Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say – Country Names

New Words   
 Singapore – 新/星加坡 – Sun/Xing gah por
Malaysia – 馬來西亞 – Ma loi sai aa
Hong Kong – 香港 – Heung gong
Taiwan – 台灣 – Toi waan
China – 中國 / 唐山 – Zong gwok / Tong saan
Japan – 日本 – Yat bun
Australia – 澳洲 – Oh zau
Europe – 歐洲 – Au zau
America – 美國 – Mei gwok 

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say – Country Names

Hi there! Welcome back to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. My name is Eugene from As promised, I will be touching on names of various countries in today’s podcast. Here we go! 

To begin, let’s start off with where is based – Singapore. Singapore, in Cantonese is pronounced as 新加坡 but sometimes, you may hear older generation Cantonese speakers pronouncing it as 星加坡, possibly due to the five stars on our nation’s flag. This difference is more pronounced in Cantonese versus Hokkien or Teochew. Next, we have Singapore’s neighbour, Malaysia, otherwise known as 馬來西亞. It is also usually pronounced as 馬來西 to serve as a shortcut.  

Now, learning Cantonese is very useful for your travels in Hong Kong, pronounced as “香港”, given that it is the language most spoken by the locals there. And, just a short flight away is Taiwan or “台灣” in Cantonese, where people speak Hokkien, otherwise known as Southern Min language locally. 

Cantonese, similar to Hokkien and Teochew, originated from China. China is known as “中國” but you may also hear senior Cantonese speakers still referring to the country as “唐山”, literally translated as the Tang mountain. This is due to the prominence of the Tang dynasty in Chinese history where Chinese culture is widespread. China, is also regarded as a prosperous country during the Tang dynasty. This is why Chinatowns in countries outside China are often known as “唐人街” in Mandarin, literally translated as “Tang people street”. 

Personally, my favourite country for travel within Asia is Japan or “日本” in Cantonese, as it has a good balance of city life, nature and good food. Looking outside Asia, I would consider travelling to Australia, Europe or America, respectively known as “澳洲”,” 歐洲” and “美國” in Cantonese. This would allow me to experience and interact with people of a different culture. 

Hope the above list covers a country that you like. If not, please leave a comment and share with me the country that you would like to travel to. My name is Eugene from and see you the next week! 

Our Philosophy for Learning Cantonese in Singapore

At, we want to make learning Cantonese fun, easy and practical for daily conversations in Singapore. As such, rather than figuring out which of the 10 or more Cantonese romanization system to use (e.g. JyutpingYale or Cantonese Pinyin etc.), we encourage you to form your own phonics, so that you make an association with these Cantonese words in the quickest way possible. To illustrate, the romanization of the English word, “eat”, is “Sik” using Jyutping and “Sihk” using Yale. However, in our “Have You Eaten?” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “sek”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “sake”, “xig”, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.