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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 20, Currency. In Hong Kong, the currency is the Hong Kong dollar or 港紙(gong2 zi2). It literally means Hong Kong paper. At the time of recording this lesson, the exchange rate is roughly HKD10 to USD1.28. The Hong Kong currency includes 10, 20, 50, 100 and 1000 Hong Kong bills and 10, 20, and 50 cent and 1, 2 and 5 Hong Kong dollar coins. Now let’s try to say some prices in Cantonese. Let’s start with HKD28 二十八蚊 (ji6 sap6 baat3 man1). Let’s hear it again 二十八蚊 (ji6 sap6 baat3 man1) or in colloquial Cantonese, you will hear 廿八蚊(jaa6 baat3 man1), 廿八蚊(jaa6 baat3 man1). When it’s a price that includes only the dollar but no cent, we use 蚊(man1) for the dollar. For instance HKD1 一 蚊(jat1 man1), HKD10 十蚊(sap6 man1). In our earlier example, HKD28 廿八蚊(jaa6 baat3 man1) or 二十八蚊 (ji6 sap6 baat3 man1) HKD2 10 8. And sometimes you will see HKD100 一百蚊(jat1 baak3 man1) and sometimes we see HKD100 一百蚊(jat1 baak3 man1). Let’s hear it again slowly 一百蚊(jat1 baak3 man1). That’s 100 蚊(man1) HKD100. Now if you need to say cent, remember that we mention the smallest note in Hong Kong dollars is 10 cent.
So in Cantonese, cents come in tens. So every ten cents is called 毫子(hou4 zi2). Let’s hear it again 毫子(hou4 zi2), 毫子(hou4 zi2). Now 毫(hou4) is a lowest tone, low flat tone. 子( zi2) it’s a rising tone 毫子(hou4 zi2), 毫子(hou4 zi2). So 10 cents is 一毫子(jat1 hou4 zi2), 一毫子(jat1 hou4 zi2). 20 cents is 兩毫子(loeng3 hou4 zi2), 兩毫子(loeng3 hou4 zi2) and 50 cents is 五毫子(ng3 hou4 zi2), 五毫子(ng3 hou4 zi2). 50 cents is 5 毫子(hou4 zi2). Now let’s try some complex numbers. Let’s say HKD39.5 三十九個半(saam1 sap6 gau2 go3 bun3). Let’s hear it again 三十九個半(saam1 sap6 gau2 go3 bun3) 39.5. Now when we say number that includes both dollar and cent, we use 個(go3) instead of 蚊(man1) for dollar and we use 半(bun3) for 50 cents. So HKD39.5 is 三十九個半(saam1 sap6 gau2 go3 bun3). It’s literally 39.5 or $39.5 but if it’s not 50 cents, you can just read out the numbers. Now let’s try HKD188.8 一百八十八個八(jat1 baak3 baat3 sap6 baat3 go3 baat3). Now this is a bit tricky. Let’s hear it one more time 一百八十八個八(jat1 baak3 baat3 sap6 baat3 go3 baat3). What we do is, we read the big numbers first, 188 一百八十八(jat1 baak3 baat3 sap6 baat3) 188 and then we say dot which is 個(go3) or Hong Kong dollar 個(go3) and then we say the numbers behind the dot 八(baat3)8. So 188.8 is 一百八十八個八(jat1 baak3 baat3 sap6 baat3 go3 baat3). Let’s hear it again 一百八十八個八(jat1 baak3 baat3 sap6 baat3 go3 baat3). Now what if there are more than one digit after the dot? Let’s say 42.99. Let’s say HKD42.99 四十二個九毫九(sei3 sap6 ji6 go3 gau2 hou4 gau2) or 四十二蚊九毫九(sei3 sap6 ji6 man1 gau2 hou4 gau2). Now let’s hear it one more time 四十二個九毫九(sei3 sap6 ji6 go3 gau2 hou4 gau2) or 四十二蚊九毫九(sei3 sap6 ji6 man1 gau2 hou4 gau2). That’s HKD42.99 and that’s a price you are very likely to see in supermarkets. Something, something point 99, something, something point 99, something, something point 99, something, something point 九毫九(gau2 hou4 gau2). That’s 99 cents 九毫九(gau2 hou4 gau2) like HKD55.99 五十五個九毫九(ng5 sap6 ng5 go3 gau2 hou4 gau2)or 五十五蚊九毫九(ng5 sap6 ng5 man1 gau2 hou4 gau2) That’s HKD55.99.
Now let’s have a quick review of what we’ve learned today. HKD100 一百蚊(jat1 baak3 man1), 20 cents 兩毫子(loeng3 hou4 zi2) That’s two 毫子(hou4 zi2) 20 cents and HKD56.5 五十六個半(ng5 sap6 luk6 go3 bun3). That’s literally HKD56.5 and lastly we have, HKD78.39 七十八蚊三毫九(cat1 sap6 baat3 man1 saam1 hou4 gau2). That is tricky one. Let’s hear it one more time 七十八蚊三毫九(cat1 sap6 baat3 man1 saam1 hou4 gau2). Now very often when you are at the counter and you are ready to pay for something, you would be asked, do you have change or when you go out, you might need some change or coins to buy subway ticket. In Cantonese, the word for small change or change is 散紙(saan2 zi2), 散紙(saan2 zi2) or literally a random paper 散紙(saan2 zi2) and a question, do you have change is 有冇散紙?(jau3 mou3 saan2 zi2). Let’s hear it again 有冇散紙?(jau3 mou3 saan2 zi2), 有冇散紙?(jau3 mou3 saan2 zi2) Do you have or not have change and the answer is either 有(jau3) yes I have or 冇(mou3) not to have. All right, before we go, we’d like you to practice what you’ve just learned. As always, I will give you the English and you are responsible for saying the Cantonese. You have a few seconds before I give you the answers. 加 油(gaa1 jau2)! $100 一百蚊(jat1 baak3 man1) 20 cents 兩毫子(loeng3 hou4 zi2) HKD56.5, 五十六個半(ng5 sap6 luk6 go3 bun3) HKD78.39 七十八蚊三毫九(cat1 sap6 baat3 man1 saam1 hou4 gau2). All right that about does it for today. I hope you will get it right. Thank you for listening. Remember to stop by cantoneseclass101.com and pick up the PDF. If you stop by, please remember to leave us a comment. Bye bye.

16 Comments

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CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hong Kong Dollars come in all colors of the rainbow. Each bank has it's own currency.

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 01:25 PM
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Hello Laurids Stockert,


Thank you for your question.

毫(hou4) should be in the 4th tone.


Cantonese Pronunciation

https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/lesson/all-about-4-cantonese-pronunciation/

The Tones

The first tone is high and flat: [si1].

The second tone is a rising tone: [si2], and has intonation similar to that used in English to indicate a question (e.g., "Huh?").

The third tone starts in the middle and is flat: [si3].

The fourth tone is a flat tone at the bottom of our range: [si4]. You will feel a slight vibration at the base of your throat when doing it correctly.

The fifth tone is a rising tone: [si5], which starts from the lowest point in your range and rises to the middle.

The sixth tone is a flat tone: [si6], which starts from near the base and stays there.


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Laurids Stockert
Thursday at 12:50 PM
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"So in Cantonese, cents come in tens. So every ten cents is called 毫子(hou4 zi2). Let’s hear it again 毫子(hou4 zi2), 毫子(hou4 zi2). Now 毫(hou4) is a lowest tone, low flat tone."

What tone is it now? 4th tone or the 6th tone?

Cantoneseclass@101.com
Saturday at 04:46 PM
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Hello Jamie,


There are more lessons about the expression of numbers. Hope you will find them useful.


Numbers 1-10

https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/lesson/learn-cantonese-in-three-minutes-6-numbers-110/


Time expression

https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/lesson/absolute-beginner-18-its-quitting-time-in-hong-kong-2/


Seating

https://www.cantoneseclass101.com/lesson/survival-phrases-11-cantonese-restaurant-part-1-seating/


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Jamie
Monday at 09:40 AM
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Very numerical but denoting different currencies: I would like to buy more Chinese studies.

Cantoneseclass101.com Verified
Friday at 08:11 AM
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Hi Steven,


I like Hong Kong 我喜歡香港.

Or you can say 我好鍾意香港。


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Cantoneseclass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 04:27 PM
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Hello GMack,


Thank you so much for your encouragement and very happy to hear that you find the learning material helpful.

Nicole is really a great instructor. There are more you tube lessons coming up . I am sure you will find it useful and interesting.


https://www.youtube.com/user/CantoneseClass101/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=5


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

GMack
Friday at 11:29 AM
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I wish more lesson modules were in the format of the Survival Phrases series. I've really gotten a lot out of it and it's helped me in HK. That, and Nicole is an awesome instructor. :thumbsup:

Cantoneseclass101.com Verified
Sunday at 02:33 PM
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Hi Patrick,


Thank you for your very good question. You are right that the same rule is used when we talk about 1000 HKD.


HK$1000 is 一千蚊 (jat1 cin1 man1).

HK$1986.47 is (jat1 cin1 gau2 baak3 baat3 sap6 luk6 man1 sei3 hou4 cat1)

一 千 九 百 八 十 六 蚊 四 毫 七

or ( jat1 cin1 gau2 baak3 baat3 sap6 luk6 go3 sei3 hou4 cat1)

一 千 九 百 八 十 六 個 四 毫 七


The number or price like 42.99 or 55.99 is necessary especially in the stock exchange market. You will see or hear a lot this decimal number when you watch the investment news channel. People use a lot when they report the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index, Tokyo nikkei index or the share price of the bank or company. :smile:


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Patrick
Wednesday at 05:40 PM
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What about 1000 HKD? Are the rules the same for a larger prices like 1986.47? yat1 (thousand) gau2 baak3 baat3 sap6 luk6 man1 sei3 hou4 cat3?


Also, if the smallest unit of money in HK is 10 cents, why are there prices of things like 42.99 or 55.99? Either it would be 42.90 or 43 HKD right? how does that work?

CantoneseClass101
Wednesday at 04:42 AM
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Hi Arn,


Thanks for the comment! Glad that you're enjoying our lessons! :smile:


Olivia

Team CantoneseClass101.com