Questions tagged [cantonese]

The Chinese language spoken in and around Guangzhou city (formerly Canton), Hong Kong, and central and western Guangdong province.

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How does Motorola sound like "nothing to take" in Cantonese?

Li (2001) claims that: Motorola, for example, is pronounced as “me de lou la” in Cantonese, which means “nothing to take”. Not very good branding, if you're trying to sell phones. CantoDict, though,...
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What does this chant mean, in this context?

罗大佑's song 皇后大道东 (Queen's Road East) is about the transition from British to Chinese rule in 1997. It seems to be full of double meanings. In particular, there is a part which is difficult to ...
河南宝宝's user avatar
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Historical Background in the Written Language (書面語) in Hong Kong

This is not quite a question about Mandarin, but what is the historical reason why the written language (書面語) in Hong Kong is almost the same as Mandarin, provided that the simplified/traditional ...
ryohassay's user avatar
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Explain the meaning of「打斧頭」

I watched a mainland Cantonese program explaining 「打斧頭」. Since an axe is only sharp on one side. The back part of the axe is often cast with inferior materials to reduce costs. Therefore, the meaning ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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Does pronouncing 你 in Cantonese with an "n" sound make me sound old-fashioned?

When I was learning Cantonese, I had no formal teacher, just some friends who had been learning Cantonese much longer than me helping me out. These people told me that anytime a dictionary had an &...
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Is the Cantonese word 冧巴 a loanword from English?

To my ear, 冧巴 (lam1baa2, meaning "number") sounds a lot like the English word "number". Is this a coincidence, or is this a loanword from English? If it is a loanword, what word ...
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Looking for any information on the painting and artist

Any information helps. it was a thrift store find and it has what i think is a Hong Kong industry and trade sticker on the back. It’s silk in a Michael’s frame. thank you
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Cantonese proverb 寶物沉歸底

In Cantonese, there is a saying '寶物沉歸底', which roughly translates to 'good things always come last.' I have two questions about this phrase. What does the word '歸' mean in this phrase? I googled this ...
Brian Cheung's user avatar
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I'm an artist/writer and I need to know if this name is okay?

(Apologies if the question is inappropriate I did try and find an answer myself but I kept being lead back here to ask) I'm creating a Chinese character with the Cantonese dialect and I've named her ...
Cherry's user avatar
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What is "seoi zi" for 好玩?

Watching《金玉滿堂》recently where a character said something on the lines of: seoi m seoi zi? If I were to hazard a guess I would think it would be written something like: 衰唔衰志?The Mandarin subtitles ...
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What's the word ma(i) in 喺mai一齊 in Cantonese?

I always catch a syllable sounds like mai between 喺 and 一齊. I could get the exact syllable wrong but it should sound similar. The whole thing means 在一起, and 喺 means 在, 一齊 is 一起. So 1) what's the ...
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Kangxi input only letting me type two keys before moving on? E.g I type RMMR for m4, but it gives me 叼可 instead?

This is presumably a simple issue with my keyboard usage. A dropdown for characters is offered after typing RM, but I should be able to type RMMR and have it know I mean m4, right? I am using ...
Quay Legg's user avatar
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How is my Cantonese pronunciation of 汪阿姐?

汪阿姐 wong1 aa3 ze1/ze2 https://recorder.google.com/share/834c05d1-6723-4465-a207-76778d8d9bab Please upload your pronunciation audio and help identify what characters I pronounced incorrectly or ...
user78219's user avatar
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Simplified Chinese and compatibility with spoken Chinese language: How it works with iOS (VoiceOver) and Android (TalkBack)

I'm designing a Multi-language app and a major user group is Chinese speaking people with disability. The app will be on both iOS and Android. I don't speak or read any chinese language. The app ...
Sylvia Dante's user avatar
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178 views

A Cantonese-influenced Old National Pronunciation (老國音) system

I need advice/help on creating a system similar to the Old National Pronunciation system/language for a worldbuilding project called Roses, Tulips, and Liberty. Some background: Imagines, it's a world ...
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What is the proper way of saying "if" in Cantonese?

I know in Mandarin, it is easy to say something like "if" by using a statement akin to this: 如果我要去北京的話,我就用飛機。 When I looked up the word "if" in Cantonese, my dictionary brought ...
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207 views

Most common term for hanfu in Cantonese?

What is the most common term for hanfu (as in 'Hanfu movement'), i.e. modern clothing inspired by historical costumes? Is 漢服 (or 漢裝) used in spoken Cantonese, or maybe it is more of a Mandarin/Written ...
rasakah878's user avatar
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What does GG mean here?

Saw this FB post about this unfortunate taxi accident in HK: However I have never heard the term GG before and was wondering if its supposed to be shorthand for something else?
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What is the man saying in this Cantonese cartoon?

I started watching Old Master Q today and came across this scene where they try to get an interview, but I couldn't quite understand what was being said here: https://youtu.be/OR8nxtw8GjY?t=502 ...
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Can someone provide a translation of this old HK smoking ad?

I came across this interesting smoking ad from Hong Kong, but while I understand a good number of the characters, its hard for me to piece together everything that is being said here: From what I can ...
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0 votes
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561 views

What is the procedure for typing cangjie here?

I've been typing Mandarin with pinyin input for years and have never found it terribly difficult to learn. However, I am finding that when I need to use website and type Cantonese expressions, I find ...
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What do people in Hong Kong say when you are approaching a counter to buy something?

I've often found myself at the typical 7/11 waiting in line to ring out, and almost every time the cashier will say something right before I am to purchase. It sounds something like "lao wei"...
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When does one use 同埋 and 然後 in Cantonese?

A long time ago, I asked a Hong Kong colleague how to order food by saying "and" or "and then". She taught me the structure is basically something like "我要薯條同埋一個漢堡包." But ...
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3 votes
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217 views

Difference between 有冇 and 咗 for past tense in Cantonese

I have finished my audio course on Cantonese and was confused about one grammar point. Sometimes people in the conversations, referring to the past tense, would say something like this for "Did ...
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1 vote
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152 views

Why does 耷濕 mean "simple, crude, shabby"?

耷濕 means shabby; simple and crude. "This term is used in Cantonese, not Mandarin/Standard written Chinese." Wiktionary says the same thing. But 耷 means "big ear" (noun) or "...
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1 vote
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113 views

What do the ending sounds in Cantonese sentences mean or convey?

I think it's pretty well known that Cantonese has a lot of a's and la's attached to the end of sentences. However as a non-native, I have trouble understanding when these are used. For example, when ...
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486 views

Cantonese Question: When does one use 咩 versus 乜野?

I've been listening to some Cantonese audio from Pimsleur and noticed they use a different word for "what" compared to what I learned from CantoneseClass101. In CC101, they used 咩, such as &...
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What does 開心都嚟唔切 mean in Cantonese?

I searched Google and the results were only 嚟唔切 and not 開心都嚟唔切.
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What is the appropriate equivalent for "irreverent" in Mandarin/Cantonese?

The word "irreverent" is often used to describe someone who can be sarcastic or biting but in a positive, humorous way. For instance, David Letterman is considered an irreverent comedian. ...
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What are the Cantonese to English transliterations for 俊傑, 俊熙, 俊健, and 俊文? I found zeon3 for 俊. That does not sound right

What are the Cantonese to English transliterations for 俊傑, 俊熙, 俊健, and 俊文? I found zeon3 for 俊. That does not sound right.
Jessica's user avatar
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What do some lines of the Cantonese song 岁月如歌 mean?

The other day I discussed the song 岁月如歌 with my friend. We're from different Mandarin regions and I’m able to watch many Cantonese shows without subtitles but don’t really speak it. Neither of us ...
lilysirius's user avatar
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How many Cantonese speakers who don't speak Mandarin exist? [closed]

I wonder how many Cantonese speakers (either native or L2 learners) who don't speak Mandarin exist in the world. At least in mainland China, as far as I know almost all people born in 1980 or later ...
Blaszard's user avatar
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5 votes
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255 views

In Cantonese, what is the difference between 到/倒 , 得 and 可以 as verb complement

I'm taking Cantonese classes and am increasingly confused about the difference between 到/倒 , 得 and 可以. They all have a vague meaning of possibility/ability/permission to some degree, with 可以 used to ...
Raph's user avatar
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1 answer
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received from a messaging app in Hong Kong, I would like to ask for an English explanation of the title

obstacle: the song of 老餅, how to interpret this word in English
envs_h_gang_5's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
200 views

Differences with 呢度,喺度,and 喺呢度

Can anyone explain any differences in usage between the three ways of saying 'here' in Cantonese? I anticipate that in many cases, these will be exchangeable. I'm looking for examples of sentences ...
psitae's user avatar
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572 views

What language do Cantonese people use when reading Chinese?

When reading a book or a newspaper, what language do Cantonese people read in? Do they read in mandarin or Cantonese? Or do they subconsciously translate it into colloquial Cantonese since most words ...
Chinglishing101's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
489 views

Function of 行 in this statement (cantonese)

I am reading a Cantonese statement: 我日日都開行冷氣。 What is the function of 行? For me, it would have been perfectly fine as 我日日都開冷氣。 As in, I turn on the a/c everyday. Please give insights. Thanks
cgo's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
646 views

What is the function of 埋? (Cantonese)

In this sentence: 做乜唔叫埋我? What is the function of 埋? I understood this sentence to be: "why didn't you call me?" (perhaps to an outing or a party). What is the difference with the sentence &...
cgo's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
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What is the function of 得 in 我聽日仲有得面試添 in Cantonese?

I would like to ask about the function of 得 in this sentence: 我聽日仲有得面試添。 I understood the sentence as: "Tomorrow I still have an interview (additionally, on top of something else that might not ...
cgo's user avatar
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Usage and grammar points involving 嚟講

I would like to request for some insights on the usage of the phrase “… 嚟講”. I have heard this being used in so many ways, one being “對我嚟講” as speaking for myself. What could be other possible uses ...
cgo's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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Confusion over 得,唔得 + verb

I am confused about how to construct (and understand) phrases that involve: 得 and its negative 唔得 with a verb. Specifically, what is the difference between 唔得買,冇買得。 A corresponding confusion would be ...
cgo's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
1k views

What does 「雷鍋氣心樓,猴氣猴嗨賽雷敢窩」 mean?

The above is a screenshot from a youtube video I am a native Cantonese speaker, even I can't figure out what 「雷鍋氣心樓,猴氣猴嗨賽雷敢窩」」 meant. I am sure it is not 「這件事就當沒發生過」 I have no problem with the rest. E....
Tang Ho's user avatar
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2 votes
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Origins of more Cantonese specific hanzi

My familiarity is more with Mandarin characters from simplified Chinese. However, I've noticed that there are certain characters that are used for colloquial spoken Cantonese that I just never see as ...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Does 兩點九 mean 2:09 or 2:45?

I heard somebody using 兩點九 and I thought he means 2:09. Actually, by 兩點九 he means 兩點九個字, or 2:45. Does 兩點九 have two different meanings? Or does it always mean 2:45?
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5 answers
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Slogan “澀得起,就係我”

This is the slogan of a popular lemon tea drink in Hong Kong. I wanted to ask what 澀 is. I searched it and it meant “astringent” and a bunch of other negative adjectives. I think calling your lemon ...
cgo's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
208 views

放水's Mandarin counterpart

In Cantonese 放水 means not using one's full strength (in a contest against an opponent) [literal] release water For example, a strong team is winning 9-0 against a weak team. If they want to give the ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is 貼地 and 離地

This is perhaps a colloquialism that i have seen many times in Hong kong youtubers eating and tasting food. My guess is that 貼地 means local? As in 地道? what, then, is 離地? May i also know the “etymology”...
cgo's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
240 views

Borrowed cantonese word for “normal”

I have been watching local Hong Kong food reviews and have been hearing the word “lo1mou2” being said again and again. I have been wondering for a very long time what this word could have meant. A ...
cgo's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
140 views

using 值得 in a phrase

I have seen the usage of 值得 (deserving) in the following way (Cantonese, colloquial) 值得一來 值得買 I wanted to ask why there is a '一' in the first phrase, and not 值得一買? What other alternatives are there to ...
cgo's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is there a translation of the daodejing into modern mandarin grammar?

Apologies for a classic "lmgtfy" question, but you probably appreciate that the nature of what I'm asking is hard to properly convey to a search engine, regardless of whether the query is ...
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