Cantonese: 唔該 (m goi)

Lugubert

Senior Member
From another thread:
vince said:
謝謝 (xie xie) is Standard Chinese/Mandarin, you cannot say that in Cantonese. If you want to say "Thank you", you must say 唔該 (m goi) in return for favors.
If you receive a gift, you say 多謝 (do ze). Mandarin and English do not have this distinction.
I think I have heard a Cantonese speaker try to get the attention of a waiter, using "m goi". Did I hear correctly?
 
  • lmyyyks

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    多謝 in Cantonese is more narrowly used, instead, 唔該 is more frequent in daily life.
    唔該 is usually used when you would like someone to help you, or when you want to thank someone for a little favor.
    多謝 is mostly used when you received a gift, or when you wish to give a "big thank"

    just take the word "toy", change "t" to "g" then you will have the exact pronunciation of 該
     

    tenithy

    New Member
    Chinese
    I think I have heard a Cantonese speaker try to get the attention of a waiter, using "m goi". Did I hear correctly?
    Yes, m goi is also used as drawing attention of others, so at the ocasion, it is some what like the term "Excuse me". For eXample, when you want to go through the crowd, u may say "m goi" to ask the crowd to let u pass through.
     

    indigoduck

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi all,
    How to use 唔該 ? Would the meaning change when it's used actively (before) or passively (after) ?

    Which of the following examples is correct or is used for different situation ?

    When to say: "兩位,唔該" ? Would this be the answer to someone's question.

    And, when to say: "唔該,兩位" ? Would this be when you are calling/soliciting something ?

    Thanks in advance.
     

    Jerry Chan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    We use 唔該 when we mean to say excuse me, please or thanks.
    e.g.
    1. 唔該, 請問尖沙嘴點去? (Excuse me, how do I get to TST?)
    2. 唔該大聲啲 (Can you speak up please)
    3. (After someone helps you) 唔該晒 (Thanks!)
    Note that if someone gives you tangible things or money, we normally say 多謝 but not 唔該.

    As for "兩位,唔該" and "唔該,兩位", can you give more context?
    In a restaurant, for instance, they both mean "table for two, please"
     

    indigoduck

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I was just wondering if there was a difference between these two:

    (1)
    "In a restaurant, and they ask you how many people ?" I believe the correct response is: "兩位,唔該" rather than "唔該,兩位"
    Or does it matter ?

    (2)
    I believe that if you say "唔該" first before "兩位", then it means you're already seated in a restaurant, and you call someone to help you.

    Are the above true ?

    Does it matter of the order of saying "唔該" whether at the beginning of the request or after the request ?
    We use 唔該 when we mean to say excuse me, please or thanks.
    e.g.
    2. 唔該大聲啲 (Can you speak up please)

    Could i also say: "大聲啲唔該" or does it a little awkward since 唔該 is at the end of the statement ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Jerry Chan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    From my observation:
    When 唔該 goes first, and follows by a pause, it's more like "excuse me", "can I have your attention please?"

    When it's at the end, it most probably means please / thanks.

    So:
    1. "兩位,唔該" is better because it means "two, please". You can also say "唔該兩位" without a pause in the middle and with a stress on 兩位.

    2. You have that impression because 唔該 is meant to draw the waiters' attention.
    Could i also say: "大聲啲唔該" or does it a little awkward since 唔該 is at the end of the statement ?

    It's the same. Doesn't sound awkward at all.
     

    BODYholic

    Senior Member
    Chinese Cantonese
    I was just wondering if there was a difference between these two:

    (1)
    "In a restaurant, and they ask you how many people ?" I believe the correct response is: "兩位,唔該" rather than "唔該,兩位"
    Or does it matter ?

    They are the same thing or, at least, they serve the same purpose.

    "兩位,唔該" - Table for 2, please.
    "唔該,兩位" - Excuse me, I need a table for 2.

    If the server already has your attention, typically we say the former. But if you want to catch the attention of a passing server, you should say "唔該" first to alert him (pause and wait for a response), follow by "兩位" when he/she is at your service.
     

    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Hello!

    I've heard that if someone gives you money, you often would say "多謝". Does this include transactions at a shop or restaurant though? If a waiter or shopkeeper is receiving money, which one would they say?
    and how about if the waiter or shopkeeper is giving you change back? Would you say 唔該 or 多謝 back to them?

    Thanks! 唔該! :)
     

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    Shopkeepers often say 多謝, to show they value the transaction very much as the customer really helped them by buying things. It contains the meaning of "thanks for coming and buying things from us".
    When they give you change back, you don't need to show such degree of gratitude, but you can say 唔該 for their time and work.
     
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