You can never talk about Hong Kong without the skyscrapers and busy streets. Hong Kong is a highly-developed country which makes it a busy country all day. Imagine walking alone in the busy streets of Hong Kong, and you have encountered an emergency? Wouldn't it be helpful to know some emergency (急事 gap1 si6) phrases in Cantonese?
In the past year, Hong Kong has been all over the news because of its situation. So, if you are planning to go to Hong Kong and only know how to speak English, it is best to learn Cantonese to be able to speak Cantonese for emergencies at least. In this blog, you will learn some common emergency phrases in Cantonese. You may also visit Ling App to learn more lessons/vocabulary for free.
If you are a beginner in learning Chinese languages, you might get confused about the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin. Yes, they are both Chinese dialects, but they are two different languages.
Just a little throwback, there is a constitutional principle of the People's Republic of China called "One country, two systems." This describes the governance they have for Hong Kong and Macau. In Mainland China, Mandarin is the widely spoken Chinese language used by people. On the other hand, Cantonese is the official language of Hong Kong. Although most people also know how to speak English, Cantonese is still their language used for business, education, and daily conversations. These two Chinese languages also differ in tones and writing strokes.
There are still lots to discover about the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese. You may check another blog from Ling App, which further discusses the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese. You might want to check it to know more.
In times of emergency, it is an inconvenience if you still have to pull out your dictionary just to express what you want to say in Cantonese. So why not make yourself prepared and try learning these simple Cantonese words and phrases related to emergencies? For your first lesson, let's start it lightly. Do not forget to practice the right pronunciation of each word because if you mispronounce, it may change its meaning.
|警察局||ging2 caat3 guk2||police station|
|領事館||ling5 si6 gun2||embassy|
|救護車||gau3 wu6 ce1||ambulance|
|拗柴||aau2 caai4||sprained ankle|
|緊急出口||gan2 gap1 ceot1 hau2||emergency exit|
|緊 急 求 助 電 話。||gan2 gap1 kau4 jo6 din6 wa2。||Emergency phone number.|
Nowadays, being careful, ready, and vigilant is a must. Whichever country you are in right now, it is always better to ensure you're safe and prepared for anything that may happen unexpectedly. Whether in a train station, bus station, eating food in a restaurant, or just walking in the streets, you will never know what may happen. It is easy to be captivated by Hong Kong's beauty; you can't tell when an emergency can happen. This is why in your next lesson, we will learn about the common emergency phrases in Cantonese.
English Translation: Help!
Asking for help 救命呀！ (Gau3 Meng6 A3！) is probably the most important word you should learn as a beginner. This will let people know that you are in need of help. This word may also be helpful when someone asks for your help. In this modern world, only a few people (人 jan4) will help you genuinely. So please do not be one of them.
English Translation: Can you help me?
Being in a foreign country will make you feel humiliated and scared to ask for help. But, like what we say, "Desperate times call for desperate measures." It would help if you learned how to ask for help from a sea of people (人山人海 | jan4 saan1 jan4 hoi2). You may also add a simple greeting before you ask for help. The sentence 你可唔可以幫我？(Nei5 Ho2 M4 Ho2 Ji3 Bong1 Ngo5?) is the easiest way to ask for help in the Cantonese language.
English Translation: Can I use your mobile?
Cellphone/ Mobile phone (手提電話 | sau2 tai4 din6 waa2) is really important nowadays. It's hard to find a single person without a mobile phone because this is the main source of communication in this modern time. But, there will be times that you might experience losing batteries or, worse, losing the cellphone itself. Therefore, you can also add the phrase "係緊急嘅! (hai6 gan2 gap1 ge3 !)" which means "It's urgent."
English Translation: It's an emergency
One of the most important emergency phrases in Cantonese that you need to learn is, of course, learning how to say "It's an emergency" (有意外呀 | Jau5 Ji3 Ngoi6 Aa1). This will put a sense of urgency on the person of people you are talking to. They will give immediate action to your problem (問題 | man6 tai4) to help you.
English Translation: I lost my wallet.
Losing your wallet can be one of the worst emergencies that may happen to you. You may not only lose all your money in there, but you may also lose your cards like ATM card (提款卡 | tai4 fun2 kaat1) and important IDs (身份證 | san1 fan2 zing3) inside. Therefore, you should immediately report it to the police (警察 | ging2 chaat3).
English Translation: I can't find the way back to my hotel.
While having fun traveling around Hong Kong, you might be lost. If you can't find your way back to your hotel, you can ask for directions by saying "我唔識返酒店。 (Ngo5 M4 Sik1 Faan1 Zau2 Dim3.)" which means "I can't find the way back to my hotel.". Make sure to learn some basic travel phrases so that you can easily communicate with the locals.
English Translation: I lost my passport.
When we talk about emergency phrases in Cantonese, you should never miss learning "我唔見咗本護照。(Ngo5 M4 Gin3 Zo2 Bun2 Wu6 Ziu3.)". For travelers, a passport (護照 | wu6 ziu3) is really an important thing that you must be careful of. If you lost your passport, make sure to report it right away to the embassy (領事館 | ling5 si6 gun2)
English Translation: Fire!
There are dangerous circumstances that may actually harm your life. If you are able to witness a fire ongoing or starting, you can just shout "著火呀！(Jeuk3 Fo2 A3!)" to inform everyone around you. This is really one of the most important emergency phrases in Cantonese that you should learn to avoid the loss of lives and valuables.
English Translation: Be careful!
In learning about emergency phrases in Cantonese, you should also include the expression "小心！(Siu2 Sam1!)" or "Be careful." This is often said to people who are walking the busy streets and riding public transportations.
English Translation: I think I ate something bad.
While trying out the house specialty in a local Cantonese restaurant, you might eat something that may upset your stomach. Maybe because of its adjustment from the food you eat in your country. Learning to say "我諗我食錯嘢。(Ngo5 Lam2 Ngo5 Sik6 Co3 Je5.)" will help the doctor (醫生 | ji1 sang1), nurse (護士 | wu6 si6), or the pharmacist ( 藥劑師 | joek6 zai1 si1) determine what kind of medication or treatment they will give to you.
English Translation: I'm not feeling well.
When it comes to health, you should really take everything seriously. This is why saying "我唔舒服. (Ngo5 M4 Syu1 Fuk6.)" is included in the most common emergency phrases in Cantonese. Because of the pandemic we are experiencing, we should be really taking precautions. It is important to say what you feel because it may lead to serious diseases.
English Translation: It hurts here.
If you are experiencing pains such as headache, stomach ache, or sprained ankle, details should really be mentioned. This way, the doctor or physician can easily treat you appropriately. Do not ignore any sign or symptom because who knows what's happening inside?
English Translation: Is there a pharmacy nearby?
From the tall buildings of Hong Kong, looking for medicine or pain relievers can be tough. Aside from knowing all the beautiful places in Hong Kong, you should also learn the essential places in case of emergencies. Saying " 附近有冇藥房？ (Fu6 Gan6 Jau5 Mou5 Joek6 Fong4?)" is a nice way to start.
English Translation: I need a doctor.
During these times, it's really important to know when to call for a need a doctor. Even just for simple symptoms, there's nothing wrong with seeing a doctor if you feel anxious. It's still best to consult with a professional to assure your safety. Saying "我需要醫生。(Ngo5 Seoi1 Jiu3 Ji1 Sang1.)" is like giving the simplest way to express that you really need to see a doctor. Learning how to say that you need a doctor is definitely one of the most important emergency phrases in Cantonese that you really need to learn.
English Translation: Thief
Hong Kong is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries for travelers, but this does not mean that it's a hundred percent safe from people who want to take advantage of other people. This is why this phrase and the phrases below are included in the most important emergency phrases in Cantonese that you must learn. Foreigners are very prone to thieves because they are not familiar with the country. So, in case of emergency, you can simply shout "有賊呀! (Jau5 Caak6 Aa1 !)" to ask for help.
English Translation: Stop
Following the first phrase we have learned above, you can also shout "停呀! (Ting4 Aa1 !)" to alert the people around you to stop the person who did something bad to you. Hong Kongers will surely be willing to help those people in need when it comes to emergencies.
English Translation: Please call the police.
Of course, when you are experiencing crime emergencies, your go-to way is to call for the police, especially if it is something way too serious. You can also go directly to a police station ( 警察局 ging2 caat3 guk2), and the Hong Kong Police Force (香港警務處 hoeng1 gong2 ging2 mou6 cyu3) will provide you their service.
English Translation: I've been mugged
Hong Kong's beauty is breathtaking, but this will not magically keep you safe from being mugged. What if you experience being mugged? Will you just stand there and let it ruin your trip? No, you can't. (可 唔 可以 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5). Please report it to a police officer (警察 ging2 caat3). They may have a lead on the person who mugged you.
You can also report other incidents like "I've lost my camera (我唔見咗我部相機 | Ngo5 M4 Gin3 Zo2 Ngo5 Bou6 Soeng1 Gei1) and "My bag was stolen." (我個袋被人偷咗 | Ngo5 Go3 Doi6 Bei6 Jan4 Tau1 Zo2). These are undoubtedly some of the must-learn emergency phrases in Cantonese. You should value your safety at all costs.
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