Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Michael: What are the differences between Cantonese and Mandarin?
Siuling: And are they mutually intelligible?
Michael: At CantoneseClass101.com, we hear these questions often.
In the following situation, a language learner finds himself confused between Cantonese and Chinese. Ben Lee, a college student, picks up a classic by Dung Kai-cheung, but finds it surprisingly hard to read. He turns to his friend, Michael Man, who is shopping with him, and asks,
"Is this in Cantonese?"
李龍林: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
Dialogue
李龍林: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
萬宇海: 唔係,係中文。 (m4 hai6, hai6 zung1 man2.)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
李龍林: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
Michael: "Is this in Cantonese?"
萬宇海: 唔係,係中文。 (m4 hai6, hai6 zung1 man2.)
Michael: "No, it's in Chinese."

Lesson focus

Michael: Foreigners always mix up Cantonese and Chinese, but, actually, Chinese is the written form used in Hong Kong, which we seldom use for daily text messaging. This standard Chinese writing is usually used in a formal context, like news articles, legal documents, instruction manuals, etc.
Other than the fact that traditional characters are used, the standard Chinese writing used in Hong Kong is quite similar to Mandarin, so most Mandarin speakers are able to understand our writing. However, when converted to the spoken form, which is used in text messages, there’s a significant difference and it’s hard to guess the meaning, even if you know Mandarin.
Siuling: Yes, for example, in Cantonese, we say 你喺度做緊乜?(nei5 hai2 dou6 zou6 gan2 mat1?) for “What are you doing?”, while in Chinese writing, it’s 你在做什麼?(nei5 zoi6 zou6 sam6 mo1?). They share only a small similarity.
Michael: It’s even harder if reading this Cantonese sentence in Mandarin!
[Recall 1]
Michael: Let’s take a closer look at the dialogue we just heard.
Do you remember how to say "Is this in Cantonese?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Siuling: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now let’s take a look at our second sentence.
And do you remember how to say "No, it's in Chinese"?
(pause 4 seconds)
Siuling: 唔係,係中文。 (m4 hai6, hai6 zung1 man2.)
Expansion/Contrast (Optional)
Michael: Let's review what we’ve learnt in this lesson. I will say a prompt in English and I want you to reply, out loud, with the Cantonese translation. Siuling will then model the correct answer. Listen to her carefully and repeat, with particular emphasis on your pronunciation.
The first prompt is, "Is this in Cantonese?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Siuling: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
Michael: How did you do? Listen to Siuling again and repeat.
Siuling: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Siuling: 呢啲係咪廣東話? (ni1 di1 hai6 mai6 gwong2 dung1 waa2?)
Michael: Let’s move onto the second prompt. Do you remember how to say, "No, it's in Chinese"?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Siuling: 唔係,係中文。 (m4 hai6, hai6 zung1 man2.)
Michael: How did you do this time? Again, listen to Siuling and repeat.
Siuling: 唔係,係中文。 (m4 hai6, hai6 zung1 man2.)
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Siuling: 唔係,係中文。 (m4 hai6, hai6 zung1 man2.)
Cultural Insight/Expansion (Optional)
Michael: As the difference between spoken and written Cantonese is quite obvious, you can simply perceive them as two different systems, and it’s okay to learn only the conversational Cantonese if you only aim to talk to the native speakers.
Siuling: Of course, you’d need to learn both speaking and writing if you intend to be a Cantonese master!

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Siuling: 拜拜! (baai1 baai3!)
Michael: See you soon!

7 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Do you have any questions about the Cantonese language?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 10:49 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Kuroda,


No problem. 👍

You can answer with the pattern verb + 緊 (gan2). For detail, please find this note: https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/learningcenter/reference/grammar/29?

For example,

我學緊廣東話 (ngo5 hok6 gan2 gwong2 dung1 waa2) ~ I'm learning Cantonese

我同朋友打緊麻雀 (ngo5 tung4 pang4 jau5 daa2 gan2 maa4 zoek2) ~ I'm playing mahjong with my friends


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Kuroda
Saturday at 11:44 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello again, and sorry for keep asking.


How can I answer when asked "你喺度做緊乜?"

For example, "I can say I'm learning Cantonese", or "I'm playing mahjong with my friends", etc.

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 06:19 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Kuroda,


Thanks for your question.

The spoken form of 下一站是終點站 is 下一站係終點站 (haa6 jat1 zaam6 hai6 zung1 dim2 zaam6). 😉


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Kuroda
Thursday at 05:03 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi. Thank you for the great lesson.


I ran into your video on YouTube(The reading lesson about train) and it said 下一站是終點站(I apologise if there is any mistake). What would it be like in spoken Cantonese, or is it already in spoken Cantonese?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 09:21 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello robert groulx,


You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

利凡特

Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 10:35 PM
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thank you for the lesson


my favorite phrase is 呢啲係咪廣東話?


robert