December 3, 2007

Chicken and Turtle

Here is another popular Cantonese tongue-twister. It helps to master the 'g' and 'gw' initials.


Here is a version at moderate speed:

Transcript (Transliteration) / Jyutping / Translation

(One)(Dollar)(One)(Catty) (Chicken),一(One)(Dollar) (One)(Catty) (Turtle)
jat1 man1 jat1 gan1 gai1, jat1 man1 jat1 gan1 gwai1
A buck for a catty of Chicken. A buck for a catty of turtle,

究竟(Is it true that) (Is) (Chicken) (Expensive) 定係(Or)(Turtle) (Expensive)
gau3 ging2 hai6 gai1 gwai3 ding6 hai6 gwai1 gwai3?
Is chicken more expensive or turtle?

Practising Tips
The first sentence is a dead give-away. All the words are in the same tone. Just make sure you nail down the 'g' initial for the chicken and 'gw' for the turtle.

The second sentence could be a challenge for novice learners, but all you need is to practise more. The key is to get "雞貴" correct. Many people would fall into the trap and say "gai1 gai3" instead of "gai1 gwai3".

Here a long version of the tongue-twister, for those who are interested:

jat1 man1 jat1 zek3 gwai1, cat1 man1 jat1 zek3 gai1
One buck for one turtle, seven bucks for one chicken

keoi5 waa6 gwai1 gwai3 gwo3 gai1, ngo5 waa6 gai1 gwai3 gwo3 gwai1
He said turtle is more expensive than chicken. I said chicken is more expensive than turtle

gam3 gau3 ging2 gwai1 gwai3 gwo3 gai1 ding6 hai6 gai1 gwai3 gwo3 gwai1
So is turtle more expensive then chicken or chicken more expensive or turtle?


nmurray said...

Any chance of an intermediate speed on this one. I don't think I could ever say it at your super speed.

Regards, Neil

Edwin said...

Oops, too fast. Just added a version at moderate speed.


nmurray said...

Thanks for that Edwin. I'm working on it.


dada said...

蚊 is mosquito, the money quantifier is 文

Edwin said...

Thanks, dada. Updated.

nmurray said...

Hi Edwin,

I recently spent ten days in Hong Kong. Had a great time trying to speak Cantonese with friends and people in restaurants, shops and the punters at the races.

I tried this tongue twister and the one about the emergency button on one of my friends. She was impressed, even though I was not so fast at it. She said that even some Hong Kongers have trouble saying them.

Thanks again for providing these learning materials. Helps me a lot and they're a lot of fun as well.

Kind regards,

Edwin said...

Great to hear that!

Keep up your work and remember don't give yourself too much pressure. Enjoy the journey of learning the language.

Stuart Neilson said...

I used to amuse my friends and myself with tt like this. The version I remember goes:
"Go Into the street and buy a catty of chicken. Go to the Market and buy a catty of turtle. Did you say chicken is more expensive than turtle or turtle more expensive than chicken"
I could also usually get a laugh out of the 'what couple is a black cat? Black. What colour is a white cat? White. What colour is a 'hong mok' (red cat)? Red. No black and White.

And the 'Lobert jia' (Robert Boy) drinking game.