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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 show gratitude by saying M4 goi1 or Do1 ze6 . In this lesson we’ll learn some of the most common greetings used in Hong Kong.
zeon2 bei6 hou2 mei6? Are you ready? gam2 zau6 hoi1 ci2 laa6! Let’s start!
[C ws-screen]
The most common informal greeting is:
haa1 lo6!
[slowly] haa1 lo6!
Just as you can guess, haa1 lo6! is just “hello” with a Cantonese pronunciation. We use it when meeting someone, just like in English. But be careful! This is very casual, so don’t use it for business meetings!
And now let’s continue by discussing a more formal way to greet people.
The one you are probably used to hearing is:
nei5 ho2!
[slowly] nei5 ho2!
Literally, nei5 ho2! means "You are well"; however, we may also interpret it as "Hello."
We use nei5 ho2! when meeting someone for the first time, or higher-ranking persons, such as the elderly.
When it’s time to leave, we say baai1 baai3 for informal situations. And you’re right, it’s just like the English “Bye-bye.” with a Cantonese pronunciation.
baai1 baai3.
[slowly] baai1 baai3.
And in formal situations, use:
zoi3 gin3.
[slowly] zoi3 gin3.
zoi3 gin3. means “good-bye.”
Finally, in Cantonese we have an expression meaning “see you soon” that can be considered both formal and informal:
haa6 ci3 gin3!
[slowly] haa6 ci3 gin3!
Now you can greet people in many different ways in Cantonese!
Let’s review them all again.
When meeting your friends or family, say:
haa1 lo6!
When leaving in an informal situation, say:
baai1 baai3.
When meeting older people or someone you don’t know:
nei5 ho2!
When leaving, in a formal situation:
zoi3 gin3.
And to say “see you soon” in a way that is both formal and informal, say haa6 ci3 gin3!
It’s easy, isn’t it?
Now it’s time for Olivia’s Insights.
In formal situations, Cantonese speakers commonly greet each other by shaking hands. But if we meet someone we are very close with, we pat each other on the arm or on the back.
During the next lesson we’ll learn the meaning of the phrase nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2? Do you already know it? I'll be waiting to talk about it with you in our next saam1 fan1 zung1 gwong2 dung1 waa2 lesson.
haa6 ci3 gin3!


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