Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cantonese Phrases for Tourists

If you cannot speak Cantonese in Macau, you will find it quite impossible to communicate with the majority of the population.

Although Portuguese is one of the official languages of Macao, only about 7% of the population know how to speak this language. English is understood by the Filipinos working locally as well as people in the tourist industry. Mandarin (putonghua) is sometimes understood by the local inhabitants (if you are lucky).


If you do not know Cantonese, your best bet is to ask a Filipino or Filipina for translation help. You may be surprised to know that many know how to speak Cantonese although they cannot read Chinese.

The other workaround is to print out the Chinese names of your travel destination as well as simple phrases in Traditional Chinese like "where is the toilet?" (Only the younger folk cannot read Simplified Chinese.)


Where is the toilet?
chisó hai bīndouh a?

I am not familiar with Cantonese
ngóh m̀sìk góng gwóngdùngwá

Please write it down
m̀gòi néih sédài a?

I understand
ngóh mìhngbaahk la

I don't understand
ngóh m̀ mìhngbaahk

Do you understand?
néih mìhngm̀mìhng a

More Phrases

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