Cantonese/Common phrases

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Chinese, Cantonese (Sinitic)[edit]

Note: Cantonese is a tonal language. Pronunciations provided below include numbers indicating tone. Tone 1 is high and level/falling; 2 is medium and rising; 3 is medium and level; 4 is low and falling; 5 is low and rising, 6 is low and level. The characters shown are Traditional Chinese characters. Pronunciation is given using Jyutping and IPA. However, non-use of the tones will not hinder comprehension for such simple phrases.

Translation Phrase Jyutping IPA
Cantonese 廣東話 gwong2 dung1 waa2 /kwɔːŋ2 tʊŋ1 wɑː2/
hello 你好 nei5 hou2 /nei5 hou2/
good-bye 再見 zoi3 gin3 /tsɔːi3 kiːn3/
bye-bye 拜拜 baai1 baai3 /pɑːi1 pɑːi3/
please 唔該 m4 goi1 /m̩4 kɔːi1/
thank you (for gifts) 多謝 do1 ze3 /tɔː1 tsɛː3/
thank you (for services rendered) 唔該 m4 goi1 /m̩4 kɔːi1/
sorry 對唔住 deoi3 m4 zyu6 /dɵy3 m̩4 tsyː6/
this one 呢個 ni1 go3 or nei1 go3 /niː1 kɔː3/ or /nei1 kɔː3/
that one 嗰個 go2 go3 /kɔː2 kɔː3/
how much/many? (ask for quantity) 有幾多呀 yau5 gei2 do1 aa3 /jɐu5 kei2 tɔː1 ɑː3/
how much? (ask for amount of money) 幾多錢呀 gei2 do1 cin2 aa3 /kei2 tɔː1 ts̚in2 ɑː3/
yes hai6 /hɐi6/
no 唔係 m4 hai6 /m̩4 hɐi6/
correct/right am1 /a:m1/
incorrect/wrong 唔啱 m4 am1 /m̩4 a:m1/
I don’t understand 我唔明白 ngo5 m4 ming4 baak6 /ŋɔː5 m̩4 mɪŋ4 bɑːk6/
Where's the washroom (toilet, lavatory)? 洗手間喺邊度呀? sai2 sau2 gaan1 hai2 bin1 dou6 aa3 /sɐi2 sɐu2 kɑːn1 hɐi2 piːn1 tou6 ɑː3/
Do you speak English? 你識唔識講英文呀? nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3 /nei5 sɪk1 m̩4 sɪk1 kɔːŋ2 jɪŋ1 mɐn2 ɑː3/

Note: Cantonese, like most of the other Chinese languages, does not actually have words for “yes” and “no”. Translations for “yes” and “no” given above actually mean “it is” and “it is not” and can be used for questions asking for confirmation. However, for certain yes/no questions, one would normally respond with the verb or the negation of the verb. For instance, to respond to a question such as “do you want to go?” one would respond with “want” or “not want”.