Me, you, him/her

Learn pronouns in Cantonese

This week will focus on pronouns.  The good news is that spoken Cantonese doesn’t differentiate between gender.  And even better, to refer to multiple people pronouns, you just have to add the word 哋 (dei2) after me, you, and him/her to make we/us, you, and them.  

  • Me = 我 = ngo5
  • You = 你 = nei5
  • Him/her = 佢 = keoi5
  • We/us = 我哋 = ngo5 dei2
  • You (plural) = 你哋 = nei5 dei2
  • Them = 佢哋 = keoi5 dei2

Make it fun:

Ask your kids questions using the pronouns

  • What am I eating? = 我食緊乜嘢 = ngo5 sik6 gan2 mat1 je5
  • What are you eating? = 你食緊乜嘢 = nei5 sik6 gan2 mat1 je5
  • What is he/she eating? = 佢食緊乜嘢 = keoi5 sik6 gan2 mat1 je5
  • What are we eating? = 我哋食緊乜嘢 = ngo5 dei2 sik6 gan2 mat1 je5
  • What are you (plural) eating? = 你哋食緊乜嘢 = nei5 dei2 sik6 gan2 mat1 je5
  • What are they eating? = 佢哋食緊乜嘢 = keoi5 dei2 sik6 gan2 mat1 je5

What did you do?

We learned present tense “what are you doing, eating, reading, etc..?”.  Now we will learn past tense “what did you do, eat, read, etc…?”  The difference is only one word.  Instead of doing (做緊 zou6 gan2), eating (食緊 sik6 gan2), reading/watching (睇緊 tai2 gan2), you just switch the word 緊 gan2 with 咗 zo2. 

  • What did you do? = 你做咗乜嘢 = nei5 zou6 zo2 mat1 je5?
  • What did you eat? = 你食咗乜嘢  = nei5 sik6 zo2 mat1 je5?
  • What did you read/watch? = 你睇咗乜嘢 = nei5 tai2 zo2 mat1 je5?

Make it fun:

You can ask your kids what they did today at school, what they ate for lunch, or what they watched on TV.  

What time is it?

Telling time is a great way to teach numbers.  Here’s the most basic way to tell time. 點 (dim2) means o’clock  and 分 (fan1) means minutes.  

  • What time is it right now? = 而家幾多點 = ji4 gaa1 gei2 do1 dim2
  • Right now, it is 8:24 = 而家八點二十四分 =  ji4 gaa1 baat3 dim2 ji6 sap6 sei3 fan1

Make it fun

Ask your kids what time it is throughout the day! 

Is it cold today?

Now that it’s spring time, my kids ask me what they should wear every morning because the weather changes every day.  So I taught them how to ask in Chinese.  

  • Is it cold today? = 今日凍唔凍啊?= gam1 jat6 dung3 m4 dung3 aa1
  • It’s very cold today = 今日好凍 = gam1 jat6 hou2 dung3
  • It’s cold today = 今日凍啊 = gam1 jat6 dung3 aa1
  • It’s a little cold today = 今日小小凍 = gam1 jat6 siu2 siu2 dung3
  • It’s not cold today = 今日唔凍 = gam1 jat6 m4 dung3

MAKE IT FUN:

Draw pictures of different temperatures (0C, 5C, 10C, 15C) on flashcards and your kids to answer according to the card they pick.  

194052

I discovered that these numbers represent the 6 different tones in  Cantonese.  If you can say these 6 numbers in Cantonese, you can learn to pronounce any Cantonese word properly with the jyutping system.
1 = 一 = jat1
9 = 九 = gau2
4 = 四 = sei3
0 = 零 = ling4
5 = 五 = ng5
2 = 二 = ji6

Make it fun:

Practise making these tones with any word and tell your kids what each word means.  My kids had a blast with the ‘syu’ sound.
書 = syu1 = book
鼠 = syu2 = mouse
薯 = syu4 = potato
樹 = syu6 = tree

Are you hungry?

My life revolves around food so I will be teaching my kids a lot of food-related phrases. 😂

  • Are you hungry? = 你肚唔肚餓? = nei5 tou5 m4 tou5 ngo6 ?
  • I am not hungry = 我唔肚餓 = ngo5 m4 tou5 ngo6
  • I’m a little hungry = 我小小肚餓 = ngo5 siu2 siu2 tou5 ngo6
  • I’m hungry = 我肚餓 = ngo5 tou5 ngo6
  • I’m very hungry = 我好肚餓 = ngo5 hou2 tou5 ngo6

Make it fun:

Ask them this question throughout the day so they can practise all the different possible responses!