Doesn't it feel good to be getting better? In this Cantonese lesson for absolute beginners we're going to teach you how to tell others that you don't understand. And ask them to repeat themselves. Or ask them to speak a little more slowy. These are extremely useful sentences, and they'll help us reinforce the basics. So grab your mp3 player and start listening!

Want to learn Cantonese? This is lesson three in our Cantonese series designed for absolute beginners to the language. We focusing here learning key words and phrases and practicing the tones. As you listen, be sure to click through to our text and vocabulary pages to read our annotated transcripts and get familiar with the jyutping system that's used to mark tones. And if you have any questions? Leave a comment in our discussion section below, or write us anytime at service@popupcantonese.com.
 said on
December 30, 2010
Hey guys!

Quick question:

In the line "我听唔到" The 到 there seems to be second tone whereas in the last podcast in "我迟到" it was third. That's the only tone the dictionary gives as well! Giving that in this podcast both native speakers and the script use second tone this can't a mistake right?

What's happening here?

btw: love the podcasts and I really like the fact that you went for a quick repetition of the old ones at the beginning - that helps a lot!

"Do1 ze6" for your help ;)

 said on
December 30, 2010
Hi p-v-n,

Keen observation!

到 is a polyphone and has more one sound: dou3 & dou2. When it means "to arrive" it's "dou3", and when it's a complement like in the phrase 听唔到 it's "dou2".

Not to scare people off, but Cantonese does have a lot of polyphones and tone-changing rules (e.g. 糖sugar(tong4-2) uses different tones for different class). What's more dreadful, there are lots of exceptions.

Yeah we think the review is useful, too. 多谢你留言!Thanks for commenting!

- Nicole

 said on
December 30, 2010
On the transcript is written the character 慢, but it's pronounced maan6 di1... Does Cantonese have some polysyllabic characters? Or is this di1 some kind of particle, like 啊, that wasn't included on the transcript?

I forgot how hard Chinese is now that I'm starting from the beginning again. It would be nice if there was a lesson that summarizes all the tones. Is there cantonese way to say 加油?
 said on
December 30, 2010
Hi Big Cow,

I'm not sure what transcript you were referring to. In the Text we wrote 慢啲 for maan6 di1. Could you specify a little?

啲 is similar to the Mandarin 點兒 and means "a little".

The Cantonese way to say 加油 is 加油(gaa1 jau2).

Hope it helps.

- Nicole
 said on
December 30, 2010
@Big Cow, Nicole,

Yeah -- there it is missing from the transcript. This looks like a technical bug we should fix with the PDF production system. Strange.... I'll see what I can do.

--dave

 said on
December 30, 2010
ah, no wonder. You might want to check the Critical phrases 4 transcript too. Either this mac is reading pdfs badly or it's missing a bunch of characters, like mou5 or go2. Under "give me that one" there are no characters at all.
 said on
December 30, 2010
I'm on a windows (previous podcasts have left no doubt you popups have fallen under the reign of apple ;) and I have the same problem. #3 doesn't show "di1" and #4 doesn't show "go2" (that goes for all the files)!

Strangely enough unlike Big Cow I do get "mou5" in "jau5mou5"... wierd!
 said on
December 31, 2010
I looks like there were two problems overlapping here. First, a lot of people with accounts from Popup Chinese that got ported over had their display preferences set as simplified Chinese by default since that's what it was on Popup Chinese. In this case, our pdf production system dropped traditional characters that couldn't be represented using our simplified Chinese font. I've updated the database to automatically switch everyone's preference to traditional Chinese. So logging out and logging back in over time should fix that problem for everyone.

Second problem -- it looks like the font we're using to produce the PDFs is missing 啲, so the character is getting dropped. This means we should shift to a better system for producing PDFs, which will probably take a bit of time....