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Common Phrases

Click on any Chinese phrase with a beige background to hear it pronounced.

what's up?

點呀

dim2 a3

thank you!

唔該
多謝

m4 goi1 (for a service)
do
1 dze4 (for a gift)    Lit. many thanks

you're welcome

唔哂(客氣)

m4 sAi2 (hat3 hei3)

how are you?

你好嗎

lei5 hou2 ma3

have you eaten yet?

你食咗飯未呀?

lei5 sIk6 dzo2 fan6 mei6 a3?

how have you been lately?

最近點呀?

dz3 gAn6 dim2 a3   Lit. most near how

bon apptit!

食飯

sIk6 fan6

bye!

 

bai1 bai3

hello?

wAi2 (answering the telephone)

I'm from...

 

o5 (hAi6) hAi2 (country) lAi4 ga3

I'm... years old 

... 

o5 (number) s3

see you tomorrow!

聽日見

tIng1 yAt6 gin3

good morning

早晨

dzou2 sAn4

bill, please

唔該埋單

m4 goi1 mai4 dan1 (in a restaurant)

here you go

la4

I love you

我愛你

o5 oi3 lei5

how do you say (this) in Cantonese?

 

(li1 go3) hAi2 gon2 dUng1 wa2 dim2 gon1 a3?

could you speak slower please?

 

tsen2 lei5 gon2 man6 di1

 

Questions

The word a3 is added at the end of most questions.

(question word)

a3

who?

邊個呀

bin1 go3 a3

what?

乜嘢呀

mAt1 ye5 a3

what about ...?

(word) + le1

when?

幾時呀

gei2 si4 a3

where?

邊度呀

bin1 dou6 a3

how much?

呀多

gei2 do1 a3

which?

邊 呀

bin1 + (MW) + a3

Basic yes-or-no questions are formed by repeating the verb in the positive and negative and adding a3 at the end.

Family

brother

 

(older) go4 go1

 

 

(younger) sAi3 lou2

daughter

 

l2 (MW:go3)

father

 

ba4 ba1 ; (vocative) a3 ba4

grandmother

 

(maternal) ma4 ma4

husband

 

dzng6 fu1

mother

 

ma1 mi4 ; (vocative) a3 ma1

relative

 

tsAn1 tsIk1

sister

 

(older) dze4 dze1

 

 

(younger) sAi3 mui2

son

 

dzAi2 (MW: go3)

wife

 

tai3 tai2

 

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Time

when?

gei2 si4

now

yi4 ga1

sometimes

yAu5 si4

never

tsUng4 loi4 mou5

yesterday

kAm4 yAt6

today

gAm1 yAt6

tomorrow

tIng1 yAt6

afternoon

an3 dzAu3

Units

minute

fAn1 (no MW)

5 minutes

dzi6 (MW: go3)

quarter

gwAt1 (MW: go3)

half

bun3

hour

dzUng1

day

yAt6

week

lAi5 bai5 ; sIng1 kei4 (MW: go3)

month

yt6 (MW: go3)

year

lin4

Clock

at what time?

gei2 dim2 dzUng1 a3

what time is it?

gei2 dim2 a3

o'clock

dim2 (dzUng1)

9:30

gAu2 dim2 bun3

5:03

m5 dim2 lIng4 sam1 fAn1

4:10

 

6:45

lUk6 dim2 sei3 sAp6 m5 fAn1

Days of the Week

Use the numbers 1 to 6 with sing1 kei4 to form the days from Monday to Saturday. Sunday is an exception. You may also use l@i5 bai3 instead of sing1 kei4.

Monday

sIng1 kei4 yAt1 (weekday 1)

Tuesday

sIng1 kei4 yi6

Wednesday

sIng1 kei4 sam1

Thursday

sIng1 kei4 sei3

Friday

sIng1 kei4 m5

Saturday

sIng1 kei4 lUk6 (weekday 6)

Sunday

sIng1 kei4 yAt6

weekend

dzAu1 mut6 (MW: go3)

Months

Put the numbers 1 to 12 before the word for month yuet6.

January

yAt1 yt6 (1st month)

February

yi6 yt6

March

sam1 yt6

April

sei3 yt6

May

m5 yt6

June

lUk6 yt6

...

 

November

sAp6 yAt1 yt6

December

sAp6 yi6 yt6 (12th month)

Present

now

yi4 ga1

today

gAm1 yAt6

this morning

gAm1 dziu1 (dzou2) ; li1 go2 dziu1 dzou2

this afternoon

li1 go2 an3 dzAu3

tonight

gAm1 man5 ; gAm1 man1

this month

gAm1 go3 yt6

this year

gAm1 lin2

Past

just now

 

yesterday

kAm4 yAt6

day before yesterday

tsin4 yAt1

last night

kAm4 man5

last month

sng6 go3 yt6

last year

sng6 lin2

...ago

 

Future

later

tsi4 di1

soon

yAt1 dzAn6

tomorrow

tIng1 yAt6

day after tomorrow

hAu6 yAt1

tomorrow night

tIng1 man5 ; tIng1 man1

next month

ha6 go3 yt6

next year

ha6 lin2

in...

 

Date

Wednesday, May 8, 2002

 

Seasons

spring

tsn1 gwAi3

summer

ha6 gwAi3

autumn

tsAu1 gwAi3

winter

dUng4 gwAi3

Decades

60s

lUk6 sAp6 lin4 doi6

70s

tsAt1 sAp6 lin4 doi6

80s

bat3 sAp6 lin4 doi6

90s

gAu2 sAp6 lin4 doi6

Centuries

20th century

ya si gei

21st century

ya yi si gei

Adverbs

again

dzoi3

no longer

dzoi3 m4 [verb] la3

 

Transportation

Click on any Chinese word with a beige background to hear an audio sample. See also Verbs of Motion.

airport

機場

gei1 tsng4

bike

單車

dan1 tse1 (MW: ga3) [mnemonic]Dan Akroyd riding a silly bicycle

bus

巴士

ba1 si2 (MW: ga3)

bus stop

巴士站

ba1 si2 dzam6

bus terminal

巴士中站

ba1 si2 dzUng2 dzam6

boat

艇仔

ten5 dzAi2 (MW: dzek3)

car

tse1 (MW: ga3)

kilometer

公里

gUng1 lei5 (no MW)

motorcycle

電單車

din6 dan1 tse1 (MW: ga3)    Lit. electric bike

plane

飛機

fei1 gei1 [mnemonic]The effeminate male flight attendants in the plane are all fake gays.

streetcar

電車

din6 tse1 (MW: ga3)    Lit. electric car

subway

地鐵

dei6 tit3

subway station

地鐵站

dei6 tit3 dzam6

ticket

fei1 (MW: dzng1)

   plane ticket

機票

gei1 piu3

train

火車

fo2 tse1 (MW: ga3)    Lit. fire car

traffic lights

?

tsIng4 min6

tram

電車

din6 tse1 (MW: ga3)    Lit. electric car

walk

han4

 

Nature

See also Weather, Plants and Animals.

beach

 

sa1 tan1

cloud

 

 

field

 

 

forest

 

sAm1 lAm4

jungle

 

 

lake

 

wu4

moon

 

yt6 ; full moon mun5 yt6

plant

 

dzIk6 mAt6 (MW: po1)

river

 

ho4

rock

 

 

sea

 

hoi2

sky

 

tin1

star

 

sIng1

sun

 

tai3 yng4

swim

 

 

tree

 

 

water

 

s2 (MW: glass bui1)

waterfall

 

 

wave

 

lon6

Plants 植物

plant

 

dzIk6 mAt6 (MW: po1)

bamboo

dzUk1

birch

 

bat6 wa4 s6

bonsai

 

pun4 dzoi1

bush

 

 

cactus

 

sin1 yAn4 dzng2

Christmas tree

 

sIng1 dan3 s6

chrysanthemum

 

gUk1 fa1

dandelion

 

pou4 gUng1 yIng1

fir

 

tsam3 s6

flower

 

fa1 (MW: stem dzi1)

forest

 

sAm1 lAm4

grass

 

tsou2

Hong Kong orchid

 

yng4 dzi2 gIng1 (appears on Hong Kong's flag)

jasmin

 

mut6 lei2 fa1

leaf

 

yip6

lily

 

bat3 hAp6

lotus

 

lin4 fa1 ; ho4 fa1

maple

 

fUng1 s6

oak

 

dzng6 s6

orchid

 

lan4 fa1

palm tree

 

dzUng1 l4

petal

 

fa1 fan2

root

 

gAn1

rose

 

mui4 gwAi3

sunflower

 

hng3 yAt6 kwAi4

tree

 

s6 (MW: po1)

 

Weather 天氣

See also Nature.

cloud

 

 

cold

dUng3

 

hot

yit6

 

it's raining

lok6 gAn2 y5

 

sky

tin1

 

warm

ln5

 

 

People

See also Family, Occupations and Famous People.

person

yAn4 (MW: go3)

boy

lam4 dzAi2 (MW: go3)

fool

so4 lou2

friend

pAn4 yAu5

girl

l5 dzAi2 (MW: go3)

king

won4

man

lam4 yAn4

Miss

siu2 dze2

Mr.

sin1 san1

name

 

student

hok6 san1

Westerner

sAi1 yAn4, (slang for white man) gwAi2 lou2

woman

l5 yAn4


Physical Traits

See also Parts of the Body.

bald

 

 

beautiful

leng3

curvy

曲線美

kUk1 sin3 mei5

cute

得意

dAt1 yi3

dark

 

 

fat

fei4

fit

 

 

hairy

mou4 yUng4 yUng4

handsome

英俊

yIng1 dzn3

lean

 

 

muscular

肌肉

gei1 yUk6

old

lou5

pale

 

 

pregnant

 

wai4 (dzo2) yAn6

sexy

性感

sIng3 gAm2

short

Ai2

skinny

皮包骨

pei4 bau1 gwAt1   Lit. skin-wrapped bone

slim

苗條

miu4 tiu4

strong

强壯

kng4 dzon3

stout

 

 

tall

gou1

thin

sAu3

ugly

核突
醜樣

wAt6 dAt6
tsAu2 yng2

young

 

hou6 san1

 

I'm... years old 

... 

o5 (number) s3

 

Body

See also Physical Traits, Health and Illness, Animal's Body and Sex.

ankle

 

gk3 an5

arm

 

sAu2 bei3

back

 

bui3 dzek3

beard

 

wu4 sou1

belly

 

tAu5 lam2

blood

 

ht3

body

身體

sAn1 tAi2 ; (in compounds) tAi2

body part 

身體部份 

sAn1 tAi2 bou6 fAn6

bone

 

gwAt1

brain

 

lou5

breast

 

y5 fon4 ; (slang) bo1

chest

 

hUng1 bou6

ear

 

yi5

eye

an5

face

 

min6

finger

 

sAu2 dzi2

fingernail

 

dzi2 gap3

foot

 

gk3

hair

 

(head) tAu4 fat3

 

(body) mou4

hand

sAu2

head

tAu4

heart

 

sAm1 dzon6

hip

 

tn bo6

knee

 

sAt1 tAu4

leg

 

dai6 t2

lip

 

hAu2 sn4

liver

 

gon1 dzon6

lungs

 

fAi3

mouth

hAu2

muscle

 

gei1 yUk6

nerve

 

sAn4 gIng1

neck

 

gen2

nose

 

bei6

organ

器官

hei3 gun1

penis

 

(slang) (bAn1) dzAu1

rib

 

lat6 gwAt1

sick

 

yAu5 ben6

shoulder

 

bok3 tAu4

skin

 

pei4 fu1

stomach

 

(abdomen) tou5; (organ) wAi6

sweat

 

hon6

teeth

 

a4

thumb

 

mou5 dzi2

tongue

 

lei6 [mnemonic]Licking Everyone's Insides

uterus

 

dzi2 gUng1

vagina

 

yAm1 dou6

vein

 

dzIng6 mat6

waist

 

dziu1 bou6

Bodily Functions

bathroom

 

tsi3 so2 ; (more polite) sAi2 sAu2 gan1

booger

 

bei6 si2    Lit. nose pooh

ear wax

 

yi5 si2    Lit. ear pooh

period

 

yt6 gIng1    Lit. month blood

pee

 

liu6 ; take a piss o1 liu6

pooh

 

si2 ; take a dump o1 si2

snot

 

bei6 tAi3

spit

 

hAu2 s2

 

 

Love, Dating and Relationships

See also Sex and Feelings.

love

oi3

   be in love with

 

 

   fall in love with

 

 

boyfriend

男朋友

lam4 pAn4 yAu5

break up

分手

fAn1 sAu2    Lit. to separate hands

cheat on (somebody)

 

d3 (mAu3 yAn4) bAt1 dzUng1

cuddle

 

 

darling wife

老婆

lou5 po4

date

去街

h3 gai1    Lit. go out

desire

 

 

faithful

 

 

female friend

女性朋友

l5 sIng3 pAn4 yAu5

fling

 

 

flirt with

 

gai3

friend

朋友

pAn4 yAu5

girlfriend

女朋友

l5 pAn4 yAu5

go out

去街

h3 gai1

have a crush on

好鍾意 

hou2 dzUng1 yi3    Lit. to like a lot

hubby

老工

lou5 gUng1

hug

 

lam2

lonely

 

 

love letter

 

tsIng4

make love

做愛

dzou6 oi3

male friend

男性朋友

lam4 sIng3 pAn4 yAu5

monogamous

 

 

nervous

 

 

one-night stand

 

 

passion

 

 

pick up

 

 

relationship

 

 

single

 

 

Phrases

Can I buy you a drink?

 

 

Can I have your phone number?

 

 

Do I look fat in this dress?

 

 

I am starting to have feelings for you.

 

 

I'm having an affair.

 

 

I'm in love with her.

 

 

I'm seeing more than one girl.

 

 

I love you.

我愛你。

o5 oi3 lei5

I love your shoes.

 

 

I need more space.

 

 

Let's just be friends.

 

 

Me and my boyfriend are taking a break.

 

 

No thank you. I'm gay.

 

 

Things are moving too fast.

 

 

We need to talk.

 

 

We're just friends.

 

 

What are you doing tonight?

 

 

What is your e-mail?

 

 

You have very pretty eyes.

你對眼好靚。

lei5 d3 an5 hou2 len3