Recently, I moved to Hong Kong to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts degree. If you’ve read my About Me page, you may know that I have a degree in Global Studies. As part of my degree, and even before I began my college studies, I studied the Japanese language. Unfortunately, 6 years of Japanese language study are of no help in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a global city, so English is a widely spoken language; yet, as a special province of China, the language spoken is Cantonese, not Mandarin (Mandarin is the primary Chinese dialect. Most Chinese speakers learn both Mandarin and their own local dialect). Of the five main dialects spoken in China, Cantonese is the most complex. It is a nuanced language that relies on tones to convey meaning. Despite the complexity, especially for westerners, Cantonese is a language that can be useful if you’re planning to visit any of the following Chinese regions: Hong Kong, Guangdong, or Macau.
Always Uttori is happy to help get you started with 5 useful Cantonese phrases for basic survival. Remember, that Cantonese is a tonal language. Check the videos below for exact pronunciation.
5 Cantonese Phrases
Hello: Lay Ho: 你好
Please (also informal thank you or excuse me): mm goi: 吾該
How much?: gei tsin: 幾錢
Thank you (for gift or favor more formal): do ze: 多謝
Sorry: deoi m zyu: 對唔住
Check out these videos for more useful phrases and correct pronunciation guides. Have fun!