Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “School Holidays”

New Words   
School – 學校 – Hok haau
Holidays – 假期 – Gaa kei
Go – 去 – Heoi
Study – 讀書 – Dok xu
Play – 玩 – Waan 


Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “School Holidays”

As a child, don’t we just love the June and December school holidays? It’s a time when we can look forward to a long break from school, head out for the latest movies during weekdays and travel overseas to our dream destination. Hi there! If you are still studying, how has your school holidays been? I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and in today’s How Do You Say podcast, we will be learning how to say a few school-holiday related phrases in Cantonese. 

Well, many years ago, my next-door neighbour was a nice Cantonese family – Uncle & Aunty Chan as well as their son, Aaron. I recalled whenever it came to the school holidays, I would always ask Aunty Chan, “學校假期唔使去讀書,我可唔可以同Aaron去玩?”. Do you know what I’ve just said? 

Let me break it down for you.  

Firstly, “學校“ means “school” while “假期” means “holidays”. Combining them together, we’ll get “學校假期”, that is, “school holidays”. 

“唔使去讀書” literally means “no need to study”.  

Thus, putting them together, the first half of the phrase becomes, “學校假期唔使去讀書”. This literally translates to, “school holidays no need to study”.  

Now, the second half of the phrase, “我可唔可以同Aaron去玩?” means “Can I play with Aaron?”. 

There you go! Here’s how you ask for permission in Cantonese – “學校假期唔使去讀書,我可唔可以同Aaron去玩?”. Do it with a nice smile and I’m sure you’ll pretty much get your way! 

Now, suppose I would like to ask for Aunty Chan’s permission to head out and have a meal with Aaron instead. Do you know how to say that in Cantonese? Pause the audio and have a think about it. When you are ready, play the audio again and listen to how I would say it.  

Ready? Ok, I would make a tweak in the latter part of the phrase by saying, ”我可唔可以同Aaron去食嘢?” So here’s the full sentence for you, “學校假期唔使去讀書,我可唔可以同Aaron去食嘢?”. Did you get it? 

Before we end the podcast today, here’s a quick recap of the new words that we’ve learnt today: 

  • “學校假期” means “school holidays”;  
  • “讀書” means “studies”; and, 
  • “玩” means to “play”. 

Hope you have picked up a phrase or two from this Cantonese podcast. The team at LearnDialect.sg wishes you happy school holidays! 


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.