Vocabulary

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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 the phrase ji1 go3 gei2 cin2 aa3? How much is this? However, when referring to different objects, we need to use corresponding measure words. In this lesson we’ll look at the rules for using Cantonese measure words.
Let’s say, you want to ask “how much is this?” while pointing to a shirt, just substitute go3 with the measure word for shirt, gin6.
ji1 gin6 gei2 cin2 aa3?
[slowly] ji1 gin6 gei2 cin2 aa3?
If you know the Cantonese word for shirt, saam1, feel free to add it AFTER the measure word.
ji1 gin6 saam1 gei2 cin2 aa3?
[slowly] ji1 gin6 saam1 gei2 cin2 aa3?
“How much is this shirt?”
Do you remember how to say “how much is that” from last lesson?
go2 go3 gei2 cin2 aa3?
now, try to ask “how much is that?” while pointing to a shirt.
Right, it is go2 gin6 gei2 cin2 aa3?
To say “four shirts” in Cantonese, start with the amount number, then the measure word, followed by the noun.
sei3 gin6 saam1
Number - measure word - noun! Easy!
Remember, the noun ALWAYS goes after the measure word. Whenever you learn a new noun, it’s a good idea to learn its measure word as well.
Now it’s time for Olivia’s Insights.
The measure word gin6 generally covers all tops, shirt, t-shirt, and jackets.
For clothing that you wear on the lower body, like pants, dresses, or leggings, the measure word is tiu4.
Eg. jat1 tiu4 kwan4 “one dress”
For anything that comes in a pair, like shoes and gloves, we use deoi3.
Eg. jat1 deoi3 haai4 “one pair of shoes”
Note that in Cantonese, pants and leggings are not considered a pair!
Before we go, here is a short list of some of the most common measure words in Cantonese!
go3 (units)
gin6 (for clothing, upper part)
tiu4 (for clothing, lower part; and long thin/narrow objects, like road and snake)
deoi3 (for pairs)
zi1 (for slender inflexible objects, like pen and pistol)
zoeng1 (for flat objects, like paper and ticket)
gaa3 (for vehicles and machines)
lap1 (for small round objects, like pearl and chocolate)
Now, you should ask your friends in Hong Kong to go shopping with you to practice these phrases! But first you’ll have to check if they have other plans or not. Do you know how to ask that in Cantonese? If not, I’ll see you in the next lesson!
haa6 ci3 gin6!

14 Comments

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CantoneseClass101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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What will you buy with Hong Kongn currency?

CantoneseClass101.com
Tuesday at 5:14 pm
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Hello Vickie,


Thanks for your question. I am sorry that there is no list of all the measure words provided on Cantonese101. 😞 But in this lesson, you have already known some of the most popular measure words, such as 個 and 件.

I am sure you will have chances to know the measure words in the future lessons and learn those step by step. 👍

And most importantly, just ask us any time. 😉


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Vickie
Tuesday at 12:50 pm
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Hi there! Do you have a list of all the measure words somewhere? I couldn't find one when I looked :(

CantoneseClass101.comVerified
Saturday at 5:32 pm
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Hi Mervin,


Thank you so much for your encouragement and support.


About the pronunciation of z sound and s sound in Cantonese, you can go to the link listed below and simply click the "triangular play icon" above the "zi" and "si" in the first row. You will hear the pronunciation of "zi" and "si". This is a very useful chart for checking the tiny difference of the Cantonese pronunciation.

https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/cantonese-alphabet/


"zi" is the measure word for slender object like pen or bottle. "si" means poem.


Hope you find this chart useful and feel free to send us more comments. Thank you.


Siuling


Team CantoneseClass101.com

Mervin
Wednesday at 7:40 pm
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Hello and thanks for all of your effort in producing this wonderful website! I am just wondering, in cantonese, is the z sound more like a s sound because you did pronounce it like an s? In mandarin, the z sound is a bit different from the cantonese, just want to make sure that your pronunciation is correct? thanks!

CantoneseClass101.comVerified
Monday at 3:59 pm
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Hi Hector,


:thumbsup:

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Hope you will enjoy our coming up video lessons. :smile:


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Hector
Tuesday at 5:44 pm
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Best site for new learner like me. Keep it up, guys. Great job

CantoneseClass101
Tuesday at 4:15 pm
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Hi Giada,


Many words in Cantonese have the same pronunciation, we usually determine the definitions depending on the context. In writing it's much easier to distinguish because there are different characters, for example,

"three (3)" is 三 (saam1)

"shirt/clothes" is 衫 (saam1).


To say "3 shirts", we need to add the classifier between the amount and the noun, hence it's 三件衫 (saam1 gin6 saam1) :wink:


Olivia

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Giada
Saturday at 12:10 pm
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Why is the word for 3 and the word for shirt the same? I do not know the characters but would it cause any confusion if the pronunciation is the same, for example if I asked for 3 shirts?

CantoneseClass101.comVerified
Thursday at 5:32 pm
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Hi Crystal,


We are very happy you liked our "3 minutes series"! :smile:

Stay tuned because the next video series will show up very soon! :wink:


Enjoy learning with us!


Gergő

Team CantoneseClass101.com

crystal
Saturday at 6:02 pm
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Good job! This is the best video for learning cantonese I watched online, Please do more video on this series of " learning cantonese in 3 minutes" . Thanks