Dialogue - Cantonese

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Vocabulary

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seon3 letter, to believe
包裹 baau1 gwo2 package
郵局 jau4 guk2 post office
tin4 to fill (out) a form
郵票 jau4 piu3 stamp on a letter
寄件人 gei3 gin2 jan4 sender
收件人 sau1 gin2 jan4 receiver
地址 dei6 zi2 Address
請問 cing2 man6 may I ask

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of this Lesson is Describing Completed Actions in Cantonese
填好晒
"The form is filled out."


Our focus in this lesson is on a verb complement used to describe finished actions in Cantonese. It is the complement 好晒 hou2 saai3 ("to finish doing something"). You can add it to the end of any action that takes a bit of time to complete. In our dialogue, the verb we used this with was 填 tin4 ("to fill out") which we modified to 填好晒 tin4 hou2 saai3 ("to finish filling out"). This causes a subtle shift in meaning, in which our sense changes from "filling something out" to the more time-intensive "finishing the process of completing the form."

Cantonese speakers will often use this verb complement when describing routine processes or mundane work that may take a bit of time to complete and is not necessarily fun or intellectually stimulating, as with these examples:

  1. 填好晒個地址
    tin4 hou2 saai3 go3 dei6 zi2
    "to have filled out the address"
  2. 寫好晒封信
    se2 hou2 saai3 fung1 seon3 
    "to have written up the letter"
  3. 唔該,幫我執好晒個包裹啊。
    m4 goi1, bong1 ngo5 zap1 hou2 saai3 go3 baau1 gwo2 aa1。

    "Please, help me wrap up the package"
  4. 我查好晒郵局嘅地址。
    ngo5 caa4 hou2 saai3 jau4 guk2 ge3 dei6 zi2。
    "I looked up the address of the post office"

Another common verb complement we can use to say that an action is completed is 完晒 jyun4 saai3 ("to finish doing something"). This literally means "finish all" and is put at the end of actions that have taken quite a long time. For instance, if you write 填完晒 (tin4 jyun4 saai3) you are telling us that the form took a long time to complete, and if you said 我做完晒啲嘢之後就去睇戲 ngo5 zou6 jyun4 saai3 di1 je5 zi1 hau6 zau6 heoi3 tai2 hei3 ("I'll go see a movie after I finish work") you are telling us that you have quite a bit of work left to do.

Cultural Insights

See the Hong Kong Post Office


Looking for a neat place to send your letters or parcels? The oldest post office in Hong Kong is the Stanley Post Office, which opened in 1937 and is still in service. The post office continues to occupy its original building, which is a single-story wooden cabin with little in the way of decoration save for the GR (George Rex) insignia on the wndows. Renovation work was done in 2007 to keep the building serviceable and maintain it as a bit of a time capsule for Hong Kong residents. Although the post office is a bit out of the way for those living and working downtown, it helps add to the charm of Stanley and is the center of Hong Kong's philatelist society.

Grammar

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Below is a list of the grammar points introduced or used in this lesson. Click for a full explanation.

~好晒 (hou2 saai3)
to finish doing something
Introduced

Lesson Transcript

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INTRODUCTION
David: Welcome to cantoneseclass101.com. I am David.
Melody: 大家好, 我係Melody. (daai6 gaa1 hou2, ngo5 hai6 Melody.)
David: And Melody. Today we have upper beginner, season 1, Lesson 1, The Hong Kong Post Office.
Melody: 第一課,香港嘅郵局。(dai6 jat1 fo3, hoeng1 gong2 ge3 jau4 guk2.)
David: Right. So our focus today is learning how to send mail.
Melody: 冇錯,寄郵件。(mou5 co3 ,gei3 jau4 gin2.)
David: Right, and our dialogue takes place in a post office in Hong Kong. Who is it between?
Melody: 入便有個寄件人同埋個郵差。(jap6 bin6 jau5 go3 gei3 gin2 jan4 tung4 maai4 go3 jau4 caai1.)
David: Right. So it’s between someone who is sending a letter and a worker in the post office.
Melody: 個寄件人呢,想要寄一封信。(go3 gei3 gin2 jan4 ne1, soeng2 jiu3 gei3 jat1 fung1 seon3.)
David: And this is casual Cantonese as always. Let’s listen.
DIALOGUE
A:請問郵局喺邊? (cing2 man6 jau4 guk2 hai2 bin1 ? )
B:呢度就係,你要寄咩? (ni1 dou6 zau6 hai6, nei5 jiu3 gei3 me1 ? )
A:想寄封信。 (soeng2 gei3 fung1 seon3.)
B:填好地址未? (tin4 hou2 dei6 zi2 mei6 ?)
A:填好晒。 (tin4 hou2 saai3.)
B:郵票貼好未? (jau4 piu3 tip3 hou2 mei6 ?)
A:貼好咗啦。 (tip3 hou2 zo2 laa6.)
B:咁交俾我啦。 (gam2 gaau1 bei2 ngo5 laa1. )
A:不過封信未寫好。(bat1 gwo3 fung1 seon3 mei6 se2 hou2.)
David: Once more, a bit slower.
A:請問郵局喺邊? (cing2 man6 jau4 guk2 hai2 bin1 ? )
B:呢度就係,你要寄咩? (ni1 dou6 zau6 hai6, nei5 jiu3 gei3 me1 ?)
A:想寄封信。 (soeng2 gei3 fung1 seon3.)
B:填好地址未? (tin4 hou2 dei6 zi2 mei6 ?)
A:填好晒。 (tin4 hou2 saai3.)
B:郵票貼好未? (jau4 piu3 tip3 hou2 mei6 ?)
A:貼好咗啦。 (tip3 hou2 zo2 laa6.)
B:咁交俾我啦。 (gam2 gaau1 bei2 ngo5 laa1. )
A:不過封信未寫好。(bat1 gwo3 fung1 seon3 mei6 se2 hou2.)
David: And now, with the English translation.
A:請問郵局喺邊? (cing2 man6 jau4 guk2 hai2 bin1 ? )
A: Excuse me, where is the post office?
B:呢度就係,你要寄咩? (ni1 dou6 zau6 hai6, nei5 jiu3 gei3 me1 ?)
B: It's right here. What do you want to mail?
A:想寄封信。(soeng2 gei3 fung1 seon3.)
A: I want to mail a letter.
B:填好地址未? (tin4 hou2 dei6 zi2 mei6 ?)
B: Filled out the address yet?
A:填好晒。 (tin4 hou2 saai3.)
A: Yes. It's done.
B:郵票貼好未? (jau4 piu3 tip3 hou2 mei6 ?)
B: Put on a stamp yet?
A:貼好咗啦。 (tip3 hou2 zo2 laa6.)
A: Yes, it's done.
B:咁交俾我啦。 (gam2 gaau1 bei2 ngo5 laa1. )
B: Then give it to me.
A:不過封信未寫好。(bat1 gwo3 fung1 seon3 mei6 se2 hou2.)
A: But the letter's not finished, though.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Melody: 個寄件人呢,真係好奇怪。(go3 gei3 gin2 jan4 ne1 ,zan1 hai6 hou2 kei4 gwaai3.)
David: Yeah maybe it’s a love letter.
Melody: 可能或者係申請信。(ho2 nang4 waak6 ze2 hai6 san1 cing2 seon3.)
David: Yeah whatever it is though, our vocabulary today, the focus is obviously on sending mail.
Melody: 冇錯,所有單詞都係關於郵局。(mou5 co3 ,so2 jau5 daan1 ci4 dou1 hai6 gwaan1 jyu1 jau4 guk2.)
David: Right. So all of our words are about the post office. Let’s get to the vocab section.
VOCAB LIST
Melody: 請問 (cing2 man6)
David: Excuse me.
Melody: 請問 (cing2 man6) [slow] 請問 (cing2 man6) [normal speed]。郵局 (jau4 guk2)
David: Post office.
Melody: 郵局 (jau4 guk2) [slow] 郵局 (jau4 guk2) [normal speed]。信 (seon3)
David: Letter.
Melody: 信 (seon3) [slow] 信 (seon3) [normal speed]。包裹 (baau1 gwo2)
David: Package.
Melody: 包裹 (baau1 gwo2) [slow] 包裹 (baau1 gwo2) [normal speed]。填 (tin4)
David: To fill out.
Melody: 填 (tin4) [slow] 填 (tin4) [normal speed]。地址 (dei6 zi2)
David: Address.
Melody: 地址 (dei6 zi2) [slow] 地址 (dei6 zi2) [normal speed]。郵票 (jau4 piu3)
David: Stamp.
Melody: 郵票 (jau4 piu3) [slow] 郵票 (jau4 piu3) [normal speed]。收件人 (sau1 gin2 jan4)
David: Receiver
Melody: 收件人 (sau1 gin2 jan4) [slow] 收件人 (sau1 gin2 jan4) [normal speed]。寄件人 (gei3 gin2 jan4)
David: Sender
Melody: 寄件人 (gei3 gin2 jan4) [slow] 寄件人 (gei3 gin2 jan4) [normal speed]
VOCAB AND PHRASE USAGE
David: Okay let’s take a closer look at some of these words and phrases. Our first word is
Melody: 請問 (cing2 man6)
David: Excuse me.
Melody: 請問 (cing2 man6)
David: Right. We’ve seen this before and we put it at the start of a sentence.
Melody: 譬如話:請問呢度係唔係郵局? (pei3 jyu4 waa6, cing2 man6 ni1 dou6 hai6 m4 hai6 jau4 guk2?)
David: Excuse me, is this the post office?
Melody: 請問呢度係唔係郵局? (cing2 man6 ni1 dou6 hai6 m4 hai6 jau4 guk2?)
David: Right. Or what we heard in the dialogue which was excuse me, where is the post office.
Melody: 請問郵局喺邊?(cing2 man6 jau4 guk2 hai2 bin1?)
David: Right. You could also say, excuse me, do you have time?
Melody: 請問你有冇時間?(cing2 man6 nei5 jau5 mou5 si4 gaan3?)
David: Excuse me, are you free right now?
Melody: 請問你而家有冇時間? (cing2 man6 nei5 ji4 gaa1 jau5 mou5 si4 gaan3?)
David: So our customer walks into the post office and asks a polite question and our next word is the word for post office.
Melody: 郵局。(jau4 guk2.)
David: Post office.
Melody: 郵局。(jau4 guk2.)
David: Right, and the customer has gone to the post office to mail a letter.
Melody: 我哋去郵局寄信。(ngo5 dei6 heoi3 jau4 guk2 gei3 seon3.)
David: And that’s the verb for mailing a letter.
Melody: 寄信。(gei3 seon3.)
David: Now letters are different than packages. In Cantonese, the word for package is what?
Melody: 包裹。(baau1 gwo2.)
David: Package.
Melody: 包裹。所以我哋去郵局可以寄信或者寄包裹。(baau1 gwo2. so2 ji5 ngo5 dei6 heoi3 jau4 guk2 ho2 ji5 gei3 seon3 waak6 ze2 gei3 baau1 gwo2.)
David: Right, and the verb is the same in both cases. So we send
Melody: 寄 (gei3)
David: Send a letter.
Melody: 寄信 (gei3 seon3 )
David: Or send a package.
Melody: 寄包裹 (gei3 baau1 gwo2)
David: When you are sending an envelope or package, you are going to need to buy stamps.
Melody: 郵票 (jau4 piu3)
David: Stamps.
Melody: 郵票。唔該我想買郵票。(jau4 piu3. m4 goi1 ngo5 soeng2 maai5 jau4 piu3.)
David: Can I buy some stamps please.
Melody: 唔該我想買郵票。 (m4 goi1 ngo5 soeng2 maai5 jau4 piu3.)
David: Or excuse me, I’d like to buy some stamps.
Melody: 唔該我想買郵票。(m4 goi1 ngo5 soeng2 maai5 jau4 piu3.)
David: At a post office, you might also ask, how many stamps do I need.
Melody: 請問我需要幾多張郵票?(cing2 man6 ngo5 seoi1 jiu3 gei2 do1 zoeng1 jau4 piu3?)
David: How many stamps do I need?
Melody: 我需要幾多張郵票?(ngo5 seoi1 jiu3 gei2 do1 zoeng1 jau4 piu3?)
David: Right. And don’t forget the last three words we taught you as well. When you are mailing a letter, you are going to need to know the address...
Melody: 地址 (dei6 zi2)
David: The sender...
Melody: 寄件人。(gei3 gin2 jan4.)
David: And the receiver...
Melody: 收件人。(sau1 gin2 jan4.)
Melody: 地址,寄件人,收件人,呢啲單詞呢,全部都會喺郵局入便用到。(dei6 zi2 ,gei3 gin2 jan4 ,sau1 gin2 jan4 ,ni1 di1 daan1 ci4 ne1 ,cyun4 bou6 dou1 wui5 hai2 jau4 guk2 jap6 bin6 jung6 dou3.)
David: Right, and we have something even more useful coming up in our grammar section. So let’s get to it.

Lesson focus

David: Okay Melody, in our grammar point today, we want to introduce something fancy.
Melody: 其實冇咁難,好容易嘅。(kei4 sat6 mou5 gam3 naan4, hou2 jung4 ji6 ge3.)
David: Right. It’s not actually too fancy though. Technically we are introducing something known as a verb complement and it’s this verb complement.
Melody: 好晒 (hou2 saai3)
David: This literally means that you finish something.
Melody: 好晒 (hou2 saai3)
David: And since it’s a verb complement, we put it after verbs.
Melody: 冇錯,喺對話入面:填好晒。(mou5 co3 ,hai2 deoi3 waa6 jap6 min6, tin4 hou2 saai3.)
David: To finish filling out.
Melody: 填好晒。譬如話,填好晒個地址。(tin4 hou2 saai3. pei3 jyu4 waa6, tin4 hou2 saai3 go3 dei6 zi2.)
David: Finish filling out an address.
Melody: 填好晒個地址。或者話,填好晒收件人。(tin4 hou2 saai3 go3 dei6 zi2. waak6 ze2 waa6, tin4 hou2 saai3 sau1 gin2 jan4.)
David: To fill in the recipient.
Melody: 填好晒收件人。(tin4 hou2 saai3 sau1 gin2 jan4.)
David: The verb in this case is
Melody: 填 (tin4)
David: To fill out.
Melody: 填 (tin4)
David: So adding a verb complement changes the meaning slightly.
Melody: 冇錯,表示完成咗呢個動作。填好晒。(mou5 co3 ,biu2 si6 jyun4 sing4 zo2 ni1 go3 dung6 zok3. tin4 hou2 saai3.)
David: Right. So we’ve gone from filling something out to finishing the process of filling it out.
Melody: 我哋可以用其他動詞來代替,譬如話:執。(ngo5 dei6 ho2 ji5 jung6 kei4 taa1 dung6 ci4 lei4 doi6 tai3, pei3 jyu4 waa6, zap1.)
David: To wrap.
Melody: 執好晒。(zap1 hou2 saai3.)
David: To wrap up as in to wrap up a package.
Melody: 執好晒個包裹。(zap1 hou2 saai3 go3 baau1 gwo2.)
David: To wrap up a package.
Melody: 執好晒個包裹。(zap1 hou2 saai3 go3 baau1 gwo2.)
David: At the post office, you might ask someone to help wrap up your package.
Melody: 唔該, 幫我執好晒個包裹吖。(m4 goi1, bong1 ngo5 zap1 hou2 saai3 go3 baau1 gwo2 aa1.)
David: Excuse me, can you help me wrap up this package.
Melody: 唔該,幫我執好晒個包裹吖。(m4 goi1, bong1 ngo5 zap1 hou2 saai3 go3 baau1 gwo2 aa1.)
David: So talking about this verb complement
Melody: 好晒 (hou2 saai3)
David: Technically we can use this with any verb.
Melody: 冇錯,要注意。(mou5 co3 ,jiu3 zyu3 ji3.)
David: But it’s a bit strange with some of them.
Melody: 係呀。譬如話:寄。(hai6 aa3. pei3 jyu4 waa6, gei3.)
David: Right. Usually we are going to use this with verbs that take a bit of time to accomplish right. So we don’t use it with a verb like to mail because it’s instantaneous. You stick it in the slot and it’s done.
Melody: 我哋唔會話:寄好晒,因為太短時間喇。(ngo5 dei6 m4 wui5 waa6 :gei3 hou2 saai3 ,jan1 wai4 taai3 dyun2 si4 gaan3 laa3.)
David: Right. So if an action is almost instantaneous, we don’t generally use this verb complement but we do use it a lot with verbs that take a bit of time to do something.
Melody: 冇錯,譬如話:查 (mou5 co3 ,pei3 jyu4 waa6, caa4)
David: To search.
Melody: 查。查好晒。(caa4. caa4 hou2 saai3.)
David: Right to finish searching or to search completely.
Melody: 查好晒。(caa4 hou2 saai3.)
David: So you might say that I looked up the post office’s address.
Melody: 我查好晒郵局嘅地址。(ngo5 caa4 hou2 saai3 jau4 guk2 ge3 dei6 zi2.)
David: I looked up the address of the post office.
Melody: 我查好晒郵局嘅地址。(ngo5 caa4 hou2 saai3 jau4 guk2 ge3 dei6 zi2.)
David: Right because it takes a bit of time to look something up.
Melody: 冇錯 (mou5 co3)
David: Right. We also often see with a verb to write.
Melody: 寫。寫好晒。(se2. se2 hou2 saai3.)
David: To finish writing.
Melody: 寫好晒封信。(se2 hou2 saai3 fung1 seon3.)
David: To finish writing a letter.
Melody: 寫好晒封信。所以如果想表示完成咗一個動作,就喺後面加「好晒」。 (se2 hou2 saai3 fung1 seon3. so2 ji3 jyu4 gwo2 soeng2 biu2 si6 jyun4 sing4 zo2 jat1 go3 dung6 zok3, zau6 hai2 hau6 min6 gaa1 “hou2 saai3.”)
David: This is a verb complement we add to the end of any action that can take a bit of time.
Melody: 譬如話:填好晒,執好晒,查好晒,寫好晒。(pei3 jyu4 waa6, tin4 hou2 saai3, zap1 hou2 saai3, caa4 hou2 saai3, se2 hou2 saai3.)

Outro

David: And with that, we are done with our lesson for today. Before we let you go that we want to remind you, you can sign up for a free account at Cantonese class in how many seconds Melody?
Melody: 5 seconds.
David: And maybe not even 5 seconds. You can put any email address into that box and we are going to send you password information, everything else you need to know to get started using the site. So if you haven’t done it, be sure to do that. For now though, we are done. I am David.
Melody: 我係 (ngo5 hai6) Melody.
David: Thanks a lot for listening and we will see you at cantoneseclass101.com
Melody: 我哋下次再見。(ngo5 dei6 haa6 ci3 zoi3 gin3.)