The thought was too horrible to bear: could the household be passing through wartime rationing? The mid-afternoon milkings which had once satiated them as kittens had become at first irregular before disappearing completely. Debating this crisis from the comfort of the third floor sundeck, Edmund and Lucy decided the time had come for action. If they were not to live their lives at the mercy of others for basic food security, it would be necessary to find their own reserves, however challenging that might be without opposable thumbs.

Learning Cantonese? Our elementary podcast for today covers an easy way to refer to the past, present and future. In it, we learn how to say that we've done things in the past, mention that we're doing them right now, and tell people that we'll take care of them next time around. So if you're learning Cantonese or just want tips on how to get by in Hong Kong, check out our show and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
 said on
March 30, 2012
So I'm actually Chinese, and Cantonese is the dialect that my family speaks at home. I can understand and speak some of it, but living in a small town with nobody else to interact with in Cantonese, I've never really learned the language properly. While my English is very strong and has become my primary language, I can only understand bits and pieces of Cantonese enough that I can get by on what somebody is trying to tell me. When I first heard this lesson, I understood a bit of what was happening.

- A cat was in the fridge.

- How did it get in?

- Hit it, hit it!

- Come out, it's not good (but you guys transliterated it as don't do it, which I think makes more sense in English).

You guys broke it down enough to understand all the bits and pieces that I've never comprehended and just accepted it as being "part of the sentence".

I've always wanted to learn Cantonese but my parents are not great teachers (especially combined with their poor English and my poor Cantonese). Hopefully with your site, I will finally be able to converse with my parents and other Cantonese speakers. The site is well designed and I like the idea of the podcast format and optional subscription-based model. I may well become a paid member. Thanks, David, Melody, and the rest of the team! :)
 said on
April 3, 2012
Nice dialogue.

Cantonese has always been a bit scary for me, as I know how hard Mandarin is (after 3 years of studying).

By the way, here's my blog about life in China:
 said on
April 15, 2012

with the last sentence, I think you have to look at the sentence as a whole rather than individual parts of the sentence.

Melody and David have tranlated it as "don't do it again" haa5 ci3 m4 hou2 laa3, which is correct.

Using m4 hou2 by itself, means "(it's) not good" or "no way".

My parents are not good English speakers as well, so the best way for me was to learn from tv programmes and listen to music, plus online learning.

Good luck!
 said on
April 19, 2012
@woaibento That makes a lot of sense; Japanese is similar in this respect where a phrase or word put together with other phrases/words contributes to a whole new meaning that is related to the original meaning but is not quite the same. It would make sense that Chinese in any dialect would act the same way (since a lot of Japanese is derived from Chinese). I'm fortunate to have gotten by while visiting Chinatown in the city with my limited grasp of this concept! :)
 said on
December 16, 2012
In the transcript, the translation of one of the lines doesn't match the audio - is it possible to correct this, please?

me1waa2 ? aa3 maau1 keoi5 jau6 zau2zo2 jap6 syut3gwai6

jap6min6 aa1 ?