general)
15           堂阿哥           tong4 aa3 go1           Elder male cousin (father’s side)
16           堂細佬           tong4 sai3 lou2           Younger male cousin (father’s side)
17           堂家姐           tong4 gaa1 ze1           Elder female cousin (father’s side)
18           堂細妹           tong4 sai3 mui2           Younger female cousin (father’s side)
19           表哥           biu2 go1           Elder male cousin (mother’s side)
20           表弟           biu2 dai2           Younger male cousin (mother’s side)
21           表姐           biu2 ze2           Elder female cousin (mother’s side)
22           表妹           biu2 mui2           Younger female cousin (mother’s side)
23           侄           zat6           Nephew (brother’s son)
24           外甥           ngoi6 saang1           Nephew (sister’s son)
25           侄女           zat6 neoi2           Niece (brother’s daughter)
26           外甥女           ngoi6 saang1 neoi2           Niece (sister’s daughter)


4. Terms for Family Members as a Married Person

Bride and Groom Photoshoot

#           Chinese Characters

          Romanization           Meaning
1           配偶           pui3 ngau5           Spouse
2           先生           sin1 saang1           Husband; interchangeable with #3
3           丈夫           zoeng6 fu1           Husband; interchangeable with #2
4           太太           taai3 taai2           Wife; interchangeable with #5
5           妻子           cai1 zi2           Wife; interchangeable with #4
6           老爺           lou5 je4           Father-in-law (husband’s father)
7           外父           ngoi6 fu2           Father-in-law (wife’s father)
8           奶奶           naai4 naai2           Mother-in-law (husband’s mother)
9           外母           ngoi6 mou2           Mother-in-law (wife’s mother)
10           姐夫           ze2 fu1           Brother-in-law (elder sister’s husband)
11           妹夫           mui6 fu1           Brother-in-law (younger sister’s husband)
12           大舅           daai6 kau5           Brother-in-law (husband’s elder brother)
13           舅仔           kau5 zai2           Brother-in-law (husband’s younger brother)
14           大伯           daai6 baak3           Brother-in-law (wife’s elder brother)
15           叔仔           suk1 zai2           Brother-in-law (wife’s younger brother)
16           阿嫂           aa3 sou2           Sister-in-law (elder brother’s wife)
17           弟婦           dai6 fu5           Sister-in-law (younger brother’s wife)
18           姑奶           gu1 naai1           Sister-in-law (husband’s elder sister)
19           姑仔           gu1 zai2           Sister-in-law (husband’s younger sister)
20           大姨           daai6 ji1           Sister-in-law (wife’s elder sister)
21           姨仔           ji1 zai2           Sister-in-law (wife’s younger sister)
22           女婿           neoi5 sai3           Son-in-law
23           新抱           san1 pou5           Daughter-in-law


5. Endearment Terms for the Family in Cantonese

Two Birds On Branch

#           Chinese Characters           Romanization           Meaning
1           阿爸           aa3 baa4           Father
2           爹地           de1 di4           Father
3           老豆           lou5 dau6           Father
4           阿媽           aa3 maa1           Mother
5           媽咪           maa1 mi4           Mother
6           老母           lou5 mou2           Mother
7           大佬           daai6 lou2           Elder brother
8           細佬           sai3 lou2           Younger brother
9           家姐           gaa1 ze1           Elder sister
10           細妹           sai3 mui2           Younger sister
11           老公           lou5 gung1           Husband
12           老婆           lou5 po4           Wife


6. Simple Sentences to Talk About Family in Cantonese

Family Quotes

1- 我係你爸爸

Romanization: ngo5 hai6 nei5 baa4 baa1
Meaning: I am your father.

Additional Notes:

係 (hai6) is a verb with many different functions and often translates as “to be.” However, we primarily use 係 (hai6) to express that one noun is equivalent to another, as in the sentence 我係你爸爸 (ngo5 hai6 nei5 baa4 baa1). In a simple sentence using 係 (hai6), the meaning of the noun after 係 (hai6) is usually more general than the noun before 係 (hai6). Only when both nouns are equally specific can they be interchanged.

2- 呢個係我爸爸

Romanization: ni1 go3 hai6 ngo5 baa4 baa1
Meaning: This is my father.

3- 嗰個係佢家姐

Romanization: go2 go3 hai6 keoi5 gaa1 ze1
Meaning: That is her elder sister.

4- 邊個係你妹夫?

Romanization: bin1 go3 hai6 nei5 mui6 fu1
Meaning: Who is your younger sister’s brother?

5- 我哋係老公老婆
Romanization: ngo5 dei2 hai6 lou5 gung1 lou5 po4
Meaning: We are husband and wife.

6- 佢係我大佬

Romanization: keoi5 hai6 ngo5 daai6 lou2
Meaning: He is my elder brother.

7- 我侄女伊利沙伯

Romanization: ngo5 zat6 neoi2 ji1 lei6 saa1 baak3
Meaning: My niece Elizabeth.

8- 邊個係達西嘅爸爸?

Romanization: bin1 go3 hai6 daat6 sai1 ge3 baa4 baa1
Meaning: Who is Darcy’s father?

9- 我妹妹去咗英國留學

Romanization: ngo5 mui4 mui2 heoi3 zo2 jing1 gwok3 lau4 hok6.
Meaning: My younger sister went to England to study abroad.

10- 佢係奧斯汀嘅細佬

Romanization: keoi5 hai6 ou3 si1 ting1 ge3 sai3 lou2
Meaning: He is Austin’s brother.

11- 我係溫特沃斯嘅老婆

Romanization: ngo5 hai6 wan1 dak6 juk1 si1 ge3 lou5 po4
Meaning: I am Wentworth’s wife.

12- 安妮係我嘅表妹

Romanization: on1 nei4 hai6 ngo5 biu2 mui2
Meaning: Anne is my “younger female cousin” (mother’s side).


How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese and learn more Cantonese phrases? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about using family words in Cantonese now. More comfortable, or still confused about something we went over? We know it’s a lot to take in, so feel free to reach out with questions or concerns!

Happy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Cantonese

How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice in Hong Kong

During the Winter Solstice Festival, Hong Kong prepares to celebrate the coming New Year with family and loved ones. In this article, you’ll learn about how Hongkongers celebrate the Chinese Winter Solstice, and why!

At CantoneseClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative—starting with this article.

Let’s delve into this rich and cozy aspect of Hong Kong culture together!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

1. What is the Winter Solstice?

In Chinese tradition, there’s a saying that says Winter Solstice is more important than the Lunar New Year. That is because ancient China was an agricultural community, and cultivation had to be done according to the season.

Why do the Chinese celebrate the Winter Solstice?

Chinese people observed astronomy and the laws of nature, and found that the Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. After that day, the daytime gradually becomes longer, and spring comes as winter fades away. Hence, the start of a new year actually starts on Winter Solstice instead of the Lunar New Year.

2. When is the Winter Solstice Festival?

Frosty Winter Scene

Each year, the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 or December 22.

3. How Hongkongers Celebrate the Winter Solstice

A Family Reunion

On Winter Solstice, Hongkongers usually visit the temple, and then everyone has a family reunion and dines together. This is called zou dung. A delicious sumptuous dinner with family and friends, followed by glutinous rice balls as dessert, all while enjoying bonding and reuniting with everyone, is the best way to start a new year.

Do you know why eating glutinous rice balls is a custom during the Winter Solstice? Glutinous rice balls are a round-shaped dessert made of glutinous rice flour, and symbolize reunion. In some areas, eating glutinous rice balls on Winter Solstice represents a person adding a year to their age. There are various types of fillings in glutinous rice balls; the most common are black sesame and peanut, as well as the Shanghainese-style glutinous rice balls in sweet osmanthus and glutinous rice wine.

For the Chinese Winter Solstice Festival, Hong Kong companies let their employees go home one or two hours before schedule, so they can go home earlier and enjoy family time and the sumptuous end-of-the-year dinner.

4. Winter Solstice as a Public Holiday

In which region is Winter Solstice a public holiday?

Trick question! Actually, Winter Solstice isn’t a public holiday in Hong Kong. Therefore, kids and even some adults don’t pay much attention to it.

Macau is the only region among all Chinese societies that classifies Winter Solstice as a public holiday.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Winter Solstice in Hong Kong

Wonton Dumpling

Here’s some essential Cantonese vocabulary you should know for the Winter Solstice in Hong Kong!

  • 冬天 (dung1 tin1) — Winter
  • 雲吞 (wan4 tan1) — Wonton dumpling
  • 冬大過年 (dung1 daai6 gwo3 nin4) — Winter Solstice is more important than Chinese New Year
  • 冬至 (dung1 zi3) — Winter Solstice Festival
  • 永夜 (wing5 je6) — Polar night
  • 白夜 (baak6 je6) — Midnight sun
  • 做冬 (zou6 dung1) — Have dinner with family on Winter Solstice evening
  • 桂花酒釀圓子 (gwai3 faa1 zau2 joeng6 jyun2 zi2) — Glutinous rice balls in sweet osmanthus and glutinous rice wine
  • 湯圓 (tong1 jyun2) — Glutinous rice ball
  • 一家團聚 (jat1 gaa1 tyun4 zeoi6) — Family reunion

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Cantonese Winter Solstice vocabulary list! Once you have these words down, you’ll be a step closer to talk about the Winter Solstice in Cantonese. ;)

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about this fun and festive holiday with us! What are your thoughts on the Winter Solstice? CantoneseClass101.com aims to make the process of learning Cantonese a painless and exciting experience, and what better way than by digging into Cantonese culture?

If you’re interested in learning more about Hong Kong and her people, you may find the following pages useful:

Learning Cantonese doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming—with CantoneseClass101.com, it can even be fun! If you’re serious about leveling up your Cantonese skills, create your free lifetime account today!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Must-Know Cantonese Travel Phrases

Thumbnail

Even though English is widely spoken in Hong Kong, learning Cantonese travel phrases can still be of great benefit to you. Not only will it help you navigate through the world’s greatest city better, but it can also serve as a conversation starter with the locals and help you understand the culture better. That’s why we’ve put together this guide about Cantonese travel phrases for those who speak English.

Can’t wait to put some Cantonese travel phrases in your pocket? Read below and let CantoneseClass101.com give you a hand with our Hong Kong travel words list! Here, you’ll find Cantonese travel phrases and words translated to English to help you navigate the country.

Table of Contents

  1. Basic Expressions
  2. Transportation
  3. Shopping
  4. Restaurants
  5. Asking for and Giving Directions
  6. Emergencies
  7. Flattery Phrases
  8. Useful Phrases to go through Language Problems
  9. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Log


1. Basic Expressions

Preparing to Travel

These are the travel phrases in Cantonese that you should know to have basic conversations with people while in Hong Kong.

1. 唔該

Romanization: m4 goi1.
Meaning: Thank you. (When someone offers help to you.)

2. 多謝

Romanization: do1 ze6
Meaning: Thank you. (When someone presents a gift.)

Additional Notes:
You should always say 多謝 (do1 ze6) when you receive a gift, regardless of the person’s age or seniority. Being polite will help you fit in and be appreciated by your peers. Thus, this is one of the most important travel phrases in Cantonese for you to learn.

3. 對唔住

Romanization: deoi3 m4 zyu6.
Meaning: Sorry.

Additional Notes:
This phrase literally means “sorry” and can be used in both formal and informal settings. Note that we only use this phrase when we want to express our apology and remorse. If you want to say that you’re sorry in the sense of expressing your regret or sadness over a news story or an incident, 唔好意思 (m4 ho2 ji3 si3) is more suitable.

4. 唔好意思

Romanization: m4 ho2 ji3 si3
Meaning: Excuse me. / Sorry.

Additional Notes:
There are, broadly, three scenarios where you can use 唔好意思 (m4 ho2 ji3 si3):

  • To grab someone’s attention (e.g. “excuse me”).
  • To express your regret or sadness over bad news or an incident.
  • To apologize for minor incidents.

Comparatively, 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) is more formal and is mainly reserved for serious offenses. When you’re speaking informally with friends, the most common apology is 唔好意思 (m4 hou2 ji3 si3).

5. 好

Romanization: hou2.
Meaning: Good. / Fine. / Yes.

6. 再見

Romanization: zoi3 gin3.
Meaning: Bye.

Learn how to greet others in Cantonese with our article on Greetings!


2. Transportation

Airplane Phrases

Knowing these Cantonese language travel phrases will prove beneficial once you find yourself in need of transportation. Let’s take a look.

1. 呢班車去邊度㗎?

Romanization: ni1 baan1 ce1 heoi3 bin1 dou6 gaa3
Meaning: Where does this bus go?

2. 我可以點去__呀?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 ji5 dim2 heoi3 __ aa3
Meaning: How do I get to __?

Additional Notes:
You fill in the blank with the place you want to get to, like 車站 (ce1 zaam6) meaning “bus stop,” 機場 (gei1 coeng4) meaning “the airport,” or 酒店 (zau2 dim3) meaning “hotel.” Learning this sentence will definitely help you navigate through and explore the city—if you don’t know how to get to an attraction or a restaurant that you’d like to try out, use this!

3. 一張去__嘅飛, 唔該

Romanization: jat1 zoeng1 heoi3 __ ge3 fei1, m4 goi1.
Meaning: A ticket to __ please, thanks.

Additional Notes:
You can fill in the blank with the place or town you want to go to, such as 元朗 (jyun4 long5), 銅鑼灣 (tung4 lo4 waan1), and 西貢 (sai1 gung3). You may want to check in advance to discover what each town in Hong Kong has to offer.

4. 班火車會幾點到呀?

Romanization: baan1 fo2 ce1 wui5 gei2 dim2 dou3 aa3
Meaning: When will the train arrive?

Additional Notes:
The railway systems in Hong Kong are some of the most efficient, where trains come in every other minute during peak hour. But still, time is limited for travelers, and it wouldn’t hurt to learn this phrase and put it in your pocket.

5. __領事館喺邊呀?

Romanization: __ling5 si6 gun2 hai2 bin1 aa3
Meaning: Where is __ Consulate?

Additional Notes:
You can fill in the blank with the name of the country:

  • Italy: 意大利 (ji3 daai6 lei6)
  • Brazil: 巴西 (baa1 saai1)
  • Japan: 日本 (jat6 bun2)
  • UK: 英國 (jing1 gwok3)
  • Denmark: 丹麥 (daan1 mak6)
  • France: 法國 (faat3 gwok3)
  • The Netherlands: 荷蘭 (ho4 laan1)
  • US: 美國 (mei5 gwok3)

Many countries have set up a consulate in Hong Kong. You may find more information if you need help from the consulate of your country.


3. Shopping

Basic Questions

A trip to Hong Kong wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping! Study these Hong Kong travel words’ translation to pave the way for a more enjoyable shopping experience.

1. 幾多錢呀?

Romanization: gei2 do1 cin2 aa3
Meaning: How much is this?

2. 太貴喇

Romanization: taai3 gwai3 laa3.
Meaning: It’s too expensive.

Additional Notes:
This phrase will help you a lot when you negotiate for cheaper prices in the Ladies Market.

3. 我俾唔起

Romanization: ngo5 bei2 m4 hei2.
Meaning: I can’t afford it.

4. 我可唔可以退貨?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 teoi3 fo3?
Meaning: Can I get a refund?

5. 我可以去邊度唱錢呀?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 ji5 heoi3 bin1 dou6 coeng3 cin2 aa3?
Meaning: Where can I exchange foreign currency?

6. 可唔可以俾個袋我呀?

Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 bei2 go3 doi2 ngo5 aa3?
Meaning: Can I have a bag?

Additional Notes:
Hong Kong has implemented the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags. Now a plastic shopping bag costs HKD0.5.

7. 你找錯錢

Romanization: nei5 zaau2 co3 cin2.
Meaning: You gave me the wrong change.

8. 我可唔可以用信用卡找數?

Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 jung6 seon3 jung6 kaat1 zaau2 sou3?
Meaning: Can I pay with a credit card?

9. 可唔可以換細一個碼?

Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji3 wun6 sai3 jat1 go3 maa5?
Meaning: Can you exchange it for a smaller size?

Check out this link to learn Cantonese numbers!


4. Restaurants

Eating out and enjoying local cuisine—maybe the best part of traveling to a new country. Take some time to study these Cantonese travel phrases in English, and practice them in Cantonese. This will make your dining experience superb!

Empty Restaurant Table

1. 唔該俾張餐牌我睇

Romanization: m4 goi1 bei2 zoeng1 caan1 paai4 ngo5 tai2 .
Meaning: Please bring me the menu.

2. 呢度有乜嘢食出名呀?

Romanization: ni1 dou6 jau5 mat1 je5 sik6 ceot1 ming2 aa3?
Meaning: What’s your house specialty?

3. 我食素

Romanization: ngo5 sik6 sou3.
Meaning: I’m a vegetarian.

4. 我想要___

Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 jiu3 ___.
Meaning: I want ___.

Additional Notes:
You can fill in the blank with the food that you’d like to get, like 牛 (ngau4) meaning “beef,” 蔬菜 (so1 coi3) meaning “vegetables,” and 多士 (do1 si2) meaning “toast.”

5. 唔該埋單

Romanization: m4 goi1 maai4 daan1.
Meaning: Check, please.


5. Asking for and Giving Directions

Survival Phrases

When studying travel phrases to learn Cantonese, you absolutely can’t forget about directions. Here are the most basic travel phrases in Hong Kong local language to help you get around without getting lost!

1. 可唔可以喺張地圖度指俾我睇呀?

Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 hai2 zoeng1 dei6 tou4 dou6 zi2 bei2 ngo5 tai2 aa3?
Meaning: Can you show me on the map?

When you ask for directions, you may get a short answer: 向南行 (hoeng3 naam4 hang4), which means “Walk in the direction of south.” But of course, “south” is just one example, and the direction can be replaced by most of the words below.

2. 北

Romanization: bak1
Meaning: North

3. 南

Romanization: naam4
Meaning: South

4. 東

Romanization: dung1
Meaning: East

5. 西

Romanization: sai1
Meaning: West

6. 左

Romanization: zo2
Meaning: Left

7. 右

Romanization: jau6
Meaning: Right

8. 直行

Romanization: zik6 hang4.
Meaning: Go straight.


6. Emergencies

In an emergency, knowing these travel phrases in Hong Kong local language may just save the day!

Police Station Sign

1. 救命!

Romanization: gau3 ming6!
Meaning: Help!

Additional Notes:
You can call either 112 or 999 when you encounter an emergency. These are the most common emergency telephone numbers that can be dialed, free of charge, from most mobile telephones, even if they’re locked.

2. 小心!

Romanization: siu2 sam1!
Meaning: Watch out!

3. 唔好搞我!

Romanization: m4 hou2 gaau2 ngo5!
Meaning: Leave me alone!

4. 唔該幫我叫醫生.

Romanization: m4 goi1 bong1 ngo5 giu3 ji1 saang1.
Meaning: Please call a doctor for me.

5. 我唔舒服.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 syu1 fuk6.
Meaning: I’m not feeling well.

6. 我唔見咗個銀包.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 gin3 zo2 go3 ngan4 baau1.
Meaning: I lost my wallet.


7. Flattery Phrases

When you learn Cantonese travel phrases, it’s always good to have some flattery phrases up your sleeve. Everyone loves a compliment!

Group with a Woman Giving a Thumbs Up

1. 你好叻!

Romanization: nei5 hou2 lek1!
Meaning: You are so smart!

2. 你好靚!

Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3!
Meaning: You are so beautiful!

3. 件外套好襯你.

Romanization: gin6 ngoi6 tou3 hou2 can3 nei5.
Meaning: The jacket looks good on you.

4. 你好有品味.

Romanization: nei5 hou2 jau5 ban2 mei6.
Meaning: You have good taste.

5. 你好搞笑.

Romanization: nei5 hou2 gaau2 siu3.
Meaning: You have a great sense of humor.


8. Useful Phrases to go through Language Problems

World Map

1. 我唔識講廣東話.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 sik1 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2.
Meaning: I can’t speak Cantonese.

2. 你識唔識講英文呀?

Romanization: nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3?
Meaning: Do you speak English?

3. 我唔識講普通話.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 sik1 gong2 pou2 tung1 waa2.
Meaning: I can’t speak Mandarin.

4. 我唔明.

Romanization: ngo5 m4 ming4.
Meaning: I don’t understand.

5. 呢度有冇人識講英文呀?

Romanization: ni1 dou6 jau5 mou5 jan4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3?
Meaning: Anyone here speak English?


9. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We went over a lot of useful Cantonese travel phrases, didn’t we? We hope you can see why travel phrases in Cantonese language learning are so vital, and how they can help you have a much better visit to Hong Kong.

Want to level up your Cantonese? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program when you upgrade to Premium Plus!

Log

Cantonese Numbers from 1-100 and Beyond

Thumbnail

Numbers are essential in our daily lives—whether we use them to express time, negotiate prices, record dates, or count. Learning Cantonese numbers will definitely help you navigate Canto-speaking cities better, and that’s what our Cantonese lessons about numbers hope to achieve. So let CantoneseClass101 guide you through the world of Cantonese numbers.

Below are different categories of Cantonese numbers and relevant phrases, including the basic Cantonese numbers 1-10. Are you ready to learn Cantonese numbers and practice these Cantonese numbers in English?

Table of Contents

  1. Cantonese Numbers 0-9
  2. Cantonese Numbers 10-100
  3. Cantonese Numbers up to 1000
  4. How to Give Your Phone Number
  5. Shopping: How to Use Numbers when Shopping
  6. Bonus: Refresh Your Memory with a Cantopop Song
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Count to One Billion in Cantonese


1. Cantonese Numbers 0-9

Cantonese Numbers

You can use both digits or Cantonese characters to express numbers. For example, if you want to express “zero,” you can either use 0 or 零 (ling4). Also, as you can see below, when it comes to Cantonese numbers, tones are still important.

  • 0: 零 (ling4)
  • 1: 一 (jat1)
  • 2: 二 (ji6)
  • 3: 三 (saam1)
  • 4: 四 (sei3)
  • 5: 五 (ng5)
  • 6: 六 (luk6)
  • 7: 七 (cat1)
  • 8: 八 (baat3)
  • 9: 九 (gau2)

You can check out our website to learn the pronunciation of these Cantonese numbers (Cantonese numbers 1-10 pronunciation).


2. Cantonese Numbers 10-100

十 (sap6) is equivalent to “ten” in English. If you want to express twenty, thirty, and so on, just add the Cantonese equivalent of the first digit in front of 十 (sap6).

Take twenty for example:
Twenty is “20,” and the Cantonese equivalent of the first digit “2″ is 二 (ji6). Adding 二 (ji6) in front of 十 (sap6), we have 二十 (ji6 sap6) for “twenty.”

When the number reaches one-hundred, 十 (sap6) turns to 百 (baak3), and we have 一百 (jat1 baak3) for “100.”

  • 10: 十 (sap6)
  • 20: 二十 (ji6 sap6)
  • 30: 三十 (saam1 sap6)
  • 40: 四十 (sei3 sap6)
  • 50: 五十 (ng5 sap6)
  • 60: 六十 (luk6 sap6)
  • 70: 七十 (cat1 sap6)
  • 80: 八十 (baat3 sap6)
  • 90: 九十 (gau2 sap6)
  • 100: 一百 (jat1 baak3)

Expressing eleven, twelve, thirteen, all the way up to ninety-eight and ninety-nine in Cantonese is easy and similar to English.

For example, if you want to express “twenty-one,” you only need to combine “20″ (二十 [ji6 sap6]) and “1″ (一 [jat1]), and you have 二十一 (ji6 sap6 jat1) in Cantonese.

The same rule applies for Cantonese numbers 11 to 99. If you want to express “eleven,” you can combine “10″ (十 [sap6]) and “1″ (一 [jat1]), and you’ll get 十一 (sap6 jat1).

  • 11: 十一 (sap6 jat1)
  • 22: 二十二 (ji6 sap6 ji6)
  • 33: 三十三 (saam1 sap6 saam1)
  • 44: 四十四 (sei3 sap6 sei3)
  • 55: 五十五 (ng5 sap6 ng5)
  • 66: 六十六 (luk6 sap6 luk6)
  • 77: 七十七 (cat1 sap6 cat1)
  • 88: 八十八 (baat3 sap6 baat3)
  • 99: 九十九 (gau2 sap6 gau2)

Once again, you can check out our website to learn the Cantonese numbers’ pronunciation.


3. Cantonese Numbers up to 1000

Now that we’ve basically covered numbers in Cantonese 1-100, it’s time to count even higher!

百 (baak3) is equivalent to “hundred” in English. If you want to express “two-hundred,” “three-hundred,” and so on, just add the Cantonese equivalent of the first digit in front of 百 (baak3).

Take “two-hundred” for example:
“Two-hundred” is “200,” and the Cantonese equivalent of the first digit “2″ is 二 (ji6). Adding 二 (ji6) in front of 百 (baak3), we have 二百 (ji6 baak3) for “two-hundred.”

When the number reaches a thousand, 百 (baak3) turns to 千 (cin1), and we have 一千 (jat1 cin1) for “1000.”

Counting by hundreds, here are Cantonese numbers from 200-1000:

  • 200: 二百 (ji6 baak3)
  • 300: 三百 (saam1 baak3)
  • 400: 四百 (sei3 baak3)
  • 500: 五百 (ng5 baak3)
  • 600: 六百 (luk6 baak3)
  • 700: 七百 (cat1 baak3)
  • 800: 八百 (baat3 baak3)
  • 900: 九百 (gau2 baak3)
  • 1000: 一千 (jat1 cin1)

Again, expressing “one-hundred and one” up to “nine-hundred and ninety-nine” in Cantonese is simple and similar to English.

For example, if you want to express “one-hundred and twenty-one,” you just need to combine “100″ (一百 [jat1 baak3]) and “21″ (二十一 [ji6 sap6 jat1]), and you have 一百二十一 (jat1 baak3 ji6 sap6 jat1) in Cantonese.

Note that if the second digit of a three-digit number is “0,” we need to add 零 (ling4) in the middle.

Take “207″ as an example. In addition to “200″ (二百 [ji6 baak3]) and “7″ (七 [cat1]), we also need to include “0″ (零 [ling4]) in the middle. Hence, “207″ is 二百零七 (ji6 baak3 ling4 cat1).

Here are some more examples of triple-digit Cantonese numbers:

  • 108: 一百零八 (jat1 baak3 ling4 baat3)
  • 166: 一百六十六 (jat1 baak3 luk6 sap6 luk6)
  • 230: 二百三十 (ji6 baak3 saam1 sap6)
  • 344: 三百四十四 (saam1 baak3 sei3 sap6 sei3)
  • 456: 四百五十六 (sei3 baak3 ng5 sap6 luk6)
  • 550: 五百五十 (ng5 baak3 ng5 sap6)
  • 612: 六百一十二 (luk6 baak3 jat1 sap6 ji6)
  • 722: 七百二十二 (cat1 baak3 ji6 sap6 ji6)
  • 805: 八百零五 (baat3 baak3 ling4 ng5)
  • 910: 九百一十 (gau2 baak3 jat1 sap6)


4. How to Give Your Phone Number

Vintage Phone

If you want to ask for someone’s phone number, you can say: 可唔可以比你個電話我呀 (ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 bei2 nei5 go3 din6 waa2 ngo5 aa3), meaning “Could you please give your phone number to me?”

To give your number to someone else, you can simply say the digits of your number in Cantonese. If your number is 91234567, you can say 九一二三四五六七 (gau2 jat1 ji6 saam1 sei3 ng5 luk6 cat1).

A typical Hong Kong phone number has eight digits. Mobile numbers usually start with 5, 6, or 9, and fixed landline numbers start with 2 or 3. Hong Kong’s country code is 852, and we don’t have an area code.

Numbers that aren’t eight digits are usually reserved for carrier/operator services or special services, such as 999 (gau2 gau2 gau2) for emergency services.

Ambulance


5. Shopping: How to Use Numbers when Shopping

Now, here are some useful phrases for an activity that you may not be able to resist, especially when you’re in Hong Kong: Shopping!

It’s easy to express prices in Hong Kong. You just have to say the number directly in Cantonese and add the word 蚊 (man1) to the end. For example:

  • $3 is 三蚊 (saam1 man1)
  • $18 is 十八蚊 (sap6 baat3 man1)
  • $100 is 一百蚊 (jat1 baak3 man1)
  • $612 is 六百一十二蚊 (luk6 baak3 jat1 sap6 ji6 man1)
  • $1000 is 一千蚊 (ljat1 cin1 man1)

Couple Shopping

You can use the below phrases to inquire about the price of something:

  • 呢個幾錢?
    • Romanization: ni1 go3 gei2 cin2
    • Translation: How much is this?
  • 嗰個幾錢?
    • Romanization: go2 go3 gei2 cin2
    • Translation: How much is that?

You can use the below phrases to bargain for lower prices:

  • 平啲啦!
    • Romanization: peng4 di1 laa1!
    • Translation: Cheaper please!
  • 可唔可以平啲呀?
    • Romanization: ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 peng4 di1 aa1?
    • Translation: Can you lower the price?
  • 太貴喇!
    • Romanization: taai3 gwai3 laa3!
    • Translation: It’s too expensive!
  • 我唔買喇.
    • Romanization: ngo5 m4 maai3 laa3.
    • Translation: I’m not buying it.

To practice the above phrases, especially the ones for bargaining prices, you can visit 女人街 (neoi3 jan2 gaai1). 女人街 (neoi3 jan2 gaai1) literally translates as “ladies market,” and is one of the most popular Hong Kong street markets and tourist destinations.

Even though it’s called the “ladies market,” the market actually sells everything, including the latest fashion for men and women, electronics, records, and even dairy products.


6. Bonus: Refresh Your Memory with a Cantopop Song

Woman Wearing Pink Headphones

Need some help refreshing your memory of Cantonese numbers? No worries. We’ve got you covered.

In case our vocabulary list isn’t enough, you can also check out this Cantopop song sung by the veteran Cantopop singer George Lam. The name of the song is 數字人生 (sou3 zi6 jan4 saang1), meaning “A Number of Life.” As the name of the song suggests, it’s about numbers.

In fact, most of its lyrics are numbers that appear to be random and don’t make sense. Though it was released two decades ago, the “number song” is still well-known among Hongkongers. The government even decided to use it for promoting the 2012-2013 Budget Consultation.


7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

We hope you now see how important Cantonese numbers in language learning are! With basic Cantonese numbers, you can now exchange phone numbers and enjoy shopping in Hong Kong!

Now that you’ve mastered Cantonese numbers, it’s time to move up to the next level! With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through our mobile apps, desktop software, and website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons, delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts. We also have detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Count to One Billion in Cantonese