For many travelers, one of the most amazing things to travel in a foreign country must be the freshness of surrounded by a totally different language. Even though Hong Kong is an international city that you can absolutely survive with English, Cantonese is still the essence of local culture and locals are always happy to hear a foreigner speaking in Cantonese. Ready to take the challenge and surprise the local? Be careful! It can be hilarious when you don’t pronounce words accurately (Yes with 9 different tones, Cantonese must be one of the most difficult languages for foreigners to learn)
A bit boring to introduce these, but still:
Hello – Nei Ho
Yes – hai (Try to pronounce it in a very low tone, otherwise it sounds like a dirty word)
No – ng hai
Thank you – dor jie (when you receive something) Ng goi (When someone served you)
Bye Bye – Bye bye (It’s not a typo, we really have the same way to say goodbye)
These I call the ‘Survival Kit’…
Handsome boy/ Pretty Girl – Leng Jai/ Lui (Yes it counts as it’s useful when you want to get a good price in street markets)
How much – Gei Chin?
Cheaper please! – Peng D ar!
Check the bill – Maai Dan
Quick quick quick – Fai D La
The below might not be used very frequently as a traveler, but the local will absolutely be very happy to hear.
No Problem – Mo Men Taai!
It’s all good / done – Gao Dim Saai!
Are you kidding? – Yau Mo Gao Cho?
What a deep shxt – Daai Ling Lok (literally means Big Coca Cola with Lemon, but the pronunciation is very closed to a slang to describe deep shxt)
So what to do now? – Gum dim sin? (maybe useful when you are not very happy for the service, and not satisfied with the solution)
Whatever is fine – Si Dan La
Last but not the least, feel free to scream ‘Ho Chung Yi Hong Kong Arrrrrrrrrr!’ at the harbour waterfront, it means ‘I like Hong Kong very much :)’, it must be the favourite thing we want to hear!
Not so sure if you are pronouncing correctly and want a local’s help? Or are you looking for more advanced useful Cantonese? Join our walks to know more! Reservation is available and we also accept walk-in!