Skip to Content

Category Archives: Cantonese

Cantonese: How Do You Say “Sorry”

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

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
Sorry對唔住
(对不起)
Deoi3 m4 zyu6Deoi mm ju
BuyMaai5Maai
Made a mistake搞錯Gaau2 co3Gaau cor
No such intention / Excuse me冇意思
(没意思)
Mou5 ji3 si1Mou yi si

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

Hi there! My name is Eugene and welcome back to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. In your daily conversations, how often do you have to apologize? For me, I apologize all the time as I am rather clumsy, often knocking things over. As such, knowing how to say sorry is rather important for me.

In Cantonese, we express sorry as 對唔住. For example, 對唔住, 我冇买你要食嘅雲吞面 which translates into “Sorry, I did not buy the wanton noodles that you wanted”. I would say 對唔住 represents a more serious manner of apology. If the situation is not too serious, you can use 冇意思 to express your apology. For example, 冇意思, 我冇Facebook. By saying 冇意思, you convey a sense of embarrassment or shyness too. Or if you want to admit that you are wrong, you can say 冇意思, 我搞錯咗.

Typically, I would use 冇意思 together with 唔該, especially when I am asking for directions. For example, 冇意思, 唔該, 請問你, MRT點行? You’ll find that in such context, 冇意思 serves as a polite prelude to 唔該 which means “Excuse me”.

Once again, apologies can be expressed by Cantonese people via:
對唔住; and
冇意思.

Hope you find the varying degrees of apologizing in Cantonese useful. Feel free to share with us your thoughts by leaving us a comment. I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. See you the next week!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: Common Words and Useful Phrases

Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: Common Words and Useful Phrases

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.


Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: Common Words and Useful Phrases

Hello everybody! This is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. We are coming towards the end of March, and personally, I feel that the first quarter of 2019 has just flown by! If you had followed our podcast diligently, you would have learnt around 100 Cantonese common words and useful phrases by now! How’s that for committing less than 5 minutes a week to listen to our podcast?

For today’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast, we are going to do a recap, so that it’s easier for you to revise what you have learnt so far. Here’s how I am going to do it. I’m going to say a phrase in English, followed by the Cantonese translation. Well, I’ll suggest for you to make use of this chance to test yourself by pausing the audio after you hear each English phrase. Ask yourself, how do you say it in Cantonese? Remember, you can always refer back to our previous podcasts if you need to understand the context or learn more about the words or phrases. I’ve picked 20 phrases that I think you are most likely to use over and over again in a Cantonese conversation. Are you ready? Let’s go!

There you go. Here’s my list of common words and useful phrases based on what we have learnt in the Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcasts thus far. Are you ready to move on to the next level? I’ll see you next week then!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “Wait”

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

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
WaitDang2Dang
Please wait a moment请等一下Cing2 dang2 jat1 haa6Ceng dang yat haa
Him / Her佢(他/她)Keoi5Keoi
I will call him/her to the phone我叫佢(他/她)来听电话Ngo5 giu3 keoi5 loi4 ting3 din6 waa6Ngor giu keoi loi teng din waa

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

Hello everyone! Welcome back to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. People often say, time and tide wait for no man. We are now coming to almost a quarter of the year 2019. Have you been making good use of your time to practise Cantonese? Well, my advice is, get going and don’t wait any longer!

In fact, in today’s podcast, we will be learning how to use the word 等, which means “wait”. I’ll also form sentences using words that you have learnt in previous podcasts before, so there will be opportunities for you to revise and practise! Ok, let’s start!

Have you ever been in a conversation where it gets a little too fast for you? Well, here’s a handy phrase for you in Cantonese that I often use it myself – 等等等, 你可唔可以講多一次?

If you notice, I deliberately repeated the word – 等 – a few times, so that I can catch the attention of the speaker as well as to express that the pace is a tad too fast for me. As for the rest of the sentence, well…. we’ve learnt the words before. Can you figure out what it means? You can pause the audio here to gather your thoughts, while I 等一下.

Now, the phrase – 等等等, 你可唔可以講多一次? – means “Wait wait wait, can you say it one more time?” Did you get it right? I hope so!

Another common scenario where Cantonese speakers use 等 is when we pick up a call on someone else’s behalf. In this case, we will say 请等一下, 我叫佢(他/她)来听电话. The only new word here is 佢, which means “him” or “her”. Once again, are you able to figure out what the whole sentence means? Please give it a try and resume the audio only when you are ready!

The first part of the phrase means “Please wait a moment” and the second part means “I will call him or her to the phone”.

Once again, the 2 phrases today are:

等等等, 你可唔可以講多一次? and

请等一下, 我叫佢(他/她)来听电话.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. Feel free to share with us your thoughts by leaving us a comment. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and 请等 one week for our next podcast!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

2 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “Tired”

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

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
Until / ReachDou3Dou
I’m very tired from work我做工做到好癐Ngo5 zou6 gung1 zou6 dou3 hou2 gui6Ngor zou gung zou dou hou gui
Sleep瞓覺(睡觉)Fan3 gaau3Fan gaau
WantJiu3Yiu
I am going to sleep我要瞓覺喇
(我要睡觉啦)
Ngo5 jiu3 fan3 gaau3 laa1Ngor yiu fan gaau laa

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

Hi everyone and welcome back to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. Last week, we learnt about how to join an ongoing conversation. This week, we will learn how to excuse yourself – either from an event or a conversation – in Cantonese.

If you were invited to an event that you don’t want to join due to exhaustion from a long day at work, you can say 我做工做到好癐, 我要瞓覺喇. In the first part of the phrase, the word – 癐 – means “tired” and the word 好, as we have learnt in our previous podcast, can mean “good” or “very”. As such, 我做工做到好癐 means “I was at work and worked until very tired”. This is followed by 我要瞓覺喇 which means “I am going to sleep”.

Now, if you are already in the middle of a conversation and you would like to express that you have to leave, another handy phrase would be 我有工要做, 我走先喇. Wait… did you realise that this phrase contains words that we have all learnt in our previous podcasts? I encourage you to pause the audio now and see if you understand what this phrase expresses. I’ll repeat, 我有工要做, 我走先喇. What does it mean?

So did you get it right? The meaning of this phrase is “I have work to do, I will make a move first“.

Once again, the 2 phrases today are:

我做工做到好癐, 我要瞓覺喇 and

我有工要做, 我走先喇.

Hope our podcast today is helpful for you in managing conversations in Cantonese. My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see you at our next podcast.


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “What are you talking about?”

Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “What are you talking about?”

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
You all你哋(你们)Nei5 dei2Lei dei
What are you all talking about?你哋係講乜嘢?
(你们在讲什么?)
Nei5 dei2 hai6 gong2 mat1 je5?Lei dei hai gong mat yeh?
Listen聽(听)Ting3Teng
I have never heard of this before我冇(没)听过Ngo5 mou5 ting3 gwo3Ngor mou teng gwo
Give畀(给)Bei2Bei
Can you explain to me?你可唔可以講畀我听?
(你可不可以讲给我听?)
Nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 gong2 bei2 ngo5 ting3?Lei hor mm hor yi gong bei ngor teng?
I don’t understand我唔明
(我不明白)
Ngo5 m4 ming4Ngor mm meng
Can you say it one more time?你可唔可以講多一次?
(你可不可以讲多一次?)
Nei5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 gong2 do1 jat1 ci3?Lei hor mm hor yi gong dor yat ci?

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “What are you talking about?”

Hi everyone and a warm welcome to all of our listeners! This is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. Well, so far, you’ve picked up quite a few conversation starters as well as phrases for self-introduction. Now, imagine you had just turned up at a social gathering. What can you say to join an ongoing conversation? Let’s find it out on today’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast!

Personally, to join a conversation, I’ll like to ask for a quick download, so that I can contribute constructively. To do that, I would typically say 你哋係講乜嘢?

你哋 means “You all” so to ask the question of “What are you all talking about?”, you can phrase it as 你哋係講乜嘢?

Now, I’ll like to be prepared for the worst situation. What if it’s a conversation topic that you are totally not familiar with? You can say 我冇听过, 你可唔可以講畀我聽? This translates to, “I have never heard of this before. Can you tell me more?”

Ok, here’s one more useful phrase for you.

At any point of the conversation that you feel lost again, try saying this – 我唔明, 你可唔可以講多一次? This means “I don’t get it. Can you say it one more time?”

Summing up today’s podcast, here are the new phrases for this week:

What are you talking about? 你哋係講乜嘢?

I have never heard of this before. Can you tell me more? 我冇听过, 你可唔可以講畀我聽?

I don’t get it. Can you say it one more time? 我唔明, 你可唔可以講多一次?

Well, let me know how your next Cantonese conversation go! Feel free to share with us by leaving us a comment on Facebook or Instagram. Remember, keep practising! Thank you for listening in to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. I’m Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and see you the next week!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “Facebook” or “Instagram”

Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Facebook” or “Instagram”

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
HaveJau5Yau

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Facebook” or “Instagram”

Hello! Today’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast will be a rather interesting one for you, especially if you use Facebook to stay in contact with friends or use Instagram to share insta-worthy pictures. How do you ask in Cantonese whether someone has a Facebook or Instagram account? Before we go into that, how do you even say Facebook or Instagram in Cantonese? My name is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg and we will be exploring this topic together today!

If I were to approach a senior who only speaks Cantonese to ask for his or her Facebook account, I would ask 你有冇Facebook? If the person has an account, he or she would reply “有Facebook”, otherwise, the response would be “冇Facebook”. Similarly, to ask for his or her Instagram account, I would ask 你有冇Instagram? As you could tell, for everyday Cantonese conversations in Singapore, we do not deliberately use Cantonese for Facebook or Instagram. I mean, to begin with, they are indeed the names of the social media services and that’s what we are all familiar with, isn’t it? In fact, let me share with you a little tip that works most of the time! For words created recently and especially for Western brands or company names, it’s likely that we will simply use the English equivalent.

I want to take this chance to highlight that not all languages evolve in the same manner. As such, translations from English to Cantonese are often not as straightforward. In fact, there are many instances where Cantonese in Singapore borrow words from other languages. More than often, we use them simply as it is in our everyday Cantonese conversations. For example, remember what we talked about in previous podcasts? We can simply say hello by using “hello” and bid farewell by saying “bye“. The same applies to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. While these are clearly not Cantonese words, we borrowed them from another language and used them as it is.

Yet, there are times where, instead of using these borrowed words as it is, Cantonese in Singapore adapted them into the local Cantonese language. Let me give you an example. Many Cantonese in Singapore commonly refer to money as “lui”. However, do you know that this word is probably borrowed and adapted from the Dutch word, “duit“? If you want to say it in Cantonese properly, it should be “cin”. But interestingly, you will find that in Singapore, we hardly use this word. Instead, we borrowed “duit” and then adapted it locally as “lui”.

Well, back to the topic… In Cantonese, we typically use 你有冇 for a “Do you have…” question. So, let’s recap a little.

“你有Facebook?” means ”Do you have Facebook?”

“有Facebook” means “have Facebook”

Facebook” means “don’t have Facebook”

Now, this is our 15th podcast. By now, you might have observed that the word – – can be used in both a question and a reply. If you respond using 冇 prior to an action or noun, you are negating that specific action or noun. So “冇 Facebook” means “No Facebook”. This is similar to our last podcast where 我冇电话 means “I don’t have a phone“.

If you listen to our Teochew or Hokkien podcasts on this topic, you’ll find that their sentence structure is a little different. However, if you were to phrase it as “你有Facebook冇?”, Cantonese speakers would still understand you generally.

So how has your Cantonese learning journey been? Have you been picking up useful words and phrases from our podcasts? For more fun facts as well as information on our upcoming Cantonese classes, do follow us on our Facebook or our Instagram (@learndialect). Thank you for listening in to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. I’m Eugene and see you next week!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”

Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
Phone電話
(电话)
Din6 waa6Din waa
Number號碼
(号码)
Hou6 maa5Hou maa
Handphone手提Sau2 tai4Sau tai
Call here打來(来)Daa2 loi4Daa loi
Find搵(找)Wan2Wan
Who邊位/邊個(谁)Bin1 wai2 / Bin1 go3Bin wai / Bin gor

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”

Hello everybody and welcome back to this week’s Cantonese – How Do You Say – Podcast. This is Eugene, from LearnDialect.sg. Imagine having one of the best conversations in your life with someone in Cantonese but you have to rush off abruptly. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you didn’t get the person’s contact number to stay in touch? Or, if you are a healthcare professional or social worker, there may be times when you’ll need the phone number of your patients or their next-of-kin. How do you ask someone for their phone number in Cantonese then?

In Cantonese, we would say 你個電話號碼係咩? Over here, 電話 refers to “telephone”, which if you are interested to know, literally translates into English as “electric words”! I guess this is because in the old days, the core function of the phone is to transmit words electronically. Isn’t it amazing how we piece words together? Now, 號碼 means “number”, so by saying 電話號碼, it simply means “phone number”. If you would like to be more specific and ask for the person’s handphone number, we would say 你個手提号码係咩? The term 手提 literally translates into “hand lifted” and has been widely used by Cantonese to refer to “handphone”.

When someone asks you for your phone number and you will like to provide it, you can say 我個電話號碼係12345678, 你可以打來搵我. The 2nd half of the phrase – 你可以打來搵我 – means “You can call and look for me here”. In addition, if Cantonese speaking people returned a missed call on their phone and would like to find out who was the caller, they generally would ask – 邊個打電話來? A more polite manner to ask the same question would be 邊位打電話來? Are you still following me? Of course, if you are not willing to provide your number, you can tell them that you don’t have a phone, by saying 我冇電話.

So there we go! I hope these phrases will be useful to you. Let me repeat one more time for you.

What is your phone number? 你個電話號碼係咩?

What is your mobile number? 你個手提號碼係咩?

Who called me on my phone? 邊位打電話來?

My number is… 我個電話號碼係…

You can call and look for me. 你可以打來搵我.

I don’t have a phone. 我冇電話.

Well, hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. My name is Eugene and see you the next week!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “I Love You”

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

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
I love you (formal)我愛你
(我爱你)
Ngo5 ngoi3 nei5Ngor oi lei
I love you (subtle)我鍾意你
(我钟意你)
Ngo5 zung1 ji3 nei5Ngor zung yi lei
Egg tart蛋撻
(蛋挞)
Daan2 daat3Daan tart (localized)

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 Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. I am Eugene and see you on the next podcast!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “Happy Birthday” and ”Good Luck”

Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Happy Birthday” and ”Good Luck”

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
Wish you祝你Zuk1 nei5Zuk lei
Birthday 生日Saang1 jat6Saang yat
Happy birthday生日快樂
( 生日快乐)
Saang1 jat6 faai3 lok6Saang yat faai lok
Hope希望Hei1 mong6Hei mong

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Happy Birthday” and ”Good Luck”

新年快樂! This is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. Hope all of you are enjoying the Chinese New Year celebrations so far! Did you know that the 7th day of Chinese New Year is everyone’s birthday? Let’s learn how to wish your friends and family “Happy Birthday” in today’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast!

生 refers to “birth” and 日 refers to day. When these two words are combined together, it literally means “birthday”. Before we go on, I have a Chinese myth to share with you! On the 7th day of Chinese New Year, many believe that the Goddess of Creation created humans. So to celebrate every man’s birthday together, rather than birthday cakes, Singaporean Chinese would typically toss and eat yusheng for good fortune. Arranged on a large circular plate, this dish – consisting of raw fish, shredded carrot, green radish, white radish, deep-fried flour crisps and sweet condiments – is considered to be a symbol of abundance. In fact, the higher you toss the yusang, the better prospects you’ll have in the year ahead!

Anyway, Cantonese speakers in Singapore would wish someone a happy birthday by saying 祝你生日快樂. In addition, since happiness is always welcome, especially during Chinese New Year, you can also add 希望日日開心, which means hope you will be happy every day.

I’ll repeat both phrases for you.

祝你生日快樂

希望日日開心

Hope you find the above phrases useful and have found more ways to express well-wishes and birthday greetings. Thank you for listening to our Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. I am Eugene and 祝你新年開心, 希望你萬事如意!


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 1 Continue Reading →

Cantonese: How Do You Say “Happy New Year”

Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Happy New Year”

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.


New Words

EnglishCantoneseJyutpingOur Romanization
Chinese New Year eve年卅晚
(年三十晚)
Nin4 saa1 maan5Nin sa-ah maan
New Year eve除夕Ceoi4 zik6Ceoi zek
Red packets利是Lei6 si6Lei si
RedHung4Hung
Happy New Year新年快樂
(新年快乐)
San1 nin4 faai3 lok6San nin faai lok
May all things go smoothly萬事如意
(万事如意)
Maan6 si6 jyu4 ji3Maan si yu yi

Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “Happy New Year”

Hey there, this is Eugene from LearnDialect.sg. Wow, Chinese New Year is just round the corner! This is the single most important festival for Chinese all around the world and it signifies a time for family members to gather as well as a new beginning. From having reunion dinners to giving red packets, Chinese people practice multiple cultural traditions which we will explore some on today’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. Are you excited to find out? Let’s go!

In the few weeks leading up to Chinese New Year, prices of food will start to increase. This is especially so for food items that symbolize prosperity and wealth, for example, abalone. Chinese families typically stock up food items for reunion dinner on Chinese New Year eve. This day is known as 年卅晚 if the last lunar month prior to Chinese New Year has 30 days. Alternatively, Cantonese speakers also refer to this day as 除夕 but it may cause confusion as the same term is used for New Year’s Eve which is on 31st December.

On the first day of Chinese New Year, you will see Chinese families, dressed typically in red, visiting extended family members. Now, what are some festive greetings that we can use?

Well, you cannot miss this one as it is more commonly heard in Singapore – 新年快樂. 新年快樂 means “Happy New Year”. 新年 refers to “new year” while 快樂 refers to “happy”.

Another popular greeting is 萬事如意. 萬 means “10 thousand”, 事 means “matters” and 如意 means “as you wish”. As such, putting them together, if you greet people with 萬事如意, it means that you hope all things will go smoothly for them!

In fact, you can put these 2 greetings together -新年快樂, 萬事如意. Happy New Year and I hope everything goes on well for you!

Now, to celebrate the festive spirit of giving as well as to start the new year with tons of wealth, elders will then give lucky money – in the form of red packets – to the younger generation. Cantonese people call these red packets – 利是 – which is a different from Hokkiens or Teochew. However, red or 红 in Cantonese, is believed by the Chinese to bring about good luck and ward off evil spirits. Have you received any 利是 so far?

To our Chinese listeners, what other traditions do your family practice during Chinese New Year? To our non-Chinese listeners, what do you think of the Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore?

Thank you for listening in to Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast on LearnDialect.sg. I would also like to wish all our listeners 新年快樂, 萬事如意. Cheers to a prosperous year ahead!

P.S. Here’s another link to more Chinese New Year Greetings and Wishes in Cantonese.


Love what you are reading? We’ve got lots more to share during our Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese express workshops. Join us to pick up words and phrases for everyday use in Singapore. More importantly, you can help to keep these languages alive!


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.

0 0 Continue Reading →