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大家好(daai6 gaa1 hou2)! Hello and welcome to Cantonese Survival phrases brought to you by cantoneseclass101.com, my name is Nicole and I will be your language teacher and culture guide throughout this course. This course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Hong Kong or anywhere else in the Cantonese world. You will be surprised at how far a little Cantonese will go. Now before we jump in, remember to stop by cantoneseclass101.com and there you will find the accompanying PDF and additional info in this post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.
Cantonese survival phrases lesson 10. Apologies. In today’s lesson, we will cover phrases used for apologizing. Now as you haven’t quite mastered Cantonese, it’s probably very prudent to go over the phrases for apologizing as they just might come in handy. We will start with I am sorry which in Cantonese is 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6). Let’s hear it once again 對 唔 住(deoi3 m4 zyu6). Let’s break it down by syllable 對 唔 住(deoi3 m4 zyu6), 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6). Now these three sounds are mid flat tone, lowest tone, mid flat tone. 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6), 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6). And please note that we use 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) in the formal level of speech or to be more exact, it’s an apology for a serious matter and this 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) is not a step on your feet apology, it’s a step on your only pair of glasses apology. Now in that case, you want to say you are really, really, really sorry. Now the word for really or very is 好(hou2). It’s the same character we learned in hello 你好(nei5 hou2), 好(hou2). It’s a rising tone while asking a question. Here it means very or really. 好對唔住(hou2 deoi3 m4 zyu6), 好對唔住(hou2 deoi3 m4 zyu6) I am really, really sorry 好對唔住(hou2 deoi3 m4 zyu6) or you can say a couple of 好(hou2) in a row 好 好 好 好對唔住(hou2 hou2 hou2 hou2 deoi3 m4 zyu6) that means, you are really, really, really sorry.
Now talking to a friend that’s changing to an informal level of speech, you will use 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si1). Let’s hear it again 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si1). And when you break it down by syllable 唔 好 意 思(m4 hou2 ji3 si1) and let’s hear it again 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si1). Now there is no new sounds in this phrase. 唔(m4) It’s the same sound in 唔該(m4 goi1). 唔(m4) followed by 好(hou2), 好(hou2). It can mean very or good or really. 好(hou2) like asking a question 好唔好(hou2 m4 hou2). And 意思( ji3 si3) means meaning. 意思( ji3 si3) or意思( ji3 si1) both are okay. 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) or 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si1) Now let’s hear the two apologies together for comparison 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) and 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3). We use 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) when you might have said or done something offensive, wrong or really embarrassing or feel just disgust, however we can also use 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) as excuse me. Use 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) also or 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) when you are trying to work your way through a crowd as the subway station for instance use 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) also or 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) when you are trying to work your way through a crowd at the subway station for instance or when you are trying to get someone’s attention in store while asking for directions, you can just say 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) or 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) and there is also a very useful word that we’ve learned long time ago 唔該(m4 goi1). it can mean excuse me as well and in this situation, you can also say 唔該(m4 goi1) to call someone’s attention.
Now what if someone said 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) or 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) to you after having did something wrong and you want to respond, no problem or it doesn’t matter. In this case, the proper response should be 唔緊要(m4 gan2 jiu3) which literally means it’s not serious, it doesn’t matter. 唔緊要(m4 gan2 jiu3), 唔 緊 要(m4 gan2 jiu3) Let’s break it down by syllable 唔(m4) is the same 唔(m4) second high rising tone 緊 要( gan2 jiu3) mid flat tone. 唔緊要(m4 gan2 jiu3), 唔緊要(m4 gan2 jiu3) It doesn’t matter. Now let’s hear all the three phrases together. 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) I am sorry. 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) Also I am sorry or excuse me. 唔緊要(m4 gan2 jiu3) It doesn’t matter. If someone bumps into you on the streets in Hong Kong or anywhere else in the Cantonese world, don’t expect an excuse me especially in the big cities. Cantonese people are usually very friendly people but just do not consider excusing oneself or bumping into someone [0:05:44]. Unless someone pushes you so hard and you fall on the ground, keep walking. Okay to close out today’s lesson, we’d like you to practice what you’ve just learned. I will provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud. You have a few seconds before I give you the answers 加 油(gaa1 jau2)! I am sorry. 對唔住(deoi3 m4 zyu6) Excuse me or I am sorry 唔好意思(m4 hou2 ji3 si3) doesn’t matter 唔緊要(m4 gan2 jiu3) All right, that’s all for our lesson today. Remember to stop by cantoneseclass101.com and pick up the PDF. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment. Bye bye.

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CantoneseClass101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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Don't apologize profusely for minor mistakes. Cantonese people are very forgiving for the little mis-steps. Save the sorrys for the big blunders.

CantoneseClass101.comVerified
Saturday at 5:49 pm
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Hello Valerie,


Thank you so much for your comment. Glad to know that you find the lesson engaging.


Feel free to send us any other questions.


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Valerie
Monday at 10:38 pm
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Thank you for these lessons and the examples of pronunciation. It's slow going but engaging!

Cantoneseclass101.comVerified
Friday at 7:50 am
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Hi Steven,


對不起 is 對唔住.


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

CantoneseClass101
Wednesday at 12:24 am
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@James

Thank you for your comment! Great to hear that you're making use of the Honzi Closeup PDF :smile::thumbsup:


@Ray

Practice Practice Practice, then you'll be able to say it! :wink:


@Gail

When apologizing for an inconvenience, we use 唔好意思 (m4 hou2 ji3 si1), which is the same as "Excuse me" :grin:


Olivia

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Gail
Tuesday at 9:01 pm
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Hi! Thanks for the great lessons. I was just wondering how one would apologize for an inconvience? (E.g. I apologize for the invoncenience/ I'm sorry for the inconvenience) :)

Ray
Friday at 8:33 pm
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i kind of know this one but its hard to say.

Hopefully mybe theres another word for it in cantonese

James
Tuesday at 11:44 am
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Hey,

Good job with the lessons. I'm happy to see the Hanzi Close Up.