December 6, 2007

Your Chinese Is Better Than Mine

Here are a useful phrase from Mr Tung found in my previous post. The line appears right at the beginning. Learners could say this to your Cantonese-speaking friends. You could substitute 'English' with other languages.



Transcript / Jyutping / Transliteration / Translation

(I) (Not) (Know) (Is) (You) ('s) 中文(Chinese) 好過(Better than) (I)
ngo5 m4 zi1 hai6 nei5 ge3 zung1 man5 hou2 gwo3 ngo5 ne1
I don't know if your Chinese is better than mine

定係(Or) (I) 英文(English) 好過(Better than) (You)
ding6 hai6 ngo5 jing1 man5 hou2 gwo3 nei5
Or my English is better than yours

Useful Vocabulary
中文 - Chinese
英文 - English
好過 - Better than
定係 - Or (used in questions)

Mr Tung uses "你嘅中文" (your English) but then "我英文" (my English). In colloquial Cantonese, it is sometimes ok to omit the possessive particle '嘅'.

Note that both Mr Tung and Mr Sze-To pronounce 'you' perfectly as 'nei5' and not 'lei5', which is considered to be a lazy sound.

You might find it a bit difficult to pick up the phrase "定係" (ding6 hai6). The words are slurred together. So you would hear something like 'de-ai6' or 'dai6'. But surely, it is different from only "ding6".


nmurray said...

Maybe it's my hearing but I can't distinguish the words ding hai ngo, even at the slow speed. Does he actually enunciate these words or just skid over them? I'm having even more problems picking up words in Stehen Chow's joke.

Regards, Neil

Chris said...

You are doing a great service here. I have a hope that based on the transcripts and audio on this site plus Milan's and Marcelo's sites I can get up to conversational level fairly fast next year (with some considerable effort/activity ;)). I am having a huge burst of effort on the Mandarin first.

For interest I met another of the "new wave" on Monday. He got on my crowded bus and was asking about the stop for the train station. The driver prompted him to get off at the right stop which was the same as mine, he still looked a little lost though, so I approached and asked him if he was Chinese in Cantonese, and directed him to the train station (I had to say "train station" in English I had no idea in Cantonese). We had a very brief conversation (becasue I can't say much) and then I asked whether he could speak Mandarin (of course I can, I am Chinese he replied in Mandarin almost offended).

We talked some more in Mandarin until our ways parted, his pronouciation was a little strange, his answer to how long had he lived in England for example sounded like
si lian rather than si nian but I am getting used to these kinds of variations now.

So another reasonably recent arrival from Hong Kong with both Cantonese and Mandarin. I have bought one the the new 3 Skype mobile phones and 10 minutes later I was talking to a lady in China, to whom I told this tale, turns out her Sister now lives in Hong Kong, and gets by with just Mandarin (I suspect she is missing out on a lot though?).

Chris said...

@nmurray me too, I can hear the (ding ngo) but the hai between them seems pretty subliminal.

nmurray said...

Chris, I've listened again over and over and I can now pick up ding and ngo but not the hai, as you say. I can't imagine myself picking up conversation at that speed. Then again, I suppose that's because my beginner's ears are not attuned properly yet.

Regards, Neil

Edwin said...

You are right. The word 'hai6' is reduced. Let me add a note to the post. Thanks.

In the other post, Stephen Chow was telling the joke in a very colloquial way. This is why although the vocabulary is not very difficult, I graded it as advanced.

Martin said...

Hi Edwin,

I've just stumbled upon your blog thanks to your signature on Adam's site.

Thanks very much for taking the time to make these entries. I really like your approach of taking a youtube video/audio clip and transcribing it. Resources like these are sorely needed for Cantonese learners.

I think I will be able to learn a lot from your site, and I hope you keep up the good work!

Edwin said...

Interesting story.

One trick you can try next time to avoid the confusion. I call this the "multi-channel" approach.

When you come across a Chinese stranger next time, try to open up 3 channels at the same time. So you would greet him in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English (in case he is a BBC).

Usually, he will pick up one channel and reply to you. And you can just carry on with the conversation in that channel.

Edwin said...

You are very welcome. Please let me know if you have any suggestion or comment.

marcelo said...

Hi Edwin,
I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with the fact that you update your site almost on a dayly basis.Although it's been only a month or so that you started this blog, there are already quite a number of transcripts.Congrats on that! But i'm writing right now not only to praise the site, but to give a suggestion as well. Have you ever thought about extracting the audio from the videoclips? I don't know about others, but I don't usually sit in front of the computer when I'm listening to language learning content.I use my ipod instead because it's more convenient and I can listen to it wherever I am.Another thing : did you ever consider to record stories yourself?I mean, not necessarily stories, but rambling on a particular subject and then transcribing it? ( just like that Steve kaufman's video about Cantonese you asked him to do)

Edwin said...

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

It has been my intention to have one post per day for the first 2 weeks initially, since I want my visitors to really find some content even at the beginning. But then I am going to reduce the frequency to 3 times a week in the next month or so, because I still want my readers to catch up with my posts.

As for extracting audio from the video clips. I myself have a tool to do it, and I encourage readers to do the same, but by themselves. I want to avoid any potential copyright issue.

The idea of doing a Cantonese podcast is always in my mind. But then I am not a very talkative person, and I am not good at talking alone. May be I need to find a co-host first.