Vexed No More!


This is the kind of joke I like. Clean, but not without teeth! Talking about vexed – the word for angry in Cantonese is (lao). The character shows one woman between two men, so kind of explains itself.

I have to admit, I sometimes get vexed, or rather exasperated and a little frustrated 灰心(fui sam, ash heart) every day, every single day, when I address people in their own language but they answer me in a different language, normally English.

For people just starting out in the Canto world, this Hong Kong phenomenon can be so disheartening that they simply give up altogether. But there’s a way around it!


My students have a standing order of finding three new words per week. I recommend this to everyone. Every time you’re in a shop, in a market or in a taxi, ask the clerk or driver how to say a word in Cantonese. Point to the object or say the word in English, like this: "BROCCOLI, 中文點講呀?" (BROCCOLI, jung man dim gong ah? BROCCOLI, Chinese Language How To Say?) They will then answer you in their own language.

This is also a good daily habit to establish for yourself if you’re a little shy about talking to strangers. Three words a day, after a week it has become a habit and you’ll be able to strike up a Canto conversation with anyone.
Make this the summer you learn Cantonese! If you don’t have time to take lessons, download my video course in beginners’ Cantonese, Cantonese The Movie. You find it on this site under SHOP.