Cantonese useful phrases

Note: Cantonese is a tonal language. Pronunciations provided below include numbers indicating tone. Tone 1 is high and level/falling; 2 is medium and rising; 3 is medium and level; 4 is low and falling; 5 is low and rising, 6 is low and level. For more info, see Standard Cantonese. The characters shown are Traditional Chinese characters. Pronunciation is given using Jyutping and IPA. However, non-use of the tones will not hinder comprehension for such simple phrases.

Translation Jyutping IPA
Cantonese gwong2 dung1 waa2
hello nei5 hou2
good-bye zoi3 gin3
bye-bye baai1 baai3
please m4 goi1
thank you (for gifts) do1 ze3
thank you (for services rendered) m4 goi1
sorry deoi3 m4 zyu6
this one ni1 go3 or nei1 go3
that one go2 go3
how much/many? (ask for quantity) yau5 gei2 do1 aa3
how much? (ask for amount of money) gei2 do1 cin2 aa3
yes hai6
no m4 hai6
correct/right am1
incorrect/wrong m4 am1
I don't understand ngo5 m4 ming4 baak6
Where's the washroom (toilet, lavatory)? sai2 sau2
gaan1 hai2 bin1
dou6 aa3

Do you speak English? nei5 sik1 m4
sik1 gong2 jing1 man2 aa3


Note: Cantonese, like most of the other Chinese languages, does not actually have words for “yes” and “no”. Translations for “yes” and “no” given above actually mean “it is” and “it is not” and can be used for questions asking for confirmation. However, for certain yes/no questions, one would normally respond with the verb or the negation of the verb. For instance, to respond to a question such as “do you want to go?” one would respond with “want” or “not want”.