Articles from the original website

Today’s Classifier: 件

You thought it would be something about fog again, didn’t you? No, it’s about clothes. Not sure what the above item is, so let’s just call it: 一件衫 (yat gin saam) A piece, or item, of clothing. (衫 meaning clothes in general.)
呢件T 恤 (Li gin T seot) – this T shirt. 四十五件恤衫 (Sei sap m gin seot-saam) 45 items of shirts.

件 is the classifier for clothing except trousers 褲 (fu) and skirts 裙 (kwan) which have the classifier 條 (tiu), as discussed in an earlier post.

But guess what, shopping for clothes in Hong Kong and having clothes made in wonderful Shenzhen has showed me that many people now use 個 (go) classifier for shirts, jumpers and jackets. It’s probably the natural evolution/simplification of the language.

And the dog? My lovely Lasi (named after “last card” in the southern Chinese game of 鋤大D (cho dai di))? The classifier for her is 隻。(Jek). 一隻啡色狗 (Yat jek feh sek gau) One brown dog.

Wonder how many classifiers there are? I’ll try to find out.

復活節快樂!(Back to life festival happiness!)

Hoi hoi, it’s that time of year again when I look in my diary/calendar and re-remember what Good Friday is in Chinese: 耶穌受難節: Jesus experiences difficulties-festival. (Yeso sau laan jit.) Oh what joy. And really – ‘good’ Friday? From a, Easter-y point of view, that of Jesus in particular, can’t see what’s so good about it?

Easter itself is of course called 復活節 Return to Life Festival (Fuk Wut Jit), also very apt. ‘Easter’ – from ‘east’? Wind direction perhaps? As usual, the Chinese have nailed this very western ‘festival’ linguistically. And they do right to concentrate on eating bunny rabbits rather than harping on about Jesus in my opinion.

Because: If Jesus was born on the same day every year, why did he die on a completely different day every year, eh?

Always look on the bright side of life.



Cantonese and English: The Twain Shall Never Meet so Just Accept It

“Oh sorry, I’m so sorry” this woman is probably not saying. Naw, she’s just serving me some excellent Sichuan food, probably. Anyway, I can’t begin to think how weird it must be for the people

Neighbour In The Middle of Nowhere

It was cold, foggy and not without drizzle, yet we were glad to be up so early and by ourselves at this Trollveggen that I had heard so much about but never visited. It looked

Long Live Cantonese

There’s a big hullabaloo in the South China Morning Post this week. Historian Jason Wordie wrote about the so-called Third Culture Kids (born in one country, moved to Hong Kong, sent to boarding school in

Taxing, Vexing Taxis

As any newcomer to Hong Kong trying to get a handle on the local language can attest to, taxi drivers are excellent language teachers. At the same time, they can also get very angry if

Local Uncle Writes Own Language Wrong!!!!!

I have just (“just” meaning three weeks ago) come back from Norway, and while I was there I sent various postcards, among them to an uncle in my village. What, your uncle lives in your


I needed an excuse to publish this photo. It was taken in Shenzhen (naturally) in what used to be an excellent little forest just across the square from the train station but which is now

New Music Video

Ah, young love. It is splendid. ‘taller than’ is 高過 (gou go) whereas just ‘taller’ is 高啲 (gou di)。Could it be any easier?

Incinerator in English

This has nothing to do with Cantonese… but it kind of does. Because: When that 1972-technilogy behemoth starts spewing out its particles of 3,000 tonnes a day of burning rubbish wholesale, a lot of the

New Cantonese Music Video … Coming!

We had a brilliant day on Sunday, venturing into the wilderness, sacrificing our safety (there were insects and a dead fish) so that YOU will more easily learn Cantonese, the language that sounds like two

Luddite Dog Day Afternoon

Hong Kong By Early Night

I’m going to a big birthday outside Hong Kong soon and I thought a good present would be a tailor-made calendar with photos from Hong Kong and China feauturing the birthday boy’s son and daughter-in-law.

I used to walk through Wan Chai every day about 10 years ago and in those days it seemed every other shop was a printing shop and that calendars were their main product out-producting all else. I would nip over on Wednesday and see what they had now.

But being semi-modern I of course went online first. And companies are indeed printing calendars for a modest fee but the starting month for build-your-own calendar was June 2015. I was looking for January 2016, but no such thing.

OK, Wan Chai it is! I then thought. I’ll go and have a look at the calendar patterns they have there and pick out a beautiful one and have them print one copy of that with a promise of more at Christmas. But Wan Chai now consist only of tiny organic quinoa gluten free lentil-restaurants with just enough space for six anorexics if they leave their bags outside.


The one printing shop still surviving could indeed make me a calendar – if I had 3,999 more made at the same time.

Then I went to Admiralty, for I had seen a famous Number One In Printing Experience Extravaganza For You online who would do it. The receptionist didn’t know that they did printing but after a few phone calls she established that they did indeed do calendars, if I would only come back in November.

Then I was directed to Photo Max who could make me a calendar – at the end of this month.

I can’t be sure but I can’t help thinking all this would have been much easier ten years ago? Before we started relying only on computers? Or maybe it would have been worse. At least I got a long walk out of it.

灣仔 (Wan Tsai – Bay-ette/Wan Chai)
日曆 (Yat lek – Calendar)

Contact us today


to find out how you can start learning Cantonese.