YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Talk:Cantonese phrasebook

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search

The phrase list here is terrible! Cantonese has 6 or 7 tones to go with the sounds. If you don't get the tones, you will not be understood. Why is this section so poor compared to the Chinese phrasebook? There they use standard pinyin and explanations of the tones.

There are standard systems for Cantonese as well. It's harder than Putonghua for sure, but worth doing right.

Please plunge forward and make it better then! Jpatokal 01:06, 10 Nov 2005 (EST)


I belive the tones from 1-6 would be very simple and effective, the Yale ones are screwed and ineficent Enlil Ninlil 23:44, 21 Feb 2006 (EST)

nobody really says 你好to say hello. they usually say 吃了反没. if u say 你好, u will sound like a foreigner.

CantonesePod 23:44, 21 Feb 2008 (EST)

This is not true. We Cantonese say 你好 nei5 hou2 a lot. It is quite useful when you do not know or are not sure how to address the other person. We used to use 吃了反没 to greet each other when many people did not have enough to eat. Now all has changed and Cantonese eat way too much and may need to be on diet now.


I think you should use Jyutping to write this article. Also, much of the romanization is incorrect. Several of the phrases have incorrect characters, also.

What's wrong with you Cantonese-speaking people? Plunge forward and fix it instead of whining here on this Talk page! Jpatokal 00:41, 1 March 2007 (EST)
I've gone through and fixed it all. I have a question though. Should all syllables really be separated? I find that horribly annoying, as many can be put together, such as the language's own name, Gwong2dong1 Wa2 (as opposed to Gwong2 Dong1). Anyway, I ask that this source be referenced:
It tends to be extremely useful. 15:11, 14 June 2007 (EDT)
I would like to wonder whether the Hong Kong chief executive/president of executive council, Donald Tsang, has his Chinese name, Zeng Yinquan, written in Cantonese Yale as "Jang Yam-Kyun"? The Mandarin zeng1 is written in Jyutping, in this case, as "zang1" and in Cantonese Yale as "jang1" (Donald Jang, anyone?). Confusingly, Hong Kong Government Cantonese Romanization would romanize this surname as Chang (so that some texts may refer to the man as Donald Chang). Hong Kong GCR could be considered "Wade-Giles for Cantonese" for it lacks some distinctions between consonants, when compared with Jyutping and Cantonese Yale. WikiPro1981X 18:54, 20 February 2011 (EST)

Romanization discussion moved[edit]

Yes, Jyutping is more popular and better to use CantonesePod 12:16, 18 June 2008 (EDT) Google Yale and Jyutping and you'll know Jyuting is more popular. shows big difference.

So we need to change the pronunciation for the phrases here to Jyutping.

The initial j represents /j/ in Jyutping while y is used instead in Yale. The initial z represents /ts/ in Jyutping while j is used instead in Yale. The initial c represents /tsʰ/ in Jyutping while ch is used instead in Yale.

I know that Yale is old and has long history, but the popularity of the New Jyutping is overpassing the Yale system and we believe that Jyutping is good for us promote Cantonese.

"It is multifunctional, systematic, user-friendly, compatible with all possible modern Cantonese sounds, and solely based on alphanumeric characters without any diacritics and strange symbols. Jyutping can also be used as a Chinese computer input method. Its basic principles are simple, easy to learn, and professional. " ( ). Let's support the hard work of The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) and be united under Jyutping.

I moved this from the article page hereRavikiran 08:05, 30 September 2007 (EDT)

Choose the best Romanization system in Cantonese!! Yale Cantonese is out of date and not compatible with Cantonese software. The best phonetic system is the LSHK developed in Hong Kong by the experts from the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong, not by some scholars in the West who are away from the majority of Cantonese people. Just watch out for the Yale system supporters such as the one below who probably knows only the old system of Cantonese Romanization.

Choose the best Romanisation system for Cantonese!! Yale Cantonese is current and used in the vast majority of existing texts. (Try finding LSHK material outside of Hong Kong.) The best phonetic system is Yale Cantonese, developed by experts in linguistics, and intended for native English speakers trying to learn Cantonese, not by some scholars in the East who are away from the majority of English speaking people. Just watch out for LSHK supporters such as the one above who probably is a native Cantonese speaker (just like the creators of LSHK) and therefore wouldn't have a clue what it's like trying to learn Cantonese without a native speaking background.

Yale Cantonese.

Just as the most predominant form of Mandarin romanisation is called Pinyin, the most modern, most accepted, and more importantly the most correct form of Cantonese romanisation is Yale Cantonese.

Special note to the person who previously edited this document. You must familiarise yourself with Yale Cantonese! Some of your notions such as the use of "J" for a "y" sound, the use of "c" to indicate "ch" sound, and in particular the use of "Z" (something from pinyin) are just horrifically unintuitive and least indicative of the closest english sounds for speaking Cantonese. To make matters worse, you were also incredibly inconsistent with your romanisation, and a number of your tones were just plain wrong. You are going to cause nothing but total confusion to the beginner. Please learn how to speak cantonese properly, and then learn how to romanise properly. Remember: Yale Cantonese.

Apologies if this is not the appropriate place for this notice, but I could see no other way of making this important point.

For the beginner interested in learning Cantonese, I'd strongly advise finding a text that utilises Yale Cantonese. Fortunately the majority do anyway, but there are a number of other systems out there. Some simply use English to approximate sounds, and then rely on audio to teach the exact sounds. One example is which might be a good choice for complete newbies, or those wishing to only learn enough Cantonese for traveling.

I'm a new learner of Cantonese and I find that Yale romanisation to be easier to pick-up to learn to pronunciation of words. I still rely on a native speaker to correct me, but during self-learning it's definitely easier and more intuitive than Jyutping. I thought as user, it would be helpful to have my vote. Thanks for putting your time into this. It's much appreciated.

Use of numbers in jyutping tones:[edit]

To my way of thinking, the use of numbered tones is the greatest weakness of the jyutping system.

Cantonese has too many tones ; if you want people to learn it you have to simplify the learning not emphasize its difficulty . Numbers are keynoard-friendly, not speach-friendly. I have no idea how anyone would develop a speaking fluency trying to read around the flood of numbers in

"Cheng2 man6 jau5 mou5 jan4 sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3?" .

In self-study times, the numbers defeat the purpose of romanisation, which is to enable one to

READ aloud the written word.  They also encourage the common mistake of reading individual words rather

than combining them into terms and phrases . Example  : in the Yale version " gwong2 jau1 wa2 " doesn't read like the spoken " gwóngjàuwá " .

The accents (diacritics) show the direction of the tone-pitch intuitively and can be read without thinking 'back into English" when trying to remember whether jau-"one" is the high-falling jau or the high-level-tone jau . Even with 4-tone Mandarin pinyyin I find the / and \ and ^ symbols far better for speach, and use the numbers only for keyboarding. Incidentally, the yale "h" marker for a low-tone was an invention of genius. It allows the reader to deal with 3 diacritics ( - , / and \) and clearly signals a low starting-pitch.

The learner quickly tires of hearing "how difficult Cantonese is because it has 6 or 9 tones". Stop making Chinese learners out to be geniuses , and help them to speak . I learned to speak a few understandable sentences in 3-6 months using {Yale} romanisation and a few cassette tapes. The computer age should make things easier, not harder ! 03:23, 28 November 2008 (EST)John

A job well done[edit]

I have looked at the Cantonese phrase book and I think it is very good.

My opinion is that the Yale system is the best Romanization system, if only because it is the most widely used. I have copies of almost every Cantonese language course and the Yale system is the most popular system, by far. It is the preferred system used by Routledge in their very popular course, "Colloquial Cantonese: a complete language course - by Keith ST Tong, Gregory James". It is also used by the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Given that many (most?) travellers will encounter the Yale system, I would argue that we stick with Yale and also edit the Hong Kong pages of Wikitravel to use the Yale system.

If there are no objections, I will re-edit the Hong Kong pages, using the Yale system sometime in August. Herngong 11:09, 17 April 2009 (EDT)