Cantonese phrasebook Attractions & Activities - The Best Holiday Destinations for 2020
Cantonese (廣東話 Gwóngdūngwáh) is a widely spoken Chinese language. It is the local language in current use within the province of Guangdong, China, official language in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, as well as in the Special Administrative Region of Macau, and used in many overseas Chinese communities in South-East Asia and elsewhere, with Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) being two places where Cantonese is the dominant language in a Chinese community that is in turn huge and influential. Cantonese is also the dominant language in many Chinatowns all over the world, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Chicago, London, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Vancouver, Toronto and Kuala Lumpur. The dialect of Chinese spoken by many inhabitants of eastern Guangxi Province in mainland China, is often referred to a form of Cantonese as well.
Chinese languages are mutually unintelligible, with difference ranging from that between Italian and French to that between English and Swedish, which we would call "related languages" rather than "dialects".
Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese languages do NOT use the same script. All Chinese languages have their own, with some (like Min and Hakka) in fact not using Chinese characters but instead the Roman alphabet (with accents in order to indicate tones); however, Mandarin is the only language used officially in formal writing even in Hong Kong and Macau, where the official spoken language is Cantonese (even though advertising and subtitling of children's TV programs and films frequently use Cantonese). Still, locals there learn to read and write Mandarin although generally cannot understand it in spoken form. Mandarin has two scripts, namely simplified and traditional, simplified being used in mainland China and Singapore and traditional being used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
There are different local languages in Guangdong that are sometimes considered Cantonese dialects but in fact are separate languages, such as Taishanese, spoken in Taishan in the far west of Guangdong. However, most people throughout Guangdong know how to speak standard Cantonese (Guangzhou dialect) and Hongkongers and Macanese speak standard Cantonese with slight influences from Western languages, especially from English in Hong Kong Cantonese. The Cantonese spoken in Singapore and Malaysia also differ slightly due to Malay influences.
Some of the phrases in the list are difficult to translate from English to Cantonese.
The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Cantonese phrasebook