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Taishanese and Cantonese differences


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Of, course I know that Taishanese is a kind of Cantonese, but I was wondering about the difference in vocabulary between Guangzhou Cantonese and Taishan or Kaiping Cantonese. Apart from the different pronunciation of the tones and the words, what words are used that are completely different?

I already know

ngwok = ngo-dei (we)

niak = nei-dei (you pl.)

kiak = kui-dei (they)

hiak = shik (to eat)

yiak = dou (also)

Do Taishanese usually stick an "ah" on the end of their questions?

Like "hai-m-hai a" in Cantonese

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I don't know Taishanese, but I think Taishanese and Guangzhou Cantonese share very similar vocabulary and grammar. However, they sound very different to me. Despite the structural similarities, I cannot understand spoken Taishanese.

Do Taishanese usually stick an "ah" on the end of their questions?

Like "hai-m-hai a" in Cantonese

Like Cantonese, I think they have more than one question endings. One that I know of is "mo".

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  • 8 years later...
  • 7 months later...



Apart from the different pronunciation of the tones and the words, what words are used that are completely different?


I recently put together this list of grammar to try to help my ngoi mo's caretakers to communicate with her. She speaks Tai Shan Hua (which to my ear sounds unlike any version of Cantonese).  Apologise in advance if some of it is a bit rough, she can't hear well and is 86 years young. Anyway here is the list. For comparisons, I recommend you try Canto Dict for the Cantonese versions.


Basic Questions

Hong nee sly hao chong leeang? - Help you wash up? 

Laang mm laang - Cold?

Nee oong nghoh ma? - Are you hungry?

Nee tieak ma? - Does it hurt?

Nee ngan fuun ma? - Are you sleepy?

(Ngoi) geen xi - (I) have to go to bathroom.

Ni geen xi ma? - Do you need to poop?

(Ngoi) gen niu - (I) have to pee

Nee gen niu ma? - Do you need to pee?

Nee ong ma? - Are you cold?

Nee ge zem hao see fook ma? - Is the pillow comfortable?

Nee teck ma? - Where you feel pain?

Nee hoi sleem ma? - Are you happy?


Nee sleeng hek muat?  - What do you want to eat?

Nee sleeng doo muat? - What do you want?

Hong nee waan pen? - Do you need to change the diaper?

Nee sleeang mm sleeang chut hoi sai hai yang? - You want to go out to get some sun?

Nee gem met gee ho? - How are today?


Helpful Sentences

Sly mean - Wash face!

Mm ho two how suei! - Don’t spit!

Hong nee zhuan seen - Turn you over now.

Ho Gwaii! - Very Good!

Gwai nuei! - Good Girl!

Mm ho a neck! - Don’t hit other people!

Hek yec! Eat medicine!

Gee gai ko! - Why (what) is that!

Keui mo hii nee - He doesn’t look at you.

Mm ho geeang - Don’t be scared. 

Mm soy geeang,  - No need to be afraid,

Ngoi xing go xiang chong - I will raise the bed. 

Goo neang mmm gao lick - Nurse has not enough strength.

Sooyee kooie bong xiul - So he helps you.

Nee gook akk gee ho - How do you feel.

Nee yao heck ye - You must eat.

Hong nee wuaan sarm - Help you put on clothes.

Gwai! - Thanks!

Ngoi oong jiang chong - I push the bed

Ngoi oh koy bong nee - I am here to help you.


Ooi mm gee - Sorry!


Possible Responses


Mm ho gao - Leave me alone (don’t bother me)

Go! - Raise (as in the bed back)

Eye! - Lower (as in the bed back)

Oong Lok Nei - Push Downward (as in bed)

Oong Go Nei - Pull Upward

Ngoi xing eye xiang chong - I will lower the bed.

Get sling/Eye gut lay see - God Bless You

Gee see yiul. - When have I?

Bong nee doo woon ong haang huet. - Help you do exercise.

Nee neui sly, oh kuoy - Your son in law is here.

Nee neui oh kuoy - Your daughter  is here.

Nee duoy oh kuoy - Your son  is here.

Nee ee mm ee toy keui hi ah suoy? - Do you know who he is?


Ngoi woy muat gwon - I will dry it up.

Ang yet gen - Wait one minute!

Nee gok ak gee ho?  - How do you feel?

Mm ho toe - Don’t shout (talk)!

Nee yao hee seen - You have to wake up.

Ooh lok hieu pen - Please use the diaper

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