Listen to Podcast | Cantonese: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”
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Podcast Transcript | Cantonese: How Do You Say “What’s Your Phone Number?”
Hello everybody and welcome back to this week’s Cantonese – How Do You Say – Podcast. This is Eugene, from LearnDialect.sg. Imagine having one of the best conversations in your life with someone in Cantonese but you have to rush off abruptly. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you didn’t get the person’s contact number to stay in touch? Or, if you are a healthcare professional or social worker, there may be times when you’ll need the phone number of your patients or their next-of-kin. How do you ask someone for their phone number in Cantonese then?
In Cantonese, we would say 你個電話號碼係咩? Over here, 電話 refers to “telephone”, which if you are interested to know, literally translates into English as “electric words”! I guess this is because in the old days, the core function of the phone is to transmit words electronically. Isn’t it amazing how we piece words together? Now, 號碼 means “number”, so by saying 電話號碼, it simply means “phone number”. If you would like to be more specific and ask for the person’s handphone number, we would say 你個手提号码係咩? The term 手提 literally translates into “hand lifted” and has been widely used by Cantonese to refer to “handphone”.
When someone asks you for your phone number and you will like to provide it, you can say 我個電話號碼係12345678, 你可以打來搵我. The 2nd half of the phrase – 你可以打來搵我 – means “You can call and look for me here”. In addition, if Cantonese speaking people returned a missed call on their phone and would like to find out who was the caller, they generally would ask – 邊個打電話來? A more polite manner to ask the same question would be 邊位打電話來? Are you still following me? Of course, if you are not willing to provide your number, you can tell them that you don’t have a phone, by saying 我冇電話.
So there we go! I hope these phrases will be useful to you. Let me repeat one more time for you.
What is your phone number? 你個電話號碼係咩?
What is your mobile number? 你個手提號碼係咩?
Who called me on my phone? 邊位打電話來?
My number is… 我個電話號碼係…
You can call and look for me. 你可以打來搵我.
I don’t have a phone. 我冇電話.
Well, hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Cantonese – How Do You Say Podcast. My name is Eugene and see you the next week!
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Our Philosophy for Learning Cantonese in Singapore
At LearnDialect.sg, we want to make learning Cantonese fun, easy and practical for daily conversations in Singapore. As such, rather than figuring out which of the 10 or more Cantonese romanization system to use (e.g. Jyutping, Yale or Cantonese Pinyin etc.), we encourage you to form your own phonics, so that you make an association with these Cantonese words in the quickest way possible. To illustrate, the romanization of the English word, “eat”, is “Sik” using Jyutping and “Sihk” using Yale. However, in our “Have You Eaten?” podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “sek”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “sake”, “xig”, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.