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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 "Who" questions in Cantonese.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "Why?"
Imagine your boss is giving you a call because you are not at work today... He will certainly ask you dim2 gaai2 nei5 m4 faan1 gung1?
So let’s break down this question:
First we had:
dim2 gaai2, which is the basic translation of "Why" in Cantonese.
nei5 is “you”
m4, which is "no”, or “not"
And finally faan1 gung1 which is "to go to work"
Altogether, it is dim2 gaai2 nei5 m4 faan1 gung1?
So in Cantonese, dim2 gaai2 is the exact translation of "Why", used to ask the reason for something.
So for example, if your boss is asking you "Why are you late?" he will say dim2 gaai2 ci4 dou3?
Here, he uses "Why" in order to get explanations and reasons.
Note that dim2 gaai2 can be placed either before or after the subject, or in some cases, the subject is even omitted when you’re talking to the person directly. For example, the question “Why did you resign?” can be:
nei5 dim2 gaai2 ci4 zik1?
dim2 gaai2 nei5 ci4 zik1?
dim2 gaai2 ci4 zik1?
Now it’s time for Olivia’s Insights
Another common usage of dim2 gaai2 is to ask the definition of something.
So, in this case, dim2 gaai2 is closer to the meaning of "What does it mean?"
For example, ji1 go3 zi6 dim2 gaai2? which means "What does this word mean?"
So, the person asking this question is looking for the definition, not the reason.
[slowly] ji1 go3 zi6 dim2 gaai2?
Before ending this lesson, Let’s review all the interrogative words we talked about in these 6 lessons:
dim2 → “How”
mat1 → “What”
bin1 or bin1 dou6 → “Where”
gei2 si4 → “When”
bin1 go3 → “Who”
dim2 gaai2 → “Why”
This lesson is the last lesson of this saam1 fan1 zung1 gwong2 dung1 waa2 video series.
But it’s hopefully not the last you learn about the Cantonese language! To take your language ability to the next level, check out CantoneseClass101.com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Cantonese.
zoi3 gin3!


Please to leave a comment.
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CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! Can you tell us in Cantonese why are you learning Cantonese?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 01:55 PM
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Hello Kurt,

Please check out the lesson and lots of interrogative words are introduced.

Planning a Summer Vacation in Cantonese


About the way to differentiate the tones, try to listen and practice more and record your won pronunciation when you using the CantoneseClass101.com

The lesson below is a good start. Hope you find it useful and share your learning advice with us more.

Cantonese Tones



Team CantoneseClass101.com

Sunday at 06:46 PM
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I always wanted to know the interrogative words in Cantonese. One thing though... I currently still have trouble differentiating accent numbers 1,3, and 4, and accent nos. 2 and 5. I find that accent number 6 in this dialect is the same with accent number 5 in Mandarin.

Sunday at 01:01 PM
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Hello Miriam,

Thank you so much for your encouragement.


(ngo5 cang4 ging1 hai2 ni1 gaan1 gung1 si1 zou6 zo2 sap6 nin4 je5.)

I used to work in this company for 10 years?


Team CantoneseClass101.com

Wednesday at 01:46 AM
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So good.. though it’s hard for me to understand and sink it all to my head. By the way how can you say in Cantonese. I used to work in this company for 10years?