Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

nei5 ho2, ngo5 hai6 Olivia. Hi everybody! I’m Olivia.
Welcome to CantoneseClass101.com’s “saam1 fan1 zung1 gwong2 dung1 waa2”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Cantonese.
In the last lesson, we learned how to talk about your plans. In this lesson, we are going to deal with the verb to be in Cantonese, hai6. If you remember, we’ve mentioned it in lesson 1, in the sentence “I am...”. And yes, I’ve been using this phrase at the beginning of every lesson. ngo5 hai6 Olivia “I am Olivia”.
With this verb, we will also discuss how to talk about your nationality.
When you meet a new person in Hong Kong, they might ask you nei5 hai6 bin1 dou6 lei4 gaa3? which is the equivalent of "Where do you come from?"
You’re familiar with nei5, the word for "you."
hai6 is “to be”;
bin1 dou6 means "where?";
lei4 is "to come";
gaa3 is a question particle.
All together it's nei5 hai6 bin1 dou6 lei4 gaa3?
[slowly] nei5 hai6 bin1 dou6 lei4 gaa3?
Answering this question is very easy! You just say ngo5 hai6, which means "I am", then your nationality.
For example: ngo5 hai6 mei5 gwok3 jan4.
“I am American.”
[slowly] ngo5 hai6 mei5 gwok3 jan4.
Just replace “mei5 gwok3” with your own nationality.
"I am German" is ngo5 hai6 dak1 gwok3 jan4.
"I am Italian" is ngo5 hai6 ji3 daai6 lei6 jan4.
"I am Brazilian" is ngo5 hai6 baa1 saai1 jan4.
To return the question you can simply say nei5 le1? which is "And you?".
Other than nationality, you can also talk about your occupation by just replacing mei gwok3 jan4 “American”, with the occupation.
For example:
ngo5 hai6 leot3 si1. “I am a lawyer”
ngo5 hai6 hok6 saang1. “I am a student”
ngo5 hai6 gaau3 si1. “I am a teacher”
Now it’s time for Olivia’s tips.
Be careful because in Cantonese, we don’t use hai6 in front of verbs, only nouns.
For example:
It would be wrong to say ngo5 hai6 duk6 gan2 syu1 when you want to express “I am studying”. It should be just ngo5 duk6 gan2 syu1, literally “I studying”.
In this lesson we learned how to talk about nationalities.
Next time we’ll study the verb hai2 and we'll see how to use it to talk about locations. By the way, do you know how to ask someone where they are in Cantonese? I'll be waiting for you with the answer in the next “saam1 fan1 zung1 gwong2 dung1 waa2”.
Haa6 ci3 gin3!