The Beauty and Melody of the Cantonese Language

Monday, April 07, 2014

I am Cantonese by descent but I only speak a very basic and vernacular version of the dialect. But when I was having lunch with a colleague today, I was in deep waters. She was using Chinese idioms in our course of conversation. I had to stop her many times to have her repeat what she said for me to figure out and understand what she was saying.

She on the other hand, found me absolutely amusing.

Here are some of what she said, those I remember.

This is common to us: 隔墙有耳 (gak chiong yau yee) - the walls have ears.

We then proceed to talk about life experiences, on how we all experience the same heartaches, difficulties and pain and off she uttered out: 天下鸟鸦一样黑 (tin ha oo nga yat yiong hak) - crows in the skies and on earth are all black.

Then our conversation turned to our families and she has another one: 家家有本難念的经 (ga ga yau boon lan lin dik geng) - every family owns a scripture that is difficult to read.

My life is enriched, albeit slightly, with the beauty of the language and melody of the dialect. How I love it when I hear people speaking formal Cantonese.

pearlie

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