Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Matt: Hey, everyone, this is Matt, and welcome back to Basic Boot Camp.
Nicole: Hi everyone, I’m Nicole. This five-part series will help you ease your way into Cantonese.
Matt: We'll go over all the basics that will really help you understand Cantonese much quicker and easier.
Nicole: In this lesson, you will learn how to use the all-important verb 係 (hai6).
Matt: Which can sometimes be used like the "to be" in English, so it will be really easy for you to relate to.
Nicole: We'll also go over one of the essential building blocks of learning Cantonese word order.
Matt: No matter where you’re at, you can always find someone from somewhere else.
Nicole: So in this boot camp, we're talking about ethnicity.
Matt: So have a listen to these Cantonese students talk about where they are from. And while you're listening, try to guess their ethnicities.
Nicole: And I'll give a hint…sometimes country names in Cantonese are transliterations.
Matt: So if you do some mental gymnastics, you just might be able to guess the country just from the sound. In this lesson you will also learn some useful phrases to use in the classroom.
DIALOGUE
你好。我叫藍蔚。我係中國人。
(nei5 hou2, ngo5 giu3 laam4 wai3. ngo5 hai6 zung1 gwok3 jan4.)
“Hello. I’m called Lam Wai. I am Chinese.”
你好。我叫Matthew。 我係美國人。
(nei5 hou2, ngo5 giu3 Matthew. ngo5 hai6 mei5 gwok3 jan4.)
“Hello. I’m Matthew. I’m American.”
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Matt: One of the most fun things about learning Cantonese is the variety of people you’ll meet from all over the world.
Nicole: Yes, I have known students from the US, Japan, and Brazil.
Matt: And another very interesting thing is to find out all the different reasons people are learning Cantonese.
Nicole: Yes, what are some of the reasons you've heard, Matt?
Matt: Well, of course, number one, is to meet girls…
Nicole: Ah, of course that is a popular one.
Matt: But there are a lot of other cool reasons as well. One guy was from US, midwest, and got interested in "feng shui," so he studied it and eventually became a fengshui master.
Nicole: Plus, more and more people are traveling to Hong Kong, and it helps a lot if you can speak some basic Cantonese even.
Matt: So true, because often, taxi drivers or even wait staffs don't speak a word of English.
Nicole: Yeah. Now let's take a look at the words we used in these phrases, so all our learners will be able to share where they are from.
VOCAB LIST
Matt: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Nicole: 美國 (mei5 gwok3) [natural native speed]
Matt: America
Nicole: 美國 (mei5 gwok3) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Nicole: 美國 (mei5 gwok3) [natural native speed]
Nicole: 中國 (zung1 gwok3) [natural native speed]
Matt: China
Nicole: 中國 (zung1 gwok3) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Nicole: 中國 (zung1 gwok3) [natural native speed]
Nicole: 人 (jan4) [natural native speed]
Matt: people
Nicole: 人 (jan4) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Nicole: 人 (jan4) [natural native speed]
Nicole: 叫 (giu3) [natural native speed]
Matt: to be called; call
Nicole: 叫 (giu3) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Nicole: 叫 (giu3) [natural native speed]
Nicole: 係 (hai6) [natural native speed]
Matt: to be
Nicole: 係 (hai6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Nicole: 係 (hai6) [natural native speed]
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) [natural native speed]
Matt: hello
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2) [natural native speed]
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
Matt: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Nicole: The first phrase is 你好 (nei5 hou2).
Matt: So, cool, we already learned the greeting in boot camp one.
Nicole: 你好 (nei5 hou2)
Matt: "Hello."
Nicole: And, also 我叫 (ngo5 giu3).
Matt: Right, "my name is…."
Nicole: 我叫Nicole (ngo5 giu3 NICOLE).
Matt: "My name is Nicole."
Nicole: So now, we move on to ethnicity.
Matt: So, yours is more exotic than mine, Nicole, so let's start with yours.
Nicole: Ok, 中國人 (zung1 gwok3 jan4).
Matt: So let's take this word and boot camp it up a little, what do you say? I'm not sure what "boot camp it up" really means, but we're going to find out.
Nicole: Alright...Let's start with the last word we heard, because it's the clincher. It's 人 (jan4).
Matt: This word means "person."
Nicole: Yes, 人 (jan4).
Matt: Now, your nationality is Chinese, right, Nicole? So how did you say that?
Nicole: Well the word for "China" is 中國 (zung1 gwok3). So, I took the word for my country, 中國 (zung1 gwok3), and simply added 人 (jan4) to the end.
Matt: So to express your ethnicity in Cantonese, you basically just say the country, then tack "person" onto the end. "China person."
Nicole: Yes, 中國人 (zung1 gwok3 jan4).
Matt: But Cantonese is also an ethnic group, right? How do you say "Cantonese," in Cantonese?
Nicole: Well, Cantonese people are from “Canton” 廣東 (gwong2 dung1) originally...
Matt: A province in South China that's neighboring Hong Kong to the North.
Nicole: Right. 廣東 ”Canton”. Sounds similar. So, "Cantonese" will be 廣東人 (gwong2 dung1 jan4).
Matt: The name of the place plus "person."
Nicole: 人. That's right. 廣東人 (gwong2 dung1 jan4).
Matt: "Cantonese people."
Nicole: So, now you, Matt.
Matt: Yeah, me! Okay, well, I am American. So, how do we say "America?"
Nicole: 美國 (mei5 gwok3).
Matt: Literally, "beautiful country"...
Nicole: That's right. 美 (mei5) is "beautiful" and 國 (gwok3) is "country."
Matt: The person that came up with that name has to have visited the US.
Nicole: It is a pleasant coincidence because "America" is translated into 美利堅 (mei5 lei6 gin1) from what it sounds, so we take the first character from it, 美 (mei5).
Matt: And then simply add "country" on the end.
Nicole: 國 (gwok3). Altogether 美國 (mei5 gwok3).
Matt: Okay, now of course we all know that America is such an influential and incredible country that everyone will need to know how to say it in Cantonese; however, maybe we should give our neighbors to the north a little mention.
Nicole: Yeah, I think there are a lot of Canadians learning Cantonese as well. And the word is pretty easy because it sounds extremely close to its English name, at least to me it does: 加拿大 (gaa1 naa4 daai6).
Matt: Yeah, if you stretch your ear, you can hear the Canada in it.
Nicole: 加拿大 (gaa1 naa4 daai6)
Matt: Now, just add the 人 (jan4) to the end to make it "Canadian."
Nicole: Yes, 加拿大人 (gaa1 naa4 daai6 jan4)
Matt: Can you give us one last example before we move on to our grammar section, Nicole?
Nicole: Sure. How about China's neighbor…日本人 (jat6 bun2 jan4).
Matt: Ah yes…"Japanese" –
Nicole: 日本 (jat6 bun2).
Matt: "Japan" –
Nicole: 人 (jan4).
Matt: "People"
Nicole: 日本人 (jat6 bun2 jan4).
Matt: "Japanese"

Lesson focus

Matt: Now, the grammar point.
Nicole: But no sweat necessary, because...
Matt: The focus of this boot camp lesson is to teach you how to talk about your ethnicity.
Nicole: Right. Something that we just taught like five seconds ago.
Matt: Yeah, "I am American."
Nicole: 我係美國人 (ngo5 hai6 mei5 gwok3 jan4).
Matt: But what's the two words you said before American?
Nicole: 我係 (ngo5 hai6).
Matt: "I am."
Nicole: Something we should pay attention to in this structure is 係 (hai6).
Matt: "To be."
Nicole: 係 (hai6).
Matt: Because Cantonese doesn't conjugate verbs, no matter if it's "is," "am," or "are," it's gonna be pronounced as…
Nicole: 係 (hai6).
Matt: So, "you are" will be...
Nicole: 你係 (nei5 hai6).
Matt: "I am" will be...
Nicole: 我係 (ngo5 hai6).
Matt: So, "You are Cantonese."
Nicole: 你係廣東人 (nei5 hai6 gwong2 dung1 jan4).
Matt: "I am American."
Nicole: 我係美國人 (ngo5 hai6 mei5 gwok3 jan4).

Outro

Matt: Now that’s just does it for today’s bootcamp.
Nicole: Please visit us at CantoneseClass101.com. I’m Nicole!
Matt: And I’m Matt. See you later!
Nicole: Bye!

123 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:24 PM
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Hi Aggie,


A piece of cake! It's 愛爾蘭 [oi3 ji5 laan4].

Is that where you're from? Sláinte!


Arnold

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Aggie
Sunday at 05:20 PM
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Hi, I would like to ask how can I say Ireland ?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:21 PM
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Hi Terri,


It's 牙買加 [ngaa4 maai5 gaa1]. 😄


Arnold

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Terri
Monday at 10:43 AM
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Hi, How do you say Jamaica in Cantonese?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 10:04 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi K,


You're observant! Some speakers pay little attention to n-/l- distinction. While this phenomenon is known as lazy sound (懶音) by Cantonese speakers, it is generally thought as not good. So, we learners had better stick to the orthodox and read as it is dictated. 😄


Arnold

Team CantoneseClass101.com

k
Wednesday at 07:37 PM
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I'm pretty sure the 'n' sound is the standard way of pronouncing stuff like 'nei' (you) but most people pronounce it with an 'l' sound instead i.e 'lei'. I think it applies to many other words as well.

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:28 PM
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Hi D,


In Cantonese, we pronounce 北京 as bak1 ging1. Have you heard of the old name of Beijing as Peking, as it is still preserved in French language and the Peking University's official English name. It is indeed a translation from Cantonese, since 廣州 (gwong2 zau1 or Guangzhou or Canton) was one of the first ports of pre-modern China. 😁


Arnold

Team CantoneseClass101.com

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 05:06 PM
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Hi Ted,


You're right. 外 [ngoi6] means outside. 賣 [maai6] means sell (note that buy would be 買 [maai2]).

Since takeout in the old days, imagining a dim-sum restaurant, would sell at the storefront instead of "inside" the store. You may also understand the [ngoi6] by referring to eating outside the restaurant. No consensus about this. People just say it as given. You may also encounter other less popular phrases: 外帶 (帶 means to bring)、外送 (送 means to deliver). They all mean the same.


Arnold

Team CantoneseClass101.com

D
Saturday at 03:45 AM
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hi i know how to say 北京 in mandarin but how do you say it in cantonese? thank you.

Ted
Friday at 11:12 AM
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Hi, Just wondering what each of the separate syllables in the phrase for "take-out" means: ngoi6 maai6? I think maai6 means to buy, and I'm not sure about ngoi6, maybe something to do with outside?

Thanks for your time.