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Archive for the 'Cantonese Culture' Category

A Brief Overview of Hong Kong Culture

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Hong Kong is truly an amazing place—it’s one of the world’s greatest cities and boasts a unique “East meets West” culture. Wondering why this crowded, tiny city (we’re 293 times smaller than Norway with 1.4 times the population) attracts millions of visitors every year? Or would you like to know a bit more about Hong Kong’s culture before settling here? In either case, you’ve come to the right place. In this lesson from CantoneseClass101, we’ll give you a practical overview of Cantonese culture, so read on!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Core Values and Beliefs
  2. Arts
  3. Food
  4. Holidays
  5. Bonus: Our Everyday Lives
  6. Why is CantoneseClass101 the Best Place to Learn Cantonese?

1. Core Values and Beliefs

Common Belief

A key element in understanding the culture of Hong Kong is to become familiar with the values and beliefs of its people. In this section, we’ll talk about what Hong Kongers believe and how this affects their daily lives.

A- The Harmony of East Meets West

A long-time entrepot and once a colony of the British empire, Hong Kong has a diverse mix of cultures that has fascinated travelers from around the globe. You can find people of all races and religions in Hong Kong, and they’re all treated equally with respect. From Central Hong Kong to Chungking Mansion, you can see how people of different races interact, work together, and build friendships. We pride ourselves in our religious liberty, freedom of speech, and diversity. 

The interesting cultural dynamics behind Hong Kong’s mixed culture scene is rare and worth experiencing yourself through traveling, working, and living in Hong Kong. The robust and cosmopolitan nightlife has also seduced the hearts of many foreigners and expats. Read more at CNN Travel and Time Out Hong Kong to see what our vibrant city has to offer. 

B- Family-Oriented

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 adults 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 live 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. 

In Cantonese family culture, age determines hierarchal seniority within a family. Everyone is expected 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, the word “brother” can be further divided into the words “elder brother” and “younger brother.”

2. Arts

Hong Kong is well-known for its various art forms, especially in regards to its film, music, and television industries. Many of these Cantonese popular culture items are also popular around the globe. Let’s take a look!

A- Movie & Film

Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Stephen Chow… Even though Hong Kong is a really small city, it’s given birth to quite a few good movies and movie stars!

The movie industry in Hong Kong has been one of the most successful worldwide, especially during the second half of the twentieth century. It remains prominent in Hong Kong despite a severe slump starting in the mid-1990s. Local martial artists and stars, such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, are known globally. Many Hong Kong actors have transitioned to Hollywood over the years as well, including Chow Yun Fat and John Woo. Hong Kong cinema has also received international recognition through the work of director Wong Kar Wai, whose 2046 is one of the best films of the last ten years.

Our all-time favorite Cantonese movie: In the Mood for Love (2000). In the Mood for Love is arguably one of the best Hong Kong movies in centuries. Directed by the internationally renowned filmmaker Kar-Wai Wong, the movie paints the love story of two middle-aged Hong Kongers in the 1960s, starring the handsome Tony Leung Chiu-wai and the elegant Maggie Cheung Man-yuk. Both betrayed by their partners, the lonely next-door neighbors are eager to seek comfort in each other—but are hesitant to go further.

B- Music

Cantopop is a colloquialism for “Cantonese pop music” or “Hong Kong popular music.” This well-loved gem of Hong Kong’s pop culture is a strong representation of local Cantonese music. In addition to Cantopop, Hong Kongers also listen to Mandopop from Taiwan and China. Most artists are essentially multilingual these days and sing in both Cantonese and Mandarin.

One popular singer in recent years is Eason Chan Yik-Shun, a male singer from Hong Kong. He has been described as a blast of fresh air in the Hong Kong music scene, and his album U87 has been recommended by Time Magazine as one of the five best Asian albums worth buying.

C- Television

Hong Kong’s main broadcast television stations include RTHK, HKOpenTV, ViuTV, and TVB. The last one, launched in 1967, is currently the most popular television station in Hong Kong and is known for having been Hong Kong’s first commercial station that was free to air. Many Hong Kong households also use paid cable and satellite television. 

Soap operas, comedies, and variety shows produced in Hong Kong now reach mass audiences throughout the Chinese-speaking world. Many international and pan-Asian broadcasters (including News Corporation’s STAR TV) are based in Hong Kong because of its position as a hub broadcaster. Hong Kong’s terrestrial commercial TV networks are also making inroads into mainland China.

Someone pointing a remote at a TV

Recommended Cantonese TV show: Best Selling Secrets (2007).

This famous 364-episode sitcom series revolves around complex office and family politics amongst the characters. Wong Ka Nam, a smart and confident lady, left her son and husband behind for the States. After her husband died in an airplane crash in search of her, their son, Luk Chit, was taken into her mother-in-law’s custody. 

Eighteen years have passed since then, and Ka Nam wants to see her son again. But she’s forbidden by her mother-in-law, as Ka Nam was blamed for the death of her husband. Amusingly, Chit and Ka Nam soon become friends and colleagues. 

The story evolves and touches on the rivalry, friendship, and romance within the office and household.


3. Food

Hong Kong is a food paradise! Not only does it have the highest density of restaurants in the world and all types of international cuisines, but there’s also a great variety of local dishes and mouth-watering delicacies worth trying. On top of the famous dim sum, other Cantonese foods and snacks like egg tart and fish balls are also too good to be missed.

Below are our top five picks for the best Cantonese dishes and snacks:

A- Dim Sum

The most famous Cantonese-style cuisine element has got to be dim sum!

Dimsum

 點心 (romanization: dim2 sam1)

In case you didn’t know, dim sum refers to bite-sized portions of food served in small bamboo baskets or on a small plate. You need to visit a Cantonese teahouse in order to try dim sum dishes. In Hong Kong, we call the action of going to a Cantonese teahouse for dim sum 飲茶” (jam2 caa4), which means “drink tea,” as Chinese tea is usually served with dim sum dishes.

B- Roasted Goose

Roasted Goose

燒鵝 (romanization: siu1 ngo2) – Photo by Simon Law, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Roasted goose is a type of siu mei (Cantonese-style Charcuterie). It has a crispy outer skin with moist meat inside. Coated with flavorful sauce, roasted goose has a unique barbecue flavor that will surely amaze you.

C- Clay Pot Rice

Clay Pot Rice

煲仔飯  (romanization: bou1 zai2 faan6)

Although this dish may look simple—steamed rice in a clay pot with toppings (and of course, a great sauce)—it’s totally worth a try, especially for the slightly burnt rice at the bottom of the clay pot. Common toppings for clay pot rice include pork, chicken, beef, and Chinese sausages.

D- Wonton Noodles

Wonton Noodles

雲吞麵  (romanization: wan4 tan1 min6) – Photo by Alpha, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Wontons are Chinese dumplings filled with shrimp or meat. Served with clear broth along with thin egg noodles, this common Hong Kong dish is a must-try. 

E- Egg Tarts

Egg Tarts

蛋撻  (romanization: daan6 taat1)

This delicious pastry is filled with sweet egg and best served hot. You can find egg tarts in both Cantonese teahouses and local bakeries.


4. Holidays

As a city where East meets West, we celebrate both Chinese and Western holidays. Here are our most celebrated holidays:

A- Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is the longest celebration on the Chinese calendar, lasting from the final day of the last month to the beginning of the Lantern Festival. During this holiday, it’s common to gather with family, eat rice cakes, and give children red packets filled with money.

B- Christmas

A Christmas Tree

Christmas is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in Hong Kong. It’s also the best time to do some shopping with all the discounts the shops are offering!

C- Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese calendar. Its origins relate to the suicide of Qu Yuan in 278 BCE. He was a poet and statesman of the Chu Kingdom during the Warring States period. Traditionally, we eat rice dumplings on this date.

D- Mid-Autumn Festival

A Mooncake

The Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, during a full moon. It’s the time to get some traditional mooncakes or snowy mooncakes!

5. Bonus: Our Everyday Lives

Fancy to learn more about how a local HongKonger lives? We’ve selected three Hong Kong culture facts to give you a better picture of what life in Hong Kong is like! 

A- Tai Chi

Martial Arts

Tai Chi is considered an internal Chinese martial art. It’s practiced for self defense as well as its potential health benefits. If you were to walk the streets or parks of Hong Kong in the morning, you would see a lot of elderly people doing Tai Chi. 

B- Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine refers to various medical practices passed down from Ancient China, many of which are still popular today. Some examples include acupuncture, some types of massage, and dietary therapy.

C- Protest

Hong Kong’s protest culture is very much alive, and there are protests in Hong Kong almost every other week. Most of them are led by the Civil Human Rights Front, a Chinese organization which focuses on political issues in Hong Kong. 

6. Why is CantoneseClass101 the Best Place to Learn Cantonese?

CantoneseClass101.com

One important element of the Cantonese culture is, of course, the Cantonese language! 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! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments how Cantonese culture compares to that in your country. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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

Must-Try Cantonese Foods, Dishes, and Snacks!

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Hong Kong is a food paradise! Not only does it have the highest density of restaurants in the world, but there is also a great variety of local dishes and mouth-watering delicacies worth trying. On top of the famous dim sum (which we have an entire section on later), there are other Cantonese foods, such as egg tarts and fish balls, that are too good to be missed.

A Happy Face

There’s a saying in Cantonese that reveals how much we care about food:

  • 民以食為天 (man4 ji5 sik6 wai4 tin1) – “Food is god to people.” 

Indeed, food is one of the most important aspects of life: it brings you energy and joy, and you need it every single day. It’s also a great way to experience another culture and it makes for a lovely conversation starter. 

Can’t wait to learn more? Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. The Top 5 Must-Try Dishes
  2. The Top 8 Dim Sum Dishes
  3. At the Restaurant
  4. The Top 5 Hong Kong Snacks
  5. Bonus: The Top 5 “Bizarre” Foods
  6. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. The Top 5 Must-Try Dishes

Visiting Hong Kong soon? Then you need to try these delectable Cantonese dishes!

1 – Char siu egg rice

Made famous by Stephen Chow’s movie The God of Cookery, char siu egg rice is now one of Hong Kong’s signature dishes. The combined texture and flavor of runny eggs, tender char siu (flavored barbecued pork), and soy sauce is a heavenly pleasure.

2 – Roasted goose

Roasted Goose

燒鵝 (siu1 ngo2) – Photo by Simon Law, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Roasted goose is a type of siu mei (Cantonese-style charcuterie). It has a crispy outer skin with moist meat inside. Coated with flavorful sauce, roasted goose has a unique barbecue flavor that will surely amaze you.

3 – Stir-fried beef with flat rice noodles

Stir-fried beef with flat rice noodles

乾炒牛河  (gon1 caau2 ngau4 ho2) – Photo by N509FZ, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Made with soy sauce, onions, bean sprouts, and rice noodles, this classic dish is a bit oily but super-delicious. A great dish to have after a day of hard work.

 4 – Clay pot rice

Clay Pot Rice

煲仔飯  (bou1 zai2 faan6)

Although this dish may look simple—steamed rice in a clay pot with toppings (and of course, a great sauce)—it’s totally worth a try, especially the slightly burnt rice at the bottom of the clay pot. Common toppings for clay pot rice include pork, chicken, beef, and Chinese sausages.

5 – Wonton noodles

Wonton Noodles

雲吞麵  (wan4 tan1 min6) – Photo by Alpha, under CC BY-SA 2.0

A staple of Cantonese cuisine, wontons are Chinese dumplings filled with shrimp or meat. Served with clear broth along with thin egg noodles, this is a must-try Hong Kong dish. 

2. The Top 8 Dim Sum Dishes

The most famous Cantonese-style cuisine has got to be dim sum, or 點心 (dim2 sam1)! 

In case you didn’t know, dim sum refers to bite-sized portions of food served in small bamboo baskets or on a small plate. You need to go to Cantonese tea houses for dim sum dishes. In Hong Kong, we call the action of going to a Cantonese tea house for dim sum 飲茶 (jam2 caa4), which means “drink tea.” This is because Chinese tea is usually served with dim sum dishes.

1 – Roasted pork buns

Roasted Pork Buns

叉燒包  (caa1 siu1 baau1) – Photo by Takeaway, under CC BY-SA 3.0

The roasted pork bun is one of the most popular dim sum dishes, consisting of fluffy bread with flavored barbecued pork (char siu) inside. Traditionally we steam the bun, but baked buns are getting more and more popular. 

2 – Steamed shrimp dumplings

Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

蝦餃 (haa1 gaau2) – Photo by Simon Law, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Steamed shrimp dumplings is another signature dim sum dish in Hong Kong. The wrapper of a good steamed shrimp dumpling must be thin yet strong enough to withstand being picked up with chopsticks. The shrimp inside should be fresh with a little juice.

3 – Rice noodle rolls

Rice Noodle Rolls

腸粉 (coeng2 fan2) – Photo by Ewan Monro, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Rice noodle rolls consist of a sheet made of rice filled with things like beef, shrimp, or char siu inside. We eat it with soy sauce.

4 – Pork dumplings

Pork Dumplings

燒賣  (siu1 maai2) – Photo by Geoffreyrabbit, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Pork dumplings is one of the best dim sum dishes, featuring pork and mushroom wrapped in a thin yellow skin and topped with crab roe.

5 – Turnip cake

Made with turnips, mushrooms, and meat (usually Chinese sausages), turnip cakes are great steamed, pan-fried, or stir-fried with XO sauce.

6 – Spring rolls

Spring rolls are one of the best Cantonese cuisine items, and one you’re probably familiar with. A spring roll consists of vegetables and sometimes meat rolled inside a sheet of dough and deep-fried until crispy (but still juicy inside). Who wouldn’t want one?

7 – Steamed beef tripe

Steamed Beef Tripe

牛柏葉  (ngau4 paak3 jip6) – Photo by gigijin, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Steamed beef tripe is a common dim sum dish in Hong Kong, but it’s less well-known internationally compared to the ones above. It’s prepared by steaming the omasum of a cow in small slices of garlic and ginger. The unique appearance and texture of this dish wows many foreigners.

8 – Dumpling soup

Dumpling Soup

灌湯餃  (gun3 tong1 gaau2) – Photo by Kent Wang, under CC BY-SA 2.0

A prime example of Cantonese-style cuisine, this is simply a large dumpling filled with meat, shrimp, dried scallops, and mushrooms, served with broth. It’s a pricier dim sum dish, but the complex texture and flavor make it worth a try.

3. At the Restaurant

Now that you’re good and hungry for some exquisite Cantonese cuisine, it’s time to learn some phrases you can use at the restaurant!

  •  Phrase 1: 你有乜嘢好介紹呀? 
    • Romanization: nei5 jau5 mat1 je5 hou2 gaai3 siu6 aa3
    • Meaning: What do you recommend?
  •  Phrase 2: 我可唔可以睇下menu?
    • Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 tai2 haa5 menu
    • Meaning: Can I see the menu? 
  •  Phrase 3: 我想要呢個,唔該。
    • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 jiu3 ni1 go3, m4 goi1
    • Meaning: I will have this one, please. 
  •  Phrase 4: 我可唔可以要杯水?
    • Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 jiu3 bui1 seoi2
    • Meaning: Can I have a glass of water, please?
  •  Phrase 5: 呢道菜有啲咩? 
    • Romanization:  ni1 dou6 coi3 jau5 di1 me1 
    • Meaning: What does this dish contain?
  •  Phrase 6: 呢道菜有冇肉?
    • Romanization: ni1 dou6 coi3 jau5 mou5 juk6
    • Meaning: Does it contain meat? 

4. The Top 5 Hong Kong Snacks

Hong Kong street food is my personal favorite! You can easily find these snacks at food stalls on the streets of Hong Kong.

1 – Fish balls

Fish balls are a typical Hong Kong snack made of fish. They can be found in almost every food stall on the street and are sold with either spicy (curry) sauces or soy sauce.

2 – Egg tarts

Egg Tarts

蛋撻  (daan6 taat1)

This delicious pastry is filled with sweet egg and best served hot. You can find egg tarts in both Cantonese tea houses and local bakeries.

3 – Egg waffle

This snack goes by many names: egg waffles, eggettes, egglets… This sweet egg-based snack is available in several flavors, including chocolate and berry. Some people even eat it with ice cream!

4 – Pineapple bun

The combination of sugar, eggs, flour, and lard makes pineapple bun one of the most beloved foods in Hong Kong. There’s no pineapple, though—it’s named for its surface, which looks like a pineapple. Pineapple bun has a crispy skin and soft bread inside, and can be found in nearly every bakery in the city.

5 – Roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts

Roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts are great snacks. You can find street carts selling both items side by side during winter. They smell good and taste even better. Grabbing a bag of roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts during the freezing winter is just heartwarming. Most of these vendors sell salt-baked quail eggs, too.

5. Bonus: The Top 5 “Bizarre” Foods

To wrap up, let’s look at a few Cantonese food dishes that may surprise you!

1 – Steamed chicken feet

Steamed Chicken Feet

鳳爪  (fung6 zaau2) – Photo by Bryan, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Many foreigners avoid this dish, shocked by the idea of eating chicken feet. But steamed chicken feet are actually quite delicious in black bean sauce. You can find this dish in Cantonese tea houses.

2 – Snake soup

Snake Soup

蛇羹 (se4 gang1) – Photo by Shankar S., under CC BY 2.0

Yes, snake soup is made with snake. But don’t worry: you won’t see anything that resembles a snake in the soup bowl. Snake soup is a delicacy in Hong Kong, famous for its medicinal benefits (from the perspective of Chinese medicine, it “warms up” your body) and its high nutritional value. 

3 – Beef entrails

A beef entrails dish is prepared by stewing good-quality beef with its entrails (such as the tripe and liver) for a couple of hours. You can spot it in most food stalls on the streets of Hong Kong.

 4 – Soy-braised cuttlefish or chicken’s kidney

It may look a little weird, but it’s surely delicious! The cuttlefish and chicken’s kidneys are boiled quickly before being dipped in a soy-based sauce. They’re spongy and chewy, and taste best with mustard.

5 – Stinky tofu

Although it doesn’t smell good, the mixture of creamy tofu and the crisp outer skin is a delight. If you can stand the smell, make sure you try some in Hong Kong! 

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

Amazed by Cantonese food and want to pick up some Cantonese before traveling to Hong Kong?

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 where you can 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! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments which Cantonese food you most want to try. We look forward to hearing from you.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Cantonese

The 20+ Best Cantonese Quotes for Learners

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Quotes can be a great tool to help you stay motivated. They also offer cultural insight, provide universal words of wisdom, and tastefully season a pleasant conversation.

Do you want to put some Cantonese quotes in your pocket? We’ve compiled some of the greatest Cantonese quotes with English translations and equivalents, handpicked just for you!

Without further delay, here are the top twenty quotes in Cantonese.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Life
  2. Quotes About Love
  3. Quotes About Wisdom
  4. Quotes About Success
  5. Bonus: Quotes About Language Learning
  6. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Quotes About Life

A Woman Gazing

What is life all about, and how should a person live? These are questions people have been trying to answer for a very long time. Here are some Cantonese quotes about life to give you some cultural perspective on the topic!  

1. 做人如果無夢想,同條鹹魚有咩分別呀?

Romanization: zou6 jan4 jyu4 gwo2 mou5 mung6 soeng2, tung4 tiu4 haam4 jyu2 jau5 me1 fan1 bit6 aa3
Literal Translation: “If we don’t have any dreams in life, what can distinguish us from a salted fish?”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” (John Barrymore)
  • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from Shaolin Soccer, a movie directed by the renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow. We might use this quote, for example, to encourage a friend to chase after his or her dream.
  • Additional notes: Shaolin Soccer is one of the most well-known movies in Hong Kong. Watch the trailer on YouTube!

2. 認真你就輸了

Romanization: jing6 zan1 nei5 zau6 syu1 liu5
Literal Translation: “You lose when you get serious.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.” (Elbert Hubbard)
  • Elaboration: This quote is from the title of a book written by novelist Lin Su of Mainland China. It became popular in Hong Kong starting in 2009, and we use it to remind one another not to get too serious or care too much about results.
  • Additional notes: The famous Hong Kong singer Ava released a song, sung in Mandarin, featuring this quote as a title. Check it out!

3. 即使沒有別人給你理由,生命依然值得堅持。

Romanization: zik1 si2 mut6 jau5 bit6 jan4 kap1 nei5 lei5 jau4, sang1 ming6 ji1 jin4 zik6 dak1 gin1 ci4
Literal Translation: “Even if there is no reason to, life is still worth living.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning/ Equivalent quote: “Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” (William James)
  • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from the award-winning movie, A Simple Life. We use the quote to console a friend who is a bit down.
  • Additional notes: Deanie Ip, the leading actress of this movie, was awarded for her amazing performance with the Best Actress Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. Watch the trailer on YouTube!

4. 仍然自由自我,永遠高唱我歌,走遍千里。

Romanization: jing4 jin4 zi6 jau4 zi6 ngo5, wing5 jyun5 gou1 coeng3 ngo5 go1, zau2 pin3 cin1 lei5
Literal Translation: “Be free, sing your own song, walk your own life.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: Be yourself.
  • Elaboration: These are some lyrics from the famous song Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies, sung by the Hong Kong rock band Beyond. We use this quote to encourage someone to be his or her true self.
  • Additional notes: Beyond is the most influential Cantopop band from Hong Kong, prominent in overseas Chinese communities and East Asian countries including Japan and Singapore. In fact, Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies is a must-know song for any HongKonger!

5. 對人誠懇,做事負責,多結善緣,自然多得人的幫助。淡泊明志,隨遇而安,不作非分之想, 心境安泰,必少許多失意之苦。

Romanization: deoi3 jan4 sing4 han2, zou6 si6 fu6 zaak3, do1 git3 sin6 jyun4, zi6 jin4 do1 dak1 jan4 dik1 bong1 zo6. daam6 bok6 ming4 zi3, ceoi4 jyu6 ji4 on1, bat1 zok3 fei1 fan6 zi1 soeng2, sam1 ging2 on1 taai3, bit1 siu2 heoi2 do1 sat1 ji3 zi1 fu2
Literal Translation: “Be sincere, responsible, and nice; you will naturally get help from others. Live a simple life, go with the flow, don’t overthink, be calm and present; you will suffer less when you fail.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: The message behind this quote is that a good life will follow naturally if you’re nice and kind, and if you go with the flow.
  • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from Hong Kong’s business tycoon Li Ka-Shing, one of the richest men in the world. We can use this quote to motivate ourselves.
  • Additional notes: Li Ka-Shing is a magnificent businessman—he rose from humble beginnings, built and grew his own business when Hong Kong was still dominated by the Brits, and became Asia’s wealthiest man for many years.

6. 進退怎能隨人潮跌墮,重燃那漸冷卻的火,青春瘋過痛過先不會枉過。 

Romanization: zeon3 teoi3 zam2 nang4 ceoi4 jan4 ciu4 dit3 do6, cung4 jin4 naa5 zim6 laang5 koek3 dik1 fo2, cing1 ceon1 fung1 gwo3 tung3 gwo3 sin1 bat1 wui5 wong2 gwo3
Literal Translation: “We cannot just follow others. Let’s light the dimmed fire, for life is meant to be a roller-coaster ride.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: 
      Hope when the moment comes,
      You’ll say
      I, I did it all
      I, I did it all
      I owned every second that this world could give
      I saw so many places, the things that I did
      Yeah with every broken bone
      I swear I lived
      (I Lived, OneRepublic)
  • Elaboration: These are lyrics from the song Queen G by Hong Kong songwriter Gloria Tang. We can use this quote to encourage others to follow their heart.
  • Additional notes: Gloria Tang, also known as G.E.M., is a talented Hong Kong singer-songwriter. She was the only Asian artist featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016. Listen to one of her most popular songs, Light Years Away!

2. Quotes About Love

A Heart

Are you madly in love with someone? Or maybe you’re a hopeless romantic? Either way, we think you’ll love these Cantonese love quotes!

7. 人世間所有的相遇,都是久別重逢。

Romanization: jan4 sai3 gaan1 so2 jau5 dik1 soeng1 jyu6, dou1 si6 gau2 bit6 cung4 fung4 
Literal Translation: “All encounters in life are reunions after long times apart.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: This quote explains Yuanfen, a concept similar to Karma. The message behind it is that we should cherish those we love, but we must also accept separation from them should it occur.
  • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from The Grandmaster, a movie directed by the internationally renowned Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-Wai. We use the quote to console a friend who is having relationship issues.
  • Additional notes: The Grandmaster is Wong’s most expensive production to date. You can watch the trailer of the movie on YouTube!

8. 人生就像一場舞會,教會你最初舞步的人卻未必能陪你走到散場。

Romanization: jan4 sang1 zau6 zoeng6 jat1 coeng4 mou5 wui2, gaau3 wui5 nei5 zeoi3 co1 mou5 bou6 dik1 jan4 koek3 mei6 bit1 nang4 pui4 nei5 zau2 dou3 saan3 coeng4 
Literal Translation: “Life is like a ball, the one who teaches you how to dance may not be able to accompany you until the end.”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: Life is full of ups and downs, and your first love may not be your last.
  • Elaboration: This quote is from Eileen Chang, a famous Chinese-born American essayist, novelist, and screenwriter. We use this quote to offer condolence to a friend who has just broken up with their first love.
  • Additional notes: Chang is one of the best female Chinese writers of all time. Read her books to gain insight on the Chinese view of love and romance!

9. 不如我哋從頭嚟過。

Romanization: bat1 jyu4 ngo5 dei6 cung4 tau4 lei4 gwo3
Literal Translation: “How about we start over again?”

More about the quote – 

  • Meaning / Equivalent quote: The message behind this quote is to never take anything for granted.
  • Elaboration: It’s from the movie Happy Together, directed by the famous filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai and featuring the handsome Leslie Cheung. In the movie, the main character lost the love of his life because he did not cherish him when he had the chance to. We may use this quote to try reconciling with an ex, for example.
  • 10. 成世人流流長,總會愛上幾個人渣。

    Romanization: seng4 sai3 jan4 lau4 lau4 coeng4, zung2 wui5 oi3 soeng5 gei2 go3 jan4 zaa1
    Literal Translation: “Life is long, no wonder we would fall in love with a few scoundrels in our lifetimes.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: “We are all fools in love.” (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen)
    • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from the movie Love in a Puff. We use this quote to console a friend who was betrayed by her lover.
    • Additional notes: You can learn more about love and relationships from a HongKonger’s perspective in the movie Love in a Puff. Check out its trailer!

    11. 世界上最遙遠的距離,不是生與死,而是我站在你面前,你卻不知道我愛你。

    Romanization: sai3 gaai3 soeng6 zeoi3 jiu4 jyun5 dik1 keoi5 lei4, bat1 si6 sang1 jyu5 sei2, ji4 si6 ngo5 zaam6 zoi6 nei5 min6 cin4, nei5 koek3 bat1 zi1 dou3 ngo5 oi3 nei5 
    Literal Translation: “The furthest distance in this world is not life and death. It is that I am standing in front of you, but you don’t know I love you.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: “If you love someone, tell them. For hearts are often broken by words left unspoken.” (Stephanie Roogle)
    • Elaboration: This quote is from Hong Kong author Amy Cheung. We use this quote to encourage a friend to express his or her love.
    • Additional notes: Amy Cheung is one of Hong Kong’s most popular writers, and she’s very well-known for her books on love and relationships. She was one of China’s ten richest authors in 2013!

    12. 情場不是超級市場,請勿薄利多銷。

    Romanization: cing4 coeng4 bat1 si6 ciu1 kap1 si5 coeng4, cing2 mat6 bok6 lei6 do1 siu1
    Literal Translation: “The realm of love is not a supermarket; please don’t sell with small profit for quick turnover.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: Love is priceless. / Quality over quantity.
    • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from Cantopop lyricist Richard Lam. We use this quote to encourage one to cherish love.

    CantoneseClass101.com has a vocabulary list dedicated to love quotes. Check it out for more bittersweet words on romance! 


    3. Quotes About Wisdom

    Light Bulbs

    What does it mean to be wise, and how is wisdom attained? Here are some Cantonese quotes on the topic to inspire and enlighten you.

    13. 出嚟行,遲早要還 。

    Romanization: ceot1 lei4 haang4, ci4 zou2 jiu3 waan4
    Literal Translation: “This is expected.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: What goes around comes around.
    • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from the movie Infernal Affairs. We use the quote to let our friends know that we have been expecting the consequences of our actions.
    • Additional notes: Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, was actually a remake of Infernal Affairs!

    14. 是非只因強出口,煩惱只為強出頭 。

    Romanization: si6 fei1 zi2 jan1 koeng5 ceot1 hau2, faan4 nou5 zi2 wai6 koeng5 ceot1 tau4
    Literal Translation: “Gossip comes from the mouth, trouble comes from the head.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: Both gossip and trouble are usually self-created.
    • Elaboration: This is from the famous novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, written by Hong Kong Wuxia novelist Louis Cha. These words remind us to stay out of others’ business.
    • Additional notes: Louis Cha is Hong Kong’s most famous writer and his Wuxia novels are well-known in every Chinese community. He’s sold over 100 million copies of his works worldwide, excluding pirated copies. He even has an asteroid named after him!

    15. 就算一張廁紙、一條底褲,都有佢本身嘅用處 。

    Romanization: zau6 syun3 jat1 zoeng1 ci3 zi2, jat1 tiu4 dai2 fu3, dou1 jau5 keoi5 bun2 san1 ge3 jung6 cyu3 
    Literal Translation: “Even toilet paper and an undergarment have their own values.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: Everyone is of value.
    • Elaboration: This quote is from Hong Kong filmmaker Stephen Chow’s movie From Beijing with Love. We use the quote to promote the idea of self-worth.
    • Additional notes: This movie is a spoof of the James Bond films, and it contains lots of cultural and satirical elements. 

    16. 和諧唔係一百個人講同一番說話,和諧係一百個人有一百句唔同說話之餘,又互相尊重。 

    Romanization: wo4 haai4 m4 hai6 jat1 baak3 go3 jan4 gong2 tung4 jat1 faan1 syut3 waa6, wo4 haai4 hai6 jat1 baak3 go3 jan4 jau5 jat1 baak3 geoi3 m4 tung4 syut3 waa6 zi1 jyu4, jau6 wu6 soeng1 zyun1 zung6 
    Literal Translation: “Harmony is not 100 people saying the same thing; it is about 100 people saying different things while respecting each other.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” (Bryant H. McGill)
    • Elaboration: This quote is from the Cantonese drama When Heaven Burns. We use the quote to defend ourselves when someone forces his/her opinion on us. We can also use it to encourage someone to embrace new ideas.
    • Additional notes: When Heaven Burns is a unique Cantonese drama in many ways. It centers around the spirit of Rock ‘N’ Roll, humanity, religion, and politics. It gained a strong cult following instantly and was very popular among the younger generation.

    17. 寧可哭得理直氣壯,也不願意笑得鬼鬼祟祟。

    Romanization: ning4 ho2 huk1 dak1 lei5 zik6 hei3 zong3, jaa5 bat1 jyun6 ji3 siu3 dak1 gwai2 gwai2 seoi6 seoi6
    Literal Translation: “I’d rather cry boldly than laugh sneakily.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: The message behind this quote is that we should stand firm for justice.
    • Elaboration: It’s a famous quote from Hong Kong’s award-winning lyricist Albert Leung. We use it to encourage others to embrace and defend justice and righteousness.
    • Additional notes: Almost all HongKongers know at least a few songs written by Albert Leung. He has written over 3500 song lyrics!

    4. Quotes About Success

    A Man Climbing Up a Mountain

    Do you have big plans for the future or concerns about an upcoming project? Maybe one of these Cantonese quotes about success can motivate and encourage you. 

    18. 三個臭皮匠,勝過一個諸葛亮。

    Romanization: saam1 go3 cau3 pei4 zoeng6, sing3 gwo3 jat1 go3 zyu1 got3 loeng6
    Literal Translation: “Three cobblers with their wits combined exceed that of Zhuge Liang.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: Two heads are better than one.
    • Elaboration: Zhuge Liang was a very famous military strategist in the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD). His work is often compared to that of Sun Tzu, who wrote The Art of War. We use this quote to promote teamwork.
    • Additional notes: Zhuge Liang is the hero in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of Chinese literature’s Four Great Classical Novels. It’s a great historical novel written in the fourteenth century—highly recommended!

    19. 賺錢靠機遇,成功靠信譽。

    Romanization: zaan6 cin2 kaau3 gei1 jyu6, sing4 gung1 kaau3 seon3 jyu6
    Literal Translation: “Earning money depends on luck; success depends on trust.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: “Honesty is the first chapter of the book Wisdom.” (Thomas Jefferson)
    • Elaboration: This is a famous quote from Hong Kong’s business tycoon Li Ka-Shing, one of the richest men in the world. We can use this quote to emphasize the importance of trust and reputation in achieving ultimate success.
    • Additional notes: As mentioned before, Li Ka-Shing is a magnificent businessman. He’s also very generous in sharing his tips to success!

    20. 當你放下面子賺錢的時候,說明你已經懂事了。當你用錢賺回面子的時候,說明你已經成功了。

    Romanization: dong1 nei5 fong3 haa6 min6 zi2 zaan6 cin2 dik1 si4 hau6, syut3 ming4 nei5 ji5 ging1 dung2 si6 liu5. dong1 nei5 jung6 cin2 zaan6 wui4 min6 zi2 dik1 si4 hau6, syut3 ming4 nei5 ji5 ging1 sing4 gung1 liu5 
    Literal Translation: “When you earn money by letting go of your Face (ego), you have become mature. When you earn your Face (ego) with money, you succeed.”

    More about the quote – 

    • Meaning / Equivalent quote: When ego is lost, limitations are lost.
    • Elaboration: Yet another quote from Hong Kong’s most successful businessman, Li Ka-Shing. We can use this quote to remind someone to let go of their ego.
    • Additional notes: Face,” or in Chinese 面 (min2), is a unique concept in Chinese society. This concept of cultural etiquette in Hong Kong describes one’s status, dignity, and integrity. “Face” can also be thought of as the feeling of being respected and honored by others. 

    See our vocabulary list of success quotes for even more inspiring words! 

    5. Bonus: Quotes About Language Learning

    Fancy diving deeper into Cantonese after learning these interesting and insightful quotes? Then let us share a few language learning quotes with you, too!

    Bonus Quote 1 –

    Chinese Character: 新語言就係新生命。
    Romanization: san1 jyu5 jin4 zau6 hai6 san1 sang1 ming6
    Meaning: A new language is a new life.

    Bonus Quote 2 –

    Chinese Character: 我嘅語言界限就係我個世界嘅界限。
    Romanization: ngo5 ge3 jyu5 jin4 gaai3 haan6 zau6 hai6 ngo5 go3 sai3 gaai3 ge3 gaai3 haan6
    Meaning: The limits of my language are the limits of my world.

    Bonus Quote 3 –

    Chinese Character: 識多一個語言,就擁有多一個靈魂。
    Romanization: sik1 do1 jat1 go3 jyu5 jin4, zau6 jung2 jau5 do1 jat1 go3 ling4 wan4
    Meaning: To have another language is to possess a second soul.

    And of course, we have a list of more language learning quotes for you to study. 

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

    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! 

    Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these quotes is your favorite, and why! We look forward to hearing from you.

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

Your Guide to Basic Cantonese for Business

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The world of work can be wildly different from one country to another, and when traveling somewhere—either permanently or as a visitor—you’ll have to quickly leave a good impression to make the best of your new business environment. Mastering the local language certainly helps. 

This is just as true for visitors to Hong Kong as it is for visitors to any other country. Even though English is one of the official languages, many local businesses and companies prefer candidates who can speak Cantonese. Knowing even basic Cantonese for business will definitely help you maintain good relationships with your colleagues and business partners!

Can’t wait to put some Cantonese business phrases in your pocket? Keep reading and let CantoneseClass101.com give you a hand! Here, you’ll find the phrases you need with examples to help you navigate Hong Kong’s business world.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Nailing a Job Interview
  2. Interacting with Coworkers
  3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting
  4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails
  5. Going on a Business Trip
  6. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Nailing a Job Interview

Job Interview

Fancy getting a job in Hong Kong? Learn the Cantonese business phrases below to nail your job interview, and don’t miss our article on How to Find a Job in Hong Kong!

Talking about your university

Chinese Character: 我喺_____畢業。
Romanization: ngo5 hai2 __________ bat1 jip6
Meaning: “I graduated from __________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我喺中⽂⼤學畢業。
  • Romanization: ngo5 hai2 zung1 man4 daai6 hok6 bat1 jip6
  • Meaning: “I graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.”

Talking about your major

Chinese Character: 我主修_____。
Romanization: ngo5 zyu2 sau1 __________
Meaning: “I majored in __________.”

Example  

  • Chinese Character: 我主修數學。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zyu2 sau1 sou3 hok6
  • Meaning: “I majored in mathematics.”

Talking about your current job

Chinese Character: 直⾄現時為⽌,我係_____嘅_____。
Romanization: zik6 zi3 jin6 si4 wai4 zi2, ngo5 hai6 ______ ge3 ______
Meaning: “Until now, I have been working as ______ at ______.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 直⾄現時為⽌,我係ABC公司嘅會計。
  • Romanization: zik6 zi3 jin6 si4 wai4 zi2, ngo5 hai6 ABC gung1 si1 ge3 wui6 gai3
  • Meaning: “Until now, I have been working as an accountant at ABC Company.”

Talking about your work experience

Chinese Character: 我仲做過_____。
Romanization: ngo5 zung6 zou6 gwo3 _________
Meaning: “I also have experience as a(n)__________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我仲做過項目經理。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zung6 zou6 gwo3 hong6 muk6 ging1 lei5
  • Meaning: “I also have experience as a project manager.”

Talking about your desire to make the move

Chinese Character: 因為我想_____。
Romanization: jan1 wai6 ngo5 soeng2_____
Meaning: “Because I want to_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 因為我想增值⾃己。
  • Romanization: jan1 wai6 ngo5 soeng2 zang1 zik6 zi6 gei2
  • Meaning: “Because I want to progress (myself).”

Talking about why you want to work for the company

Chinese Character: 我鍾意_____,同埋想嘗試其他嘢。
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3_____, tung4 maai4 soeng2 soeng4 si3 kei4 taa1 je5.
Meaning: “I like_____, and I wanted to try something else.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我鍾意接受挑戰,同埋想嘗試其他嘢。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 zip3 sau6 tiu1 zin3, tung4 maai4 soeng2 soeng4 si3 kei4 taa1 je5
  • Meaning: “I like challenges, and I wanted to try something else.”

2. Interacting with Coworkers

A Group of People Chatting

Want to connect with your coworkers or business partners in Hong Kong? In this section, we’ll cover some Cantonese business language for communicating with your coworkers, both in the workplace and out! 

Starting a conversation when you haven’t talked in a while

Chinese Character: 近排點呀?
Romanization: gan6 paai4 dim2 aa3
Meaning: “How’s it going recently?”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 早晨呀,Tim, 近排點呀? 
  • Romanization: zou2 san4 aa3, Tim, gan6 paai4 dim2 aa3
  • Meaning: “Good morning Tim, how’s it going recently?”

Inquiring about that person’s team at work

Chinese Character: 你條Team最近忙咩呀?
Romanization: nei5 tiu4 Team zeoi3 gan6 mong4 me1 aa3
Meaning: “What is your team busy with recently?”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 好耐冇見,你條Team最近忙咩呀?
  • Romanization: hou2 noi6 mou5 gin3, nei5 tiu4 Team zeoi3 gan6 mong4 me1 aa3
  • Meaning: “It’s been a while since we last met. What is your team busy with recently?”

Telling them where you’re headed

Chinese Character: 我要去_____。
Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 heoi3  ______
Meaning: “I am going to  ______.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我要去會議室。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 heoi3 wui6 ji5 sat1
  • Meaning: “I am going to the meeting room.”

Telling them what you like

Chinese Character: 我鍾意_____。
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 _________
Meaning: “I like__________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我鍾意藍色。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 laam4 sik1
  • Meaning: “I like the color blue.”

Telling them what you don’t like

Chinese Character: 我唔鍾意_____。
Romanization: ngo5 m4 zung1 ji3_____
Meaning: “I don’t like_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我唔鍾意呢個project。
  • Romanization: ngo5 m4 zung1 ji3 ni1 go3 project
  • Meaning: “I don’t like this project.”

Letting your coworker know that you’re leaving

Chinese Character: 我走先喇。
Romanization: ngo5 zau2 sin1 laa3
Meaning: “I have to go now.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我走先喇,聽日見!
  • Romanization: ngo5 zau2 sin1 laa3, ting1 jat6 gin3
  • Meaning: “I have to go now, see you tomorrow!”
Business Phrases

3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting

Share your ideas and opinions with team members by using some practical Cantonese for business meetings!

Giving suggestions

Chinese Character: 你應該_____。
Romanization: nei5 jing1 goi1_____
Meaning: “You should_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 你應該接受挑戰。
  • Romanization: nei5 jing1 goi1 zip3 sau6 tiu1 zin3
  • Meaning: “You should accept the challenge.”

Commenting on a suggestion

Chinese Character: 你嘅建議_____。
Romanization: nei5 ge3 gin3 ji5_____
Meaning: “Your suggestion_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 你嘅建議不獲採納。
  • Romanization: nei5 ge3 gin3 ji5 bat1 wok6 coi2 naap6
  • Meaning: “Your suggestion was not accepted.”

Expressing your opinion

Chinese Character: 我認為_____。
Romanization: ngo5 jing6 wai4  ______
Meaning: “I think  ______.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我認為我哋要擴展服務供應。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jing6 wai4 ngo5 dei6 jiu3 kong3 zin2 fuk6 mou6 gung1 jing3
  • Meaning: “I think that we should broaden our offer.”

Showing your agreement

Chinese Character: 我同意_____。
Romanization: ngo5 tung4 ji3 _________
Meaning: “I agree (with) __________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我同意你嘅⽅案,我哋應該喺尖沙咀開分店。
  • Romanization: ngo5 tung4 ji3 nei5 ge3 fong1 on3, ngo5 dei6 jing1 goi1 hai2 zim1 saa1 zeoi2 hoi1 fan1 dim3
  • Meaning: “I agree with your proposal that we should open a branch in Tsim Sha Tsui.”

Showing your disagreement

Chinese Character: 我嘅諗法唔同。
Romanization: ngo5 ge3 lam2 faat3 m4 tung4
Meaning: “I have a different opinion.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我嘅諗法唔同,我哋要有新嘢畀個市場。
  • Romanization: ngo5 ge3 lam2 faat3 m4 tung4, ngo5 dei6 jiu3 jau5 san1 je5 bei2 go3 si5 coeng4
  • Meaning: “I would not agree with you. We have to bring something new to the market.”

Providing feedback on a suggestion

Chinese Character: 聽起嚟_____。
Romanization: teng1 hei2 lei4 _________
Meaning: “Sounds like _________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 聽起嚟有啲複雜。
  • Romanization: teng1 hei2 lei4 jau5 di1 fuk1 zaap6
  • Meaning: “This sounds a little bit complicated.”

4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

A Lady Having a Phone Call at Work

Now, let’s go over some useful phrases to help you do business in Cantonese over the phone or through email.

Picking up the phone

Chinese Character: 聽電話
Romanization: teng1 din6 waa2
Meaning: “to pick up the phone”

Example 

  • Chinese Character:  ⼀聽到電話響,⽴即聽電話。
  • Romanization: jat1 teng1 dou2 din6 waa2 hoeng2, laap6 zik1 teng1 din6 waa2
  • Meaning: “Once you hear the telephone ring, please pick up the phone immediately.”

Introducing yourself over the phone

Chinese Character: 喂,我係_____。
Romanization: wai2, ngo5 hai6 _________
Meaning: “Hello, this is__________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 喂,我係日新公司嘅李家明。
  • Romanization: wai2, ngo5 hai6 jat6 san1 gung1 si1 ge3 lei5 gaa1 ming4
  • Meaning: “Hello, this is Sun New company’s Li Ka Ming.”

Letting the other person know what you’d like to discuss

Chinese Character: 我想傾下_____。
Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 king1 haa5_____
Meaning: “I want to discuss_____.”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 我想傾吓啲細節。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 king1 haa5 dik1 sai3 zit3
  • Meaning: “I want to discuss the details.”

Asking if there’s anything else

Chinese Character: 仲有冇其他嘢?
Romanization: zung6 jau5 mou5 kei4 taa1 je5
Meaning: “Anything else?”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 仲有冇其他嘢我可以幫到你?
  • Romanization: zung6 jau5 mou5 kei4 taa1 je5 ngo5 ho2 ji5 bong1 dou2 nei5
  • Meaning: “Is there anything else I can do to help?”

Replying to an email

Chinese Character: 覆電郵
Romanization: fuk1 din6 jau4
Meaning: “to reply to an email”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我嘅主要工‎作係覆電郵。
  • Romanization: ngo5 ge3 zyu2 jiu3 gung1 zok3 hai6 fuk1 din6 jau4
  • Meaning: “My main task is to reply to emails.”

Greeting someone in an email

Chinese Character: _____你好:
Romanization: _____nei5 hou2
Meaning: “Hello _____,”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 陳先生你好:
  • Romanization: can4 sin1 saang1 nei5 hou2
  • Meaning: “Hello Mr. Chan,”

Thanking someone for his/her support

Chinese Character: 感謝你的支持。
Romanization: gam2 ze6 nei5 dik1 zi1 ci4
Meaning: “Thank you for your support.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我們非常感謝你的支持。
  • Romanization: ngo5 mun4 fei1 soeng4 gam2 ze6 nei5 dik1 zi1 ci4
  • Meaning: “We appreciate your support a lot.”

Asking for a meeting

Chinese Character: 我想約_____開會。
Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 joek3 _________ hoi1 wui2
Meaning: “I would like to set up a meeting for _________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我想約星期⼀開會。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 joek3 sing1 kei4 jat1 hoi1 wui2
  • Meaning: “I would like to set up a meeting for Monday.”

5. Going on a Business Trip

Business Trip

If you’re traveling to Hong Kong for work, memorize these phrases to successfully navigate your business trip in Cantonese!

Checking in with a reservation

Chinese Character: 訂咗房。
Romanization: deng6 zo2 fong2
Meaning: “(I’ve) made a reservation.”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 我姓張,已經訂咗房。
  • Romanization: ngo5 sing3 zoeng1, ji5 ging1 deng6 zo2 fong2
  • Meaning: “I have a reservation under Cheung.”

Asking about room vacancy

Chinese Character: 今晚有冇房?
Romanization: gam1 maan1 jau5 mou5 fong2
Meaning: “Do you have a vacant room for tonight?”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 你好,今晚有冇房?
  • Romanization: nei5 hou2, gam1 maan1 jau5 mou5 fong2
  • Meaning: “Hello, do you have a vacant room for tonight?”

Asking for guidelines/permission

Chinese Character: 我可唔可以_____?
Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5_____
Meaning: “Can I_____?”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 我可唔可以用商務中心?
  • Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 jung6 soeng1 mou6 zung1 sam1
  • Meaning: “Can I use the business center?”

Checking out

Chinese Character: 退房
Romanization: teoi3 fong2
Meaning: “check out”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 唔該,我想退房。
  • Romanization: m4 goi1, ngo5 soeng2 teoi3 fong2
  • Meaning: “Excuse me, I would like to check out.”

Expressing your needs

Chinese Character: 我要_____。
Romanization: ngo5 jiu3_____
Meaning: “I need_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我要間非吸煙單⼈房。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 gaan1 fei1 kap1 jin1 daan1 jan4 fong2
  • Meaning: “I would like to have a non-smoking single room.”

Asking for directions

Chinese Character: _____ 喺邊度?
Romanization: _________ hai2 bin1 dou6
Meaning: “Where is _________?”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 會議室喺邊度?
  • Romanization: wui6 ji5 sat1 hai2 bin1 dou6
  • Meaning: “Where is the meeting room?”

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

Now that you’ve learned the basic business phrases, are you interested in picking up even more Cantonese? 

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! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any business phrases or situations we didn’t cover. We’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy learning, and good luck with your business endeavors!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Cantonese

Learn Cantonese: YouTube Channels You’ll Love Learning With

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Learning Cantonese can be a real headache—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. 

Did you know that in your search for effective Cantonese lessons, YouTube can be an excellent resource? 

Just think of all those nights aimlessly scrolling through YouTube videos, watching one after another. Before you know it, it’s three in the morning and…what time was your alarm clock set for? 

What if you could combine YouTube and language learning to get the best of both worlds? Faster progress and endless entertainment!

As a learner myself, I strongly believe in the power of exposure for language acquisition, and how immersing yourself in Cantonese can help you more than any grammar lesson ever could. Absorbing a variety of media in Cantonese is the best way to effortlessly become more fluent.

In this article, I’ll present you with the best Cantonese YouTubers and channels for language learners in 2020. I’ve made sure to include channels in a variety of categories, from language learning to cooking and lifestyle vlogs. When coupled with the CantoneseClass101 YouTube channel (which I’ll talk more about later), these channels can give you everything you need to immerse yourself in Cantonese and make quick progress.

Enough talk. Here’s our list of the best Cantonese YouTube channels for learners!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. CarlosDouh
  2. 張媽媽廚房Mama Cheung
  3. hongkongmap
  4. MTR Hong Kong
  5. MIHK VLOG
  6. Leave Your Mark
  7. Alfred Chan
  8. 文子MtzCherry
  9. 果籽
  10. Learn Cantonese with CantoneseClass101.com
  11. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. CarlosDouh

Category: Language
Level: Beginner – Intermediate

CarlosDouh makes interesting videos about the Cantonese language and Hong Kong culture. He mainly teaches Cantonese slang—in a very engaging way. I couldn’t help but keep cracking up when browsing through his videos. I recommend this channel for beginners and intermediate level learners, as his videos are easy to follow and he normally introduces just one slang word per video. 

Check out his video on 公主病 (gung1 zyu2 beng6) to find out what this phrase means!

2. 張媽媽廚房Mama Cheung

Category: Lifestyle (cooking)
Level: Intermediate

On this delightful Cantonese cooking YouTube channel, Mama Cheung teaches you how to cook homestyle Hong Kong dishes, so you can learn how to cook and speak at the same time. Most of her videos have English subtitles, and she posts a new video every Thursday. Definitely stay tuned with the Mama Cheung channel if you’re a foodie like me! 

In the meantime, check out how to make Tomato Tofu Soup and get a taste of homestyle Cantonese soup.

3. hongkongmap

Category: Travel
Level: (Upper) Intermediate

This channel offers a virtual guided tour of Hong Kong by a local. Although most of the videos don’t have subtitles, it’s a wonderful way to learn more about the glamourous city from a more local perspective. If you’re interested in exploring the culture, lives of ordinary citizens, and unique places to visit, we highly recommend giving this channel a try. 

Check out one of the local tours and see if it suits you!

4. MTR Hong Kong

Category: Transport
Level: Intermediate

This is an informative channel about the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), the most used public transportation system in Hong Kong. With both Chinese and English subtitles, these videos are a good way to learn both the language and a bit more about one of the world’s best transport systems! Most of the videos are short enough to finish in one sitting—a great way to learn Cantonese if you only have a little bit of time. 

Watch this video to see what MTR has done in light of COVID-19.

5. MIHK VLOG

Category: Lifestyle / Video Blog
Level: (Upper) Intermediate

This channel features vlogs recorded by local teenagers. It’s a great platform for learning more about the youth culture in Hong Kong (and having a good laugh). Better yet, some of the videos have both Cantonese and English subtitles, something that will be very convenient for language learners. 

Watch their Hong Kong-style Pick-Up Line Challenge and see who these Cantonese YouTubers end up with!

6. Leave Your Mark

Category: Documentary
Level: Advanced

If you’re looking to watch something deep and serious, LeaveYourMark is right where you need to be. You can find in-depth interviews with some famous Hong Kongers, where they share their stories and beliefs. 

See what the famous songwriter 恭碩良 (gung1 sek6 loeng4) has to share!

7. Alfred Chan

Category: Lifestyle / Reviews
Level: Advanced

Do you need ideas on where to treat yourself in Hong Kong? This channel largely focuses on things like game and gadget reviews, as well as reviews for famous Hong Kong restaurants. Keep in mind that there are no subtitles, so the video could be a bit difficult for new Cantonese learners to understand. 

Check out this review on Felix, a restaurant in one of the most prestigious hotels in Hong Kong (the Peninsula Hotel), to see if you enjoy Alfred’s channel!

8. 文子MtzCherry

Category: Lifestyle / Vlog
Level: Beginner / Intermediate

This is a fun combination channel, hosted by a local teen giving out Cantonese tutorials and discussing life in Hong Kong. She also does a few vlog-style videos about her own life. Most of the videos have both Cantonese and English subtitles, which is perfect for language learners! Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll be able to enjoy her content and learn something new.

Watch her Cantonese lesson on hygiene to learn about how to stay clean and healthy in Hong Kong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuD8H2xSFJ8

9. 果籽

Category: Lifestyle
Level: Advanced

Here’s another channel with a variety of content. This local media channel covers a wide range of lifestyle topics: health, travel, food, personal stories, and more. There are Cantonese subtitles, but because the content is made for locals, they might speak a bit fast. Nonetheless, it’s a marvelous way to keep abreast of what’s going on in Hong Kong. 

Check out their video on the five most famous dogs in Hong Kong and learn their stories!

10. Learn Cantonese with CantoneseClass101.com

Category: Language
Level: All levels

If you’re not sure where to start your Cantonese learning journey, or want some help polishing your skills, visit the CantoneseClass101 YouTube channel. We have numerous videos for every skill level on a variety of topics: vocabulary, grammar, culture, and more! You can easily find just what you need by browsing through our categorized playlists. 

Want a sample of what to expect? Learn more about the Buddha’s holiday with CantoneseClass101.com!

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

Want to step up your Cantonese after watching our YouTube videos?

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! 

Before you go, we’d love to hear what your favorite Cantonese YouTube channel is! Let us know in the comments.

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

How to Say Goodbye in Cantonese

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Do you want to leave a dashing and lasting impression after meeting someone new? It’s time to work on your grand exit! Earlier on this blog, you learned the various ways to say hello. Now it’s time to study how to say goodbye in Cantonese when it’s time to part ways. 

A proper goodbye shows courtesy and respect, and helps you hone your relationships. This is especially true in Asian societies like Hong Kong, where we value politeness, good manners, and filial piety.

There are many ways to say goodbye depending on the situation. In this article, we’ll cover the most common ways to say goodbye in Cantonese so you can be ready for any situation.

What are you waiting for? Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Way to Say Goodbye
  2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye
  3. Gestures for Saying Goodbye
  4. Bonus: More Examples!
  5. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. The Most Common Way to Say Goodbye

Most Common Goodbyes

The most common way to say goodbye in Cantonese is: 拜拜.

Literal Translation: bye bye
Meaning: bye
Romanization: baai1 baai3
Explanation: This is the most common phrase for saying “bye” when we part ways, and it can be used in a variety of situations.

Example Conversation

Elizabeth: 
今日傾得好開心,可惜我有嘢做要走先喇。
gam1 jat6 king1 dak1 hou2 hoi1 sam1, ho2 sik1 ngo5 jau5 je5 zou6 jiu3 zau2 sin1 laa3
“It’s great chatting with you; it’s a pity I need to head off now.”

Charlotte: 
拜拜。
baai1 baai3
“Bye.”

2. Specific Ways to Say Goodbye

A Man Saying Bye to His Family

There are many other ways to say bye in Cantonese apart from 拜拜 (baai1 baai3). We’ll cover nine more popular Cantonese goodbye expressions below so that you’ll be able to make a good exit in any scenario!

1 – Goodbye. (Formal)

Chinese Character: 再見
Literal Translation: again see
Meaning: goodbye
Romanization: zoi3 gin3

Example Conversation 

Fitzwilliam: 
我好攰,想休息下,再見。
ngo5 hou2 gui6, soeng2 jau1 sik1 haa5, zoi3 gin3
“I am tired and would like to take a rest. Goodbye.”

William: 
再見。
zoi3 gin3
“Goodbye.”

2 – See you later.

Chinese Character: 遲啲見
Literal Translation: later see
Meaning: See you later. 
Romanization: ci4 di1 gin3
Note: This phrase is normally used when you plan on seeing each other within the next week.

Example Conversation 

Jane: 
多謝你安排呢個舞會。
do1 ze6 nei5 on1 paai4 ni1 go3 mou5 wui2
“Thank you for organizing the Ball.”

Charles: 
遲啲見。
ci4 di1 gin3
“See you (later).”

3 – See you next time.

Chinese Character: 下次見
Literal Translation: next time see
Meaning: See you (the next time we meet).
Romanization: haa6 ci3 gin3

Example Conversation 

George: 
今日玩得好開心,下次見。
gam1 jat6 waan2 dak1 hou2 hoi1 sam1, haa6 ci3 gin3
“We had a great time today, see you.”

Lydia: 
下次見。
haa6 ci3 gin3
“See you.”

4 – See you (at a specific time).

Chinese Character: (specific time) 見
Literal Translation: (specific time) see
Meaning: See you (at a specific time).
Romanization: (specific time) gin3

Example Conversation 

Elizabeth: 
我好期待聽日終於可以見到你細妹。
ngo5 hou2 kei4 doi6 ting1 jat6 zung1 jyu1 ho2 ji5 gin3 dou2 nei5 sai3 mui2
“I look forward to finally getting to know your sister tomorrow.”

Fitzwilliam: 
咁聽日見。
gam2 ting1 jat6 gin3
“See you tomorrow, then.”

Goodbye Kiss

5 – Take care.

Chinese Character: 保重
Literal Translation: keep important
Meaning: Take care.
Romanization: bou2 zung6

Example Conversation 

Jane: 
我要去一去倫敦,可能要留三個月。
ngo5 jiu3 heoi3 jat1 heoi3 leon4 deon1, ho2 nang4 jiu3 lau4 saam1 go3 jyut6
“I need to go to London and probably have to stay there for three months.”

Elizabeth: 
保重。
bou2 zung6
“Take care.”

6 – I gotta run.

Chinese Character: 我要走先喇
Literal Translation: I need go first 
Meaning: I gotta run.
Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 zau2 sin1 laa3

Example Conversation 

Lydia: 
我要走先喇。
ngo5 jiu3 zau2 sin1 laa3
“I gotta run.”

Catherine: 
好啦,拜拜。
hou2 laa1, baai1 baai3
“Alright. Bye.”

7 – Have a great one.

Chinese Character: 一切順利
Literal Translation: All well and good.
Meaning: Have a great one. / Good luck.
Romanization: jat1 cai3 seon6 lei6

Example Conversation 

Fitzwilliam: 
我有嘢做要離開屋企一陣。
ngo5 jau5 je5 zou6 jiu3 lei4 hoi1 uk1 kei2 jat1 zan6
“I have some business and will be away from home for a while.”

Giorgiana: 
一切順利。
jat1 cai3 seon6 lei6
“Good luck.”

8 – Keep in touch.

Chinese Character: 保持聯絡
Literal Translation: Keep contact
Meaning: Keep in touch.
Romanization: bou2 ci4 lyun4 lok3

Example Conversation 

Jane: 
好可惜你哋要搬走。
hou2 ho2 sik1 nei5 dei6 jiu3 bun1 zau2
“It’s a pity that you guys are moving away.”

Caroline: 
保持聯絡。
bou2 ci4 lyun4 lok3
“Keep in touch.”

9 – Texting “Bye”

Character: 88
Meaning: “bye” for informal texting purposes (“8” in Cantonese sounds like “bye,” and it’s easy to type.)
Romanization: baat3 baat3

Example Conversation 

Jane: 
我約咗人唔傾喇。
ngo5 joek3 zo2 jan4 m4 king1 laa3
“I am meeting a friend, let’s chat later.”

Elizabeth: 
88
“Bye.”

Want more? We have a separate vocabulary list of how to say goodbye in Cantonese so you can learn useful phrases more easily! 

3. Gestures for Saying Goodbye

Now that you know a few key phrases, there’s one more question we’d like to answer: How do you say goodbye in Hong Kong? 

In some Western cultures, you might kiss, hug, or shake hands with someone when it’s time to part ways. But in Hong Kong, we generally just say the parting words, possibly followed by a gentle wave. Local Cantonese do not like touches in general—and kisses on the cheek are a big NO.

Handshake in Business Settings

If you’re in a business setting where you need to give a formal farewell, a firm handshake will do the job just fine.

4. Bonus: More Examples!

a group of colleagues

We have more examples for you! Read the following dialogue between two colleagues, 馬家輝 (maa5 gaa1 fai1) and 張麗珊 (zoeng1 lai6 saan1). They’re good friends in the office, and 馬家輝 is about to leave.

Example dialogue 

馬家輝: 
我走先喇!
ngo5 zau2 sin1 laa3
“I am leaving.”

張麗珊: 
點解咁早走嘅?
dim2 gaai2 gam3 zou2 zau2 ge2
“Why are you leaving so early?”

馬家輝: 
我已經做晒啲嘢,咪返屋企囉!你都唔好成日加班喇。
ngo5 ji5 ging1 zou6 saai3 di1 je5, mai6 faan2 uk1 kei2 lo1. nei5 dou1 m4 hou2 seng4 jat6 gaa1 baan1 laa3
“I have finished my work, so I am heading home. You shouldn’t work overtime so often.”

張麗珊: 
講就容易。
gong2 zau6 jung4 ji6
“It’s easier said than done.”

馬家輝: 
你仲有好多嘢要做?你需唔需要幫手?
nei5 zung6 jau5 hou2 do1 je5 jiu3 zou6? nei5 seoi1 m4 seoi1 jiu3 bong1 sau2?
“Do you still have a lot of work? Do you need help?”

張麗珊: 
唔緊要啦,我自己搞得掂。
m4 gan2 jiu3 laa1, ngo5 zi6 gei2 gaau2 dak1 dim6
“It’s alright, I can take care of it.”

馬家輝: 
咁好啦,聽日見。辛苦晒喇。
gam2 hou2 laa1, ting1 jat6 gin3. san1 fu2 saai3 laa3
“Alright then, see you tomorrow. Thanks for your hard work.”

張麗珊: 
拜拜。
baai1 baai3
“Bye.”

Explanatory notes on the key vocabulary 

VocabularyRomanizationMeaning
走先zau2 sin1to leave early; to leave now
點解dim2 gaai2why
zou2 early
屋企uk1 kei2home
成日seng4 jat6all of the time; always
加班gaa1 baan1to work overtime
容易jung4 ji6easy; simple
需要seoi1 jiu3 need
幫手bong1 sau2help
緊要gan2 jiu3matter
dim6satisfactory; in good order
聽日ting1 jat6tomorrow
gin3to see

We hope the conversation above helped you better understand how to say bye in Cantonese! If you would like to read and listen to more useful examples, do check out our lesson on Saying Goodbye When You Leave Your Job in Hong Kong.

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

Now that you’ve learned your basic “hellos” and “goodbyes,” do you fancy learning more Cantonese?

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! 

Before you go, let us know how you say goodbye in your language! We look forward to hearing from you.

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

Your Ultimate Guide to Cantonese Pronouns

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Pronouns can help you better articulate and express your ideas by allowing you to avoid repeating the same nouns over and over again. There are various pronouns in English, such as personal pronouns like “he,” “she,” “it,” “our,” and “theirs”; demonstrative pronouns like “this” and “that”; and indefinite pronouns like “somebody” and “nowhere.” 

These pronouns are very useful when it comes to facilitating communication—think how clumsy it would sound to say “Peter really likes Peter’s own voice and Peter’s own appearance,” and “Sharon and Sharon’s sister are looking for Sharon’s mother!” 

Have you ever wondered what Cantonese pronouns there are? Are you curious to learn how you can use them to communicate your thoughts more effectively? We’ve prepared a list of Cantonese pronouns and respective examples for you. Read on to find out more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese Personal Pronouns
  2. Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Indefinite Pronouns
  5. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Cantonese Personal Pronouns

A Group of People

We’ve divided the pronouns into singular (e.g. “I,” “you,” “he,” “she”) and plural (e.g. “we,” “they”) for your easy reference. Note that there isn’t an honorific version of pronouns in Cantonese, and both the words and example phrases below are in spoken form:

1- Singular

Introducing Yourself

1- 你

Meaning: you

Romanization: nei5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你鐘意咖啡。
  • Romanization: nei5 zung1 ji3 gaa3 fe1
  • Meaning: You like coffee.

2- 我

Meaning: I

Romanization: ngo5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我想改變世界。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 goi2 bin3 sai3 gaai3
  • Meaning: I want to change the world.

3- 佢

Meaning: she / he / it

Romanization: keoi5

Note: There are no differences between “he,” “she,” or “it” in Cantonese. You can use 佢 for all circumstances.

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢好得意。
  • Romanization: keoi5 hou2 dak1 ji3
  • Meaning: She / He / It is cute.

4-  你嘅

Meaning: your / yours   

Romanization: nei5 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我好想睇穿你嘅心。
  • Romanization: ngo5 hou2 soeng2 tai2 cyun1 nei5 ge3 sam1
  • Meaning: I want to see right through your heart.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 係你嘅。
  • Romanization: hai6 nei5 ge3
  • Meaning: It’s yours.

5-  我嘅

Meaning: my / mine

Romanization: ngo5 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我嘅天堂
  • Romanization: ngo5 ge3 tin1 tong4
  • Meaning: My paradise

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你係我嘅。
  • Romanization: nei5 hai6 ngo5 ge3
  • Meaning: You are mine.

6-  佢嘅

Meaning: her / his / its / hers

Romanization: keoi5 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢嘅答覆
  • Romanization: keoi5 ge3 daap3 fuk1
  • Meaning: His / her reply

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 唔係佢嘅。
  • Romanization: m4 hai6 keoi5 ge3
  • Meaning: It’s not his / hers.

2- Plural

7- 你哋

Meaning: you guys

Romanization: nei5 dei6

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你哋無做錯到。
  • Romanization: nei5 dei6 mou4 zou6 co3 dou3
  • Meaning: You guys didn’t do anything wrong.

8- 我哋

Meaning: we / us

Romanization: ngo5 dei6

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我哋係香港人。
  • Romanization: ngo5 dei6 hai6 hoeng1 gong2 jan4
  • Meaning: We are Hong Kongers.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢同我哋講佢係警察。
  • Romanization: keoi5 tung4 ngo5 dei6 gong2 keoi5 hai6 ging2 caat3
  • Meaning: He told us he is a cop.

9-  佢哋

Meaning: they / them

Romanization: keoi5 dei6

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢哋係醫生。
  • Romanization: keoi5 dei6 hai6 ji1 sang1
  • Meaning: They are doctors.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 你其實都好關心佢哋。
  • Romanization: nei5 kei4 sat6 dou1 hou2 gwaan1 sam1 keoi5 dei6
  • Meaning: Actually, you care about them.

10- 你哋嘅

Meaning: your / yours (plural)

Romanization: nei5 dei6 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 發揮你哋嘅創意。
  • Romanization: faat3 fai1 nei5 dei6 ge3 cong3 ji3
  • Meaning: Let your imagination go wild.

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢啲係你哋嘅。
  • Romanization: ni1 di1 hai6 nei5 dei6 ge3
  • Meaning: These are yours.

11- 我哋嘅

Meaning: our / ours

Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我哋嘅字典
  • Romanization: ngo5 dei6 ge3 zi6 din2
  • Meaning: Our dictionary

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 字典係我哋嘅。
  • Romanization: zi6 din2 hai6 ngo5 dei6 ge3
  • Meaning: The dictionary is ours.

12-  佢哋嘅

Meaning: their / theirs

Romanization: keoi5 dei6 ge3

Example 1 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 佢哋嘅文化
  • Romanization: keoi5 dei6 ge3 man4 faa3
  • Meaning: Their culture

Example 2 – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 可能係佢哋嘅。
  • Romanization: ho2 nang4 hai6 keoi5 dei6 ge3
  • Meaning: Maybe it’s theirs.

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

Image Gallery

1- 呢個

Meaning: this

Romanization: ni1 go3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢個係我嘅電話。
  • Romanization: ni1 go3 hai6 ngo5 ge3 din6 waa2
  • Meaning: This is my cell.

2- 嗰個

Meaning: that

Romanization: go2 go3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 嗰個人
  • Romanization: go2 go3 jan4
  • Meaning: That person

3- 呢啲

Meaning: these

Romanization: ni1 di1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢啲珍珠好韌㗎。
  • Romanization: ni1 di1 zan1 zyu1 hou2 jan6 gaa3
  • Meaning: These bubbles are very chewy.

4- 嗰啲

Meaning: those

Romanization: go2 di1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 嗰啲蟬嘅聲音, 我覺得好好聽㗎。
  • Romanization: go2 di1 sim4 ge3 sing1 jam1, ngo5 gok3 dak1 hou2 hou2 teng1 gaa3
  • Meaning: I love the sound of those cicadas. 

5- 呢度

Meaning: here

Romanization: ni1 dou6   

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 呢度係香港。
  • Romanization: ni1 dou6 hai6 hoeng1 gong2
  • Meaning: Hong Kong is here.

6- 嗰度

Meaning: there

Romanization: go2 dou6

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 嗰度好靚。
  • Romanization: go2 dou6 hou2 leng3
  • Meaning: It’s beautiful there.

3. Interrogative Pronouns

Basic Questions

1- 乜嘢

Meaning: what

Romanization: mat1 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 乜嘢係通貨膨脹呀?
  • Romanization: mat1 je5 hai6 tung1 fo3 paang4 zoeng3 aa3
  • Meaning: What is inflation?

2- 邊個

Meaning: who

Romanization: bin1 go3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 邊個超級英雄係最強㗎呢?
  • Romanization: bin1 go3 ciu1 kap1 jing1 hung4 hai6 zeoi3 koeng4 gaa3 ne1 
  • Meaning: Who is the strongest superhero?

3- 邊個嘅

Meaning: whose

Romanization: bin1 go3 ge3

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 部電話係邊個嘅?
  • Romanization: bou6 din6 waa6 hai6 bin1 go3 ge3
  • Meaning: Whose phone is it?

4- 幾時

Meaning: when

Romanization: gei2 si4

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 幾時得閒呀?
  • Romanization: gei2 si4 dak1 haan4 aa3
  • Meaning: When are you free?

5- 邊度

Meaning: where

Romanization: bin1 dou6 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 邊度有廁所呀? 
  • Romanization: bin1 dou6 jau5 ci3 so2 aa3
  • Meaning: Where is the toilet?

6- 點樣

Meaning: how

Romanization: dim2 joeng2

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 應該點樣準備呢?
  • Romanization: jing1 goi1 dim2 joeng2 zeon2 bei6 ne1
  • Meaning: How should I prepare?

7- 點解

Meaning: why

Romanization: dim2 gaai2 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 點解想做呢份工?
  • Romanization: dim2 gaai2 soeng2 zou6 ni1 fan6 gung1
  • Meaning: Why do you want this job?

4. Indefinite Pronouns

A Blank Paper

As opposed to English, there isn’t a set of pronouns in Cantonese with the fixed prefixes of “every-,” “any-,” or “some-.” As such, we’ve instead included the Cantonese equivalents of common indefinite pronouns below:

1- 所有嘢

Meaning: everything

Romanization: so2 jau5 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 所有嘢都會同老婆交代。
  • Romanization: so2 jau5 je5 dou1 wui3 tung4 lou5 po4 gaau1 doi6
  • Meaning: I will tell my wife everything.

2- 所有人

Meaning: everybody

Romanization: so2 jau5 jan4

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 所有人都鐘意你。
  • Romanization: so2 jau5 jan4 dou1 zung1 ji3 nei5
  • Meaning: Everybody likes you.

3- 邊度

Meaning: everywhere

Romanization: bin1 dou6 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 邊度都見到你。
  • Romanization: bin1 dou6 dou1 gin3 dou2 nei5
  • Meaning: You’re everywhere.

4- 一啲嘢

Meaning: something

Romanization: jat1 di1 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 如果二零一九年要捨棄一啲嘢,我最想捨棄一啲壞習慣。
  • Romanization: jyu4 gwo2 ji6 ling4 jat1 gau2 nin4 jiu3 se2 hei3 jat1 di1 je5, ngo5 zeoi3 soeng2 se2 hei3 jat1 di1 waai6 zaap6 gwaan3
  • Meaning: If I must let go of something in 2019, I want to let go of my bad habits.

5- 一啲人

Meaning: somebody

Romanization: jat1 di1 jan4   

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 係一啲人嘅問題。
  • Romanization: hai6 jat1 di1 jan4 ge3 man6 tai4
  • Meaning: That’s somebody’s problem.

6- 某啲地方

Meaning: somewhere

Romanization: mau5 di1 dei6 fong1 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 某啲地方一定有所犧牲。
  • Romanization: mau5 di1 dei6 fong1 jat1 ding6 jau5 so2 hei1 sang1
  • Meaning: There will be sacrifices somewhere.

7- 冇嘢

Meaning: nothing

Romanization: mou5 je5

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我冇嘢講。
  • Romanization: ngo5 mou5 je5 gong2
  • Meaning: I have nothing to say.

8- 冇人

Meaning: no one

Romanization: mou5 jan4  

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 冇人係完美。
  • Romanization: mou5 jan4 hai6 jyun4 mei5
  • Meaning: No one is perfect.

9- 冇地方

Meaning: nowhere

Romanization: mou5 dei6 fong1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 冇地方住
  • Romanization: mou5 dei6 fong1 zyu6
  • Meaning: I got nowhere to live.

10- 乜嘢

Meaning: anything

Romanization: mat1 je5 

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 乜嘢都有可能。
  • Romanization: mat1 je5 dou1 jau5 ho2 nang4
  • Meaning: Anything is possible.

11- 乜人

Meaning: anyone

Romanization: mat1 jan4   

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 乜人都可以申請。
  • Romanization: mat1 jan4 dou1 ho2 ji5 san1 cing2
  • Meaning: Anyone can apply.

12- 乜嘢地方

Meaning: anywhere

Romanization: mat1 je5 dei6 fong1

Example – 

  • Sentence / Phrase: 我乜嘢地方都可以瞓得着。
  • Romanization: ngo5 mat1 je5 dei6 fong1 dou1 ho2 ji5 fan3 dak1 zoek6
  • Meaning: I can fall asleep anywhere.

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

Improve Listening

Cantonese pronouns are extremely useful in our daily conversations, and we hope by now you’ve memorized some Cantonese pronouns and are ready to use them. Do check out our articles on Cantonese nouns and Cantonese adjectives as well, and be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any questions! 

Want to level up your Cantonese after mastering Cantonese pronouns? 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!

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Your Guide to Cantonese Word Order

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Word order refers to the order in which words are structured to form a sentence. One example is the “Subject + Verb + Object” pattern in English. One can not speak, read, or write properly without knowing how to put sentences together. 

That’s why we’ve decided to introduce you to Cantonese word order and grammar. Let CantoneseClass101.com be your guide to mastering Cantonese!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese Word Order Overview
  2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object
  3. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases
  4. Word Order with Modifiers
  5. How to Form a Negative Sentence
  6. Bonus: Translation Exercises
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Cantonese Word Order Overview

Improve Pronunciation

Cantonese word order is fairly flexible and may be said to follow the pattern “Subject + Verb + Object,” which is the same basic word order in English. As there are so many ways to structure a sentence in Cantonese, some think that Cantonese is very difficult—especially HongKongers who love to “not follow the grammar” and throw words around.

But don’t worry. In addition to the most common sentence patterns we’ll cover below, you can always learn Cantonese word order by chatting with the locals or reading more examples on CantoneseClass101.com. The key to mastering a language is not being afraid to make mistakes. After all, it’s from mistakes that we learn the most!

Now, let’s look closer at this pattern of word ordering in Cantonese…

2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object

Cinema

The basic word order for English is subject (S), verb (V), and object (O). If we break down the English sentence “I watch a movie,” we can see that the subject “I” is presented first. This is followed by the verb “watch,” and then finally, the object “movie” is positioned last. We’ve removed the particles here to keep it simple.

“Subject + Verb + Object” is the basic word order for sentences in both English and Cantonese.

Now let’s compare that same sentence, “I watch a movie,” with the Cantonese translation: 我睇戲” (ngo5 tai2 hei3). If we break down the Cantonese sentence, we see that the subject 我 (ngo5), meaning “I,” comes first. Then comes the verb 睇 (tai2), meaning “watch.” And finally, we have the object 戲 (hei3), meaning “movie.”

Below is a summary of the basic word order in Cantonese:

1 – Subject (S) + Verb (V) + Object (O)

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watch (a) movie.”

We’ll keep using the above example sentence, 我睇戲 (ngo5 tai2 hei3), and expand upon it throughout the article for better illustration.

3. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases

A Question Mark

Now we’ll expand the basic Cantonese word order “S + V + O” with prepositional phrases (e.g. “when,” “where,” or in “in what way”).

2 – S + Time (T) + V + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched a movie last week.”

Note 1: Time can either be placed in front of or after the subject, though it’s more common to place time after the subject. For example, 上個禮拜我睇戲 (soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 ngo5 tai2 hei3) also works.

Note 2: Time and duration are placed differently in Cantonese sentences. We’ll cover duration later in this article. 

3 – S + T + Manner (M) + V + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched a movie last week with my friends.”

4 – S + T + M + Place (P) + V + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched a movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

Note: Place can either be placed in front of or after prepositions of manner, though it’s more common to place it after. For example, 我上個禮拜喺戲院同朋友一齊睇戲 (ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 tai2 hei3) also works.

4. Word Order with Modifiers

A Plus Sign

Modifiers usually modify nouns. In Cantonese, they are often adjectives, determiners (e.g. “this,” “that”), or numerals (e.g. “one,” “two,” “three”).

Now let’s further expand our sentence with modifiers!

5 – S + T + M + P + V + Determiners (De) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢場戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 coeng4 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

6 – S + T + M + P + V + De + Numerals (N) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this (one) movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

Note: We don’t have “these” or the plural of “this” in Cantonese. We use numerals directly to tell how many there are of something.

7 – S + T + M + P + V + De + N + Duration (Du) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場兩個鐘頭嘅戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 loeng5 go3 zung1 tau4 ge3 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this two-hour-long movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

8 – S + T + M + P + V + De + N + Du + Adjective (A) + O

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場兩個鐘頭好精彩嘅戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 loeng5 go3 zung1 tau4 hou2 zing1 coi2 ge3 hei3
  • Meaning: “I watched this stunning two-hour-long movie at the cinema last week with my friends.”

Note: We sometimes break the sentence into two parts if it’s too long. For instance, we could split the sentence above as follows:

  • Format: S + T + M + P + V + De + N + A + O, V + Du
  • Chinese Characters: 我上個禮拜同朋友一齊喺戲院睇咗呢一場好精彩嘅戲,睇足兩個鐘頭。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tung4 pang4 jau5 jat1 cai4 hai2 hei3 jyun2 tai2 zo2 ni1 jat1 coeng4 hou2 zing1 coi2 ge3 hei3, tai2 zuk1 loeng5 go3 zung1 tau4

5. How to Form a Negative Sentence

a Lady Expressing

Forming negative sentences in Cantonese is easy. In most cases, we just need to add the character for “no,” which is 唔 (m4), in front of the verb.

Example Sentence

  • Chinese Characters: 我唔睇戲。
  • Romanization: ngo5 m4 tai2 hei3
  • Meaning: “I don’t watch a movie.”

6. Bonus: Translation Exercises

Pencil & Paper

Try to arrange the words in the correct order! 

[Note that: 1. English tenses are ignored in this exercise as there is no such concept as tense in Cantonese. 2. You may find the answers in the last paragraph of this section.]

Ex 1-

Words: 你 (romanization: nei5; meaning: “you”); 蘋果 (romanization: ping4 gwo2; meaning: “apple”); 食 (romanization: sik6; meaning: “eat”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 2-

Words: 你 (romanization: nei5; meaning: “you”); 蘋果 (romanization: ping4 gwo2; meaning: “apple”); 食 (romanization: sik6; meaning: “eat”); 好食嘅 (romanization: hou2 sik6 ge3; meaning: “delicious”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 3-

Words: 你 (romanization: nei5; meaning: “you”); 蘋果 (romanization: ping4 gwo2; meaning: “apple”); 食 (romanization: sik6; meaning: “eat”); 唔 (romanization: m4; meaning: “don’t”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 4-

Words: 錢 (romanization: cin2; meaning: “money”); 借 (romanization: ze3; meaning: “borrow”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 5-

Words: 錢 (romanization: cin2; meaning: “money”); 借 (romanization: ze3; meaning: “borrow”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”); 噚日 (romanization: cam4 jat6; meaning: “yesterday”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 6-

Words: 錢 (romanization: cin2; meaning: “money”); 借 (romanization: ze3; meaning: “borrow”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”); 噚日 (romanization: cam4 jat6; meaning: “yesterday”); 問朋友 (romanization: man6 pang4 jau5; meaning: “from a friend”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Ex 7-

Words: 好靚嘅 (romanization: hou2 leng3 ge3; meaning: “beautiful”); 一個 (romanization: jat1 go3; meaning: “one”); 我 (romanization: ngo5; meaning: “I”); 今日 (romanization: gam1 jat6; meaning: “today”); 見到 (romanization: gin3 dou2; meaning: “see”); 手袋 (romanization: sau2 doi2; meaning: “handbag”)

Sentence: ____________________________

Answers

Ex 1- 你食蘋果。

Ex 2- 你食好食嘅蘋果。

Ex 3- 你唔食蘋果。

Ex 4- 我借錢。

Ex 5- 我噚日借錢。/ 噚日我借錢。

Ex 6- 我噚日問朋友借錢。/ 噚日我問朋友借錢。

Ex 7- 我今日見到一個好靚嘅手袋。

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

Improve Listening

Cantonese word order isn’t that difficult after all, right? It might sound complicated at first, but if you’re patient and learn one step at a time, you’ll be able to master Cantonese word order before you know it!

Is there anything that’s still not clear to you? Is the sentence structure in Cantonese similar or different from that in your native language? Let us know in the comments! 

After learning Cantonese word order, do you want to take your Cantonese to the next level? 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

The 20+ Most Useful Compliments in Cantonese

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Being a HongKonger myself, I would say that Hong Kong has nurtured many very beautiful citizens—both in mind and body. To praise us (don’t be shy!), here are twenty of the most useful Cantonese compliments that you can use. And the next time you want to compliment a Cantonese girl, you’ll know very well what to say!

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

Table of Contents

  1. Compliments on Looks
  2. Compliments on Work
  3. Compliments on Skills
  4. Compliments on Character / Disposition
  5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Compliments on Looks

A Pretty Lady

1 – 你好靚

Meaning: “You’re very beautiful.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to compliment a lady for her appearance, you can say this phrase.

2 – 你好靚仔

Meaning: “You’re very handsome.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 leng3 zai2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to praise a man for his appearance, you can say this compliment in Cantonese.

3 – 你笑得好靚

Meaning: “Your smile is beautiful.”
Romanization: nei5 siu3 dak1 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When a lady is smiling, you can compliment her with this phrase.

4 – 呢件外套好襯你

Meaning: “This jacket looks nice on you.”
Romanization: ni1 gin6 ngoi6 tou3 hou2 can3 nei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to start a conversation with a lady, but don’t want to be too forward, you can use this phrase.

5 – 件衫好襯你

Meaning: “This shirt looks nice on you.”
Romanization: gin6 saam1 hou2 can3 nei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you want to start a conversation with a man, but don’t want to be too forward, you can use this phrase.

Check out this list of Compliments You Always Want to Hear for more Cantonese compliments you can use!

2. Compliments on Work

Compliments

6 – 你好叻

Meaning: “You’re smart.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 lek1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone brings up a great idea or solves a problem, you may say this phrase.

7 – 做得好

Meaning: “Great job.”
Romanization: zou6 dak1 hou2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone completes a task perfectly, you can praise him or her with this phrase.

8 – 你嘅履歷好出色

Meaning: “Your resume is impressive.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 lei5 lik6 hou2 ceot1 sik1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your friend sends you her resume and it’s well-written, you can say this phrase.

9 – 你嘅表現超乎我意料之外

Meaning: “You’ve exceeded my expectations.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 biu2 jin6 ciu1 fu4 ngo5 ji3 liu6 zi1 ngoi6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone manages a difficult project well, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

10 – 你好勁

Meaning: “You’re awesome.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 ging6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone solves a difficult problem for you, you may reply with this phrase.

Do you need more vocabulary for the workplace or talking about your job? CantoneseClass101 has you covered!

3. Compliments on Skills

A Man Seasoning His Dish

11 – 我鍾意你煮嘅嘢食

Meaning: “I love your cooking.”
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 nei5 zyu2 ge3 je5 sik6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your special someone cooks for you, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

12 – 你好有品味

Meaning: “You have good taste.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 jau5 ban2 mei6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone shares a great bottle of wine with you, you may compliment him or her with this phrase.

13 – 你好識得講嘢

Meaning: “You have a way with words.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 sik1 dak1 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: After someone offers you a compliment in Cantonese, you may praise him or her back with this phrase.

14 – 你係一個好出色嘅廚師

Meaning: “You’re an excellent cook.”
Romanization: nei5 hai6 jat1 go3 hou2 ceot1 sik1 ge3 cyu4 si1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: You may compliment your cook after an excellent dinner using this Cantonese compliment.

15 – 你影相影得好靚

Meaning: “You are good at taking pictures.”
Romanization: nei5 jing2 soeng2 jing2 dak1 hou2 leng3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone shows you photos that they’ve taken, you may say this phrase.

If you need some ideas on what to compliment someone on, CantoneseClass101 has a vocabulary list for hobbies, and another one for common adjectives.

4. Compliments on Character / Disposition

Positive Feelings

16 – 你嘅內在美仲靚過你嘅外在美

Meaning: “Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside.”
Romanization: nei5 ge3 noi6 zoi6 mei5 zung6 leng3 gwo3 nei5 ge3 ngoi6 zoi6 mei5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone does a good deed, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

17 – 你令我想成為一個更加好嘅人

Meaning: “You make me want to be a better person.”
Romanization: nei5 ling6 ngo5 soeng2 sing4 wai4 jat1 go3 gang3 gaa1 hou2 ge3 jan4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you’re madly in love with your special someone, you may say this phrase.

18 – 你係一個好好嘅朋友

Meaning: “You are an awesome friend.”
Romanization: nei5 hai6 jat1 go3 hou2 hou2 ge3 pang4 jau5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When your friend accompanies you when you’re down, you can show your appreciation with this compliment.

19 – 你好搞笑

Meaning: “You have a great sense of humor.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 gaau2 siu3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells a joke that cracks you up, you may praise him or her with this phrase.

20 – 你好好人

Meaning: “You’re really nice.”
Romanization: nei5 hou2 hou2 jan4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone goes out of his or her way to help you, you may say this to them.

Do you want more vocabulary to enhance your compliments in Cantonese? CantoneseClass101 has a vocabulary list for Cantonese adjectives related to personality, and another to help you talk about feelings!

5. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

A Man Vowing

Giving compliments is easy—but making them sound genuine takes some effort. Make sure you follow these four rules when you give a compliment!

1. Be Authentic

The most straightforward way to make a compliment sound sincere is to actually be sincere. Before you make a comment or throw out a word of praise, be sure that you’re doing so because it’s truly deserved—not just out of politeness. Imagine how you would feel if someone praised you for things you didn’t do! That’s not gonna be a plus, but a minus!

2. Be Specific

Vague and open-ended compliments can sometimes be undesirable and difficult for the recipient to respond to.

Instead of just saying “You’re awesome,” you can back the compliment with concrete examples and specify which action he or she did that deserves such a compliment. For example: “We’ve been solving this issue for an hour already, but it only took you ten minutes. You’re awesome!”

3. Be Relevant

Timing is essential when it comes to giving out compliments. You can compliment your partner for being a great cook after he or she cooks you a meal, but it may sound a bit awkward if you give such a compliment when you two are cycling.

Context can make a whole lot of difference. Do consider time and place before giving your compliment.

4. Be Concise

When complimenting someone, it’s best to keep your compliment short. Why? If you keep dragging your compliment on, you risk attracting unnecessary attention from others, making your recipient uncomfortable. You may make him or her wonder why you would give such a compliment in the first place!

6. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

A Lady Bowing

What can you expect from a HongKonger after complimenting them? Different people may respond differently, but you can usually expect one of three reactions:

  • “Thank you.”: Saying 多謝 (do1 ze6), or “thank you” in Cantonese, is the most common response after receiving a compliment.
  • “Nah.”: Some people may say 邊度係呢 (bin1 dou6 hai6 ne1) or 唔敢當 (m4 gam2 dong1) to brush off compliments.
  • “Run!”: A few may just get uncomfortable and shy away from compliments altogether.

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

What’s your favorite Cantonese compliment? Share with us in the comments, or let us know if there’s another compliment you want to learn!

After mastering Cantonese compliments, it’s time to level up your Cantonese! 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, abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss 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!

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Getting Angry in Cantonese without Cantonese Curse Words

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Even though Hong Kong might be one of the most polite cities, Hongkongers—like everyone else in the world—do have tempers. Have you ever wondered how to express yourself when you’re angry in Cantonese, especially without needing to use Cantonese swear words? Here at CantoneseClass101.com, we’re introducing the top twenty angry Cantonese phrases. Sit back, “relax,” and learn how to let someone know you’re very angry in Cantonese!

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describing How You Feel
  5. The “Whats”
  6. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry
  7. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Angry Imperatives

Negative Verbs

1- 收聲

Meaning: Shut up.
Romanization: sau1 seng1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone is insulting you and you want him or her to stop and shut up, you can yell this phrase.

2- 停呀

Meaning: Stop it.
Romanization: ting4 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps doing something that annoys you, like poking you, you can shout this phrase to ask him or her to stop.

3- 唔好再講

Meaning: Cut it out.
Romanization: m4 hou2 zoi3 gong2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps telling you unpleasant things, you can say the above phrase to ask him or her to stop talking.

4- 冇所謂

Meaning: Whatever.
Romanization: mou5 so2 wai6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps asking for your opinion, but you know they’ve made up their mind already, you can just reply with the above phrase in a flat tone.

2. Angry Warnings

Warning

1- 小心講嘢

Meaning: Watch your tongue.
Romanization: siu2 sam1 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone insults you, you can say this to them.

2- 我唔想同你講嘢

Meaning: I don’t want to talk to you.
Romanization: ngo5 m4 soeng2 tung4 nei5 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone makes unsounded criticism toward you and you don’t even want to make an effort to defend yourself, you can reply with the phrase above.

3- 夠喇

Meaning: That’s enough.
Romanization: gau3 laa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps making inappropriate jokes, this is one of the best angry Cantonese phrases to let them know it’s time to stop.

4- 唔好搞我

Meaning: Don’t mess with me.
Romanization: m4 hou2 gaau2 ngo5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone is plotting against you, you can warn them to back off with this phrase.

3. Angry Blames

Finger-pointing

1- 你都唔聽我講嘢

Meaning: You’re not listening to me.
Romanization: nei5 dou1 m4 teng1 ngo5 gong2 je5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone keeps asking you the same question, you can reply with the phrase above.

2- 唔關你事

Meaning: It’s none of your business.
Romanization: m4 gwaan1 nei5 si6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone asks about your personal life, you can reply with this phrase.

3- 你搞咩鬼呀?

Meaning: What the heck are you doing?
Romanization: nei5 gaau2 me1 gwai2 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone gives you a funny look, you can say this angry phrase to him or her.

4- 你以為你係邊個呀?

Meaning: Who do you think you are?
Romanization: nei5 ji5 wai4 nei5 hai6 bin1 go3 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells you that he or she can screw your life over, you can ask them this.

5- 你玩我呀?

Meaning: Are you kidding me?
Romanization: nei5 waan2 ngo5 aa4
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone tells you an obvious lie, you can yell at them with this phrase.

4. Describing How You Feel

Complaints

1- 我好嬲

Meaning: I’m angry.
Romanization: ngo5 hou2 nau1
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: Say this when you want someone to know you’re angry.

2- 有冇搞錯

Meaning: This is so frustrating.
Romanization: jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone disappoints you, you can reply with the above phrase.

3- 我頂唔順喇

Meaning: I’m fed up with it.
Romanization: ngo5 ding2 m4 seon6 laa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you can no longer stand your boss, you can say this to him or her.

4- 我好憎佢

Meaning: I hate him / her / it.
Romanization: ngo5 hou2 zang1 keoi5
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone asks about your opinion toward a person you hate, you may reply with the above phrase.

5- 我好失望

Meaning: I am very disappointed.
Romanization: ngo5 hou2 sat1 mong6
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you’re disappointed over a thing or a person, you can use this phrase.

Do check out our article on adjectives and learn more Cantonese words to describe how you feel!

5. The “Whats”

One Woman Talking Down to Another

1- 咩話?

Meaning: What?!
Romanization: me1 waa2
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When you hear something that astonishes you unpleasantly, you can say the above phrase, which is equivalent to “What?!”

2- 咁又點呀?

Meaning: So what?
Romanization: gam2 jau6 dim2 aa3
Format: Spoken Cantonese
Example Situation: When someone narrow-minded keeps judging you, you can reply with the above phrase.

6. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry

Hands Up

Of course, it’s very understandable that you’ll get cross from time to time—for example, when you’re pissed at your boyfriend or your boss—and that you’ll want to express your emotions and anger instantly. But sometimes, it might be better to calm yourself down instead of releasing all your anger onto the other person, as tension will usually only escalate when you allow your emotions to flow freely. You might end up sabotaging your relationship with the other person instead of actually solving the problem or disagreement you have with them.

So what should you do when you get angry? Consider the following:

  • Take a deep breath: Why not take a deep breath before you reply to the other person or make a comment when you’re angry? Taking a deep breath can help you gain sense and give yourself time and space for a second thought—before you do or say things that you might regret.
  • Take a walk or run: When you get really pissed, why not take a break and get some fresh air? After you’ve released your anger, you might be able to see things in a different light or at least communicate the issue in a more logical manner.
  • Listen to music: Listening to music can help you calm down and prevent your emotions from controlling you. While allowing your emotions to flow freely might sound tempting, you could end up saying or doing things you regret.
  • Write it down: Writing down the incident or thing that made you angry will help you unleash your emotions in a more harmless manner. And if you revisit your writings some time later, you might be able to see things from a different perspective.
  • Reframe your thinking: While changing your point of view from glass-half-empty to glass-half-full might sound cliche, it’s very effective when it comes to calming yourself. When your boss treats you unfairly, instead of getting angry at her, thank her for giving you a lesson and remind yourself not to be like her when you’re a boss one day.
  • Watch a movie: Instead of focusing on the thing or person that makes you angry, you can try distracting yourself by watching movies.

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

While it’s totally normal to get angry from time to time, don’t waste too much of your time or energy on the person or thing that vexes you—cherish your time and spend it wisely! If your goal is to better your Cantonese, we do advise you to invest your time with CantoneseClass101.com!

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!

Before you go, let us know what you think in the comments. What’s your favorite Cantonese angry phrase from this article? 😉 We look forward to hearing from you!

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