Cantonese pinyin for phrasebook

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
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Cantonese pinyin for phrasebook

Postby abroadhongkong » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:46 am

Hi guys,

First time poster.

I've been trying to get my head around the idea of Cantonese pinyin for part of a prospective guidebook project. Not easy.

As I understand it, there is no formalized romanization of Cantonese and no set, standard pinyin as there is with Mandarin. The most recent attempt is Jyutping, preceded by Ping Yan. Which is more widely used? From what I've seen in various phrasebooks, the romanization varies greatly.

For example; are the following correct?

Do you speak English? nei5 sik1 gong2 ying1 man4 ma3
Could you please repeat, slowly[/b] nei5 ho2 yi5 maan6 maan6 chung4 fuk1 yat chi3 ma3
Ok ho2 yi5 OR dak1
Painkillers ji2 tung3 yeuk6
I’m a vegetarian ngo5 sik6 jai1 dik1
How much is this? ne1 go3 gei2 do1 chin2

Do these follow Jyutping or are they just broadly correct in a pronunciation sense?

Any guidance would be much appreciated?


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Lost in Mong Kok
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 5:24 pm
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Cantonese pinyin for phrasebook

Postby Lost in Mong Kok » Tue Jun 28, 2011 8:18 pm

What you've written appears to be Jyutping although I'm not sure if its all correct.

You can look here:

as a dictionary source for looking up words.

I think that the Linguistics Society of Hong Kong supports Jyutping as the official romanisation method of Cantonese, however, other methods such as Yale exist. Jyutping can seem a little strange if you are straight English speaker, but is easy to get used to, and I personally find it easier than adding hyphonation to letters like some other methods.

Do you speak English? 你識唔識講英文呀?nei5 sik1m4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man4 aa3 ?
You should use a positive and a negative within the question, in a basic form. You speak not speak English. Although using 識 you're basically asking if they have knowledge of this, and you don't really need to use 講, although I don't think using it is incorrect.

It is the same for the rest of them... such as 你可唔可以 (can you can't you) followed by the article such as "repeat ...." or "speak more slowly".

You can try using 呀 at the end of a question as a particle which expresses that what you have said is a question. It seems to sound more natural, as if raising the end of the sentence in English to imply a question (although some people annoyingly seem to do this for every sentence they speak).
Lost in Mong Kok 旺角迷失

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