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元宵節: The Chinese Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

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

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

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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

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

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

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

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

2. Chinese Lantern Festival Dates

Paper Lanterns For the Spring Lantern Festival in Hong Kong

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

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

3. How is Chinese Valentine’s Day Celebrated?

Chinese Man Hanging a Spring Lantern Festival Lantern with Grandson

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

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

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

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

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

4. Chinese Love Stories

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

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

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

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for the Spring Lantern Festival

Glutinous Rice Balls

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to Cantonese Customs and Etiquette

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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


1. Why Manners and Etiquette Matter to You

Thanks

Manners Maketh Man.

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

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

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


2. Concepts Related to Manners in Hong Kong

1- 面 (min2)

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

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

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

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

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

2- Respect for Seniors

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


3. Dining Etiquette in Hong Kong

Chinese Food

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

General Food Manners & Restaurant Etiquette in Hong Kong

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

Hygiene

Chopsticks

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

Tea

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


4. Gift Giving Etiquette in Hong Kong

Gift

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

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


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

Bad Phrases

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

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

MTR Map

MTR: Hong Kong’s Railway System

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


6. Bonus: How to Greet in Hong Kong

Business Phrases

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Talking About Tomorrow in Cantonese: Dates in Cantonese

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

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

Cheung Chau, Hong Kong

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Traditional Chinese Calendar and Modern Calendar

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

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


2. Cantonese Years

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

Person Looking at a Calendar

More examples:

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


3. Cantonese Months

Months

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

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

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


4. Cantonese Days

Weekdays

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

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

A Calendar

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


5. Cantonese Date Format

Numbers

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

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

For example:

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


6. The Week in Cantonese

Person Marking Something on a Calendar

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

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


7. Other Terms Related to Cantonese Dates

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


8. Simple Sentences

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

Pencil and Paper

1- 我昨天請假一天

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

2- 今天是九月十日星期六

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

3- 二月二十九日是閏年日

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

4- 你幾時得閒?

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

5- 五月三十一日是世界無煙日

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

6- 邊日方便你?

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

7- 唔好意思,我星期五唔得閒

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

8- 學校於八月暫停開放

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

9- 我哋可唔可以約下星期開會?

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

10- 我們在六月結婚

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

11- 星期五方唔方便?

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

12- 三月在北半球及南半球分別代表春季及秋季的來臨

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

13- 明天見

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

14- 十二月三十一日是除夕

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

15- 星期一、星期二、星期三、星期四及星期五都是平日

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

16- 今日係星期日

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

17- 你今個禮拜得唔得閒?

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

18- 今日全部堂都取消

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Cantonese Family: “Grandmother” in Cantonese and More!

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

Hong Kong Victoria Harbour

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

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

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

But first…

Table of Contents

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

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1. What is Family in Cantonese Culture?

Parent Phrases

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

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

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


2. Terms for Family Members in Cantonese

Family Words

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

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


3. More Family Terms in Cantonese: Terms for Relatives

family Gathering with Food

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


4. Terms for Family Members as a Married Person

Bride and Groom Photoshoot

#           Chinese Characters

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


5. Endearment Terms for the Family in Cantonese

Two Birds On Branch

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


6. Simple Sentences to Talk About Family in Cantonese

Family Quotes

1- 我係你爸爸

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

Additional Notes:

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

2- 呢個係我爸爸

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

3- 嗰個係佢家姐

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

4- 邊個係你妹夫?

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

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

6- 佢係我大佬

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

7- 我侄女伊利沙伯

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

8- 邊個係達西嘅爸爸?

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

9- 我妹妹去咗英國留學

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

10- 佢係奧斯汀嘅細佬

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

11- 我係溫特沃斯嘅老婆

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

12- 安妮係我嘅表妹

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


How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

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

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

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

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

Happy learning!

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How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice in Hong Kong

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

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

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

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1. What is the Winter Solstice?

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

Why do the Chinese celebrate the Winter Solstice?

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

2. When is the Winter Solstice Festival?

Frosty Winter Scene

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

3. How Hongkongers Celebrate the Winter Solstice

A Family Reunion

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

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

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

4. Winter Solstice as a Public Holiday

In which region is Winter Solstice a public holiday?

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

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

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

Wonton Dumpling

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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Must-Know Cantonese Travel Phrases

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Basic Expressions

Preparing to Travel

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

1. 唔該

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

2. 多謝

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

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

3. 對唔住

Romanization: deoi3 m4 zyu6.
Meaning: Sorry.

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

4. 唔好意思

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

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

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

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

5. 好

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

6. 再見

Romanization: zoi3 gin3.
Meaning: Bye.

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


2. Transportation

Airplane Phrases

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

1. 呢班車去邊度㗎?

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

2. 我可以點去__呀?

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

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

3. 一張去__嘅飛, 唔該

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

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

4. 班火車會幾點到呀?

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

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

5. __領事館喺邊呀?

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

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

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

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


3. Shopping

Basic Questions

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

1. 幾多錢呀?

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

2. 太貴喇

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

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

3. 我俾唔起

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

4. 我可唔可以退貨?

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

5. 我可以去邊度唱錢呀?

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

6. 可唔可以俾個袋我呀?

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

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

7. 你找錯錢

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

8. 我可唔可以用信用卡找數?

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

9. 可唔可以換細一個碼?

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

Check out this link to learn Cantonese numbers!


4. Restaurants

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

Empty Restaurant Table

1. 唔該俾張餐牌我睇

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

2. 呢度有乜嘢食出名呀?

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

3. 我食素

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

4. 我想要___

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

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

5. 唔該埋單

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


5. Asking for and Giving Directions

Survival Phrases

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

1. 可唔可以喺張地圖度指俾我睇呀?

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

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

2. 北

Romanization: bak1
Meaning: North

3. 南

Romanization: naam4
Meaning: South

4. 東

Romanization: dung1
Meaning: East

5. 西

Romanization: sai1
Meaning: West

6. 左

Romanization: zo2
Meaning: Left

7. 右

Romanization: jau6
Meaning: Right

8. 直行

Romanization: zik6 hang4.
Meaning: Go straight.


6. Emergencies

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

Police Station Sign

1. 救命!

Romanization: gau3 ming6!
Meaning: Help!

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

2. 小心!

Romanization: siu2 sam1!
Meaning: Watch out!

3. 唔好搞我!

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

4. 唔該幫我叫醫生.

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

5. 我唔舒服.

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

6. 我唔見咗個銀包.

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


7. Flattery Phrases

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

Group with a Woman Giving a Thumbs Up

1. 你好叻!

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

2. 你好靚!

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

3. 件外套好襯你.

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

4. 你好有品味.

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

5. 你好搞笑.

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


8. Useful Phrases to go through Language Problems

World Map

1. 我唔識講廣東話.

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

2. 你識唔識講英文呀?

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

3. 我唔識講普通話.

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

4. 我唔明.

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

5. 呢度有冇人識講英文呀?

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


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

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

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

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

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

Log

Cantonese Numbers from 1-100 and Beyond

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Cantonese Numbers 0-9

Cantonese Numbers

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

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

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


2. Cantonese Numbers 10-100

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3. Cantonese Numbers up to 1000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. How to Give Your Phone Number

Vintage Phone

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

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

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

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

Ambulance


5. Shopping: How to Use Numbers when Shopping

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

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

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

Couple Shopping

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

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

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

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

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

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


6. Bonus: Refresh Your Memory with a Cantopop Song

Woman Wearing Pink Headphones

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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How To Post In Perfect Cantonese on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak Cantonese, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in Cantonese.

At Learn Cantonese, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. Post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your Cantonese in the process.

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1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in Cantonese

Eating out is fun, and often an experience you’d like to share. Take a pic, and start a conversation on social media in Cantonese. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…and perhaps your taste in restaurants!

David eats at a restaurant with his friends, posts an image of their food, and leaves this comment:

POST

Let’s break down David’s post.

成班friend一齊試新餐廳,食到腍腍脷! (seng4 baan1 FRIEND jat1 cai4 si3 san1 caan1 teng1, sik6 dou3 lam2 lam2 lei6.)
“Trying a new restaurant with friends, it’s finger-licking delicious.”

1- 成班friend一齊試新餐廳, (seng4 baan1 FRIEND jat1 cai4 si3 san1 caan1 teng1,)

First is an expression meaning: “Whole group of friends try new restaurant together.”
In Hong Kong, new restaurants open up frequently. Sharing your eating experiences at new venues is one of the most common things to do on social media.

2- 食到腍腍脷! (sik6 dou3 lam2 lam2 lei6.)

Then comes the phrase - “finger-licking delicious.”
The phrase 腍腍脷 (lem2 lem2 lei6) indicate the action of “licking one’s lips” after eating delicious food.

COMMENTS

In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

1- 呢度真係又靚又好味。 (ni1 dou6 zan1 hai6 jau6 leng3 jau6 hou2 mei6.)

His girlfriend, Karen, uses an expression meaning - “It’s really charming and delicious.”
Karen agrees with David that the experience is positive, adding her own take on it.

2- 果然好介紹! (gwo2 jin4 hou2 gaai3 siu6!)

His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “A very good recommendation indeed!”
Will is pleased with David’s recommendation.

3- 做乜唔叫埋我 (ಠ_ಠ) (zou6 mat1 m4 giu3 maai4 ngo5)

His girlfriend’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Why didn’t you invite me? (ಠ_ಠ)”
Maggie is disappointed that she’s not part of the group.

4- 好似好貴喎。 (hou2 ci3 hou2 gwai3 wo3.)

His girlfriend’s nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “It looks expensive.”
Tommy is the only critic, and he shares his impression of the restaurant with this comment.

VOCABULARY

Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 餐廳 (caan1 teng1): “restaurant”
  • 好味 (hou2 mei6): “delicious”
  • 果然 (gwo2 jin4): “as expected; sure enough; indeed”
  • 介紹 (gaai3 siu6): “introduction”
  • 叫埋 (giu3 maai4): “also ask along”
  • 好似 (hou2 ci3): “appear to be; be like; look like”
  • 貴 (gwai3): “expensive”
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit a Cantonese restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in Cantonese

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it, and your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping spree! Share these Cantonese phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Karen shops with her sister at the mall, posts an image of the two of them together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    周圍都減緊價,我同細妹都大出血! (zau1 wai4 dou1 gaam2 gan2 gaa3, ngo5 tung4 sai3 mui2 dou1 daai6 ceot1 hyut3!)
    “Everywhere is on sale. Sis and I spent A LOT!”

    1- 周圍都減緊價, (zau1 wai4 dou1 gaam2 gan2 gaa3,)

    First is an expression meaning “everywhere is on sale.”
    Many shops promote their sales campaigns via social media, and at the same time, consumers would tell their friends or followers via social media about the good deals they found.

    2- 我同細妹都大出血! (ngo5 tung4 sai3 mui2 dou1 daai6 ceot1 hyut3!)

    Then comes the phrase - “I and sister spent a lot!”
    literally 大出血 (daai6 ceot1 hyut3) means “to bleed badly”, but nowadays we use this term to refer to “having spent a lot of money.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 我琴日都買到癲咗! (ngo5 kam4 jat6 dou1 maai5 dou3 din1 zo2!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “I shopped like crazy yesterday as well!”
    Maggie shares a personal detail here, finding common ground with Karen’s post.

    2- 你同細妹好似樣喎。 (nei5 tung4 sai3 mui2 hou2 ci5 joeng2 wo3.)

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “You and your sister look alike.”
    Kitty comments on the two sisters’ looks.

    3- 係?等我都去睇吓。 (hai6? dang2 ngo5 dou1 heoi3 tai2 haa2.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Really? I’ll go check it out too.”
    Lisa is pleased with the news about the sales and wants to experience it too.

    4- 囧… (gwing2̷ ;)

    Her boyfriend, David, uses an expression meaning - “Yikes…”
    David leaves an eloquent one-word comment that speaks volumes! He probably doesn’t like shopping in malls, or he’s not crazy about the girls’ massive spending. This comment is open for interpretation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 周圍 (zau1 wai4): “everywhere”
  • 減價 (gaam2 gaa3): “sale; price reduction”
  • 細妹 (sai3 mui2): “younger sister”
  • 琴日 (kam4 jat6): “yesterday”
  • 癲 (din1): “crazy”
  • 似樣 (ci5 joeng2): “look alike; resemble”
  • 囧 (gwing2): “an ideographic emoticon representing feelings such as annoyance, shock, embarrassment, awkwardness, etc.”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in Cantonese

    Sports events, whether you’re the spectator or the sports person, offer fantastic opportunity for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in Cantonese.

    David plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of the crowd on the beach, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    天氣咁好又咁齊人,今次嘅沙灘聚會真係好成功! (tin1 hei3 gam3 hou2 jau6 gam3 cai4 jan4, gam1 ci3 ge3 saa1 taan1 zeoi6 wui6 zan1 hai6 hou2 sing4 gung1!)
    “With good weather and full attendance, this beach gathering is really successful!”

    1- 天氣咁好又咁齊人 (tin1 hei3 gam3 hou2 jau6 gam3 cai4 jan4,)

    First is an expression meaning “weather is good and we have all people attending,”
    咁…又… (gam3… jau6̷ ;) is a common sentence pattern used to describe two qualities about one subject. It’s similar to “not only… but also…”, or “… and…”.

    2- 今次嘅沙灘聚會真係好成功! (gam1 ci3 ge3 saa1 taan1 zeoi6 wui6 zan1 hai6 hou2 sing4 gung1!)

    Then comes the phrase - “this time beach gathering is really successful!”
    Hong Kong has a long coastline with many public and private bays and beaches; however, more and more of them are not suitable for swimming anymore because of poor water quality due to development and urbanization. A total of 41 beaches, about half of the ones suitable for swimming, are managed by the government.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 趁冬天之前搞多次啦。 (can3 dung1 tin1 zi1 cin4 gaau2 do1 ci3 laa1.)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s do it again before winter starts.”
    Will seems pleased with David’s post and suggests that they play on the beach again.

    2- 年青人,真係開心,Enjoy! (nin4 cing1 jan4, zan1 hai6 hoi1 sam1, ENJOY!)

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “All the young people look so happy, enjoy!”
    The young crowd’s happiness on the beach catches Sam’s attention.

    3- 邊個贏呀? (bin1 go3 jeng4 aa3?)

    His girlfriend, Karen, uses an expression meaning - “Who won?”
    Karen is interested in the outcome of the game, and asks for more details.

    4- 咁熱,我寧願喺屋企打機。 (gam3 jit6, ngo5 ning4 jyun2 hai2 uk1 kei2 daa2 gei1.)

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “It’s so hot. I’d rather stay home and play video games.”
    Tommy is clearly not an outdoor type of guy! He’s again the negative commentator.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 天氣 (tin1 hei3): “weather”
  • 沙灘 (saa1 taan1): “beach”
  • 成功 (sing4 gung1): “successful”
  • 冬天 (dung1 tin1): “winter”
  • 贏 (jeng4): “winter”
  • 寧願 (ning4 jyun2): “would rather”
  • 打機 (daa2 gei1): “play video games”
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in Cantonese

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Karen shares a song she just heard at a party, posts an image of the artist, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    誠意推介E神新歌,好好聽! (sing4 ji3 teoi1 gaai3 E san4 san1 go1, hou2 hou2 teng1!)
    “Highly recommend Eason’s new song. It’s so good!”

    1- 誠意推介E神新歌, (sing4 ji3 teoi1 gaai3 E san4 san1 go1,)

    First is an expression meaning “Sincerely recommend Eason’s new song.”
    The phrase 誠意推介 (sing4 ji3 teoi1 gaai3), literally “sincerely recommending”, is used a lot in social media to share something you think people would like.

    2- 好好聽! (hou2 hou2 teng1!)

    Then comes the phrase - “It’s really good!”
    The duplication of 好 (hou2) in this phrase serves an exaggeration purpose, it only works when it’s followed by a verb. For example, 好食 (hou2 sik6), literally “good to eat”, is “yummy”; and 好好食 (hou2 hou2 sik6) means “very yummy”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 都唔知原來你鍾意E神。 (dou1 m4 zi1 jyun4 loi4 nei5 zung1 ji3 E san4.)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Didn’t know you like Eason.”
    Maggie is learning something new about her friend today! Use this comment to make conversation.

    2- Agree! 我都買咗佢隻新碟。 (AGREE! ngo5 dou1 maai5 zo2 keoi5 zek3 san1 dip2.)

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Agree! I also bought his new album.”
    Kitty shares Karen’s love of the blues singer! So, use this to show your agreement.

    3- 將首舊歌重新演繹,又幾好聽喎。 (zoeng1 sau2 gau6 go1 cung4 san1 jin2 jik6, jau6 gei1 hou2 teng1 wo3.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “He’s covering an old song. It’s pretty good.”
    LIsa seems to know her music and shares an interesting bit of information about the singer, as well as her opinion.

    4- 我後生嗰陣都係聽呢首歌。 (ngo5 hau6 saang1 go2 zan6 dou1 hai6 teng1 ni1 sau2 go1.)

    Her supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “I used to listen to this song back in my day.”
    Sam is taken back to his younger years by the song and shares a memory.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 誠意 (sing4 ji3): “sincerity”
  • 推介 (teoi1 gaai3): “recommend”
  • 歌 (go1): “song”
  • 碟 (dip2): “music record; CD; plate”
  • 重新 (cung4 san1): “once more; again”
  • 演繹 (jin2 jik6): “perform”
  • 後生 (hau6 saang1): “young”
  • Which song would you share? And what would you say to a friend who posted something about sharing music or videos?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. Cantonese Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends. Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers in Cantonese!

    David goes to a concert, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    一世人至少都要睇一次麥當娜演唱會。超讚! (jat1 sai3 jan4 zi3 siu2 dou1 jiu3 tai2 jat1 ci3 maak6 dong1 naa4 jin2 coeng3 wui5. ciu1 zaan3!)
    “You have to go to Madonna’s concert at least once in your lifetime. It’s awesome!”

    1- 一世人至少都要睇一次麥當娜演唱會。 (jat1 sai3 jan4 zi3 siu2 dou1 jiu3 tai2 jat1 ci3 maak6 dong1 naa4 jin2 coeng3 wui5.)

    First is an expression meaning “In one life, at least watch Madonna concert once.”
    Many local and international singers perform live concerts in Hong Kong. AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong Coliseum and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre are the most popular concert venues.

    2- 超讚!
    (ciu1 zaan3!)

    Then comes the phrase - “Super thumbs up!”
    This term actually originated in Taiwan, and became widely used in social media and magazine in Hong Kong.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 現場氣氛好High呀! (jin6 coeng4 hei3 fan1 hou2 HIGH aa3!)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “The atmosphere is ecstatic!”
    Will is obviously also at the concert, and shares his impression.

    2- 你個位好前喎!你就好啦,我坐山頂呀。 (nei5 go3 wai2 hou2 cin4 wo3! nei5 zau6 hou2 laa1, ngo5 co5 saan1 deng2 aa3.)

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “You’re sitting in the front, that’s so good! I’m sitting way up in the back.”
    Like the previous poster, Maggie also chats about her experiences of the same event, making for great conversation.

    3- 嗌到喉嚨痛,但真係好正! (aai3 dou3 hau4 lung4 tung3, daan6 zan1 hai6 hou2 zeng3!)

    His girlfriend, Karen, uses an expression meaning - “Got a sore throat from shouting (out the lyrics), but it was fabulous!”
    Karen adds her opinion of the concert and shares personal news..

    4- 搞到我都心郁郁想去睇! (gaau2 dou3 ngo5 dou1 sam1 juk1 juk1 soeng2 heoi3 tai2.)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “You made me want to go see it too!”
    Kitty is inspired by all these comments to also attend a Madonna concert.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 一世人 (jat1 sai3 jan4): “one’s whole life; a lifetime”
  • 至少 (zi3 siu2): “at least”
  • 演唱會 (jin2 coeng3 wui5): “concert”
  • 氣氛 (hei3 fan1): “atmosphere”
  • 嗌 (aai3): “shout; yell; speak loudly”
  • 喉嚨 (hau4 lung4): “throat”
  • 心郁郁 (sam1 juk1 juk1): “tempted; eager to do something”
  • If a friend posted something about a concert , which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in Cantonese

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Use these Cantonese phrases to start a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Karen accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    個電話自殺跳咗落樓梯… 。゚(゚´Д`゚)゚。 (go3 din6 waa2 zi6 saat3 tiu3 zo2 lok6 lau4 tai1̷ ;)
    “My phone committed suicide and jumped down the stairs… ”

    1- 個電話自殺 (go3 din6 waa2 zi6 saat3)

    First is an expression meaning “The phone commited suicide.”
    Sometimes inanimate objects are personified to sound cute on social media.

    2- 跳咗落樓梯… (tiu3 zo2 lok6 lau4 tai1̷ ;)

    Then comes the phrase - “jumped down the stairs…”
    A verb followed by 咗 (zo2) means the action or situation is placed in past time, marking perfective aspect or continuous state. Since Cantonese do not have verb conjugation, we use particles like this to clarify.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 阿偉,你識做啦! (David, nei5 sik1 zou6 laa1!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “David, you know what to do!”
    Maggie doesn’t address Karen, but chats with David, knowing he’d be reading the post too. This is a clever way of keeping the conversation going.

    2- Maggie,就算你唔講我都會買返部俾佢啦。 (Maggie, zau6 syun3 nei5 m4 gong2 ngo5 dou1 wui2 maai5 faan1 bou6 bei2 keoi5 laa1.)

    Her boyfriend, David, uses an expression meaning - “Maggie, I’d buy her a new one even if you didn’t say so.”
    David is being an awesome boyfriend! He clearly shows his caring consideration with this comment.

    3- 係時候換部新嘅。 (hai6 si4 hau6 wun6 bou6 san1 ge3.)

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “It’s time to get a new one.”
    Kitty states the obvious, just to participate in the conversation.

    4- 啱啱出新款,跌得係時候。 (aam1 aam1 ceot1 san1 fun2, dit3 dak1 hai6 si4 hau6.)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “New models just came out. What good timing.”
    Will is an optimist and sees this accident as a good opportunity to upgrade to a newer phone.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 電話 (din6 waa2): “phone”
  • 自殺 (zi6 saat3): “commit suicide”
  • 樓梯 (lau4 tai1): “stairs”
  • 就算 (zau6 syun3): “even if; given that”
  • 換 (wun6): “change”
  • 啱啱 (aam1 aam1): “just now”
  • 新款 (san1 fun2): “new model; new style”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to describe an accident in Cantonese. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in Cantonese

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with how life goes. And to alleviate the boredom, we write about it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in Cantonese!

    David gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    原來放假冇嘢做都幾悶。 (jyun4 loi4 fong3 gaa3 mou5 je5 zou6 dou1 gei2 mun6.)
    “Didn’t realize it’d be so boring to have nothing to do on holiday.”

    1- 原來 (jyun4 loi4)

    First is an expression meaning “Turns out.”
    This term 原來 (jyun4 loi4) indicates that the following statement is a newly found idea that was unknown to the person before.

    2- 放假冇嘢做都幾悶。 (fong3 gaa3 mou5 je5 zou6 dou1 gei2 mun6.)

    Then comes the phrase - “having nothing to do on holiday is quite boring.”
    This is not common in Hong Kong. According to the 2015 Survey on Hong Kong consumer travel spending patterns, its citizens spend around 70% of their holidays traveling abroad. The most popular destinations are Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 悶?又話要執屋? (mun6? jau6 waa6 jiu3 zap1 uk1?)

    His girlfriend, Karen, uses an expression meaning - “Boring? You told me you were gonna clean up the house!”
    Karen partakes in the conversation - is she serious here? Or perhaps teasing her boyfriend? Hard to tell!

    2- 啊!阿偉,你死喇! (o3! aa3 wai5, nei5 sei2 laa3!)

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Uh-oh! David, you’re in trouble!”
    Maggie becomes part of Karen and David’s conversation, leaving a lighthearted comment.

    3- 下個禮拜會好忙,你而家有得唞好唞吓。 (haa6 go3 lai5 baai3 wui5 hou2 mong4, nei5 ji4 gaa1 jau5 dak1 tau2 hou2 tau2 haa5.)

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “It’s gonna be hectic next week. You better rest up while you can.”
    Sam is the responsible adult and warns David to rest before returning to work.

    4- 你可以過嚟幫我執屋。 (nei5 ho2 ji3 gwo3 lei4 bong1 ngo5 zap1 uk1.)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “You can come clean up my house.”
    Will sees an opportunity in the banter Karen started. He is probably joking!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 放假 (fong3 gaa3): “be on holiday”
  • 悶 (mun6): “boring”
  • 執屋 (zap1 uk1): “clean up the house”
  • 陪 (pui4): “accompany; keep someone company”
  • 禮拜 (lai5 baai3): “week”
  • 唞 (tau2): “rest; catch one’s breath”
  • 過嚟 (gwo3 lei4): “come over”
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in Cantonese

    So, you’re sitting in public transport after work, and feel like chatting online. Well, converse in Cantonese about how you feel, and let your friends join in!

    Karen feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    典解啲嘢做極都做唔完,攰死人咩! (din2 gaai2 di1 je5 zou6 gik6 dou1 zou6 m4 jyun4, gui6 sei2 jan4 me1!)
    “Why are there so many things to do at work? I’m dead tired.”

    1- 典解啲嘢做極都做唔完, (din2 gaai2 di1 je5 zou6 gik6 dou1 zou6 m4 jyun4,)

    First is an expression meaning “Why are the tasks endless.”
    典解 (din2 gaai2) is the playful version of 點解 (dim2 gaai2) “why” used by Hong Kong girls on social media.

    2- 攰死人咩! (gui6 sei2 jan4 me1!)

    Then comes the phrase - “tired to death!”
    The pattern Adjective+死人 (lit. “dead people̶ ;) is a common way to make the adjective more extreme and stronger.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 永遠十卜你! (wing5 jyun5 sap6 buk1 nei5!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Support you forever!”
    Maggie seems to show her commitment to their friendship with this comment - she clearly feels for Karen!

    2- 加油!好快又放假㗎喇! (gaa1 jau2! hou2 faai3 jau6 fong3 gaa3 gaa3 laa3!)

    Her boyfriend’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Hang in there! The holidays will be here again soon!”
    Kitty tries to inject Karen with some optimism about the holidays ahead.

    3- 我煲咗啲湯俾你,好好補吓。 (ngo5 bou1 zo2 di1 tong1 bei2 nei5, hou2 hou2 bou2 haa5.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “I made you some soup. It‘ll help restore your energy.”
    Lisa is being an awesome neighbour! She shows caring and consideration with this comment.

    4- 做大人真係辛苦。 (zou6 daai6 jan4 zan1 hai6 san1 fu2.)

    Her nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “It’s so tough being an adult.”
    Tommy imparts an uncommonly mature observation with this comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 攰 (gui6): “tired”
  • 永遠 (wing5 jyun5): “forever”
  • 十卜 (sap6 buk1): “support (slang)”
  • 加油 (gaa1 jau2): “hang in there”
  • 煲 (bou1): “cook; stew; boil”
  • 補 (bou2): “replenish; restore”
  • 大人 (daai6 jan4): “adult”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to discuss exhaustion in Cantonese! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in Cantonese

    So life happens, and you manage to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in Cantonese.

    David suffers a painful injury during a soccer game, posts an image of him holding his knee, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    又整親,膝頭哥痛到不得了。 (jau6 zing2 can1, sat1 tau4 go1 tung3 dou3 bat1 dak1 liu5.)
    “I got hurt again. My knees are in pain.”

    1- 又整親, (jau6 zing2 can1,)

    First is an expression meaning “hurt again,”
    親 (can1) is often found following a verb to mean an action that’s unintentional done to someone’s body and causes injury. For examples, 跌親 (dit3 can1) “fall”; 仆親 (puk1 can1) “trip and fall”; 跣親 (sin3 can1) “slip and fall”; 淥親 (luk6 can1) “get burnt by hot water”; 凍親 (dung3 can1) “catch a cold”.

    2- 膝頭哥痛到不得了。 (sat1 tau4 go1 tung3 dou3 bat1 dak1 liu5.)

    Then comes the phrase - “knees are so painful.”
    Other than 膝頭哥 (sat1 tau4 go1), another colloquial term for “kneecap” or “patella” is 菠蘿蓋 (bo1 lo4 goi3), which literally means “pineapple lid”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 真係唔認老都唔得。 (zan1 hai6 m4 jing6 lou5 dou1 m4 dak1.)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “We really have to admit that we’ve aged.”
    Will makes a sober observation about their age.

    2- 睇咗醫生未? (tai2 zo2 ji1 sang1 mei6?)

    His neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Have you gone to the doctor yet?”
    Lisa expresses concern and caring with this question, and she would also like more information.

    3- 早日康復。 (zou2 jat6 hong1 fuk6.)

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “Get well soon.”
    Sam uses a common phrase to wish David well after the injury.

    4- 有個幾好嘅物理治療師,幾時得閒?我帶你去。 (jau5 go3 gei2 hou2 ge3 mat6 lei5 zi6 liu4 si1, gei2 si4 dak1 haan4? ngo5 daai3 nei5 heoi3.)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “There’s a pretty good physiotherapist nearby. When will you be free? I’ll take you there.”
    Kitty shows her caring and concern in a different way, by offering to help David.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 整親 (zing2 can1): “injure; get hurt”
  • 膝頭哥 (sat1 tau4 go1): “kneecap; knee”
  • 不得了 (bat1 dak1 liu5): “extremely; disastrous”
  • 醫生 (ji1 sang1): “doctor”
  • 康復 (hong1 fuk6): “recover”
  • 物理治療師 (mat6 lei5 zi6 liu4 si1): “physiotherapist”
  • 得閒 (dak1 haan4): “have free time”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in Cantonese

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Karen feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    又熱又潮濕,好辛苦!幾時先到秋天? (jau6 jit6 jau6 ciu4 sap1, hou2 san1 fu2! gei2 si4 sin1 dou3 cau1 tin1?)
    “I’m so sick of the hot and humid weather! When will autumn arrive?”

    1- 又熱又潮濕,好辛苦! (jau6 jit6 jau6 ciu4 sap1, hou2 san1 fu2!)

    First is an expression meaning “hot and humid, so tough!”
    Weather in Hong Kong is hot and humid from May to September. Temperatures can rise as high as 95°F (35°C), and humidity levels can make it feel even hotter than it is.

    2- 幾時先到秋天? (gei2 si4 sin1 dou3 cau1 tin1?)

    Then comes the phrase - “When will autumn arrive?”
    The mild autumns have been becoming shorter than normal in the last few years (said to be due to global warming). Generally speaking, October and November are the autumn months in Hong Kong, it’s also the best season to visit.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 我日日都開行冷氣。 (ngo5 jat6 jat6 dou1 hoi1 hang4 laang5 hei3.)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “I turn on the air-conditioner every day.”
    Maggie shows that she is agreeing with Karen’s post about the weather by sharing a personal experience.

    2- 小心喺冷氣房一出一入好易凍親。 (siu2 sam1 hai2 laang5 hei3 fong2 jat1 ceot1 jat1 jap6 hou2 ji6 dung3 can1.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Be careful. It’s easy to catch a cold when you go in and out of AC rooms.”
    Lisa is clearly a very caring person. She expresses concern for Karen’s health, because moving between abrupt temperature changes can challenge the immune system. “AC” stands for “air conditioned”.

    3- 我哋要著西裝咪仲熱。 (ngo5 dei6 jiu3 zoek3 sai1 zong1 mei6 zung6 jit6.)

    Her supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “It’s even worse for us who have to wear suits.”
    Sam also empathises with Karen’s predicament, but he points out that he has it even worse!

    4- 新聞話香港仲熱過非洲呀! (san1 man2 waa6 hoeng1 gong2 zung6 jit6 gwo3 fei1 zau1 aa3!)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “The news said Hong Kong is even hotter than Africa!”
    Will shares an interesting fact just to partake in the conversation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 熱 (jit6): “hot; heat”
  • 潮濕 (ciu4 sap1): “humid; damp”
  • 秋天 (cau1 tin1): “autumn”
  • 冷氣 (laang5 hei3): “air-conditioning”
  • 凍親 (dung3 can1): “catch cold”
  • 西裝 (sai1 zong1): “suit”
  • 非洲 (fei1 zau1): “Africa”
  • How would you comment in Cantonese when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about a negative feeling, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in Cantonese

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings, talk about it!

    David changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of him and Karen, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    戀愛ing (lyun2 oi3 ING)
    “I’m in love!”

    1- 戀愛 (lyun2 oi3)

    First is an expression meaning “In love.”
    For teenagers, a relationship is only considered official when someone announces it on social media. And when the relationship gets serious, some couples even exchange passwords to their social media accounts.

    2- ing (ING)

    Then comes the phrase - “indication of present progressive tense.”
    The use of “ing” following Cantonese is similar to how it was used in the present progressive tense in English verbs, which serves to indicate that the action is happening right now.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 叻仔! (lek1 zai2!)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Smart boy!”
    Will is clearly supportive of David’s choice of girlfriends.

    2- 對佢好D呀。 (deoi3 keoi5 hou2 di1 aa3.)

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Treat her well.”
    David gets some advice from Karen’s friend, who seems to be protective of Karen!

    3- 聽到呢個好消息真係好開心。 (teng1 dou2 ni1 go3 hou2 siu1 sik1 zan1 hai6 hou2 hoi1 sam1.)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “I’m so happy to hear this good news.”
    Kitty is clearly pleased with the announcement and says so!

    4- 乜你都有人要? (mat1 nei5 dou1 jau5 jan4 jiu3?)

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “Even you can get a girlfriend?”
    Tommy is being playful and teases David with this comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 戀愛 (lyun2 oi3): “love; in love”
  • 叻 (lek1): “clever; smart”
  • 對 (deoi3): “to; towards”
  • 好D (hou2 di1): “better; well [same as 好啲 (hou2 di1)]”
  • 聽 (teng1): “listen; hear”
  • 消息 (siu1 sik1): “news; information”
  • 要 (jiu3): “want; demand”
  • What would you say in Cantonese when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread it!

    12. Post about Getting Married in Cantonese

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in Cantonese.

    Karen is getting married today, so she leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    準備咗成年,今日我哋終於結婚喇! (zeon2 bei6 zo2 seng4 nin4, gam1 jat6 ngo5 dei6 zung1 jyu1 git3 fan1 laa3!)
    “After a year-long preparation, we’re finally getting married today!”

    1- 準備咗成年, (zeon2 bei6 zo2 seng4 nin4,)

    First is an expression meaning “After the year-long preparation”.
    In Hong Kong, it’s common to start the planning and preparation for more than a year before the wedding day. If the wedding takes place at a popular wedding venue, or on a lucky date, it has to be reserved two to three years in advance.

    2- 今日我哋終於結婚喇! (gam1 jat6 ngo5 dei6 zung1 jyu1 git3 fan1 laa3!)

    Then comes the phrase - “we’re finally getting married today!”
    Weddings in Hong Kong are generally big, with 250 to 400 guests. Guests give cash gifts upon arrival. After the ceremony, everyone enjoys a banquet meal, which usually last for three to four hours.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 祝你哋白頭到老,永結同心。 (zuk1 nei5 dei6 baak6 tau4 dou3 lou5, wing5 git3 tung4 sam1.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “May you enjoy every happiness and success during your long life together.”
    Lisa leaves a really great, warmhearted wish on Karen’s feed.

    2- 睇住個好姊妹出嫁,好感動! (tai2 zyu6 go3 hou2 zi2 mui2 ceot1 gaa3, hou2 gam2 dung6!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “It’s so touching to watch my good friend get married.”
    Maggie is clearly affected by this announcement, in a good way. She shares her feelings and shows her caring for her friend.

    3- 恭喜晒!祝你哋幸福! (gung1 hei2 saai3! zuk1 nei5 dei6 hang6 fuk1!)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations! I wish you happiness!”
    This is a simple but great comment to congratulate the couple and wish them well.

    4- 你真係好幸運,可以嫁俾阿偉。 (nei5 zan1 hai6 hou2 hang6 wan6, ho2 ji3
    gaa3 bei2 aa3 wai5.)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “You’re so lucky to be married to David.”
    Will is showing loyalty to his friend David, and clearly has a high opinion of him.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 準備 (zeon2 bei6): “prepare”
  • 結婚 (git3 fan1): “marry”
  • 白頭到老 (baak6 tau4 dou3 lou5): “grow old together”
  • 永結同心 (wing5 git3 tung4 sam1): “a couple’s hearts to be intertwined in eternity”
  • 感動 (gam2 dung6): “touching; moving”
  • 幸福 (hang6 fuk1): “happy; blissful”
  • 幸運 (hang6 wan6): “lucky; good fortune”
  • How would you respond in Cantonese to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the marriage…

    13. Announcing Big News in Cantonese

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in Cantonese.

    David finds out he and Karen are going to have a baby, posts an image of the two of them together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    我哋個家庭即將有新成員! (ngo5 dei6 go3 gaa1 ting4 zik1 zoeng1 jau5 san1 sing4 jyun4!)
    “Our family is getting a new member!”

    1- 我哋個家庭 (ngo5 dei6 go3 gaa1 ting4)

    First is an expression meaning “Our family”.
    Possessive pronoun is not used in this phrase, instead the classifier of “family”, 個 (go3), takes its place. Note that different nouns use different classifiers.

    2- 即將有新成員! (zik1 zoeng1 jau5 san1 sing4 jyun4!)

    Then comes the phrase - “is getting a new member!”
    Many Hong Kong celebrities announce the birth of their children via social network. Unlike the western entertainment industry, it’s very rare for HK celebrities to do interviews or sell photos exclusively to a single publication.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 真係?天大喜訊呀! (zan1 hai6? tin1 daai6 hei2 seon3 aa3!)

    His neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “For real? That’s wonderful news!”
    Caring Lisa is delighted with this news.

    2- 恭喜添丁! (gung1 hei2 tim1 ding1!)

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations with the new baby!”
    This is a traditional, commonly-used phrase to congratulate the expecting parents.

    3- 又多個BB俾我玩!Yeah! (jau6 do1 go3 bi4 bi1 bei2 ngo5 waan2. YEAH!)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Another baby to play with. Yay!”
    Kitty obviously likes playing with babies!

    4- 知道仔定女未呀? (zi1 dou3 zai2 ding6 neoi5 mei6 aa3?)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Do you know if it’s a boy or girl yet?”
    Will wants to be part of the conversation, so he asks a question to get more details.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 家庭 (gaa1 ting4): “family”
  • 新成員 (san1 sing4 jyun4): “new member”
  • 喜訊 (hei2 seon3): “good news”
  • 恭喜 (gung1 hei2): “Congratulation”
  • 添丁 (tim1 ding1): “have a baby born into the family”
  • 知道 (zi1 dou3): “know”
  • 定 (ding6): “or”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will get you a lot of traction on social media. But wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting Cantonese Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it! Share your thoughts in Cantonese.

    Karen plays with her baby, posts an image of the cutiepie, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    令到我每晚都冇覺好瞓嘅天使。 (ling6 dou3 ngo5 mui5 maan5 dou1 mou5 gaau3 hou2 fan3 ge3 tin1 si2.)
    “The angel who wakes me up every night.”

    1- 令到我每晚都冇覺好瞓 (ling6 dou3 ngo5 mui5 maan5 dou1 mou5 gaau3 hou2 fan3)

    First is an expression meaning “wakes me up every night.”
    Paid maternity leave in Hong Kong is 10 weeks long. And since March 2015, male employees are entitled to three days’ paternity leave at 80% of their average daily wages.

    2- 嘅天使。 (ge3 tin1 si2.)

    Then comes the phrase - “this angel.”
    In Chinese culture, new mothers have to do a “one-month postpartum home confinement” as recuperation. Many Hong Kong families hire a maternity helper to take care of the newborn and cook nutritious food for the new mother, as well as teaching her how to take care of the baby during this month.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 老婆,辛苦晒!感謝你將我哋嘅BB帶嚟呢個世界。 (lou5 po4, san1 fu2 saai3! gam2 ze6 nei5 zoeng1 ngo5 dei6 ge3 bi4 bi1 daai3 lei4 ni1 go3 sai3 gaai3.)

    Her husband, David, uses an expression meaning - “Honey, thank you for your hard work! Thank you for bringing our baby into this world.”
    David is being an appreciative, considerate husband!

    2- BB好似你!靚女! (BB hou2 ci5 nei5! leng3 neoi5!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “The baby looks like you! Pretty girl!”
    Maggie thinks the baby takes after Karen, and is obviously happy about this.

    3- 好彩唔似爸爸。 (hou2 coi2 m4 ci5 baa4 baa1.)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Good that she doesn’t look like her father.”
    Will makes fun of his friends with this comment.

    4- 有需要即管出聲,我即刻過嚟幫手。 (jau5 seoi1 jiu3 zik1 gun2 ceot1 seng1, ngo5 zik1 haak1 gwo3 lei4 bong1 sau2.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Let me know if you need any help, I can come over immediately.”
    Trust Lisa to offer help! Her comment shows care and consideration for the new parents’ needs.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 天使 (tin1 si2): “angel”
  • 感謝 (gam2 ze6): “grateful; thankful”
  • 世界 (sai3 gaai3): “world”
  • 似 (ci5): “look like; resemble”
  • 靚女 (leng3 neoi5): “pretty girl; beautiful girl”
  • 好彩 (hou2 coi2): “luckily; fortunately”
  • 出聲 (ceot1 seng1): “speak up; speak out”
  • If your friend is the mother or father, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in Cantonese! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. Cantonese Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    David goes to a family gathering, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    最緊要一家人齊齊整整。 (zeoi3 gan2 jiu3 jat1 gaa1 jan4
    cai4 cai4 zing2 zing2.)

    “The most important (thing in life) is to have the whole family healthy, together, and peaceful.”

    1- 最緊要 (zeoi3 gan2 jiu3)

    First is an expression meaning “the most important”.
    In Cantonese, 最 (zeoi) “the most” can be followed by an adjective, a noun, or an adverb. In this case, the noun automatically becomes an adjective or adverb. For example, 最MAN means “the most manly (person)”.)

    2- 一家人齊齊整整。 (jat1 gaa1 jan4
    cai4 cai4 zing2 zing2.)

    Then comes the phrase - “whole family be healthy and together.”
    齊齊整整 (cai4 cai4 zing2 zing2) means “neat and tidy” normally, but when used to describe a family or a group of people, it means that everyone is healthy, harmonious, and intimate.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 唔該唔好tag我。 (m4 goi1 m4 hou2 TAG ngo5.)

    His nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “Please don’t tag me (in this photo).”
    Obviously Tommy is still young, and hopes to make an impression with negative comments!

    2-

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “Didn’t know you have such a big family, so lively.”
    Sam is making conversation by showing interest in David’s family.

    3- 好多潮童喎,你D姪嚟㗎? (hou2 do1 ciu4 tung4 wo3, nei5 di1 zat6 lei4 gaa4?)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “There are a lot of hipsters there; are they your nieces and nephews?”
    Sometimes D is used on social media or instant messages instead of 啲 (di1), and it means “some; those” or “a few; a little bit”. In this sentence, it means “those”.
    Will is also keen to know more about David’s family, and he does so in a joking, lighthearted way.

    4- 好耐冇見佢哋,大家睇嚟都好精神! (hou2 noi6 mou5 gin3 keoi5 dei6, daai6 gaa1 tai2 lei4 dou1
    hou2 zing1 san4!)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Haven’t seen them in a long time; everyone looks great!”
    Kitty is a bit nostalgic, but she compliments the family for looking great!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 最 (zeoi3): “the most”
  • 一家人 (jat1 gaa1 jan4): “family”
  • 屋企 (uk1 kei2): “home”
  • 熱鬧 (jit6 naau6): “lively; exciting”
  • 潮童 (ciu4 tung4): “hipster; trendy kid”
  • 姪 (zat6): “niece; nephew”
  • 精神 (zing1 san4): “full of vitality; in good spirits”
  • Which phrase is your favorite to comment on a friend’s photo about a family reunion?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in Cantonese

    So, the family are going on holiday. Do you know how to post and leave comments in Cantonese about being at the airport, waiting for a flight?

    Karen waits at the airport for her flight, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    等上機ing~ (dang2 soeng5 gei1 ING~)
    “Waiting to board the plane~”

    1- 等上機 (dang2 soeng5 gei1)

    First is an expression meaning “wait for plane boarding.”
    Hong Kong International Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports and one of the world’s largest passenger terminal buildings (the largest when it started operating in 1998). It covers an area of 1,255 hectares and handles over 60 million passengers every year.

    2- ing (ING)

    Then comes the phrase - “indication of present progressive tense.”
    The use of “ing” indicates that the action is going on now. Instead of following the verb, here “ing” follows the whole phrase 等上機 (literally “wait to board plane”). It’s a common way on social media to announce what one is doing at the moment.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 手信!! (sau2 seon3!!)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Souvenir!!”
    Will doesn’t say much, but obviously he expects to see souvenirs when his friend’s family returns home!

    2- 玩開心D!! (waan2 hoi1 sam1 D!!)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Have fun!”
    This is a short and sweet well wish, suitable for many occasions.

    3- 記得幫我買Mask! (gei3 dak1 bong1 ngo5 maai5 Mask!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Remember to buy masks for me!”
    Perhaps Maggie collects masks, who knows. She clearly wants something too!

    4- 祝旅行愉快! (zuk1 leoi5 hang4 jyu6 faai3!)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Have a pleasant trip!”
    Lisa uses the traditional greeting when someone leaves on holiday or a trip.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 等 (dang2): “wait”
  • 上機 (soeng5 gei1): “board the plane”
  • 手信 (sau2 seon3): “souvenir”
  • 玩 (waan2): “play”
  • 記得 (gei3 dak1): “remember”
  • 幫 (bong1): “help”
  • 旅行 (leoi5 hang4): “travel; trip”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in Cantonese!

    Hopefully the rest of the trip is better!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in Cantonese

    So maybe you’re strolling around at your local market, and find something interesting. Here are some handy Cantonese phrases.

    David finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    有冇人估到呢個係乜? (jau5 mou5 jan4 gu2 dou2 ni1 go3 hai6 mat1?)
    “Guess what this is?”

    1- 有冇人估到 (jau5 mou5 jan4 gu2 dou2)

    First is an expression meaning “anyone can guess.”
    Sharing funny novelties or new products is one of the common things to do on social media, it’s the perfect chance to show the world that you’ve already seen something before anyone else has!

    2- 呢個係乜? (ni1 go3 hai6 mat1?)

    Then comes the phrase - “what is this?”
    It’s a simple and short expression to ask what something is. Also, when you want to know what the thing is called in Cantonese, you can point to it and ask the same question.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 去廁所嗰陣用㗎? (heoi3 ci3 so2 go2 zan6 jung6 gaa4?)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “You use it on the toilet?”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling frivolous.

    2- O嘴… (O zeoi2̷ ;)

    His wife, Karen, uses an expression meaning - “Jaw-dropping…”
    Karen is clearly amazed by David’s find. It must be something truly odd or fantastic.

    3- 估唔到,開估未? (gu2 m4 dou2, hoi1 gu2 mei6?)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “No idea. What’s the answer?”
    Kitty can clearly not answer David’s question, she doesn’t know the identity of the item he found.

    4- 一早喺網上見過啦。 (jat1 zou2 hai2 mong5 soeng6 gin3 gwo3 laa1.)

    His nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “I’ve seen it online a long time ago.”
    Tommy is, for a change, not making jokes or criticising anything or anyone. He only makes conversation with this comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 估 (gu2): “guess”
  • 廁所 (ci3 so2): “toilet; bathroom”
  • 用 (jung6): “use”
  • O嘴 (O zeoi2): “cannot help being shocked and amazed (literally “lips in shape of an O”)”
  • 開估 (hoi1 gu2): “announce the answer”
  • 一早 (jat1 zou2): “earlier on; long time ago; early in the morning”
  • 網上 (mong5 soeng6): “online”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting find?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in Cantonese

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in Cantonese, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Karen visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    呢度真係好靚好靚,好想喺度住。 (ni1 dou6 zan1 hai6 hou2 leng3 hou2 leng3, hou2 soeng2 hai2 dou6 zyu6.)
    “It’s really really beautiful here; I want to live here.”

    1- 呢度真係好靚好靚, (ni1 dou6 zan1 hai6 hou2 leng3 hou2 leng3,)

    First is an expression meaning “It’s really really beautiful here”.
    The duplication of the phrase 好靚 (hou2 leng3) in this phrase serves an exaggeration purpose. Unlike the double 好(hou2) pattern mentioned in lesson 4, this execution applies when 好 (hou2) is followed by an adjective.

    2- 好想喺度住。 (hou2 soeng2 hai2 dou6 zyu6.)

    Then comes the phrase - “I want to live here.”
    There have been several mass migration waves in Hong Kong since World War II, most of them triggered by concerns about the political environment and economic conditions.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 發夢冇咁早。 (faat3 mung6 mou5 gam3 zou2.)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “It’s too early to be dreaming.”
    Will seems to not be in favor of Karen’s wish to stay in this beautiful place!

    2- 影多D相俾我哋睇! (jing2 do1 di1 soeng2 bei2 ngo5 dei6 tai2!)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Take more pictures and show us!”
    Kitty is curious and would like to see more of the venue.

    3- 景色怡人,好似人間天堂。 (ging2 sik1 ji4 jan4, hou2 ci5 jan4 gaan1 tin1 tong4.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Nice scenery. It’s like heaven on earth.”
    Lisa agrees with Karen’s sentiments in this comment.

    4- 中咗六合彩咪可以搬過去囉! (zung3 zo2 luk6 hap6 coi2 mei6 ho2 ji3 bun1 gwo3 heoi3 lo1!)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “You can move there if you win the lottery!”
    Maggie seems to think Karen’s chances of staying at this beautiful location are minute.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 呢度 (ni1 dou6): “here”
  • 住 (zyu6): “live”
  • 發夢 (faat3 mung6): “dream; day-dream”
  • 景色 (ging2 sik1): “scenery; landscape”
  • 天堂 (tin1 tong4): “heaven; paradise”
  • 六合彩 (luk6 hap6 coi2): “”Mark 6″ (lottery in Hong Kong)”
  • 搬 (bun1): “move; relocate”
  • Which phrase would you prefer when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in Cantonese

    So you’re doing nothing yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in Cantonese!

    David relaxes at a beautiful place, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    好耐冇試過咁hea!呢度真係超正! (hou2 noi6 mou5 si3 gwo3 gam3 he3! ni1 dou6 zan1 hai6 ciu1 zeng3!)
    “Haven’t been this relaxed for so long! It’s beyond excellent here!”

    1- 好耐冇試過咁hea! (hou2 noi6 mou5 si3 gwo3 gam3 he3!)

    First is an expression meaning “Haven’t been this relaxed for a long time! .”
    Hea (he3) is a Cantonese slang term that means “relaxed; laid-back” or “uncommitted; half-hearted” when used as an adjective. When used as a verb, it means “to chill out”, “to hang around”, “to loiter”, or “to lounge around”.

    2- 呢度真係超正! (ni1 dou6 zan1 hai6 ciu1 zeng3!)

    Then comes the phrase - “It’s beyond excellent here!”
    超 (ciu1) means “super; go beyond”, and we use it for exaggeration.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 好明顯你喺度晒命啦! (hou2 ming4 hin2 nei5 hai2 dou6 saai3 meng6 laa1!)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “You’re obviously showing off!”
    Will is teasing his friend a bit.

    2- 好好享受咁好嘅天氣! (hou2 hou2 hoeng2 sau6 gam3 hou2 ge3 tin1 hei3!)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Enjoy the nice weather!”
    Kitty seems happy that David is in a good mood and simply acknowledges this with a pleasant wish.

    3- 唔該下次帶埋我。 (m4 goi1 haa6 ci3 daai3 maai4 ngo5.)

    His wife’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Please bring me along next time.”
    Maggie evidently wishes to be where David finds himself!

    4- 你幾時返? (nei5 gei2 si4 faan1?)

    His wife’s nephew, Tommy, uses an expression meaning - “When are you coming back?”
    Perhaps Tommy is missing his aunt? That’s possible! He would also like more information with this question.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 好耐 (hou2 noi6): “a long time”
  • 明顯 (ming4 hin2): “obviously”
  • 晒命 (saai3 meng6): “show off, boast”
  • 享受 (hoeng2 sau6): “enjoy”
  • 天氣 (tin1 hei3): “weather”
  • 下次 (haa6 ci3): “next time”
  • 帶埋 (daai3 maai4): “bring along; take along”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in Cantonese When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Karen returns home after a vacation, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    始終都係屋企最舒服,home sweet home! (ci2 zung1 dou1 hai6 uk1 kei2 zeoi3 syu1 fuk6, HOME SWEET HOME!)
    “In the end, home is the most comfortable!”

    1- 始終都係 (ci2 zung1 dou1 hai6)

    First is an expression meaning “At the end, it’s still.”
    We start a sentence with this phrase when referring to something that still hold the same value even after a long time.

    2- 屋企最舒服 (uk1 kei2 zeoi3 syu1 fuk6)

    Then comes the phrase - “home is the most comfortable.”
    The lack of affordable housing has been one of the main livelihood issues in Hong Kong in the last decade. It was reported that the housing market has tripled in value since 2003, while the real income of the workforce hardly went up.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 捨得返嚟喇? (se2 dak1 faan1 lei4 laa4?)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “You finally came back?”
    Maggie was probably impatient for Karen to return home!

    2- 星期六出嚟食飯,順便睇相。 (sing1 kei4 luk6 ceot1 lei4 sik6 faan6, seon6 bin2 tai2 soeng2.)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s have dinner on Saturday, and we can look at the photos.”
    Kitty makes a good suggestion for a get-together.

    3- 家,始終最好。 (gaa1, ci2 zung1 zeoi3 hou2.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Home is always the best.”
    Lisa agrees with Karen’s comment about home.

    4- 買咗咩俾我? (maai5 zo2 me1 bei2 ngo5?)

    Her husband’s college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “What did you get me?”
    Will pretends to care only about gifts!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 始終 (ci2 zung1): “all along; always; at the end of the day”
  • 屋企 (uk1 kei2): “home”
  • 舒服 (syu1 fuk6): “comfortable”
  • 捨得 (se2 dak1): “willing to”
  • 星期六 (sing1 kei4 luk6): “Saturday”
  • 順便 (seon6 bin2): “incidentally; at one’s convenience”
  • 相 (soeng2): “photo; picture”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    What would you post on social media when something is celebrated with great show, such as the Chinese New Year fire-work show?

    In Hong Kong, it is custom to celebrate two New Years. These are the Chinese New Year and the New Year celebrated all around the world on January 1st. The Chinese New Year marks the beginning of one of the biggest holidays in the country, the Spring Festival holiday is celebrated on a different date every year.

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in Cantonese

    It’s a festive day and you wish to post something about it on social media. What would you say?

    David watches the Chinese New Year fireworks show, posts an image of the event, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    恭喜發財!今年煙花勁靚! (gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4! gam1 nin4 jin1 faa1 ging6 leng3!)
    “May you have a prosperous New Year! This year’s fireworks are breathtaking!”

    1- 恭喜發財! (gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4!)

    First is an expression meaning “May you have a prosperous New Year!”
    This greeting is used very frequently during the first two weeks of Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is commonly celebrated with the family. The subways operate overnight on New Year’s eve so people can visit night markets without worrying about the time.

    2- 今年煙花勁靚呀! (gam1 nin4 jin1 faa1 ging6 leng3 aa3!)

    Then comes the phrase - “This year’s fireworks are breathtaking!”
    The annual Hong Kong Chinese New Year Fireworks are held at 8pm on the second day of the new lunar year, and lasts around 30 minutes. Most people watch it at the harbourfront, or rent a boat to get a perfect view from the harbor.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 大家咁話!最緊要身體健康! (daai6 gaa1 gam2 waa6! zeoi3 gan2 jiu3 san1 tai2 gin6 hong1!)

    His neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Same to you! And the most important (thing) is to have good health!
    Lisa responds to David’s enthusiastic New Year wish with a remark about good health.

    2- 祝年年有餘! (zuk1 nin4 nin4 jau5 jyu4!)

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “Wishing you prosperity through the years!”
    This is a common New Year wish that is often used.

    3- 派利是! (paai3 lai6 si6!)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Red packets, please!”
    It is tradition in Hong Kong that the married gives the unmarried a monetary gift in red envelopes or red packets. Will reminds his married friends of this custom.

    4- 祝你一家人健康,快樂。 (zuk1 nei5 jat1 gaa1 jan4 gin6 hong1, faai3 lok6.)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Wishing you and your family health and happiness.”
    This is another traditional, common way to wish someone well for the New Year.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 煙花 (jin1 faa1): “fireworks”
  • 勁 (ging6): “extremely”
  • 靚 (leng3): “beautiful; pretty”
  • 緊要 (gan2 jiu3): “important; critical”
  • 派 (paai3): “dispatch; assign”
  • 利是 (lai6 si6): “red packet; lucky money contained in a red envelope given as gifts”
  • 健康 (gin6 hong1): “health”
  • If a friend posted something about a holiday, which phrase would you use?

    Chinese New Year and other public commemoration days are not the only special ones to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in Cantonese

    Your friend or you are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Karen goes to her birthday party, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    巧開心!多謝你哋同我慶祝! (haau2 hoi1 sam1! do1 ze6 nei5 dei6 tung4 ngo5 hing3 zuk1!)
    “So happy! Thank you guys for celebrating with me!”

    1- 巧開心! (haau2 hoi1 sam1!)

    First is an expression meaning “So happy!”
    巧 (haau2) is the playful version of 好 (hou2) “very” used by Hong Kong girls on social media.

    2- 多謝你哋同我慶祝! (do1 ze6 nei5 dei6 tung4 ngo5 hing3 zuk1!)

    Then comes the phrase - “Thank you guys for celebrating with me!”
    Hong Kong residents with a HKID can enjoy free entry to Ocean Park, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Hong Kong 3D Museum, and Trick Eye Museum on their birthdays.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 又大一歲。 (jau6 daai6 jat1 seoi3.)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Another year older.”
    Maggie reminds Karen that they’re getting older - after a certain age, this is not such a nice reminder any longer, especially for women!

    2- 青春常駐,年年廿八。 (cing1 ceon1 soeng4 zyu3, nin4 nin4 jaa6 baat3.)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Wishing you always (stay) young, like 28 years old every year.”
    Kitty, on the other hand, wishes her friend eternal youth!

    3- 牛一快樂! (ngau4 jat1 faai3 lok6!)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Happy B-day!”
    Will resorts to the traditional birthday wish in abbreviated form.

    4- 祝你生日快樂,心想事成! (zuk1 nei5 saang1 jat6 faai3 lok6, sam1 soeng2 si6 sing4!)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “I wish you a happy birthday, and that all your wishes come true!”
    Lisa’s wish is as kind-hearted as she seems to be.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 慶祝 (hing3 zuk1): “celebrate”
  • 歲 (seoi3): “year; age (of a person)”
  • 青春常駐 (cing1 ceon1 soeng4 zyu3): “stay young forever”
  • 年年 (nin4 nin4): “every year”
  • 廿八 (jaa6 baat3): “twenty-eight (28)”
  • 牛一 (ngau4 jat1): “birthday (this is a witty version of 生日”birthday”, because the character 生 is formed by 牛 on the top and 一 at the bottom.)”
  • 心想事成 (sam1 soeng2 si6 sing4): “All wishes come true”
  • If a friend posted something about birthday greetings, which phrase would you use?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in Cantonese

    Impress your friends with your Cantonese New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    David celebrates the New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    祝大家新年快樂! (zuk1 daai6 gaa1 san1 nin4 faai3 lok6!)
    “Happy New Year, everyone!”

    1- 祝大家 (zuk1 daai6 gaa1)

    First is an expression meaning “I wish everyone.”
    When wishing everyone something on social media, start with this phrase.

    2- 新年快樂! (san1 nin4 faai3 lok6!)

    Then comes the phrase - “Happy New Year!”
    New year in Hong Kong means a public holiday on Jan 1st. This greeting, literally “New Year happy”, is used very frequently during the first week of the new year. The subways operate overnight on December 31st so people can party till late and countdown to the new year.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 咁快又新年喇? (gam3 faai3 jau6 san1 nin4 laa4?)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “New Year again already?”
    Will expresses what many people possibly feels - time flies!

    2- 你都係!祝你乜都掂! (nei5 dou1 hai6! zuk1 nei5 mat1 dou1 dim6!)

    His wife’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Same to you! Hope everything is going smoothly!”
    Maggie returns David’s wish with this comment.

    3- 咁快又一年,時間過得真係快。 (gam3 faai3 jau6 jat1 nin4, si4 gaan3 gwo3
    dak1 zan1 hai6 faai3.)

    His supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “A year went by already; time flies.”
    Sam feels the same as Will!

    4- 新嘅一年有咩大計? (san1 ge3 jat1 nin4 jau5 me1 daai6 gai3?)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Any resolutions for the New Year?”
    Kitty partakes in the conversation by asking a question - a good way to keep a chat going!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 新年 (san1 nin4): “new year”
  • 快樂 (faai3 lok6): “happy”
  • 又 (jau4): “again; also; and”
  • 掂 (dim6): “satisfactory; in good order”
  • 真係 (zan1 hai6): “really”
  • 快 (faai3 lok6): “fast; quick; soon”
  • 大計 (daai6 gai3): “plan; resolution”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    But before New Year’s Day comes another important day…

    24. What to Post on Christmas Day in Cantonese

    What will you say in Cantonese about Christmas?

    Karen celebrates Christmas with her family, posts an image of the event, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Karen’s post.

    聖誕快樂!今晚去睇燈飾。 (sing3 daan3 faai3 lok6! gam1 maan5 heoi3 tai2 dang1 sik1.)
    “Merry Christmas! Tonight we’ll go watch the Christmas light display.”

    1- 聖誕快樂! (sing3 daan3 faai3 lok6!)

    First is an expression meaning “Merry Christmas!”
    This greeting, literally “Christmas happy”, is used very frequently during the Christmas season. Christmas in Hong Kong is a time celebrated with the boyfriend or girlfriend and/or friends. The subways operate overnight on December 24th so people can party till late and countdown to Christmas day.

    2- 今晚去睇燈飾。 (gam1 maan5 heoi3 tai2 dang1 sik1.)

    Then comes the phrase - “Tonight go watch light display.”
    Many buildings and all shopping malls in Hong Kong wear Christmas decorations and lightings, and there are brilliant displays citywide. A favorite activity during the Christmas holiday is to go sightseeing these different light displays.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Karen’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 去邊度食聖誕大餐呀? (heoi3 bin1 dou6 sik6 sing3 daan3 daai6 caan1 aa3?)

    Her high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Where are you going for Christmas dinner?”
    Maggie wants to know more about Karen’s plans for Christmas.

    2- 今晚翻風,記得著多件衫。 (gam1 maan5 faan1 fung1, gei3 dak1 zoek3 do1 gin6 saam1.)

    Her neighbor, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “It’ll get windy tonight; remember to put on extra clothes.”
    Lisa speaks like concerned mother or older sister!

    3- 聖誕快樂!假期後見。 (sing3 daan3 faai3 lok6! gaa3 kei4 hau6 gin3.)

    Her supervisor, Sam, uses an expression meaning - “Merry Christmas! See you after the holiday.”
    Sam wishes Karen well with a traditional Christmas wish.

    4- 睇燈飾咁浪漫呀。 (tai2 dang1 sik1 gam3 long6 maan6 aa4.)

    Her college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Christmas light display? That’s so romantic.”
    Will shares his thoughts about their sightseeing plans for Christmas.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 聖誕 (sing3 daan3): “Christmas”
  • 燈飾 (dang1 sik1): “light display; illumination”
  • 翻風 (faan1 fung1): “be windy; get windy”
  • 記得 (gei3 dak1): “remember”
  • 衫 (saam1): “clothes; clothing”
  • 假期 (gaa3 kei4): “holiday”
  • 浪漫 (long6 maan6): “romantic”
  • If a friend posted something about Christmas greetings, which phrase would you use?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    25. Post about Your Anniversary in Cantonese

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which Cantonese phrases are meaningful and best suited for this purpose!

    David celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of them together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down David’s post.

    今日係我哋結婚週年。老婆,愛你一萬年! (gam1 jat6 hai6 ngo5 dei6 git3 fan1 zau1 nin4, lou5 po4, oi3 nei5 jat1 maan6 nin4!)
    “Today is our wedding anniversary. Honey, I love you forever!”

    1- 今日係我哋結婚週年。 (gam1 jat6 hai6 ngo5 dei6 git3 fan1 zau1 nin4)

    First is an expression meaning “Today is our anniversary.”
    When you want to announce something special about today, you start with 今日係 (gam1 jat6 hai6) “Today is…”

    2- 老婆,愛你一萬年! (lou5 po4, ngoi3 nei5 jat1 maan6 nin4!)

    Then comes the phrase - “wifey, I love you forever!”
    The last part is literally “I love you for ten thousand years”, it came from a Stephen Chow movie and is widely used nowadays to mean “I love you forever”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, David’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 老公,愛你!<3 (lou5 gung1, oi3 nei5!)

    His wife, Karen, uses an expression meaning - “Hubby, I love you! <3"
    David and Karen are openly affectionate on social media.

    2- 時間過得真係快。Happy Anniversary! (si4 gaan3 gwo3 dak1 zan1 hai6 faai3. Happy Anniversary!)

    His high school friend, Kitty, uses an expression meaning - “Time flies. Happy Anniversary!”
    This is again a comment on how fast time passes, as well as a traditional anniversary wish.

    3- 嘩!閃光彈! (waa1! sim2 gwong1 daan2!)

    His wife’s high school friend, Maggie, uses an expression meaning - “Wow! Showoffs!”
    Maggie must be referring to the couple’s romantic comments, and the fact that they’re still so in love after a year of marriage.

    4- Maggie,你唔恨得咁多。 (Maggie, nei5 m4 han6 dak1 gam3 do1.)

    His college friend, Will, uses an expression meaning - “Maggie, don’t be jealous.”
    Will chats with Maggie here!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 結婚週年 (zau1 nin4): “anniversary”
  • 老婆 (lou5 po4): “wife; wifey”
  • 老公 (lou5 gung1): “husband; hubby”
  • 時間 (si4 gaan3): “time”
  • 快 (faai3): “fast; quick”
  • 閃光彈 (sim2 gwong1 daan2): “showoff (lit. “flashbang”)”
  • 恨 (han6): “long for; want something badly”
  • If a friend posted something about anniversary greetings, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn Cantonese! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

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

    How to Say Sorry in Cantonese

    How to say sorry is one of the first things that a traveler or a language learner should learn—knowing how to say sorry helps us better communicate and maintain relationships with new friends, especially in Hong Kong where we are famous for our politeness. That said, it’s quite important to learn how to say sorry in Cantonese culture.

    There are various ways to say sorry in English, such as “I am sorry,” My apologies,” and many more. It’s the same for Cantonese; we have different phrases to express our apologies for formal, informal, and specific occasions. Let’s go through some of the most widely-used phrases for apology in Cantonese below together! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Cantonese Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

    1. The Two Most Common Phrases
    2. Formal Apologies
    3. Other Phrases
    4. How to Answer to Sorry
    5. Manner & Gesture when You Say Sorry
    6. Written Form of “I am Sorry”
    7. Bonus: Hot Topic of the City
    8. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 can Help You Learn More Cantonese

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


    1. The Two Most Common Phrases

    3

    The two most common Cantonese phrases for saying sorry are 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) and 唔好意思 (m4 ho2 ji3 si3). They’re applicable to a wide range of circumstances, so learning how to use them to say sorry in learning Cantonese is vital. When learning how to say sorry in Cantonese, these words and phrases may just be your saving grace in various situations.

    1- 對唔住

    • Romanization: deoi3 m4 zyu6
    • Meaning: Sorry

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 對唔住,我打爛咗你部電腦。
    • Romanization: deoi3 m4 zyu6, ngo5 daa2 laan6 zo2 nei5 bou6 din6 nou5.
    • Meaning: Sorry, I broke your computer.

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

    We usually put 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) at the start of the sentence. As it’s a phrase rather than a word, we seldom use it in the middle of a sentence unless we’re quoting it as a noun phrase.

    2- 唔好意思

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

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 唔好意思,剩返七碼咋。
    • Romanization: m4 hou2 ji3 si3, zing6 faan1 cat1 maa5 zaa3.
    • Meaning: I’m sorry, we only have size 7 left.

    Explanation / Notes:
    This phrase is applicable to a wider range of contexts compared to 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) and can be used both formally and informally. There are, broadly, three scenarios where you can use 唔好意思 (m4 ho2 ji3 si3), including grabbing someone’s attention (i.e. “excuse me”), expressing your regret or sadness over bad news or an incident, and apologizing for minor incidents.

    • To grab someone’s attention:
      • Cantonese character: 唔好意思,閘口喺邊?
      • Romanization: m4 ho2 ji3 si3, zaap6 hau2 hai2 bin1?
      • Meaning: Excuse me, where is the entrance?
    • To express your regret over bad news:
      • Cantonese character: 唔好意思,無貨喇。
      • Romanization: m4 ho2 ji3 si3, mou5 fo3 laa3.
      • Meaning: I’m sorry, it is out of stock.
    • To apologize for a minor incident:
      • Cantonese character: 唔好意思,唔小心踩到你。
      • Romanization: m4 ho2 ji3 si3, m4 siu2 sam1 caai2 dou2 nei5.
      • Meaning: I’m sorry for stepping on your shoes accidentally.

    Comparatively, 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) is more formal and is mainly reserved for serious offenses. When you’re speaking informally with friends, the most common apology is 唔好意思 (m4 hou2 ji3 si3). You can use both apologies to make your way through a crowd.


    2. Formal Apologies

    There are some phrases we reserve for serious and formal apologies, which are usually used in business settings.

    Woman Bowing

    1- 我衷心道歉

    • Romanization: ngo5 cung1 sam1 dou6 hip3.
    • Meaning: I sincerely apologize.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 對於今日發生嘅事故,我衷心道歉。
    • Romanization: deoi3 jyu1 gam1 jat6 faat3 sang1 ge3 si6 gu3, ngo5 cung1 sam1 dou6 hip3.
    • Meaning: I sincerely apologize for the incident that happened today.

    2- 我想道歉

    • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 dou6 hip3.
    • Meaning: I would like to apologize.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 我匯報得唔好,我想道歉。
    • Romanization: ngo5 wui6 bou3 dak1 m4 hou2, ngo5 soeng2 dou6 hip3.
    • Meaning: I would like to apologize for my poor presentation.


    3. Other Phrases

    Say Sorry

    There are other phrases related to apology in Cantonese too. The phrases we’re introducing below, as well as the ones above, can sometimes be used together at the same time, depending on the situation. For example, if you want to admit that you’re the one at fault, apologize, and then beg for forgiveness, you could say: 係我唔啱,對唔住,求下你唔好嬲我 (hai6 ngo5 m4 aam1, deoi3 m4 zyu6, kau4 haa5 nei5 m4 hou2 nau1 ngo5).

    1- 係我唔啱

    • Romanization: hai6 ngo5 m4 aam1.
    • Meaning: It is my fault.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 我唔應該對你發火,係我唔啱。
    • Romanization: ngo5 m4 jing1 goi1 deoi3 nei5 faat3 fo2, hai6 ngo5 m4 aam1.
    • Meaning: I should not be mad at you, it is my fault.

    2- 我唔會再咁做

    • Romanization: ngo5 m4 wui5 zoi3 gam2 zou6.
    • Meaning: I won’t do it again.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 如果你唔鍾意嘅話,我唔會再咁做。
    • Romanization: jyu4 gwo2 nei5 m4 zung1 ji3 ge3 waa2, ngo5 m4 wui2 zoi3 gam2 zou6.
    • Meaning: If you don’t like this, I won’t do it again.

    3- 我要為對你咁衰而道歉

    • Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 wai6 deoi3 nei5 gam3 seoi1 ji4 dou6 hip3.
    • Meaning: I apologize for being mean to you.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 我唔應該笑你,我要為對你咁衰而道歉。
    • Romanization: ngo5 m4 jing1 goi1 siu3 nei5, ngo5 jiu3 wai6 deoi3 nei5 gam3 seoi1 ji4 dou6 hip3.
    • Meaning: I should not have laughed at you, I apologize for being mean to you.

    4- 我希望你可以原諒我

    • Romanization: ngo5 hei1 mong6 nei5 ho2 ji3 jyun4 loeng6 ngo5.
    • Meaning: I hope you will forgive me.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 係我唔啱,我希望你可以原諒我。
    • Romanization: hai6 ngo5 m4 aam1, ngo5 hei1 mong6 nei5 ho2 ji3 jyun4 loeng6 ngo5.
    • Meaning: It is my fault and I hope you will forgive me.

    5- 我一早就唔應該咁做

    • Romanization: ngo5 jat1 zou2 zau6 m4 jing1 goi1 gam2 zou6.
    • Meaning: I should not have done it.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 我知道你覺得難受,我一早就唔應該咁做。
    • Romanization: ngo5 zi1 dou3 nei5 gok3 dak1 naan4 sau6, ngo5 jat1 zou2 zau6 m4 jing3 goi1 gam2 zou6.
    • Meaning: I know it hurts you badly, I should not have done it.

    6- 我無咁嘅意思

    • Romanization: ngo5 mou4 gam2 ge3 ji3 si1.
    • Meaning: I did not mean that.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 可能中間有啲誤會,我無咁嘅意思。
    • Romanization: ho2 nang4 zung1 gaan1 jau5 di1 ng6 wui6, ngo5 mou4 gam2 ge3 ji3 si1.
    • Meaning: I did not mean that, I guess there could be some misunderstanding.

    7- 我保證唔會再犯呢個錯

    • Romanization: ngo5 bou2 zing3 m4 wui5 zoi3 faan6 ni1 go3 co3.
    • Meaning: I will make sure I do not make the same mistake again.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 我唔應該咁做,我保證唔會再犯呢個錯。
    • Romanization: ngo5 m4 jing3 goi1 gam2 zou6, ngo5 bou2 zing3 m4 wui5 zoi3 faan6 ni1 go3 co3.
    • Meaning: I should not have done this and I promise I will not make the same mistake again.

    8- 求下你唔好嬲我

    • Romanization: kau4 haa5 nei5 m4 hou2 nau1 ngo5.
    • Meaning: Please do not be mad at me.

    Example:

    • Cantonese character: 我唔會再咁做,求下你唔好嬲我。
    • Romanization: ngo5 m4 wui5 zoi3 gam2 zou6, kau4 haa5 nei5 m4 hou2 nau1 ngo5.
    • Meaning: I won’t do it again. Please don’t be mad at me.


    4. How to Answer to Sorry

    Man Asking for Forgiveness

    If someone apologizes to you, you can reply with the below phrases:

    • 唔緊要 (m4 gan2 jiu3) - no worries / never mind
    • 無問題 (mou5 man6 tai4) - no problem
    • 無所謂 (mou5 so2 wai6) - doesn’t matter

    唔緊要 (m4 gan2 jiu3) is the standard way to reply to an apology, but you can use the other two phrases as well depending on the scenarios.


    5. Manner & Gesture when You Say Sorry

    Woman Apologizing

    In general, you should be polite and sincere when you apologize. Keep your tone flat and slightly tilt your head down. You can either look into the eyes of the person you’re saying sorry to or look down. We don’t have any common gesture that signifies “sorry.” We just say the words without any hand gesture or further body posture, such as bowing, as is common in some other cultures.


    6. Written Form of “I am Sorry”

    As you may know, there are two forms of Cantonese, one in spoken form and the other in written form. We speak slightly differently than we write. The above phrases are all in spoken form. So what about the written form of “I am sorry” in Cantonese?

    • Chinese character: 對不起
    • Romanization: deoi3 bat1 hei2
    • Meaning: Sorry

    對不起 (deoi3 bat1 hei2) is the written form of 對唔住 (deoi3 m4 zyu6) and they have literally the same meaning. Although more and more Hong Kongeses write in the spoken form of Cantonese, it’s still impermissible to write spoken Cantonese in schools and formal writings. Also, we never speak written Cantonese in our daily lives.


    7. Bonus: Hot Topic of the City

    Have you ever pissed off your significant other? How would you apologize? How far would you go to ask for his or her forgiveness? Check out the video below to see how a man begged for his girlfriend’s forgiveness in Hong Kong:

    If you’re not up for the extreme measures of saying sorry, like many of us do, read Common Ways to Say Sorry in Cantonese to learn more alternative ways to apologize.


    8. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 can Help You Learn More Cantonese

    If you’re eager to know more common Cantonese phrases and words on top of saying sorry, please do visit CantoneseClass101.com, where you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through either your mobile apps, desktop software, or even our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

    We’ve delivered until now 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 and 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!

    In the meantime, continue practicing how to say “I apologize” in Cantonese, along with all the other phrases we went over. You’ll be glad you did next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation in Hong Kong. Best of luck to you!

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    The Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong

    The Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong

    The Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong stretches down into history as far as the Han Dynasty, and is an integral part of Hong Kong’s culture and identity. This holiday comprises largely of two concepts: warding off ill luck and respecting one’s ancestors.

    In this article, you’ll learn about the various Chung Yeung Festival traditions and the meaning behind them—including why HongKongers drink chrysanthemum wine and climb mountains on this day! You’ll soon see how essential knowing about the Chung Yeung Festival is to really understanding Cantonese culture today.

    And at CantoneseClass101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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    1. What is Chung Yeung Festival?

    The Chung Yeung Festival, or the Double Ninth Festival, is a holiday with deep historic roots, having begun as early as the Han Dynasty period. This is a public holiday, and known to be a busy time for many shops and tourist locations in Hong Kong.

    The Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong has traditionally been considered a day of bad luck and potential danger. This is rooted in the Chung Yeung Festival story, in which a man is warned of danger to his village and escapes to the mountains; because he survived his village’s disaster, the Chung Yeung Festival is also considered a day of warding off or escaping ill luck.

    Further, many people take this day to pay respect to their ancestors.

    2. When is the Chung Yeung Festival?

    Ninth Day of Ninth Lunar Month

    The Cantonese Chung Yeung Festival is celebrated each year on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month (hence its common name of Double Ninth Festival).

    For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years.

    • 2019: October 7
    • 2020: October 25
    • 2021: October 14
    • 2022: October 4
    • 2023: October 23
    • 2024: October 11
    • 2025: October 29
    • 2026: October 18
    • 2027: October 8
    • 2028: October 26

    3. Chung Yeung Festival Traditions in Hong Kong

    Paying Respect to Ancestors

    Most Chung Yeung Festival activities are performed today in fun celebration, though traditionally they were done in order to ward off bad luck or circumstances.

    Just as the man in the Chung Yeung Festival story escaped death by going to the mountains, HongKongers often climb mountains or hills themselves on this day. Others may simply go on a hike with family or loved ones.

    Another common feature of the Chung Yeung Festival holiday is flying kites. The symbolism behind this is similar to that of climbing mountains. Essentially, HongKongers believe that flying the kite removes bad luck from them, up into the sky where it can’t get to them during the year.

    Further, on a more solemn note, many HongKongers visit ancestral graves during the Chung Yeung Festival as a show of respect and honor. This is usually an occasion for the whole family, who offers their ancestors food, clean the sites, and burn incense.

    4. Chung Yeung Festival Foods

    During the Chung Yeung Festival, Hong Kong also celebrates through consuming the Chung Yeung rice cake and chrysanthemum wine. HongKongers believe that the wine (which they often make themselves at home!) cleanses the person drinking it, thus helping to remove ill luck. And as for the cake, it represents being “up” or “on top,” and when eaten, is thought to improve the chances of the consumer moving to a higher status in life.

    5. Essential Chung Yeung Festival Vocabulary

    Yellow Chrysanthemum Flower

    Here’s the essential vocabulary to know for the Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong!

    • 野餐 (je5 caan1) — picnic
    • 重陽 (cung4 joeng4) — the ninth day of the ninth lunar month
    • 祭祖 (zai3 zou2) — pay respect at ancestors’ grave
    • 耐 (noi6) — long time
    • 風箏 (fung1 zang1) — kite
    • 香 (hoeng1) — incense
    • 登高 (dang1 gou1) — climb a mountain
    • 重陽糕 (cung4 joeng4 gou1) — Chung Yeung rice cake
    • 菊花酒 (guk1 faa1 zau2) — chrysanthemum wine
    • 菊花 (guk1 faa1) — chrysanthemum
    • 重陽節 (cung4 joeng4 zit3) — Chung Yeung Festival

    To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and alongside relevant images, check out our Cantonese Chung Yeung Festival vocabulary list!

    How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Master Cantonese

    What are your thoughts on the Chung Yeung Festival in Hong Kong? Is there a similar holiday in your country? Let us know in the comments; we always look forward to hearing from you.

    To continue learning about Cantonese culture and the language, explore CantoneseClass101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

    • Insightful blog posts on a range of cultural and language-related topics
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    • Much, much more!

    If you’re interested in a more personalized, one-on-one learning approach, be sure to upgrade to Premium Plus. Doing so will give you access to your own Cantonese teacher who will help you develop a plan tailored to your needs and goals. Yes, really!

    Cantonese is one of the most difficult languages for non-native speakers to learn, which makes your effort and determination that much more meaningful! Your hard work will pay off in the long run, and know that CantoneseClass101 will be here to help in every step of your journey.

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