Questions tagged [cantonese]

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

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2answers
230 views

Use of 成 / 乘 number quantifiers in Cantonese

I learned in Cantonese class that adding 成 to a Number can imply a degree of something. For example, 七成 means 70%. I explored further and it seems that it can be used to describe the rarity of your ...
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657 views

When did the usage of “N” to indicate some unspecified quantity come up?

I have heard a number of Cantonese speakers use N (pronounced like the English letter) to designate some sort of unspecified quantity, for instance: 我 N 年前去过。(Approximately "I went there some years ...
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Where can I find Cantonese poetry?

I would like to identify some Cantonese poetry to study, and I'm looking for the kind of poetry that follows a recognized style and is bound by certain rules (even Cantonese haiku or limericks would ...
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508 views

What is 'hea' (in Cantonese conversations)?

I have been seeing this word 'hea' in YouTube transcriptions involving 'relaxing' or travelling. What is the original word and how has it evolved to 'hea'? (I know it must sound similar to anglicised '...
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1answer
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Is there any proof that the Taishanese language is related to Gan? Is it from a linguistic perspective?

The Taishanese language is known to be a branch of Siyi (Sze Yup or Seiyap) which is part of the Yue subfamily branch of the Sino-Tibetan family, and related to Cantonese. This article that I was ...
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Would “mutual acquaintance” in Mandarin be 共同朋友 or 相識朋友?

Which would be the more authentic Mandarin translation for "mutual acquaintance": 1) 共同朋友 2) 相識朋友? Is it the same for Cantonese?
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Tones in Cantonese: 6 or 9?

Wikipedia has a tone contour chart for Cantonese with only 6 tones, but the table just below has 9. In fact, the table states 7=1, 8=3 and 9=6. From a historical point of view, there are 9 tone ...
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Why is it necessary to “translate” songs to Mandarin that are written in Standard Chinese, but originally sung in Cantonese?

Take, for example, the chorus to Beyond's 喜欢你. 喜欢你 那双眼动人 笑声更迷人 愿再可 轻抚你 那可爱面容 挽手说梦话 像昨天 你共我 As far as I can tell, the lyrics are in Standard Chinese even though they are sung in Cantonese. I see ...
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Identifying a type of topping used for congee

I am hoping somebody could help me identify the name of a type of topping that goes with the congee that my grandma would give me as a kid. She didn't know English and had passed away years ago. I ...
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吃 and 食 difference

I'm a native Cantonese speaker, so in Cantonese I use 食 as a verb and hardly ever use 吃, but in Mandarin, 吃 replaces 食 as the verb "to eat". Because of that I'm not sure when to use 食 in a correct ...
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What is the Mandarin equivalent of 對 XXX 嚟講?

In Cantonese, 對我嚟講 more or less means "speaking for myself", for instance, in: 對我嚟講,行政長官選舉唔重要。 Speaking for myself, the chief executive election isn't important. 我 can also be replaced with ...
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Are there any multi-syllabic words in Chinese without a glottal stop?

Are there any words in Chinese of 2 more syllables where there isn't a glottal stop between the syllables such that each syllable is not pronounced clearly, that a final consonant and initial ...
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Understanding “話之”

CantoDict: 話之 regardless of; no matter what; "I don't care" | Std. Chin.: 不管; 無論 | Syn.: 唔理 | Usu. in the form of 話之你; 話之佢 etc. ~ 粵典: 話之 / 話知 (yue) 唔理唔顧;無視 (eng) to ignore; to disregard; ...
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What phrases in Cantonese are thought to be colloquial but are actually used in Mandarin?

I only learnt HK Cantonese from my mother, and did not have the environment to speak or use it otherwise. She would tell me that certain Cantonese words are only spoken colloquially, but would not be ...
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569 views

Is the phrase “slot machine” 老虎机 the same in different Chinese dialects?

Just wondering whether the phrase 老虎机 (slot machine) sounds and is written the same in all Chinese dialects, such as: Mandarin, Wu Chinese, Min Chinese, Cantonese, Jin Chinese, Xiang  Chinese, ...
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Is there any study on the relative difficulty of native Chinese speakers with different dialects learning another dialect?

I wonder if there is any research conducted in China, on the relative difficulty of Chinese speakers learning different dialects. I'm looking for something like the research by the Foreign Service ...
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Is the pinyin of 「操」in「情操」and「步操」the same in Mandarin?

Originally posted at http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/phorum/read.php?4,130404 由細到大,自己同身邊嘅人都將「劉備」個「備」字讀成與(比)字同音 而「曹操」個「操」字就讀成與(粗)字同音 但最近睇港版,『三國 』(2013) 「劉備」個「備」字讀成「預備」個「備」 而「曹操」個「操」字就讀成「...
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Why do people often say 最多 in Cantonese when they mean “at the very least”?

I often hear on TVB shows that people say 最多 in a context when they mean to say, "at the very least?" For instance, something like, "At the very least, I'll take you to dinner tomorrow for being late."...
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What are the most popular new year greetings in Cantonese?

Lots of sites highlight the most popular new year greetings in Mandarin. What are the most popular ones for Cantonese, ideally categorized by usage (e.g., family, business, health, kids, parents, ...
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Correct pronunciation for 北, 白 in Cantonese?

Referring to Cantonese Sheik, 北 is normally pronounced as 'bak', as in 北角 (bak gok - a train station in Hong Kong). However, I have seen instances where it is pronounced as 'pak' as in 北潭涌 (Pak Tam ...
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How to say “productive” in Mandarin and Cantonese? Google Translate says 生產的

效率 means efficient, but what is the word for productive in Cantonese and Mandarin? CantoDict does not have an entry, and Google lists 生產的 which feels wrong. For instance, let's say you want to ...
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What is the Mandarin equivalent of Cantonese's 麻麻地 (so-so)?

How do you say "so-so" in Mandarin? In Cantonese, you would say 麻麻地. What's the Mandarin equivalent of 麻麻地?
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Cantonese and Thai similarities

Is there a similarity between Cantonese and Thai? I've noticed that some words such as the word for chicken is the same.
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410 views

What are the Chinese characters for Cantonese 'tìm ge la wo'?

Source: What Language Is (2011), p. 127 Bottom What are the Chinese characters for the four bolded particles beneath? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%8C I didn't transcribe the quote, as ...
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566 views

Is Cantonese a better choice in studying classic of poetry (詩經)?

Again, I ask this question, and provide my opinion as an answer, to reply to the comment of another thread in Stack Exchange: Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry Now, I ask again: in studying ...
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Most common words in Cantonese?

There are many resources documenting the most common words for Mandarin, but none for Cantonese. Is there a list of the most common 500/1000/2000 words in Cantonese? Thanks!
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What does “射個三分波” mean?

I was watching a video from Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper, and they mentioned the phrase in question as such: “港鐵就射個三分波 叫我們問政府”. My guess is that 三分波 refers to an action in some sport, possibly ...
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Cantonese slang - What does 'Primary Chicken' and 'Secondary Chicken' mean?

A friend sent me a screenshot of her message history in Cantonese, and she was describing a couple and saying how they're like 'primary chicken' or 'secondary chicken', I think in a negative light. ...
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What does 泉 mean in 道具泉, in the context of a handbill?

At 33:41, the Chinese Univ. HK Philosophy student below asks Dr Samson Kwok Pak-nin (in Cantonese) to hand him Dr Kwok's placard. He calls it 道具泉. I know 道具 means prop, but how does 泉 - Wiktionary ...
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Mandarin equivalent to 話事?

In Cantonese, people often say 話事 to indicate someone is "the boss" (e.g., 你話事) or can decide some matter (e.g., what to eat, what to watch). This page says the Mandarin equivalent is 作主, but 作主 ...
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Is there a list on the web where I can find Cantonese special characters and their meaning?

The characters below belong only to Cantonese: 嚟, 咁, 哋, 畀, 佢, 唔, 睇 or 冇. Is there a list on the web where I can find all these characters and their meaning?
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How to write “bei wu long” in Chinese and what is its origin?

Bei Wu Long in Cantonese means to make a big mistake. What are the Chinese characters for this? Is there a story for this?
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Cantonese Romanization schemes

The Cantonese romanization scheme that I know is Yale Romanization, which to me makes the most sense and is the easiest to read of any that I've seen. It seems to give a very good idea of how to ...
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Is 家婆 the term for a woman's “mother in law” in Mandarin too?

In Cantonese, a woman would call her mother in law her "家婆" or her "奶奶", and address her only as "奶奶". My understanding of the same terms in Mandarin is, a woman would call her mother in law her "婆婆" ...
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How do non-Mandarin speakers type Standard Chinese Writing System?

As far as I know, people in Hong Kong speak Cantonese but use Mandarin when writing official documents or homework using Mandarin. 粤语白话字 is not allowed in such cases. How does this work? Does this ...
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How to express psychological insecurity (not physical insecurity)?

These two dictionaries seem to offer translations for insecurity that capture the physical sort, not the psychological sort (i.e., insecurity about your looks, weight, smarts, etc.). http://www....
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I am happy for you (on your behalf): difference between 為你開心 and 當妳開心?

Assume a friend earns a promotion, and you want to say, "I'm happy for you." In English, there is a difference in meaning when you say: I am happy because of you: suggests you do things that make me ...
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Simplified variant of 幺?

This question is regarding when 幺 appears in traditional Chinese. What is the simplified variant of 幺? I asked this question on the cantodict forums recently, and one member gave this excellent ...
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Function of「果」in (folk, written) Cantonese?

I've started going through《男人唔可以窮》. In Chapter 1 there is the following paragraph: 阿爸佢教我好多野,放假會同我去睇精工對南華,去彭福公園睇人放風箏,直到我十六歲果年,有一日醫院打黎,話老豆於行動中,由四樓跌左落一個天井度,送去醫院果時,左腳腳底仲係插住一支八吋既生鐵釘。 I'm quite confused ...
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What does 騷債 mean?

I understand 債 means debt, because context fits. Louisa Mak won TVB's 2015 Miss Hong Kong first place. TVB has credited Louisa money, publicity, fame. So it's reasonable for reporter to ask if she ...
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Is the Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou standardized?

Is the Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou standardized, and if it is, is it different from Hong Kong and Macau's standard Cantonese? Do some characters have different standard readings in each region, much ...
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How to say “Hopefully we can treat each other with more X”

Is there a general template for translating, "hopefully we can treat each with more X" where X is some noun. Examples: Hopefully we can treat each other with more consideration. Hopefully we can ...
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What are the original Chinese characters for the Chinese family name Suening in the Philippines?

My late grandfather left Macau, China to the Philippine to find work around the year 1918-1920. In my dad's baptismal certificate, my grandfather carries the name Leo Suening. It's also common in the ...
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Written Cantonese Pronunciation 2

this is a follow up question regarding Cantonese Pronunciation. Previous question here. Does anyone know how people from Guangdong, who would speak Cantonese at home but be taught in Mandarin at ...
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What is 輸打贏要? (Cantonese expression)

In this puzzle game I included a Cantonese expression 輸打贏要. and explained it as 'Very bad sportsmanship' A user asked what it means in the comment section. I replied he can Google it, but the result ...
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363 views

What Cantonese verb was spoken on what boyfriends 港女 pick? Sounds like 打鍋?

Context is Maria Cordero asking Lisa Tse Lisa's criteria for picking boyfriends. At 29:26, young female reporter in all black strap dress says something like 打鍋. I don't think this is 鍋. What's ...
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133 views

Touch: difference between 碰,碰觸,觸碰, and 觸

There appear to be multiple ways to say touch according to YellowBridge. 1) Is there a difference between 碰,碰觸,觸碰, and 觸, or are they interchangeable? 2) In Cantonese, 點 seems to be the right way to ...
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150 views

How to interpret the oracle poem (諸葛武侯乩文)?

Again, referring to another thread, I made this question, and provided info as an answer. Have fun destruct character (拆字), or extrasensory perception (觸機) 😸 Here's a version of the oracle poem in ...
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329 views

Confusion between “planet” and “star” in Cantonese?

It seems that the formal terms for "planet" (行星) and "star" (like the Sun) (恆星) are pronounced identically in Cantonese (both Jyutping: hang4 sing1). Given that these terms are often discussed ...
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What is the polite way to say a grandparent has passed away?

I've been trying to find out what is the polite way of telling someone that someone, specifically a relative, has passed away? I'm pretty sure it's not very nice to say someone died (死)。 Google ...