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

New Words   
Understand – 明白 – meng bak 


Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Understand”

Hello everyone, welcome to our Cantonese – How Do You Say podcast on LearnDialect.sg. Well, would you agree with me that during conversations, the last that we want is miscommunication? To minimize any misunderstandings, I think it’s great if we can make an effort to check if everyone is on the same page. Now what are some Cantonese phrases that we can use? My name is Eugene and in less than 5 minutes today, we will explore some ways to ask whether someone understands what is going on in a conversation. 

First, you may want to ensure that the other party can hear you audibly, especially if your background is noisy. You’ll ask, “你聽到冇?”, which means “Can you hear me?”. The response to this question is either “聽到” (which means “I hear you”) or “聽唔到” (which means “I can’t hear you”).  

Now, during the conversation, if you want to ask, “Do you understand?”, you’ll express it as, “你明唔明?” If someone understands fully, then the response would be a simple “我明”. If not, you’ll hear, “我唔明”.  

I’ll like to highlight that the Cantonese equivalent for the word “Understand” is actually “明白”. However, Cantonese speakers tend to be more efficient when speaking. As such, instead of asking “你明白唔明白?”, they’ll express it as, “你明唔明?”. Similarly, they will say, “我明” and not “我明白” as well as “我唔明” instead of “我唔明白”. Are you still following me? 

To sum up, the Cantonese phrases today are: 

  • 你聽到冇? and 
  • 你明唔明? 

I hope the above is useful for you to reduce any miscommunication in Cantonese. Once again, I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and if 你唔明, feel free to let us know any questions you may have and we will do our best to answer. See you the next week!


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.