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Lesson Transcript

Matt: Hello everybody, and welcome back to CantoneseClass101.com
Nicole: Hello 大家好 (daai6 gaa1 hou2), I’m Nicole.
Matt: In this lesson, Nicole and I have some pet phrases to share.
Nicole: Yes, we do!
Matt: After some time, you will probably have your pet phrases too, but for now, we’ll give you some of ours.
Nicole: These are all phrases that locals use a lot!
Matt: They’re kind of like the "cool" and "awesome" of English. You’ll fit right in when you throw them out there.
Nicole: Okay, here we go.
唔該晒。 (m4 goi1 saai3) "Thank you very much."/ "Thank you in advance."/ "Thank you for everything."
冇問題。 (mou5 man6 tai4) "No Problem."
一般。 (jat1 bun1) "It's okay."/ “Okay; so-so”
有冇搞錯呀! (jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3 aa3) "Are you kidding me?" / “Ridiculous!”
是但啦。 (si6 daan6 laa1) "Whatever."
Matt: Let's take a closer at how to use these Chinese expressions.
Pet Phrase 1 – 唔該晒 (m4 goi1 saai3) “Thank you very much."/ "Thank you in advance."/ "Thank you for everything."
唔該晒 (m4 goi1 saai3)
Matt: Basically, these phrase is like magic words.
Nicole: Yeah, and even just the word 唔該 itself is so useful!
Matt: How did you say it again, Nicole?
Nicole: 唔該 (m4 goi1)
Matt: It literally means "shouldn't" or "don't need to" do something.
Nicole: It does. When we say 唔該 (m4 goi1) ("shouldn't"), we are actually saying "I shouldn't have troubled you on this," or "I shouldn't have bothered you on this matter."
Matt: Okay. That makes sense. You guys are so concise even when being polite.
Nicole: Less is more.
Matt: So, what were the magic words again?
Nicole: 唔該晒。(m4 goi1 saai3)
Matt: Which means "shouldn't everything."
Nicole: Or "I shouldn't have troubled you on all these, so thank you for everything you’ve done for me."
Matt: Right, super concise Cantonese.
Nicole: Isn't that great? We use less words for more meanings.
Matt: That's true. And this phrase is basically the all forgiver…whatever just happened, you say…
Nicole: 唔該晒(m4 goi1 saai3)
Matt: And all shall be forgiven.
Nicole: So, for example, maybe I would ask you for a favor, and then add the 唔該晒(m4 goi1 saai3) at the end.
Matt: And basically, once you hear the magic words, what can you do? You just can’t say no!
Nicole: Yes, it's sort of a way to impose in a way that the person can’t say no to. Matt, can you buy me dinner tonight? 唔該晒(m4 goi1 saai3).
Matt: Then I will have to say "No problem."
Nicole: Again, because I'm a very polite person, I would say 唔該晒 (m4 goi1 saai3) after you say yes, or better, after you buy me dinner. 唔該晒 (m4 goi1 saai3)
Matt: So how did you say "no problem," which is our number two pet phrase today?
Nicole: 冇問題 (mou5 man6 tai4)
Matt: This is a great phrase. Basically it’s the Chinese equivalent of "no problem" or "sure."
Nicole: Yeah. It literally means "No" 冇 (mou5) "problem" 問題 (man6 tai4).
Matt: So, for example, if someone was asking you to go to drinks, you say…
Nicole: 冇問題 (mou5 man6 tai4). We love this expression.
Matt: So useful!
Nicole: And it sounds so cool! 冇問題 (mou5 man6 tai4).
Matt: It can be a slogan for running for the president.
Nicole: Yeah, vote for me and everything would be 冇問題 (mou5 man6 tai4).
Pet Phrase 3 - 一般 (jat1 bun1) “Okay” or “things are alright”
一般 (jat1 bun1)
Matt: Now here is a great generic answer.
Nicole: Right, if someone asks you how are things, you can say 一般 (jat1 bun1).
Matt: Basically, it means "passable" or “alright.”
Nicole: Right, but it can be used in response to so many things. Like when somebody asks you how you are.
Matt: Yeah, so overall a great word when you just want that vague, generic thing to say.
Nicole: Okay, on to number four.
Pet Phrase 4 - 有冇搞錯呀 (jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3 aa3)
Matt: So, first of all, let’s get this down…
Nicole: 有冇搞錯呀 (jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3 aa3)
有冇 (jau5 mou5) means “to have or not have”, 搞錯 (gaau2 co3) “make mistake”, and the last word 呀 means nothing here, but a sign saying "I am Cantonese."
Matt: It means "Are you kidding me?"
Nicole: Yeah, literally, "Have you or have you not got anything wrong?"
Matt: Right, this is a very useful phrase when you're upset or angry at things.
Nicole: 有冇搞錯呀 (jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3 aa3).
Matt: You have to say it with attitude, right, Nicole?
Nicole: Of course. It comes naturally. 有冇搞錯呀 (jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3 aa3).
Matt: Ah yeah, that means kind of like “What the heck” or "This is ridiculous."
Nicole: No CantoneseClass lessons tonight? 有冇搞錯呀! (jau5 mou5 gaau2 co3 aa3)
Pet Phrase 5 – 是但啦 (si6 daan6 laa1) "whatever"
Matt: Let's break down the words character by character.
Nicole: 是 (si6) means "yes," and 但 (daan6) means "but."
Matt: So, "yes but whatever."
Nicole: More like "Yes or no, I don't care."
Matt: And the last sound, 啦 (laa1)?
Nicole: That’s another "I'm Cantonese" sign.
Matt: Right, Cantonese people have invented a lot of them.
Nicole: Artistic license.
Matt: Whatever. this is a great phrase to say when you don't want to make any choice. Like do you want a red skirt or a blue one?
Nicole: 是但啦 (si6 daan6 laa1).
Matt: Do you want a hamburger or a sandwich?
Nicole: 是但啦 (si6 daan6 laa1).
Matt: Do you want a boyfriend or a cat?
Nicole: 是但啦 (si6 daan6 laa1). Except that I rather have a boyfriend than a cat.
Matt: Very natural Cantonese. Well, those are our favorite phrases in Cantonese.
Nicole: We hope you like them too!
Matt: We’re sure you will find lots of use for them. They really help you fill in the natural gaps of conversation.
Nicole: Thanks for listening!
Matt: Bye!