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How to say hello in Cantonese?
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How to say hello in Cantonese?

Do you know how to say “Hello” in Cantonese?  In this lesson, you will learn three basic phrases for saying “Hello” in Cantonese, both formally and informally.

Say hello in Cantonese formally: 你好 [nei5 hou2]

“Hello” in Cantonese is 你好 [nei5 hou2].  你好 [nei5 hou2] can be used in both formal and informal setting.

nei5 hou2!

你好!

Hello!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate
Part of speech/Expression
Words in sentence/你好

 

nei5 hou2 aa3!

你好啊!

Hello!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speech/ExpressionParticle
Words in sentence/你好

Particle(助詞)啊 [aa3] can be used to soften a sentence.  To learn more about particle 啊 [aa3], you may refer to Unit 7 Lesson 9, Unit 8 Lesson 5 and Unit 12 Lesson 1.

Addressing your friends’ name with formal Hello

In addition to saying “Hello”, you can also address the name of the one you greeting with in these two ways.  You can address their name before 你好 [nei5 hou2].

aa3 John nei5 hou2 aa3!

阿John你好啊!

Hello John!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounExpressionParticle
Words in sentence阿John你好

siu2 ming4 nei5 hou2 aa3!

小明你好啊!

Hello Siu Ming!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounExpressionParticle
Words in sentence小明你好

You can also address their name after 你好 [nei5 hou2].

nei5 hou2 aa3 aa3 John!

你好啊阿John!

Hello John!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounExpressionParticle
Words in sentence阿John你好

siu2 ming4 nei5 hou2 aa3!

你好啊小明!

Hello Siu Ming!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounExpressionParticle
Words in sentence小明你好

Say Hello in Cantonese informally: 喂 [wai3]/ 哈佬 [haa1 lou2]

If you are greeting with someone close with you, you can use 喂 [wai3] or 哈佬 [haa1 lou2].

wai3!

喂!

Hey!

haa1 lou2!

哈佬!

Hello!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicate
Part of speech/Expression
Words in sentence/哈佬

 

Addressing your friends’ name with informal Hello

If you want to address someone’s name with informal greetings, you have to put their name after the greeting words.  It is unnatural to put their name in front of these greeting words.

wai3 aa3 John!

喂阿John!

Hey John!

haa1 lou2 aa3 aa3 John!

哈佬啊阿John!

Hello John!

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateParticle
Part of speechNounExpressionParticle
Words in sentence阿John哈佬

Reference

  1. 粵典。「哈佬

That’s it for this lesson on how to say hello in Cantonese.  Don’t stop here and learn how to say “How are you?” in Cantonese too!

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