Do you need to speak Cantonese to live in Hong Kong?

One of the biggest barriers when moving abroad can be language.  So it is no wonder that this is one of the first questions we find ourselves answering – do I need to learn Cantonese to live in Hong Kong?

The answer to this question is no.  In reality, there is little need to speak the local lingo – but it always helps and is also a good way to start immersing yourself in local life, and gain a bit of respect from your local friends and colleagues!

My secret weapon for all of my clients moving to Hong Kong is Taxi Translator App – which translates any English road into written Cantonese pictures to show your driver!


Here are some of the basics that (trust me!) will always help you :

Yes Hai
No 唔係 Mh hai
I don’t understand 唔明白 Mh ming bak
I don’t speak Cantonese 我唔識講廣東話 Ngo mh sik gong gwong dong wa
How much is… 幾多錢… Gei dor chin
What is your name? 你叫乜嘢名呀? Nei giu mat yeh meng ah
My name is… 我個名叫… Ngo goh meng giu

The pleasantries:

Hello 你好 Nei hou
Please Ching
Thank you 唔該(when someone helps you ) 多謝(when someone gives  you a gift) Mh goi Dor jeh
Sorry 對唔住 Deui mh  jyuh
Nice to meet you 幸會 Hahng wuih
How are you? 你好嗎? Nei ho ma?
I am well. 我很好 Ngo hun ho
I’m not feeling too great 馬馬地 Ma ma Day
Excuse me 唔好意思 Mh hou yi si
 Getting around:        
Turn left 轉左 Jyun johr
Turn right 轉右 Jyun yauh
Stop here 係到停 Hai dou ting
Road lo
How do  I get to… 我點去… Ngo dim heui

For some of my better Cantonese friends and followers – here are some great real estate phrases!

If you want to be a top real estate agent, you have to be a good Thai boxer as well 識打泰拳, 先可以做到頂級的地產代理 Sik da tai kyun, sin hor yi jo doh ding cup dic day chan doy ley
It’s better to be a landlord than a robber these days 收租好過打劫 Sao jo ho guo da geep
Hong Kong’s real estate market is forever on a roller coaster 香港個地產市場似坐過山車 Herng Gong goh day chan si cheung che chor gwo san chair

 Have a great week!

Stella signature


One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s