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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Hello and welcome to the Lower Beginner series at CantoneseClass101.com. This is Season 1, Lesson 16, How to Get Rich Quick in Hong Kong, Part 2. I'm Eric.
Teddy: 哈囉! (haa1 lo3!) And I'm Teddy.
Eric: In this lesson, we’re continuing the dialogue from Lesson 15. If you remember, we were choosing numbers for lottery tickets.
Teddy: This dialogue takes place at a Jockey Club betting branch in Hong Kong...
Eric: ...and it’s between two friends, Jane and Wendy.
Teddy: They are using casual Cantonese.
Eric: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Jane: 我揀四號。(ngo5 gaan2 sei3 hou6).
Wendy: 唔好!死死聲咁難聽!(m4 hou2! sei2 sei2 seng1 gam3 naan4 teng1!)
Jane: 咁三號啦。(gam2 saam1 hou6 laa1).
Wendy: 好呀,十三同廿三都好。(hou2 aa3, sap6 saam1 tung4 jaa6 saam1 dou1 hou2).
Eric: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Jane: 我揀四號。(ngo5 gaan2 sei3 hou6).
Wendy: 唔好!死死聲咁難聽!(m4 hou2! sei2 sei2 seng1 gam3 naan4 teng1!)
Jane: 咁三號啦。(gam2 saam1 hou6 laa1).
Wendy: 好呀,十三同廿三都好。(hou2 aa3, sap6 saam1 tung4 jaa6 saam1 dou1 hou2).
Eric: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
Jane: 我揀四號。(ngo5 gaan2 sei3 hou6).
Eric: I'll pick number four.
Wendy 唔好!死死聲咁難聽!(m4 hou2! sei2 sei2 seng1 gam3 naan4 teng1!)
Eric: Don't! It sounds like "death!"
Jane: 咁三號啦。(gam2 saam1 hou6 laa1).
Eric: Then, I'll pick number three.
Wendy: 好呀,十三同廿三都好。(hou2 aa3, sap6 saam1 tung4 jaa6 saam1 dou1 hou2).
Eric: Okay, thirteen and twenty-three are also good.
Eric: Well, I probably wouldn't pick number thirteen.
Teddy: Oh that’s right, thirteen is an unlucky number in Western cultures.
Eric: What about Hong Kong? Is there any unlucky number?
Teddy: We consider the number “four” as the unlucky one.
Eric: Ah.. I know why. It’s because the pronunciation of the number “four” is same as that of the word for “death” right?
Teddy: That’s right. In Cantonese, the number four is 四 (sei3) and it sounds like the word 死 (sei2) which means “death.”
Eric: That’s why you cannot find the 4th floor at a hospital in Hong Kong.
Teddy: But you know, we also have a lucky number too.
Eric: I know, what it is. It’s number 8, right?
Teddy: That’s right. Not only in Hong Kong, but also in the mainland China, we consider the number 8 or in Cantonese 八 (baat3) as a lucky number. It’s because it sounds like the other word 發 (faat3) meaning “wealth.”
Eric: I see. That’s good to know. Okay, now onto the vocab.
The first word we shall see is:
揀 (gaan2) [natural native speed]
to choose
揀 (gaan2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
揀 (gaan2) [natural native speed]
四 (sei3) [natural native speed]
four (4)
四 (sei3) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
四 (sei3) [natural native speed]
號碼 (hou6 maa5) [natural native speed]
號碼 (hou6 maa5) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
號碼 (hou6 maa5) [natural native speed]
死 (sei2) [natural native speed]
to die
死 (sei2) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
死 (sei2) [natural native speed]
聲 (seng1) [natural native speed]
sound, voice, volume
聲 (seng1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
聲 (seng1) [natural native speed]
難聽 (naan4 teng1) [natural native speed]
to sound awful
難聽 (naan4 teng1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
難聽 (naan4 teng1) [natural native speed]
三 (saam1) [natural native speed]
three (3)
三 (saam1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
三 (saam1) [natural native speed]
And Last:
廿 (jaa6) [natural native speed]
廿 (jaa6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
廿 (jaa6) [natural native speed]
Eric: Let's take a closer look at some of the words and phrases from this lesson. What are we starting with?
Teddy: 廿 (jaa6)
Eric: What can you tell us about this?
Teddy: 廿 (jaa6) is the colloquial way to say 二十 (ji6 sap6), or "twenty." Can you hear the difference between 二十 (ji6 sap6) and 廿? (jaa6?)
Eric: I can! But how are they used differently?
Teddy: When we're talking about the number twenty, we usually use 二十 (ji6 sap6). But when there's a classifier following the number, we can use both. For instance, 二十個 (ji6 sap6 go3) and 廿個 (jaa6 go3) are the same. Also, for numbers starting with twenty, such as twenty-one, we can say 二十一 (ji6 sap6 jat1), or 廿一 (jaa6 jat1).
Eric: So for twenty-one to twenty-nine, we can apply that rule, right?
Teddy: Yes. 廿一, 廿二﹐廿三﹐廿四﹐廿五﹐廿六﹐廿七﹐廿八﹐廿九 (jaa6 jat1, jaa6 ji6, jaa6 saam1, jaa6 sei3, jaa6 ng5, jaa6 luk6, jaa6 cat1, jaa6 baat3, jaa6 gau2)
Eric: Do you do that for other numbers?
Teddy: Yes, for example, two hundred thousand is 二十萬 (ji6 sap6 maan6), and as we learned just now, we can say 廿萬 (jaa6 maan6).
Eric: Okay, that's easy. So, what’s the other phrase we want to talk about?
Teddy: It's the expression 死死聲咁難聽 (sei2 sei2 seng1 gam3 naan4 ting3).
Eric: What does that mean?
Teddy: Let's break it down. 死死聲 (sei2 sei2 seng1) is "the sound of death." 咁 (gam3) means "such," and 難聽 (naan4 teng1) is "awful to listen to." Wendy said that because Jane mentioned the number four, which sounds like "death."
Eric: So Wendy thinks "number four" sounds awful?
Teddy: Right. Let's look closely at the last two characters – 難 (naan4) is "difficult," and 聽 (teng1) is "to listen." Together, 難聽 (naan4 teng1) literally means "difficult to listen," implying "to sound bad" or "to sound awful."
Eric: Can you repeat that phrase again please?
Teddy: 死死聲咁難聽 (sei2 sei2 seng1 gam3 naan4 ting3). [pause]
Eric: Okay, now onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Eric: In this lesson, you’ll learn the different words for the conjunction "and."
Teddy: Right, in the dialogue, Wendy said 十三同廿三 (sap6 saam1 tung4 jaa6 saam1), "numbers thirteen and twenty-three."
Eric: So which word means "and"?
Teddy: 同 (tung4) means "and." For example, for "Wendy and Jane," we’ll say "Wendy 同 (tung4) Jane."
Eric: Can you give some more examples?
Teddy: Sure. 我同你 (ngo5 tung4 nei5).
Eric: "Me and you."
Teddy: 貓同狗 (maau1 tung4 gau2)
Eric: "Cats and dogs." Okay, so are there a lot of other words that also mean "and?"
Teddy: Not too many. In the spoken form, we usually just use 同 (tung4) or 同埋 (tung4 maai4), and in some cases, we’ll use 又 (jau6) or 而 (ji4). However, in the written form we never use 同 (tung4) and 同埋 (tung4 maai4). The most common ones are 和 (wo4), 及 (kap6) and 與 (jyu5).
Eric: Although we're learning spoken Cantonese here, it's nice to know the difference in the written form.
Teddy: In Mandarin Chinese, speaking and writing are generally the same. They write what they speak. But Cantonese has slightly different in spoken and written forms.
Eric: Do you mean the word "and" will be the same in written and spoken Mandarin?
Teddy: Yes, but at this point, let's just focus on the colloquial form of Cantonese.
Eric: Right, listeners, you can find more details in the lesson notes. Now, Teddy, can you repeat the words equivalent to "and?"
Teddy: Ok, 同 (tung4). [pause] 同埋 (tung4 maai4). [pause]
Eric: They are basically the same, they both mean "and."
Teddy: Right. For example, "Wendy 同 (tung4) Jane" is the same as "Wendy同埋 (tung4 maai4) Jane." "我同埋你" (ngo5 tung4 maai4 nei5) is the same as "我同你." (ngo5 tung4 nei5).
Eric: Got it!


Eric: Since we’ve reached the end of the lesson, how do we say, "You and I say Goodbye together?"
Teddy: 你同我一齊講拜拜! (nei5 tung4 ngo5 jat1 cai4 gong2 baai1 baai3!)
Eric: Great! Thanks for listening, everyone. Until next time!


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 06:30 PM
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Do you have any superstitions about numbers in your country?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:31 AM
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Hello robert groulx,

You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

Kind regards,


Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Sunday at 11:08 PM
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thanks for the lesson

my favorite phrase is 死死聲咁難聽


our supersitious number is 13

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 02:28 PM
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Hello Vincent,

The person in the dialogue would like to pick the number 4 and the number 4 in Cantonese is pronounced as {四(sei3) ~ four}.

For example 四月(sei3 jyut6) means "April".

It just happens that {四(sei3) ~ four} sounds so similar to the word {死(sei2) ~ dead}.

So the other person in the dialogue tried to say he did not like the sound of the Number 4. The repetition is just to express how much he dislike the sound of the number 4 that may bring them the bad luck.

把(baa2) ~ bundle, bunch. It can be used as the "measure word" of the voice, {聲 (seng1) ~ sound, voice}.


Team Cantoneseclass101.com

Thursday at 10:23 AM
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In the second Dialogue sentence ("sei2 sei2 seng1 gam3 naan4 teng1! It sounds like "death!"), why is "sei2 sei2" repeated, when "sei2" (死) by itself would ordinarily mean "death"? Is the repetition here necessary for a certain pattern or meaning here?

What does "baa2" (把) mean in the vocabulary sentence for "seng1"? ("wong4 fei1 baa2 seng1 zan1 hai6 hou2 hou2 teng1.

Faye Wong has a really beautiful voice.") Thank you, again!