Sunday, February 13, 2011

Basic Course: Lesson 5 Vocabulary

Below is the vocabulary list for lesson five of the Basic Course. This lesson expands on lesson four, focusing on basic questions and classroom objects. I’ve transcribed it as close as I was able to, notes below.

  1. 好 · hō · good, fine, allright, OK, right, very
  2. 喇嗎 · lā-ma · (final particle for yes/no questions)
  3. 呢 · nē · (final particle for “how about” questions)
  4. 唔 · m̈ · not, cannot, (negative prefix)
  5. 你 · ni (nei) · you
  6. 粉筆 · fūn-bīt · chalk
  7. 鉛筆 · yön-bīt · pencil
  8. 草槁陪 · tō-gō bù* · writing tablet
  9. 報紙 · bo-jī · newspaper
  10. 字典 · dù-īng · (character) dictionary
  11. 本 · bōn · volume, copy, (measure word for books)
  12. 部 · bù · department, volume, copy, (measure word for works of literature, films, machines, etc.)
  13. 張 · jiang · (measure word for flat objects, chairs, etc.)
  14. 枝 · ji · (measure word for stick-like things)
  15. 聽早 · hìng-dō · tomorrow
  16. 見 · gen (ging) · to see
  17. 再 · doi · again, once more

All of the new words in this lesson have corresponding Chinese characters. The character 唔 is typically a Cantonese character, also used in other dialects like Hakka. Other words are new to me, like 聽早 hìng-dō “tomorrow.” I wasn’t able to find this word in the Kaiping dictionary, but the dictionary (really, a character dictionary—or 字典 dù-īng) doesn’t claim to be an absolute linguistic authority. If you have any insights to this vocabulary list, please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Tomorrow I’ll post the corresponding dialogue.

Update: So my note on 聽日 聽早 belies my supreme nonfluence of Taishanese. It’s embarrassing, I must admit. Like Cantonese, we use 聽日 聽早 for “tomorrow,” but apparently we pronounce 聽 with a different tone (hìng instead of hing)—or maybe it’s just a difference in the accents.

Update: Here’s another character that speakers have been using to write hìng-dō.


  1. My wife and her parents definitely say "hing do" and "du ing" with the same tones as provided in the lesson. I don't think I've ever heard them say 聽日 in Taishanese, only in Cantonese. But they say "hing do" extremely often.

  2. Thanks, Ben for kindly alerting me to my typo! I’m still learning to type using 倉頡, and gave up halfway through the character :P

  3. The "早" in "聽do" is probably really 朝, which is another word for "day". 朝 was used instead of 日 during the early period of Hong Kong Cantonese, before it was replaced by Guangzhou Cantonese. 朝 is also used in other Southern Sinitic dialects such as Shanghainese.