Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”
Psst… You can find our How Do You Say Podcasts on Spotify too! Head to Spotify – LearnDialect.sg or search for LearnDialect.sg on Spotify.
|Excuse me / Please / Thank you||唔該||M4 goi1||Mm goi|
|Excuse me, can I ask||唔該, 請問(请问)||M4 goi1, cing2 man6||Mm goi, ceng mun|
|Wan4 tan1 min6||Wan tan min|
Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Please, May I Ask?”
唔該 is a rather unique Cantonese expression that can mean “Excuse me”, “Please” and “Thank you”.
请 refers to “please” and 问 refers to “ask”. As such, if you ask questions by starting with 唔該, 请问, you will come across as being very polite and respectful.
Let me give you a few examples.
If I am asking someone if the bowl of wanton noodle is tasty, I would say 唔該, 請問你雲吞面好唔好食?”
If I am asking “please, how do you say “Eat” in Cantonese?”, I would say 唔該, 請問你, “Eat”用廣東話點講?
點 means “how to” in this case and 講 means “say”. Once again, 唔該, 請問你, “Eat”用廣東話點講?
If I am asking for directions to the MRT, I would say 唔該, 請問你, MRT點行?
Similarly, 點 means “how to” and 行 means “walk”. I’ll repeat – 唔該, 請問你，MRT點行?
If I’m asking, “please, how do I do this?”, it’ll be 唔該, 請問你, 點做? – 做 means “to do”.
If I’m asking, “please, how do I use this?”, it’ll be 唔該, 請問你, 點用? – 用 means “to use”.
You get the drift now? As you can tell, 唔該, 请问 is a very versatile and polite way of asking people for help!
Now let’s practise by combining some of these with what we learnt in the previous podcasts.
How would you say the following in Cantonese,
Now pause the audio and give it a try. Go on.
So did you get it right?
“How are you? My name is Eugene. My Cantonese is not good. Can you teach me? Please, how do you say “Eat” in Cantonese?”
This is translated into Cantonese as 你好, 我個名叫Eugene. 我個廣東話唔好, 你可唔可以教我?唔該, 请问你, Eat用廣東話點講?
Awesome, we are making good progress, aren’t we?
Keep practising, as that’s the only way to learn a new dialect.
Don’t forget, if you have specific phrases that you’ll like to learn, please leave us a comment on our Facebook page. We want to know how we can help you!
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. Jyutping, Yale 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.