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standard dialect of Yue language that originated in the vicinity of Guangzhou (Canton) in southern China

Cantonese (廣東話 Gwóngdūng wáh) is a widely spoken Chinese language. It is the local language in current use within the province of Guangdong in China, official language in the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, and used in many overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, with Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) being two places where Cantonese is the dominant language in a Chinese community that is in turn huge and influential. Cantonese is also the dominant language in many Chinatowns all over the world, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Chicago, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Vancouver, and Toronto. The form of Chinese spoken by many inhabitants of eastern and southern Guangxi province in mainland China is often referred to as a form of Cantonese as well.

Chinese languages are mutually unintelligible, with difference ranging from that between Italian and French to that between German and Swedish, which we would call "related languages" rather than "dialects".

All Chinese languages, in general, use the same set of characters in reading and writing in formal settings. A Cantonese speaker and a Mandarin speaker cannot talk to each other, but either can generally read what the other writes. However, there can be significant differences when the "dialects" are written in colloquial form. For example in Cantonese as used in Hong Kong, more informal phrasings are used in everyday speech than what would be written. Thus, some extra characters are sometimes used in addition to the common characters to represent the spoken language and other colloquial words.

There are different local languages in Guangdong that are sometimes considered Cantonese dialects but in fact are separate languages, such as Taishanese, spoken in Taishan in the far west of Guangdong. However, most people throughout Guangdong know how to speak standard Cantonese (Guangzhou dialect) and Hongkongers and Macanese speak standard Cantonese with slight influences from Western languages, especially from English in Hong Kong Cantonese. The Cantonese spoken in Singapore and Malaysia also differs slightly due to Malay influences.

Virtually all younger Cantonese speakers in mainland China are able to speak Mandarin, so learning Cantonese is not necessary to communicate. However, Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong, Macau and overseas Chinese communities often do not speak Mandarin, and particularly in the former, the use of Mandarin can be a touchy political issue.

Some of the phrases in the list are difficult to translate from English to Cantonese.

Pronunciation guideEdit

The pronunciations given in this guidebook use the Yale Romanization system. Sounds can only be approximated at best. This guide gives a general indication of the correct sound to make, but the best way to be completely accurate is to listen closely to native speakers and mimic the sounds they make. Unlike in Mandarin, there is no widely-used Romanization system for Cantonese, and native speakers almost never learn those that do exist. Since most locals will have no idea how to read Romanized Cantonese, stick to Chinese characters for written communication.

Unless otherwise indicated, pronunciation between the Cantonese of Hong Kong and Macau is identical to that of Guangzhou.


Like Mandarin, Cantonese distinguish between aspirated and unaspirated consonants, not unvoiced and voiced as in English, and lacks voiced consonants. Aspirated sounds are pronounced with a distinctive puff of air as they are pronounced in English when at the beginning of a word, while unaspirated sounds are pronounced without the puff, as in English when found in clusters. However, Cantonese lacks the "tongue rolling" (pinyin zh, ch, sh, r) initial consonants that are found in Mandarin.

Yale Pronunciation
b p in "sport"
p p as in "pat"
m m as in "mom"
f f as in "foot"
d t in "stop"
t t as in "top"
n n as in "not"; in Hong Kong and Macau, initial n is often substituted with l as in "lap"
l l as in "lap"
g k in "sky"
k k as in "kite"
ng ng as in "singer"; in Hong Kong and Macau, ng by itself without a vowel is often substituted with m as in "mom" , while it is often omitted as the initial consonant of a syllable
h h as in "hot"
j blend of the z in "Mozart" and the j in "judge"
ch blend of the ts in "cats" and the ch in "church"
s s as in "sleep"
gw qu as in "square"
kw qu as in "quark"
y y as in "yard"
w w as in "want"; otherwise, like English "v" in "victory"


Unlike Mandarin, Cantonese retains all the final consonants of middle (m, n, ŋ, p, t, and k) Chinese. The final consonants p, t, and k are unreleased. This means that they are virtually silent and you hear no "puff of air" at the end of the syllable.

Yale Pronunciation
aa a as in "spa"
aai igh as in "sigh"
aau ow as in "how"
aam am as in "Vietnam"
aan an as in "Taiwan"
aang combination of aa and ng
aap op as in "top" in General American, arp as in "tarp" in Received Pronunciation
aat ot as in "hot"in General American, art as in "tart" in Received Pronunciation
aak ock as in "rock"in General American, ark as in "bark" in Received Pronunciation
ai i as in "kite"
au ou as in "scout"
am ome as in "some"; otherwise, like "am" in "ham".
an un as in "sun". This can be pronounced like "an" in "man"
ang ung as in "lung". This may sound like "ang" in "rang".
ap up as in "cup". This can be pronounced like "ap" in "map".
at ut as in "cut"; otherwise, like "at" in "cat".
ak uc as in "suck"; otherwise, like "ack" in "back".
e e as in "bet"
ei ay as in "say"
em em as in "temple"
eng eng as in "penguin"
ek eck as in "peck"
i ee as in "tee"
iu ew as in "few"
im eem as in "seem"
in een as in "seen"
ing ing as in "sing"
ip eep as in "sleep"
it eet as in "meet"
ik ick as in "sick"
o aw as in "paw" (Received Pronunciation)
oi oy as in "boy"
ou oe as in "toe"
on orn as in "scorn" (Received Pronunciation)
ong ong as in "song" (Received Pronunciation)
ot ot as in "hot" (Received Pronunciation)
ok ock as in "stock" (Received Pronunciation)
u oo as in "coo"
ui ooey as in "gooey"
un oon as in "soon"
ung combination of ou and ng
ut oot as in "boot"
uk ook as in "book"
eu er as in "her" (Received Pronunciation, with rounded lips)
eung combination of eu and ng
euk ork as in "work" (Received Pronunciation)
eui o as in "no" (Received Pronunciation)
eun on as in "person"
eut ot as in "carrot"
yu u as in "tu" (French)
yun un as in "une" (French)
yut Ut as in "Utah"
m mm as in "hmm"
ng ng as in "sing"


Cantonese is a tonal language. This means that the same syllable, pronounced in a different tone, has a different meaning. To complicate this, there may be more than one character pronounced as the same syllable with the same tone. In this case, context usually helps resolve the ambiguity. This may sound daunting, but is in fact is better than say, English, where there are a great deal of words that are spoken identically (eg. their, there, they're) and have nothing but context to help determine which one it is. Cantonese has context and tone to help distinguish words.

Different variations of the Cantonese language have a different number of tones, from as few as six to as many as ten or more. Most speakers, however, and all modern linguistic interpretations get by with being able to distinguish (both in spoken and heard Cantonese) between the following six tones:

Yale Description Start-to-end pitch Yale Description Start-to-end pitch
1 ā High Level   4 àh Low Falling  
2 á Mid Rising   5 áh Low Rising  
3 a Mid Level   6 ah Low Level  

The tonal pronunciation of Cantonese is by far the most difficult aspect of the often daunting language. The very minor initial difficulty in learning the tones is sometimes more than made up for by simple grammar, and absence of almost all plurals, genders, tenses and other conjugations that make many other world languages seem difficult by comparison.

Phrase listEdit


To be or not to be?

Cantonese, as in Mandarin Chinese, does not have words for "yes" and "no" as such; instead, questions are typically answered by repeating the verb. Common ones include:

To be or not to be
係 haih, 唔係 mh'haih
To have or not have / there is or is not
有 yáuh, 無 móuh
To be right or wrong
啱 āam, 唔啱 mh'āam
你好. Néih hóu.
Hello. (only on the telephone
喂。 Wái.
How are you? 
你好嗎? Néih hóu ma?
How are you recently? (more popular in daily usage)
你最近點呀? Néih jeui gáhn dím a?
幾好. Géi hóu. (No need to say "thank you" after answering "fine" in Cantonese)
What is your name? 
你叫乜嘢名呀? Léih giu māt'yéh mèhng a?
What is your name (formal, literally means "How do I address you")? 
請問點稱呼? Chíngmahn dím chīngfū?
My name is ______ . 
我叫______. Ngóh giu ______.
Nice to meet you. 
幸會. Hahng'wúih.
請. Chéng.
Thank you. (when someone helps you
唔該. M̀h'gōi.
Thank you. (when someone gives you a gift
多謝 Dōjeh.
You're welcome. 
唔使客氣. M̀h'sái haak-hei.
Excuse me. (getting attention
唔好意思. M̀h'hóu yisi
Excuse me. (to get past
唔該 or 唔該借借. M̀h'gōi * or * M̀h'gōi jeje.
對唔住. Deui-m̀h-jyuh. (In Hong Kong, it's more common to use the English word "sorry" instead)
再見 Joigin. (In Hong Kong, "bye bye" is more commonly used instead)
I can't speak Cantonese. 
我唔識講廣東話. Ngóh m̀h'sīk góng Gwóngdōngwá.
Excuse me, do you speak English? 
請問你識唔識講英文呀? Chíngmahn léih sīk-m̀h-sīk góng Yīngmán a?
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
請問有無人識講英文呀? Chíngmahn yáuhmóh yàhn sīk góng Yīngmán a?
救命呀! Gau mehng ā!
Look out! 
小心! Síusām!
Good morning. 
早晨. Jóusàhn.
Good night. 
晚安 Mán ngōn (formal) / 早抖 Jóu táu (colloquial)
I don't understand. 
我唔明. Ngóh m̀h'mìhng.
Where is the toilet? 
廁所係邊度? Chi só haih bīndouh?


Leave me alone. 
唔好搞我. M̀h'hóu gáau ngóh.
Don't touch me! 
唔好掂我! M̀h'hóu dihm ngóh!
I'll call the police. 
我會叫警察. Ngóh wúih giu gíngchaat.
警察! Gíngchaat!
Stop! Thief! 
咪走! 賊仔! Máih jáu! Chaahkjái!
Please help me. 
唔該幫我. M̀h'gōi bōng ngóh.
It's an emergency. 
好緊急. Hóu gán'gāp.
I'm lost. 
我蕩失路. Ngóh dohngsāt louh.
I lost my bag. 
我唔見咗個袋. Ngóh m̀h'gin jó go doih.
I dropped my wallet. 
我跌咗個銀包. Ngóh dit jó go ngàhn bāau.
I don't feel well. 
我唔舒服. Ngóh m̀h syūfuhk.
I've been injured. 
我受咗傷. Ngóh sauh jó sēung.
Please call a doctor. 
唔該幫我叫醫生. M̀h'gōi bōng ngóh giu yīsāng.
Can I use your phone? 
可唔可以借個電話用呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi je go dihnwáh yuhng a?


The form after the slash is used in financial contexts, such as writing cheques and printing banknotes, to prevent someone from changing the amount initially written.

零 leng
一 / 壹 yāt
二 / 貳 yih (兩 loeng is used before counter words)
三 / 參 sāam
四 / 肆 sei
五 / 伍 ńgh
六 / 陸 luhk
七 / 柒 chāt
八 / 捌 baat
九 / 玖 gáu
十 / 拾 sahp
十一 / 拾壹 sahpyāt
十二 / 拾貳 sahpyih
十三 / 拾參 sahpsāam
十四 / 拾肆 sahpsei
十五 / 拾伍 sahpńgh
十六 / 拾陸 sahpluhk
十七 / 拾柒 sahpchāt
十八 / 拾捌 sahpbaat
十九 / 拾玖 sahpgáu
二十 / 貳拾 yihsahp
二十一 / 貳拾壹 yihsahpyāt
二十二 / 貳拾貳 yihsahpyih
二十三 / 貳拾參 yihsahpsāam
三十 / 參拾 sāamsahp
四十 / 肆拾 seisahp
五十 / 伍拾 ńghsahp
六十 / 陸拾 luhksahp
七十 / 柒拾 chātsahp
八十 / 捌拾 baatsahp
九十 / 捌拾 gáusahp
一百 / 壹佰 yātbaak
二百 / 貳佰 yihbaak
三百 / 參佰 sāambaak
一千 / 壹仟 yātchīn
二千 / 貳仟 yihchīn

Just as in Mandarin, Cantonese numbers starting from 10,000 are also grouped in units of 4 digits starting with 萬 maahn. Therefore, "one million" would be "one hundred ten-thousands" (一百萬), and "one billion" would be "ten hundred-millions" (十億).

一萬 / 壹萬 yātmaahn
十萬 / 拾萬 sahpmaahn
一百萬 / 壹佰萬 yātbaakmaahn
一千萬 / 壹仟萬 yātchīnmaahn
一億 / 壹億 yātyīk
十億 / 拾億 sahpyīk
一百億 / 壹佰億 yātbaakyīk
一千億 / 壹仟億 yātchīnyīk
一兆 / 壹兆 yātsiuh
number _____ (train, bus, etc.) 
_____號 houh
半 bun
少 síu
多 dō


而家 yīgā (colloquial) / 現在 yihnjoih (formal)
遲 chìh
早 jóu
朝早 jīujóu
晏晝 ngaanjau
夜晚 yeh máahn

Clock timeEdit

In formal writing, "點" (dím) is replaced by "時" (sìh) when telling time, though this form is not used in speech.

one o'clock 
一點 yāt dím
two o'clock 
兩點 léuhng dím (not 二點)
two five (2:05)
兩點一 / 兩點踏一 léuhng dím yāt/léuhng dím daahp yāt
two ten (2:10)
兩點二 / 兩點踏二 léuhng dím yih/léuhng dím daahp yih
two fifteen/Quarter past two (2:15)
兩點三 / 兩點踏三 léuhng dím sāam/léuhng dím daahp sāam
two thirty/Half past two (2:30)
兩點 léuhng dím bun (not 兩點六 / 兩點踏六)
two forty-five/Quarter to three (2:45)
兩點九 / 兩點踏九 léuhng dím gáu/léuhng dím daahp gáu
two fifty (2:50)
兩點十 / 兩點踏十 léuhng dím sahp/léuhng dím daahp sahp
two fifty-five (2:55)
兩點踏十一 léuhng dím daahp sahpyāt (not 兩點十一)
two fifty-seven (2:57)
兩點五十七分 léuhng dím ńghsahpchāt fān


_____ minute(s) 
_____ 分鐘 fānjūng
_____ hour(s) 
_____ 個鐘 gor jūng
_____ day(s) 
_____ 日 yaht
_____ week(s) 
_____ 個禮拜 gor láihbaai
_____ month(s) 
_____ 個月 gor yuht
_____ year(s) 
_____ 年 nìhn


今日 gām'yaht
尋日 chàhm'yaht
聽日 tēngyaht
the day before last 
前日 chìhnyaht
the day after tomorrow 
後日 hauh'yaht
this week 
今個禮拜 gām go láihbaai
last week 
上個禮拜 seuhng go láihbaai
next week 
下個禮拜 hah go láihbaai

For days of the week, the form before the slash is more colloquial, while the form after the slash is more formal, and used in writing and news broadcasts.

禮拜日 láihbaai yaht / 星期日 sēngkèi yaht
禮拜一 láihbaai yāt / 星期一 sēngkèi yāt
禮拜二 láihbaai yih / 星期二 sēngkèi yih
禮拜三 láihbaai sāam / 星期三 sēngkèi sāam
禮拜四 láihbaai sei / 星期四 sēngkèi sei
禮拜五 láihbaai ńgh / 星期五 sēngkèi ńgh
禮拜六 láihbaai luhk / 星期六 sēngkèi luhk


一月 yāt'yuht
二月 yih'yuht
三月 sāam'yuht
四月 seiyuht
五月 ńgh'yuht
六月 luhk'yuht
七月 chāt'yuht
八月 baat'yuht
九月 gáuyuht
十月 sahpyuht
十一月 sahpyāt'yuht
十二月 sahpyih'yuht


黑色 hāk sīk
白色 baahk sīk
灰色 fūi sīk
紅色 hùhng sīk
藍色 làahm̀ sīk
黃色 wòhng sīk
綠色 luhk sīk
橙色 chàahng sīk
紫色 jí sīk
啡色 fē sīk


Bus, train and metroEdit

In Cantonese, "train" is translated into 火車 (fóchē), "metro/subway" is 地鐵 (deitit) and "bus" is 巴士 (bāsí). The language uses measure words or numeral classifiers before the actual nouns. In context of the following examples, the respective Cantonese measure words for 火車 and 地鐵 are 班 (bāan), and 巴士 is 架 (ga).

How much is a ticket to _____? 
去_____張飛要幾多錢嘎? Heui _____ jēung fēi yiu géidō chín gah?
One ticket to _____, please. 
一張飛去_____, 唔該. Yāt jēung fēi heui _____, m̀h'gōi.
Where does this train/metro/bus go? 
呢 [班火車/班地鐵/架巴士] 去邊度嘎? Nī [bāan fóchē]/[bāan deitit]/[ga bāsí] heui bīndouh gah?
Where is the train/metro/bus to _____? 
去_____ [班火車/班地鐵/架巴士] 喺邊度搭嘎? Heui _____ [bāan fóchē]/[bāan deitit]/[ga bāsí] hái bīndouh daap gah?
Does this train/metro/bus stop in _____? 
呢[班火車/班地鐵/架巴士]停唔停_____嘎? Nī [bāan fóchē]/[bāan deitit]/[ga bāsí] tìhng-m̀h- tìhng _____ gah?
When does the train/metro/bus for _____ leave? 
去_____[班火車/班地鐵/架巴士]幾點走嘎? Heui _____ [bāan fóchē]/[bāan deitit]/[ga bāsí] géidím jáu gah?
When will this train/metro/bus arrive in _____? 
[班火車/班地鐵/架巴士]會幾點去到_____嘎? [Bāan fóchē]/[bāan deitit]/[Ga bāsí] wúih géidím heuidou _____ gah?


How do I get to _____ ? 
我可以點去_____呀? Ngóh hó'yi dím heui _____ a?
the train station 
火車站 fóchē jaahm
the metro/subway station
地鐵站 deitit jaahm
the bus station? 
巴士站 bāsí jaahm
the airport? 
機場 gēichèuhng
市區 síh'kēui
the youth hostel? 
青年旅舍 chīngnìhn léuihséh
the _____ hotel? 
_____ 酒店 _____ jáudim
the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate 
美國/加拿大/澳州/英國 領事館? Méihgwok/Gānàhdaaih/Oujāu/Yīng'gwok líhngsihgún
Where are there a lot of_____ ? 
邊度可以搵到好多_____呀? Bīndouh hó'yi wándou hóudō _____ a?
餐廳 chāantēng
酒吧 jáubā
sites to see 
景點 gíngdím
Can you show me on the map? 
可唔可以喺張地圖度指俾我睇呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi hái jēung deihtòuh douh jí béi ngóh tái a?
街 gāai
Turn left. 
轉左 Jyun jó.
Turn right. 
轉右 Jyun yauh.
左 jó
右 yauh
straight ahead 
直行 jihk'hàahng
後面 houmihn
towards the _____ 
去_____ heui _____
past the _____ 
過咗 _____ gwojó _____
before the _____ 
_____之前 jīchìhn
Watch for the _____. 
睇住_____. Táijyuh _____.
十字路口 sahpjihlouh'háu
北面 bākmihn
南面 nàahm'mihn
東面 dūngmihn
西面 sāimihn
上山 séuhngsāan
落山 lohksāan


的士! Dīksíh!
Take me to _____, please. 
載我去_____, 唔該. Joi ngóh heui _____, m̀h'gōi.
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
去_____要幾多錢嘎? Heui _____ yiu géidō chín gah?
Take me there, please. 
載我去嗰度, 唔該. Joi ngóh heui gódouh, m̀h'gōi


Common signs

營業中 / 開
休息 / 關
Do you have any rooms available? 
你哋有無空房呀? Néihdeih yáuh-móuh hūngfóng a?
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
單人房/雙人房 要幾多錢呀? Dāanyàhnfóng/Sēungyàhnfóng yiu géidō chín a?
Does the room come with _____? 
間房有無_____嘎? Gāan fóng yáuh-móuh _____ gah?
床襟 chòhngkám
a bathroom 
浴室 yuhksāt
a telephone 
電話 dihnwah
a TV 
電視 dihnsih
May I see the room first? 
可唔可以睇下間房先呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi tái-háh gāan fóng sīn a?
Do you have anything _____? 
有無間房會_____嘎? Yáuh-móuh gāan fóng húi _____ gah?
靜啲 jihngdī
大啲 daaihdī
乾淨啲 gōnjehngdī
平啲 pèhngdī
OK, I'll take it. 
好, 我要呢間. Hóu, ngóh yiu nī gāan.
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
我會喺度住_____晚. Ngóh húi háidouh jyuh _____ máahn.
Can you suggest another hotel? 
你可唔可以介紹第二間酒店俾我呀? Néih hó-m̀h-hó'yi gaaisiuh daihyih gāan jáudim béi ngóh a?
Do you have a _____?
你哋有無_____嘎? Néihdeih yáuh-móuh _____ gah?
夾萬 gaapmaahn
儲物櫃 chyúhmahtgwaih
Is breakfast/supper included? 
包唔包 早餐/晚餐 嘎? Bāau-m̀h-bāau jóuchāan/máahnchāan gah?
What time is breakfast/supper? 
幾點有 早餐/晚餐 嘎? Géidím yáuh jóuchāan/máahnchāan gah?
Please clean my room. 
唔該幫我執下間房. M̀h'gōi bōng ngóh jāp-háh gāan fóng.
Can you wake me at _____? 
可唔可以_____叫醒我呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi _____ giuséng ngóh a?
I want to check out. 
我想退房. Ngóh séung teuifóng.


Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
你哋收唔收 美/澳/加 元嘎? Néihdeih sāu-m̀h-sāu Méih/Ou/Gā yùhn gah?
Do you accept British pounds? 
你哋收唔收英鎊嘎? Néihdeih sāu-m̀h-sāu Yīngbohng gah?
Do you accept credit cards? 
你哋收唔收信用卡嘎? Néihdeih sāu-m̀h-sāu sun-yoong-caht gah?
Can you change money for me? 
可唔可以幫我唱錢呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi bōng ngóh cheung chín a?
Where can I get money changed? 
我可以去邊度唱錢呀? Ngóh hó'yi heui bīndouh cheung chín a?
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
可唔可以幫我唱張旅行支票呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi bōng ngóh cheung jēung léuih'hàhng jīpiu a?
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
我可以去邊度唱張旅行支票呀? Ngóh hó'yi heui bīndouh cheung jēung léuih'hàhng jīpiu a?
What is the exchange rate? 
匯率係幾多呀? Wuihléut haih géidō a?
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
邊度有櫃員機呀? Bīndouh yáuh gwai'hyùhn'gēi a?
Where is the bank? 
邊度有銀行? Bīndouh yáuh nganhong?


Reading a Chinese Menu

Look for these characters to get an idea of how your food's cooked. With help from The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters (J. McCawley).

煎 jīn
炒 cháau
stir-fried or scrambled
煮 jyú
炸 ja
炆 mān
燉 dahn
焗 guhk
蒸 jīng
A table for one person/two people, please. 
一張 一人枱/二人枱, 唔該. Yāt jēung yātyàhntói/yihyàhntói, m̀h'gōi.
Can I look at the menu, please? 
俾張餐牌我睇, 唔該. Béi jēung chāanpáai ngóh tái, m̀h'gōi.
Can I look in the kitchen? 
可唔可以睇吓廚房呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi tái-háh chyùhfóng a?
Is there a house specialty? 
有乜嘢嘢食出名嘎? Yáuh mātyéh yéhsihk chēutméng gah?
Is there a local specialty? 
有無本地嘢食嘎? Yáuh-móuh búndeih yéhsihk gah?
I'm a vegetarian. 
我食素. Ngóh sihk sou.
I don't eat pork. 
我唔食豬肉. Ngóh m̀h'sihk jyū yuhk.
I don't eat beef. 
我唔食牛肉. Ngóh m̀h'sihk ngàuh yuhk.
I only eat halal food. 
我淨係食清真嘢. Ngóh jihnghaih sihk chīngjān yéh.
Can you make it "lite", please? 
嘢食清啲, 唔該. yéhsihk chīngdī, m̀h'gōi.
fixed-price meal 
套餐 touchāan
a la carte 
跟餐牌 gān chāanpáai (means "as on the menu")
早餐 jóuchāan
晏 aan / 午餐 ńghchāan
tea (meal
下午茶 hah-ńgh-chàh
晚餐 máahnchāan
I want _____. 
我想要_____. Ngóh séung yiu _____.
I want a dish containing _____. 
我想要樣有_____. Ngóh séung yiu yeuhng yáuh _____.
雞 gāi
鴨 ngaap
鵝 ngó
牛肉 ngàuh yuhk
豬肉 jyū yuhk
魚 yùh
火腿 fótéui
香腸 hēungchéuhng
Chinese sausage 
臘腸 laahp chéung
芝士 jīsí
蛋 dáan
沙律 sāléut
(fresh) vegetables 
(新鮮)蔬菜 (sānsīn) sōchoi
(fresh) fruit 
(新鮮)生果 (sānsīn) sāang'gwó
麵包 mihnbāau
多士 dōsí
麵 mihn
飯 faahn
豆 dauh
May I have a glass/cup of _____? 
可唔可以俾杯_____我呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi béi būi _____ ngóh a?
May I have a bottle of _____? 
可唔可以俾樽_____我呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi béi jēun _____ ngóh a?
咖啡 gafē
tea (drink
茶 chàh
果汁 gwójāp
bubbly water 
有氣水 yáuh'hei séui
水 séui
奶 náaih
啤酒 bējáu
red/white wine 
紅/白 酒 hùhng/baahk jáu
May I have some _____? 
可唔可以俾啲_____我呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi béi dī _____ ngóh a?
鹽 yìhm
black pepper 
黑椒 hākjīu
牛油 ngàuhyàuh
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
侍應唔該. Sihying m̀h'gōi.
I'm finished. 
食完嘅喇. Sihkyùhn gela.
It was delicious. 
好食. Hóusihk
Please clear the plates. 
唔該幫我清下張枱. M̀h' gōi bōng ngóh chīng-háh jēung tói.
The check, please. 
唔該, 買單. M̀h'gōi, màaihdāan.


Do you serve alcohol? 
你哋有無酒飲嘎? Néihdeih yáuh-móuh jáu yám gah?
Is there table service? 
有無侍應埋枱嘎? Yáuh-móuh sihying màai tói gah?
A beer/two beers, please. 
一/兩杯 啤酒, 唔該. Yāt/léuhng būi bējáu, m̀h'gōi.
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
一杯 紅/白 酒, 唔該. Yāt būi hùhng/baahk jáu, m̀h'gōi.
A pint, please. 
一 pint, 唔該. Yāt pint, m̀h'gōi. ("品脫 bán'tyut" is the corresponding word for "pint", but no one will use it in bars.)
A bottle, please. 
一樽, 唔該. Yāt jēun, m̀h'gōi.
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
_____同_____, 唔該. _____ tùhng _____, m̀h'gōi.
威士忌 wāisigéi
伏特加 fuhkdahkgā
冧酒 lāmjáu
水 séui
club soda 
梳打水 sōdá séui
tonic water 
湯力水 tōnglihk séui
orange juice 
橙汁 cháangjāp
Coke (soda
可樂 hólohk
Do you have any bar snacks? 
你哋有無小食嘎? Néihdeih yáuh-móuh síusihk gah?
One more (cup/bottle), please. 
要多一 杯/樽, 唔該. Yiu dō yāt būi/jēun, m̀h'gōi.
When is closing time? 
幾點柵門嘎? Géidím sāanmùhn gaa?
飲杯! Yámbūi!


Do you have this in my size? 
呢件有無我個碼呀? Nī gihn yáuh-móuh ngóh go má a?
How much? 
幾多錢呀? Géidō chín a? / 幾錢呀 Géi chín a?
That's too expensive. 
太貴啦. Taai gwai la.
Would you take _____? 
收唔收_____嘎? Sāu-m̀h-sāu _____ gah?
貴 gwai
平 pèhng
I can't afford it. 
我俾唔起. Ngóh béi m̀h héi.
I don't want it. 
我唔要. Ngóh m̀h yiu.
You're cheating me. 
你呃緊我嘅. Néih āk gán ngóh gé.
I'm not interested. 
我無興趣. Ngóh móuh hing cheui.
OK, I'll take it. 
好, 我要呢件. Hóu, ngóh yiu nī gihn.
Can I have a bag? 
可唔可以俾個袋我呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi béi go dói ngóh a?
Do you ship (overseas)? 
你哋送唔送貨(去外國)嘎? Néihdeih sung-m̀h-sung fo (heui ngoihgwok) gah?
I need... 
我要... Ngóh yiu...
...牙膏. ngàh gōu.
...a toothbrush. 
...牙刷. ngàh chaat.
...衛生巾. waihsāng'gān.
...番挸. fāan'gáan.
...洗頭水. sái'tàuhséui.
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
...止痛藥. jí'tung yeuhk.
...cold medicine. 
...感冒藥. gám'mouh yeuhk.
...stomach medicine. 
...胃藥. waih yeuhk.
...a razor. 
...剃鬚刀. taisōudōu. umbrella. 
...遮. jē.
...sunblock lotion. 
...太陽油. taaiyèuhngyàuh.
...a postcard. 
...名信片. mìhngseunpín.
...postage stamps. 
...郵票. yàuhpiu.
...電池. dihnchìh.
...writing paper. 
...信紙. seunjí.
...a pen. 
...筆. bāt.
...a pencil. 
...鉛筆. yùnbāt. phone. 
... 手提電話. sáutài dihnwah.
...English-language books. 
...英文書. Yīngmàhn syū.
...English-language magazines. 
...英文雜誌. Yīngmàhn jaahpji. English-language newspaper. 
...英文報紙. Yīngmàhn boují. English-English dictionary. 
...英英字典. Yīngyīng jihdín.


I want to rent a car. 
我想租車. Ngóh séung jōu chē.
Can I get insurance? 
邊度可以買保險嘎? Bīndouh hó'yi máaih bóu hím gah?
stop (on a street sign
停 tìhng
one way 
單程路 dāanchìhnglouh
讓 yeuhng
no parking 
不准泊車 bātjéun paakchē
speed limit 
速度限制 chūkdouh haahnjai
gas (petrol) station 
油站 yàuhjaahm
汽油 heiyàuh
柴油 chàaihyàuh


I haven't done anything wrong. 
我無做錯野. Ngóh móuh jouh cho yéh.
It was a misunderstanding. 
件事係誤會. Ginh sih haih ngh-wuih.
Where are you taking me? 
你帶我去邊? Néih daai ngóh heui bīn.
Am I under arrest? 
我係唔係俾人拉左呀? Ngóh haih-m̀h-haih béi yàhn lāai jó a?
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
我係 美國/澳州/英國/加拿大 公民. Ngóh haih Méihgwok/Oujāu/Yīng'gwok/Gānàhdaaih gūngmàhn.
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy/consulate. 
我要搵 美國/澳州/英國/加拿大 大使館/領事館. Ngóh yiu wán Méihgwok/Oujāu/Yīng'gwok/Gānàhdaaih daaihsigún/líhngsihgún.
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
我要搵律師. Ngóh yiu wán leuhtsī.
Can I just pay a fine now? 
可唔可以就咁罰錢呀? Hó-m̀h-hó'yi jauh gám faht chín?
This Cantonese phrasebook has guide status. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. Please contribute and help us make it a star!