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 ask "Where" questions in Cantonese.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "When?"
Let’s go! hoi1 ci2 lo3!
Imagine you want to ask when your roommate is coming back home. You will ask him nei5 gei2 si4 fan1 aa6?
So let’s break down this question:
First we had:
nei5 → “you”
gei2 si4 → “what time;” “when”
fan1 → “to return”
aa6 → question particle
So, all together it is nei5 gei2 si4 fan1 aa6?
"When will you come back?"
[slowly] nei5 gei2 si4 fan1 aa6?
So in Cantonese, "When" is generally translated as gei2 si4 . For example, if you want to ask "When is your birthday?" nei5 gei2 si4 saang1 jat6?
So let’s have a look at another example:
How can you say "When did you arrive?"
It is really simple since it is exactly the same pattern: nei5 gei2 si4 dou3 gaa3?
First we have nei5, which is "you"
Then the second word, gei2 si4, which is this lesson’s focus “When”; then followed by the verb “to arrive”, dou3. And finally gaa3 which is the final particle for making an assertion.
Did you notice how both sentences, nei5 gei2 si4 fan1? and nei5 gei2 si4 dou3 gaa3? use the same words for “When” even though the first sentence is referring to a future action – "When are you coming home?" and the second one is referring to the past "When did you arrive?"
So you can use gei2 si4 to talk about any moment, whether past or present.
If you want to ask a question about duration as in "Since when have you been a teacher?" Then you will have to say nei5 gei2 si4 hoi1 ci2 zou6 lou5 si1 gaa3?
Here we add hoi1 ci2, the verb “to start”, after gei2 si4, so literally it is “You when start being teacher?”
Let’s see how to ask "Until when?" in Cantonese. It is very easy because you can translate it directly. It becomes: dou3 gei2 si4?
So for example, if you want to ask a friend "Until when are you going to stay here?" It will be nei5 hai2 dou6 lau4 dou3 gei2 si4?
Now it’s time for Olivia’s Insights.
To ask how long an action has been taking place in Cantonese, we could say gei2 noi6, for example:
nei5 dang2 zo2 gei2 noi6?, That is “How long have you been waiting?”
Ok, so in this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative Cantonese word for "When", gei2 si4, but also and its variations.
Next lesson we’ll learn more about asking questions with "Who" in Cantonese.
I’ll be waiting for you in the next saam1 fan1 zung1 gwong2 dung1 waa2 lesson! Haa6 ci3 gin3!