Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Becky: Hello and welcome back to CantoneseClass101.com. This is season 1, lesson 7, This Cantonese Dish Has an Unusual Name! I’m Becky.
Olivia: 哈囉!(haa1 lo3)! And I’m Olivia!
Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask what something means.
Olivia: The conversation takes place at a Hong Kong restaurant...
Becky: ...between a waiter and a customer.
Olivia: And as usual, the speakers will be using casual Cantonese.
Becky: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

客人: 嗰碟係乜嘢? (HAAK3 JAN4: go2 dip6 hai6 mat1?)
侍應: 「老少平安」。 (SI6 JING3: "lou5 siu3 ping4 on1.")
客人: 即係乜呀? (HAAK3 JAN4: zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
侍應: 即係魚肉蒸豆腐。 (SI6 JING3: zik1 hai6 jyu4 juk6 zing1 dau6 fu6.)
Becky: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
客人: 嗰碟係乜嘢? (HAAK3 JAN4: go2 dip6 hai6 mat1?)
侍應: 「老少平安」。 (SI6 JING3: "lou5 siu3 ping4 on1.")
客人: 即係乜呀? (HAAK3 JAN4: zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
侍應: 即係魚肉蒸豆腐。 (SI6 JING3: zik1 hai6 jyu4 juk6 zing1 dau6 fu6.)
Becky: Now let’s hear it with the English translation.
客人: 嗰碟係乜嘢? (HAAK3 JAN4: go2 dip6 hai6 mat1?)
Becky: What is that dish?
侍應: 「老少平安」。 (SI6 JING3: "lou5 siu3 ping4 on1.")
Becky: "Everyone in peace."
客人: 即係乜呀? (HAAK3 JAN4: zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
Becky: What is that exactly?
侍應: 即係魚肉蒸豆腐。 (SI6 JING3: zik1 hai6 jyu4 juk6 zing1 dau6 fu6.)
Becky: That is steamed tofu with minced fish.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Becky: And now it’s time to talk about one of my favorite topics in Cantonese culture - food!
Olivia: Yes, Cantonese dishes are very tasty!
Becky: Don’t be ashamed to ask about the ingredients or preparation, because sometimes a dish may have a funny or confusing name.
Olivia: But if you're in an adventurous mood, trying new things in Hong Kong is a lot of fun, so go for it!
Becky: So what should you say if the food is delicious?
Olivia: You say 好好味 (hou2 hou2 mei6), which literally means “very good taste.”
Becky: How about if you come across something you would never dare to try? In my case, that would be chicken feet.
Olivia: It’s not a problem! Just say “No, thanks” – 唔使喇,唔該。(m4 sai2 laa3, m4 goi1.)
Becky: Thanks! Okay, now let’s move on to the vocab.
VOCAB LIST
: The first word we shall see is:
: 碟 (dip6) [natural native speed]
: plate, plate of
: 碟 (dip6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 碟 (dip6) [natural native speed]
: Next:
: 乜嘢 (mat1 je5) [natural native speed]
: what
: 乜嘢 (mat1 je5) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 乜嘢 (mat1 je5) [natural native speed]
: Next:
: 老少 (lou5 siu3) [natural native speed]
: everyone (literally “old and young”)
: 老少 (lou5 siu3) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 老少 (lou5 siu3) [natural native speed]
: Next:
: 平安 (ping4 on1) [natural native speed]
: peaceful, in peace
: 平安 (ping4 on1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 平安 (ping4 on1) [natural native speed]
: Next:
: 即係 (zik1 hai6) [natural native speed]
: that is, that means, in conclusion
: 即係 (zik1 hai6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 即係 (zik1 hai6) [natural native speed]
: Next:
: 魚肉 (jyu4 juk6) [natural native speed]
: (flesh of) fish
: 魚肉 (jyu4 juk6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 魚肉 (jyu4 juk6) [natural native speed]
: Next:
: 豆腐 (dau6 fu6) [natural native speed]
: tofu
: 豆腐 (dau6 fu6) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 豆腐 (dau6 fu6) [natural native speed]
: And Last:
: 蒸 (zing1) [natural native speed]
: to steam
: 蒸 (zing1) [slowly - broken down by syllable]
: 蒸 (zing1) [natural native speed]
KEY VOCAB AND PHRASES
Becky: Let’s take a closer look at the usage of some of the words and phrases from this lesson. What are we starting with?
Olivia: First is 老少 (lou5 siu3)
Becky: What can you tell us about this?
Olivia: It’s an expression that is very close to the English “young and old”, because it's composed of the words 老 (lou5) which means “old”, and 少 (siu3) which means “young”.
Becky: Like in English, it’s used to mean “everybody” or “every person”. Will you repeat it again for our listeners?
Olivia: 老少 (lou5 siu3)
Becky: Great! What’s next?
Olivia: Next is 平安 (ping4 on1).
Becky: What does each word mean?
Olivia: 平 (ping4) means “flat” or “smooth”, while 安 (on1) means “tranquil” and “safe”.
Becky: So together, we have “peaceful”, or “in peace”. Can you repeat the word again? Listeners, repeat after Olivia.
Olivia: 平安 (ping4 on1) [pause]
Becky: Okay, now onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Becky: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to ask what something means.
Olivia: In Cantonese, we say 即係乜呀? (zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
Becky: In most cases, it can be translated as “What does it mean?” or “What is it exactly?”
Olivia: When you want to ask for a definition or some details about an object, you can ask the question 即係乜呀? (zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?) in Cantonese.
Becky: We already learned the word for “what”...
Olivia: As a reminder, it’s...乜 (mat1). And 即係 (zik1 hai6) means "that is to say” or “that means”.
Becky: How about the last character?
Olivia: 呀 (aa1) is a common final particle used in neutral questions. So altogether, 即係乜呀? (zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
Becky: …means “What does it mean?”
Olivia: Listeners, repeat after me, 即係乜呀? (zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
Becky: You can use this phrase to ask about definitions and explanations. Or, like in the dialog, the ingredients of a dish.
Olivia: So when you're faced with a new word or term, and you don’t know what it means. You would want to ask...
Becky: ..."What does [A] mean?”
Olivia: Yes, like this – 「老少平安」即係乜呀? (“lou5 siu3 ping4 ngon1” zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
Becky: "What does ‘Everyone in peace’ mean?"
Olivia: Yes, since you don’t know the word’s meaning, you ask about it like this.
Becky: Can you give us another example please Olivia?
Olivia: Sure!「炒麵」即係乜呀?(“caau2 min6” zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?)
Becky: This is "What does ‘chow mein’ mean?"
Olivia: Right, and that’s another typical Cantonese food.
Becky: And now let’s hear the set phrase again... Listeners, repeat after Olivia.
Olivia: [something] 即係乜呀? (zik1 hai6 mat1 aa1?)
Becky: “What does [something] mean?”
Olivia: Right, and to answer the question, you can use 即係 (zik1 hai6) before the answer.
Becky: Which is “It means that…”
Olivia: For example, the question「老少平安」即係乜呀?(“lou5 siu3 ping4 ngon1” zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?) can be answered with 即係魚肉蒸豆腐。(zik1 hai6 jyu4 juk6 zing1 dau6 fu6.)
Becky: So we have "What does ‘Everyone in peace’ mean?" and the answer "It means steamed tofu with minced fish."
Olivia: Here’s another example, IM 即係乜呀?(IM zik1 hai6 mat1 aa3?) And the answer, IM即係即時通訊。 (IM zik1 hai6 zik1 si4 tung1 seon3.)
Becky: "What does ‘IM’ mean?” and the answer “IM means Instant Messaging.” Listeners, for more examples, please check the lesson notes.
Olivia: Yes, because practice makes perfect!

Outro

Becky: And that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, everyone, and we’ll see you next time! Bye!
Olivia: 拜拜!(baai1 baai3!)

8 Comments

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CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 04:59 AM
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Hi robert groulx,


Thanks for sharing! 😉


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Friday at 10:36 PM
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thanks for the lesson


my favorite phrase is 即係乜呀?


robert

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 05:32 PM
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Hello Vincent,


Thanks for your question. 老少咸宜 is a four-character idiom, so I suggest you to memorize the whole expression. In the past, 咸 (haam4) meant "for all", so that the meaning of this idiom is "suitable for all ages". 😉


Ada

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Vincent
Thursday at 12:34 AM
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In the vocabulary sentence for 老少 (lou5 siu3: everyone), 呢套戲老少咸宜。ni1 tou3 hei3 lou5 siu3 haam4 ji4.(This movie is suitable for all ages.), what does 咸 (haam4) mean in that sentence, and does it go with 老少 (lou5 siu3) or 宜 (ji4) to form a particular word/phrase (either "all ages" or "suitable")? Thank you, again, for your helpful explanations!

cantoneseclass101.com
Sunday at 11:29 AM
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Hello Vincent,


鴛鴦即係咖啡溝奶茶。

jin1 joeng1 zik1 hai6 gaa3 fe1 kau1 naai5 caa4.

Hong Kong-style coffee tea is a mixture of coffee and milk tea.


溝(kau1) ~ mix together when we use it as a verb. When 溝(kau1) is a noun, it means "ditch, drain"


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Vincent
Wednesday at 11:10 PM
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What does "kau1" mean, in general, and as used in the vocabulary sentence for "zik1 hai6?" ("jin1 joeng1 zik1 hai6 gaa3 fe1 kau1 naai5 caa4. Hong Kong-style coffee tea is a mixture of coffee and milk tea.") Thank you!

CantoneseClass101
Thursday at 12:08 PM
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Hi Benny,


Hahaa That's very brave of you!:thumbsup:

Let us know how you like the dishes!!


Olivia

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Benny
Thursday at 04:58 AM
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This is a fun lesson, thanks! :) I'm going to try all the 'weird' sounding dishes in Hong Kong. Chinese dishes can indeed sound funny sometimes.

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 06:30 PM
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