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Lesson Transcript


Nicole: 大家好 (daai6 gaa1 hou2). I'm Nicole. And welcome to CantoneseClass101.
Matt: Matt here! Welcome to our Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 1. In this lesson you will learn how to introduce yourself. We've got a dialogue here that can happen pretty much anyplace.
Nicole: That's right, a bookstore, a cafe, pretty much anywhere.
Matt: So who is this between Nicole?
Nicole: It's between two famous Hong Kong movies stars! So they're speaking casually.
Male: Okay. Now, let's take a listen to how the dialogue goes.

Lesson conversation

你好。(nei5 hou2.)
你好。(nei5 hou2.)
我叫偉仔,你呢? (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2, nei5 ne1?)
我叫嘉玲。(ngo5 giu3 gaa1 ling4.)
English Host: One more time, a bit slower.
你好。(nei5 hou2.)
你好。(nei5 hou2.)
我叫偉仔,你呢? (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2, nei5 ne1?)
我叫嘉玲。(ngo5 giu3 gaa1 ling4.)
English Host: And now with the English translation.
你好。(nei5 hou2.)
Matt: Hello.
你好。(nei5 hou2.)
Matt: Hello.
我叫偉仔,你呢? (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2, nei5 ne1?)
Matt: I'm Tony Leung. And you?
我叫嘉玲。(ngo5 giu3 gaa1 ling4.)
Matt: I'm Carina Lau.
Matt: We promised to start people off easy....
Nicole: And we did....
Matt: That was easy?
Nicole: Um-hum, but don't worry if you didn't get it. We are going to go through it really, really slowly.
Matt: Okay. One quick question first. If I go to Hong Kong, will I really see Jackie Chan on the streets?
Nicole: Probably. I see him every day.
Matt: But before we talk about Jackie Chan, let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word is:
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) [natural native speed]
Matt: Hello.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 你好 (nei5 hou2) [natural native speed]
Matt: The next word is?
Nicole: 我 (ngo5) [natural native speed]
Matt: I.
Nicole: 我 (ngo5) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 我 (ngo5) [natural native speed]
Matt: Next, we have.
Nicole: 好 (hou2) [natural native speed]
Matt: Very.
Nicole: 好 (hou2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 好 (hou2) [natural native speed].
Nicole: 叫 (giu3) [natural native speed]
Matt: To be called; call.
Nicole: 叫 (giu3) [slowly – broken down by syllable]. 叫 (giu3) [natural native speed]
Matt: Next word.
Nicole: 你 (nei5) [natural native speed]
Matt: You (singular).
Nicole: 你 (nei5) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 你 (nei5) [natural native speed]
Matt: Followed by.
Nicole: 你呢 (nei5 ne1) [natural native speed]
Matt: And you.
Nicole: 你呢 (nei5 ne1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 你呢 (nei5 ne1) [natural native speed]
Matt: The next one we have is a name.
Nicole: 偉仔 (wai5 zai2) [natural native speed]
Matt: Tony Leung.
Nicole: 偉仔 (wai5 zai2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 偉仔 (wai5 zai2) [natural native speed]
Matt: And next, another name.
Nicole: 嘉玲 (gaa1 ling4) [natural native speed]
Matt: Carina Lau.
Nicole: 嘉玲 (gaa1 ling4) [slowly - broken down by syllable]. 嘉玲 (gaa1 ling4) [natural native speed]
Matt: So our key vocabulary is all about introducing ourselves.
Nicole: That's right.
Matt: So what's our first word in the vocabulary?
Nicole: It's 你好. (nei5 hou2)
Matt: And that means "hello".
Nicole: 你好. (nei5 hou2)
Matt: Because this is our first lesson, I want us to really slow this down. Can you say it for us very slowly, Nicole?
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2)
Matt: And what does that mean?
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) literally means "you" "good".
Matt: Right. So to say "you" we say?
Nicole: 你 (nei5)
Matt: And to say "good" we say?
Nicole: 好 (hou2)
Matt: You good.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2)
Matt: See, Cantonese is really easy.
Nicole: Yeah, I told you.
Matt: Now, a question for you Nicole, we already learned the word for "me", right?
Nicole: Sure. 我 (ngo5)
Matt: We heard that in the dialogue
Nicole: 我 (ngo5)
Matt: So if we want to say "I'm good" can we do the same thing?
Nicole: Like 我好(ngo5 hou2)?No. You're crazy.
Matt: Come one, now.
Nicole: You have to say "very good" or 好好 (hou2 hou2).
Matt: So, you just double the word for good?
Nicole: Yeah, that's right. That's easy. 好好 (hou2 hou2).
Matt: Now, if I want to say I'm very good.
Nicole: 我好好 (ngo5hou2 hou2)
Matt: What about you're very good.
Nicole: 你好好 (nei5 hou2 hou2)
Matt: So let's hear these words again. Hello.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2)
Matt: I'm very good.
Nicole: 我好好 (ngo5 hou2 hou2)
Matt: You're very good.
Nicole: 你好好 (nei5 hou2 hou2) - that's only grammatically correct, it sounds a bit strange, and weird and unnatural, so don't say that.
Matt: So which one don't we want to say?
Nicole: 你好好 (nei5 hou2 hou2).
Matt: But if we want to say I'm very good.
Nicole: You can say 我好好 (ngo5 hou2 hou2).
Matt: And that sounds natural.
Nicole: That's right.
Matt: Now, we're not supposed to learn questions until lesson two.
Nicole: Oh yeah?
Matt: But this one is pretty easy. And we already know three of the words.
Nicole: No, four words. We've learned four words. Matt, pay attention.
Matt: You're right. So the first one is hello.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2)
Matt: And that's "you".
Nicole: 你 (nei5)
Matt: And "good".
Nicole: 好 (hou2)
Matt: For hello.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2)
Matt: and...
Nicole: and...?
Matt: "Very good".
Nicole: Yup, 好好 (hou2 hou2).
Matt: We're going to go to the grammar section in a bit. Before we do, I want to talk about this last phrase.
Nicole: Yup, 你呢? (nei5 ne1?)
Matt: Right. Let's hear it again slowly?
Nicole: 你呢 (nei5 ne1)
Matt: What is that?
Nicole: That's the question that we promised not to teach?
Matt: Oh, so we do teach questions in lesson one.
Nicole: You know, bonus, bonus question.
Matt: And this just means this question just means "And you?".
Nicole: Right, 你呢? (nei5 ne1?)
Matt: I'm good, and you?
Nicole: 我好好,你呢?(ngo5 hou2 hou2, nei5 ne1?)
Matt: So our first lesson and we have already taught you enough Cantonese to chat up Jackie Chan.
Nicole: That's right.
Matt: First you say hey, Jackie or "hi".
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) Jackie.
Matt: Then he'll say, hi back.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) Nicole.
Matt: Wow, he even knows your name, Nicole. Then you can tell him his movies are "very good".
Nicole: Yeah, your movies are 好好 (hou2 hou2).
Matt: Great. So it's a short conversation, but it is only our first lesson.

Lesson focus

Matt: Now, let's move on to the grammar section, where we'll teach you how to introduce yourself.
Nicole: Okay.
Matt: Our focus for this lesson is of course introducing ourselves.
Nicole: Yup. In the dialogue we heard 我叫偉仔 (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2).
Matt: Which means, "I'm called 偉仔(wai5 zai2)."
Nicole: Um-hum. 我叫偉仔 (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2).
Matt: "I'm called 偉仔(wai5 zai2)."
Nicole: So you see our structure here is really simple.
Matt: First, we're saying "I".
Nicole: 我 (ngo5)
Matt: "am called"
Nicole: 叫 (giu3)
Matt: And then you put your name in.
Nicole: Tell your last name 偉仔 (wai5 zai2).
Matt: I am called 偉仔 (wai5 zai2).
Nicole: 我叫偉仔 (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2).
Matt: Another example would be "I'm called Matt".
Nicole: 我叫 (ngo5 giu3) Matt.
Matt: And for Nicole, it would be I'm called Nicole.
Nicole: 我叫藍蔚 (ngo5 giu3 laam4 wai6), that's my Cantonese name.
Matt: So people can just put their own names into this sentence, right?
Nicole: That's right 我叫 (ngo5 giu3) and then their name. Like, 我叫 (ngo5 giu3) David, 我叫 (ngo5 giu3) Gail, 我叫 (ngo5 giu3) Teddy, whatever....
Matt: This is actually the most common grammar structure in Cantonese.
Nicole: Yeah.
Matt: First comes the subject.
Nicole: 我 (ngo5)
Matt: Then the verb.
Nicole: 叫 (giu3)
Matt: Then the rest of the sentence.
Nicole: Like 我叫偉仔 (ngo5 giu3 wai5 zai2) or 我叫嘉玲 (ngo5 giu3 gaa1 ling4).
Matt: So these are actually two Hong Kong movie stars, right?
Nicole: Yup, they got married last year?
Matt: Tony Leung got married? I bet you were disappointed.
Nicole: I cried.
Matt: Me too. He is sexy.
Nicole: Anyway, tell me Matt. Do you understand this sentence? 我叫嘉玲,你呢?(ngo5 giu3 gaa1 ling4, nei5 ne1?)
Matt: Of course. Now, let's hear that last bit.
Nicole: 你呢? (nei5 ne1?)
Matt: This is our question if you remember from earlier in the lesson.
Nicole: Yup, 我叫嘉玲,你呢? (ngo5 giu3 gaa1 ling4, nei5 ne1?)
Matt: We tell people our own name, then say, "how about you?".
Nicole: 你呢? (nei5 ne1?)
Matt: I'm very good, how about you?
Nicole: 我好好,你呢?(ngo5 hou2 hou2, nei5 ne1?)


Matt: And that does it for our first lesson.
Nicole: That's right.
Matt: So stop by CantoneseClass101.com and make sure you pick up the lesson notes.
Nicole: It has a conversation transcript.
Matt: Vocabulary, sample sentences, a grammar explanation.
Nicole: And a cultural insight section.
Matt: Seeing the Cantonese…
Nicole: …really helps you remember faster.
Matt: But don't take our word for it, please have a look for yourself.
Nicole: And let us know what you think.
Matt: Thanks for tuning in.
Nicole: Thank you.