finally, a proper explanation of the term 竹升, used to describe (in a not complimentary manner) those of Chinese descent but born overseas and are therefore neither properly Chinese nor properly native to their place of birth.
the light barge traverses endless mountains
the vids i've been sharing have been great at teaching some of the basics of canto. i do want to extract certain points to showcase how different spoken canto can be from mandarin. as always, i'll be adding to the list below. and as always, because i don't subscribe to a particular transliteration method and haven't learned the jyutping system yet, i'm providing my own pronunciations.
as related to people
係 (huui) - to be, e.g. 我係 = i am, 你係 = you are, 佢係 = s/he is (in mandarin, you'd use 是)
哋 (day) - plural, e.g. 我哋 = we/us, 你哋 = you guys, 佢哋 = they/them (in mandarin, you'd use 們)
嘅 (geh) - possessive, e.g. 我嘅 = mine, 你嘅 = yours, 佢嘅 = his/hers, 我哋嘅 = ours, 佢哋嘅 = theirs (in mandarin, you'd use 的)
the basic W5H
邊個 (been gaw) - who (or which) (in mandarin, you'd say 誰)
乜嘢(呀) (muut yeh (ah)) or 咩呀 (meh ah) - what?/what! (in mandarin, you'd say 什麼)
幾時 (gay see) - when (in mandarin, you'd say 什麼時候)
邊度 (been doe) - where (in mandarin, you'd use 哪裡)
點解 (deem guy) - why (in mandarin, you'd use 為什麼)
點 (deem) - how (in mandarin, you'd use 如何 or 怎麼樣)
using 唔 - no, not, negative
唔係 (mm huui) - no, not (in mandarin, you'd use 不是) -- related phrase is: 係唔係 = is it?
唔該 (mm goy) - thanks (for service rendered), please, excuse me (this is a very versatile phrase)
唔得 (mm duk) - can't, impossible (in mandarin, you'd use 不可能) NOTE: you can often add a verb in between to show that the action can't be done, e.g. 唔入得 = can't enter, entrance blocked
唔使唔該 (mm suui mm goy)/唔哂客氣 (mm suui haak hey) - you're welcome (in mandarin, you'd use 不用謝)
唔好意思 (mm ho yee see)/對唔住 (duui mm zu) - sorry, excuse me, beg your pardon (in mandarin, you'd use 對不起)
唔明(白) (mm ming (baak)) - don't understand, don't get it (in mandarin, you'd use 不懂)
唔知(道) (mm zee (doe)) - don't know (in mandarin, you'd use 不知道) -- related term: 詐唔知 = acting ignorant, pretending to not know
畀唔畀 (bay mm bay) - are you going to give it over or not?, do you give permission? (in mandarin, you'd use 給不給)
啱唔啱 (ngaam mm ngaam) - is this correct? (in mandarin, you'd use 對不對)
唔係吖嘛/唔係呀嗎 (mm huui ah mah) - this is a very versatile phrase that, generally, expresses resigned disbelief--along the lines of are you serious?, no way!, unbelievable, it can't be!, you've got to be kidding (different from 有冇攪錯 below because that is usually used in angry disbelief)
唔緊要嘅 (mm gun yiu geh)/唔緊要啦 (mm gun yiu la) - no worries, no matter, that's ok; in certain contexts, can mean "you're welcome" (in mandarin, you'd say 沒關係的 or 不要緊)
唔駛喇 (mm suui lak) - no need, don't worry about it, that's ok, it's fine (in mandarin, you'd say 不用了) -- related phrase: 駛唔駛？= is there any need for... (i.e., 要不要)
唔好嘈! (mm ho cho) - shut up! (mothers use this a LOT!) (in mandarin, you'd say 別吵)
唔關你事 (mm gwaan nay see) - none of your (F*ing) business!
搞唔掂 (gao mm deem) - can't handle, to fail to achieve something (NOTE: on its own, 唔掂 means "no good")
叻唔切 (lek mm tzeet) - (to be a) show off
using 冇 - have not
有冇 (yao mo) - is/are there any? this compound is composed of the character for have and for have not (in mandarin, you'd use 有沒有)
有冇攪錯! (yau mo gao chaw) - are you kidding me?, you've got to be kidding!, that's ridiculous! (often shortened to the exclamatory 攪錯!)
冇乜 (mo muut) - not much, not so, not very
乜都有 (muut doe yao) and 乜都冇 (muut doe mo) - to have everything and to have nothing
冇嘢 (mo yeh) - nothing (in mandarin, you'd use 沒有)
冇錯 (mo tzaw) - that's correct, that's right (in mandarin, you'd say 對)
冇眼睇 (mo ngaan tuui) - (denial) i give up, i didn't see that (in mandarin, you'd use 看不到)
冇得彈 (mo duk taan) - perfect, impeccable
冇得傾 (mo duk king) - not negotiable, no room for discussion, end of discussion
是但啦 (see daan la)/冇(乜)所謂 (mo saw wuui)/求其啦 (kao kay la) - whatever, i'm fine with whatever, no big deal, it doesn't matter; the three terms are interchangeable for the most part, although there are subtle differences in usage, depending on context; i'm not able to pinpoint what the differences are right now because i'm not a linguist, just a user--it's more a gut feel and acquired knowledge from adults while growing up
冇你咁好氣 (mo nay gum ho hay) - can't be bothered (to argue) with you
冇晒符 (mo sye fu) - helpless, hopeless situation (in mandarin, you'd use 無助)
好過冇 (ho gaw mo) - better than nothing
有理冇理 (yao lay mo lay)/有你冇你 (yao nay mo nay) - no matter what, regardless of consequences (in mandarin, you'd use 無論) (NOTE: in terms of meaning, both ways make sense, but i feel the former is the more correct; however, online sources use both, and i'm not a good enough linguist to know for sure if the latter is incorrect; also, there are a lot of terms where certain existing characters have been reappropriated in order to allow for a written form of canto)
冇手尾 (mo suuoo may) - to fail to finish a task, to peter out
冇雷公咁遠 (mo leui goong gum yune)/山旮旯 (san ka la) - very far away
using 乜嘢 or 咩 - what
咩嚟㗎？(meh lay gah) - what is it?, what's this? (in a ruder tone, it means "WTF is this?")
搞咩呀 (gao meh ah) - what's going on? (in ruder tone, WTF is going on?) (in mandarin, you'd use 幹甚麼?)
呢樣係乜嘢啊？ (nee yerng huui muut yeh ah)/呢樣係咩呀？ (nee yerng huui meh ah) - what's this (object)? (in mandarin, you'd say 這是什麼東西？) NOTE: you can replace 樣 with 啲
急乜嘢啊！(gup muut yeh ah)/ 急咩啊！(gup meh ah) - what's the rush?, why are you in such a hurry? NOTE: 啊 and 呀 are interchangeable
做咩啊？(zoe meh ah) - what's up? (mothers tend to ask this impatiently to mean "what do you want now?!")
譁 (her) - to mock, to jeer at
搞 (gao) - to do, to execute
攞 (law) - to get, to gain, to acquire
嬲 (nuuoo) - to be angry, to be upset
搵 (wun) - to find, to look for
甩 (luut) - to fall off, to lose, to leave behind
喊 (haam) - to cry
睇 (tuui) - to watch, to look at, to observe
摸 (maw) - to touch, to feel
聞 (mun) - to smell (canto doesn't use the typical meaning of "hear" for this word)
畀 (bay) - to give
(1-11) 個字 (... gaw zee) - demarkations of one hour in multiples of five minutes (excluding 1/2 hr), i.e., 三個字 = 15 min, 九個字 = 45 min (half-hour is referred to as 半個鐘/半粒鐘)
(1, 3, 5, 7) 成熟 (... sing sook) - how well done a piece of steak is--i.e., 一成(熟) = rare, 三成(熟) = medium-rare, 五成(熟) = medium, 七成(熟) = medium-well
一啲 (yuut dee) - a bit, a small quantity (in mandarin, you'd use 一點) -- relate phrases: 多啲 = more, 少啲 = less, 啲咁多 (dee gum daw) - just a tiny bit, a wee bit
一個二個 (yuut gaw yee gaw) - each and every one (of you)
一乾二淨 (yuut gawn yee zeng) - thoroughly
一清二楚 (yuut tzing yee tzaw) - obviously, clearly
尾二 (may yee) - second last, penultimate
第二樣 (duui yerng)/第二啲 (duui dee) - other, else (NOTE: first two words usually run together into one sound)
唔理三七廿一 (mm lay saam tzuut ya yut) - i don't care, regardless, irrespective
三唔識七 (saam mm sik tzuut) - to be strangers, to dismiss as nonsense
三魂唔見七魄 (saam wun mm geen tzzut paak) - freaked out, scared out of one's wits, scaring the daylights out of oneself
嫌三嫌四 (yeem saam yeem say) - to be picky
唔三唔四 (mm saam mm say) - shady/dubious character
講三講四 (gong saam gong say) - to gossip
問三問四 (mun saam mun say) - nosy person, asking all kinds of nosy questions
三番四次 (saam faan say tzi) - (to do) over and over again
講嚟講去嗰三幅被 (gong lay gong huui gaw saam fook pay) - (derogatory) to say the same thing over and over
四分五裂 (say fun ng leet) - to be split apart, to fall apart
九成九 (guuoo sing guuoo) - most likely, strongest possibility of
朝九晚五 (ziu gao maan ng) - (working) from 9 to 5
廿 (ya)/卅 (sa-ah)/(4-9) 呀 (... ah) - numbering/counting between 20 and 99, instead of saying multiples of 10 plus 1-9; if you add 幾 at the end, the term means twenty-something, thirty-something, etc
亂噏廿四 (lune ngup ya say) - talk nonsense
百(1-9) (baak...) - way to say 110, 120, 130... 190; when you add 2-9 in front, then it becomes the same numbering/counting but in the other multiple hundreds (e.g, 220, 390); same method but to factors of 10 if you get to thousands (千 (tzeen)) and ten-thousands (萬 (maan)) -- i.e., 千一 = 1,100, 九千九 = 9,900, 萬三 = 13,000, 四萬五 = 45,000
百分百 (baak fun baak) - 100%, completely
百厭 (baak yeem)/曳 (yuui) - naughty
包羅萬有 (bao law maan yao) - all-inclusive; all-embracing
唔怕一萬，至怕萬一 (mm pa yut maan zee pa maan yut) - to have a contingency plan, just in case
呢個 (nee gaw) and 嗰個 (gaw gaw) - this and that (in mandarin, you'd use 這個 and 那個)
呢啲 (nee dee) and 嗰啲 (gaw dee) - these and those (in mandarin, you'd use 這些 and 那些)
呢便 (nee been)/呢度 (nee doe) and 嗰便 (gaw been)/嗰度 (gaw doe) - here and there, this side and that side (in mandarin, you'd use 這裡/這邊 and 那裡/那邊)
上晝 (serng tzao) and 下晝 (haa tzao) - morning and afternoon -- related term: 晏晝 = afternoon, after lunch; 食晏 = to eat lunch
吓嘛？ (ha mah) - really?; if said at the end of a sentence, it usually connotes "y'know" -- also written as 吓嗎
㗎喇 (gah la) - used at the end of a sentence to express something that's about to happen, as a matter of fact, inevitable e.g. 就得㗎喇 - almost ready/done!, 唔快啲就趕唔切㗎喇! - if we don't hurry, we're gonna miss it!
咪咁啦！(muui gum la) - don't be like this, stop being this (lazy/stupid/sad/etc) (in mandarin, you'd say 別要這樣了)
咁鬼(麻)煩 (gum gwuui (mah) faan) - so difficult, very troublesome, such a pain in the ass
亂(咁)嚟 (lune (gum) lay) - reckless
咁上下 (gum serng haa) - approximately, just about, roughly
捩(咁)𠾍 (leh (gum) heh)/俹簁 (la suui) - to muddle along, to do things half-assed, to be careless/sloppy; messy, disorganized; other term meaning the same thing: 求其 (kao kay)
就噉 (zuuoo gum) - just like this/that
係噉先 (huui gum seen) - that's it for now
離譜 (lay po) - ridiculous, e.g. 離晒大譜 = that's extremely ridiculous (in mandarin, you'd use 荒謬 or 可笑)
篤背脊 (dook bui zek) - back-stab(bing)
夠啦 (gao la) - enough
無啦啦 (mo la la) - suddenly, without reason
返嚟 (faan lay) - come back, return (in mandarin, you'd use 回來)
埋嚟 (my lay) - (command) come here (in mandarin, you'd use 過來)
攞嚟搞 (law lay gao) - asking for trouble, doing something that causes trouble/problems
好呀 (ho ah) - OK, fine (in mandarin, you'd say 好的)
好實用 (ho sut yoong) - very useful, very practical, very helpful
嗱 (naah) - here you go (when giving something to someone)
發脾氣 (faat pay hay)/發𤷪𤺧 (faat mung zung) to 發爛渣 (faat laan zaa) to 發狼戾 (faat long ly) - to have a fit (of temper), to blow up, to throw a tantrum; terms ranged in order of severity
發噏風 (faat ngup foong) - to prattle, to ramble on, to talk nonsense
發吽哣 (faat ngao dao) - to stare blankly into space, to daydream, to be in a trance
食咗飯未呀？(sik zaw faan may ah) - have you eaten? (this is the more traditional way to say 'how are you?' as opposed to asking 你好嗎); the more modern way to inquire after someone is to say 點呀?
爆棚 (bao paang) - (place that is) over capacity (in mandarin, you'd use 滿座)
訂枱 (dang toi) - make a reservation
冚唪呤 (hum baang laang) - everything, all
冚住 (kum zu) - to cover (NOTE: the first word is pronounced differently from the previous term because context! canto is a tonal language!)
打橫行 (daa waang hung)/打橫嚟 (daa waang lay) - to (heedlessly) do as one pleases (term comes from observing crabs walking sideways, which, to humans, is not the normal way of things)
遴迍 (leun zeun) - clumsy -- also written as 論盡
撈攪 (lao gao) - messy (condition), untidy -- also written as 澩嫪; other phrases that mean the same thing: 立立亂 (laap laap lune), 污唎單叨 (woo lay daan doe), 亂晒龍 (lune sy loong); related terms (when used to describe people rather than situations/conditions): 咧啡 (leh feh), 烏搲 (woo weh)
衰咗 (suui zaw) - to fail, to fall flat -- related terms: 知衰 = know of one's faults and being apologetic about them; 攞嚟衰 = bring trouble (to oneself); 衰仔 = you bastard!
搵笨 (wun bun) - to cheat, to con -- related phrase: 畀人搵笨 = to be cheated/conned/made a fool of by someone
橫咗 (waang zaw) - spoiled, ruined, broken
整嘢食 (zing yeh sik) - to cook something
整蠱 (zing goo) - to play a trick on someone, to make fun of
傾(吓)偈 (king (ha) guui) - to chat, to have casual conversation -- related term: 啱傾/傾得埋 = people interested in the same topic, someone who's in synch with you, to be on good terms with
嘥晒 (sy sy) - what a waste! -- related term: 嘥料 = letting something of value go to waste out of ignorance
渣 (zaa)/曳 (yuui) - poor quality
afterword: i know that it seems canto is very negative, given the terms i've been focussing on. unfortunately, i think it's human nature to be most creative when angry, disappointed, or indignant; that's most definitely true with interesting and everyday canto expressions!
these are an interesting literary style of speaking, done in a "riddle me this" format and often relies on punning. below are some very typical canto ones. i don't know if i can properly translate them, but i'll try!
老公撥扇：妻涼 riddle = husband uses the fan, answer = wife feels cool, meaning = what a pity (a pun on 淒 which sounds like 妻) 老婆擔遮：陰公 riddle = wife holds umbrella, answer = husband is shaded, meaning = what a pity (another pun) 七個銅錢分兩份：唔三唔四 riddle = 7 copper coins divided in two piles, answer = neither three nor four, meaning = dubious, shady 冇耳茶煲：淨係得把口 riddle = teapot without its handle, answer = only has the spout, meaning = all talk, no action 單眼佬睇老婆：一眼睇曬 riddle = one-eyed guy looking at his wife, answer = one eye sees all, meaning = one glance is enough (often as referred to small spaces) 城頭上跑馬：一味兜圈 riddle = riding a horse on the fortification tower, answer/meaning = running around in circles 抬棺材甩褲：失禮死人 riddle = your pants fall down while being a pallbearer, answer/meaning = extremely embarrassing 火燒豬頭：熟口熟面 riddle = roasting a pig's head, answer = cooked mouth, cooked face, meaning = very familiar-looking (i.e., someone you know/recognize) 無掩雞籠：自出自入 riddle = chicken coop with cage door open, answer/meaning = come and go as one pleases 牛皮燈籠：點極唔明 riddle = leather lantern, answer = no light comes through, meaning = stupid 蒙古王打仔：大汗耷細汗 riddle = khan beats his son, answer = slang of "khan beats his son", meaning = sweating profusely 賣魚佬沖涼/賣魚佬洗身：無厘聲(腥)氣 riddle = fishmonger takes a shower, answer = no more "fishy" smell, meaning = no response, lost touch with someone 阿崩叫狗：越叫越走 riddle = mr bang calls for his dog, answer/meaning = the more you try to get someone's attention, the more you're ignored 豉油撈飯：整色整水 riddle = mix soy sauce into the rice, answer = add colouring, meaning = to put on an act 閻羅王嫁女: 揾鬼要 riddle = "lucifer" is marrying off his daughter, answer/meaning = nothing desirable 濕水棉花: 無得彈 riddle = wet cotton, answer = cannot be loosened (ancient technique), meaning = no complaints
Ah, so it's 大汗 vs 細汗 in Cantonese? In Hokkien it's usually written as 大漢 tuā-hàn 細漢 Sè-hàn
that's really interesting! yes, canto writes it as 汗, the shortened version of the full transliteration, which is 可汗 (reference: 木蘭詞 ballad of mulan). and we generally write genghis khan as 成吉思汗, so that's the basis of the term.
the light barge traverses endless mountains
so, in this post in the Chinese 101 thread, i gave visuals on who to call what in terms of family members. below are the visuals for the same but in cantonese. for the most part, the terms are the same. the most notable differences are how to call your father's mother, your father's brothers' wives, and your mother's brothers' wives.
UPDATE: have added pronunciations--using the HK jyutping system! and i also corrected some minor errors with chinese characters--used the wrong ones, apparently! please note: the " is to indicate that you repeat the previous word, e.g. je " = je je. and the "j" is pronounced as a "y" consonant in the jyutping system.
in trying to learn a bit more about family relations, i also came across two very specific terms that i don't believe have equivalents in mandarin (though i could be wrong!):
妯娌 ("zook lay") - how the wives of two brothers refer to themselves as a unit 襟兄弟 ("kum hing dye") - how the husbands of two sisters refer to themselves as a unit
siuyiu: @all i know the spamming is out of control--i've emailed our admin. hope she replies soon! meanwhile, for those who are able, click on the spam threads and in the "settings", see if you can click "report this". that should at least alert the server.
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