Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “I Love You”

New Words   
I love you (formal) – 我愛你(我爱你) – ngor oi lei 
I love you (subtle) – 我鍾意你 – ngor zhong yi lei 
Egg tart – 蛋撻(蛋挞) – dan tart


Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “I Love You”

Hello everybody and Happy Valentine’s Day to you! This is Eugene, from LearnDialect.sg. Well, love is in the air this week, isn’t it? How did you feel when you first heard someone, probably your family or your partner, telling you “I love you”? These three words, though simple sounding, is an important expression in a relationship that indicates emotional attachment. So how do Cantonese speakers say these three important words? Let’s find out on today’s How Do You Say podcast. 

You’ll often hear Mandarin speakers saying “I love you” as “我爱你”. In Cantonese, it is pronounced as “我愛你”. But, did you know that Cantonese speakers rarely use this exact phrase, as it is considered too formal? Instead, we usually use “我鍾意你” to express our love. The words “鍾意” conveys a feeling of fondness but does not come across too strongly. In fact, we can also use this phrase to indicate some of our favourite things. For example, “我鍾意食蛋撻” means “I like to eat egg tarts”. 

Personally, I think this reflects the relatively more reserved Chinese culture. In the olden days, love was usually unspoken within Chinese families, be it between husbands and wives, or parents and children! So you know… Not outrightly “I love you”, but well… I’m really have good feelings about you.   

When was the last time you said “I love you” or “我鍾意你”? Feel free to share with us your love story by leaving us a comment! Thank you for listening in to our Cantonese – How Do You Say on LearnDialect.sg. I am Eugene and see you on the next podcast!


Our Philosophy for Learning Cantonese in Singapore

At LearnDialect.sg, 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.