#5 Conversation: Can you learn Cantonese through Cantopop? (粵)

 

Raymond and Cameron discuss how Cantopop (Cantonese pop music) can act as a tool for language learning, as well as some of the medium's challenges. As an example, they look at MIRROR's "Ignited" and one of the colloquial expressions from the song: 焫著 (laat3 zoek6).


Link to music video for "Ignited"



Vocabulary
1. 後生 hau6 saang1 (ADJ) young
2. 流行曲 lau4 hang4 kuk1 (ADJ+N) popular song
3. 留意 lau4 ji3 (V) to be aware / notice / pay attention
4. 歌詞 go1 ci4 (N) song lyrics
5. 表達 biu2 daat6 (V/N) to express / expression
6. 分別/差別 fan1/caa1 bit6 (N) difference
7. 書面語 syu1 min2 jyu5 (N) written language
8. 口語 hau2 jyu5 (N) oral/spoken language
9. 經典 ging1 din2 (N/ADJ) classic
10. 文學 man4 hok6 (N) literature
11. 增加 zang1 gaa1 (V/N) to increase / increase
12. 詞彙 ci4 wui6 (N) vocabulary
13. 基礎 gei1 co2 (N) foundation
14. 文雅/優雅 man4/jau1 ngaa5 (ADJ/N) elegant / elegance
15. 熟悉 suk6 sik1 (ADJ/V/N) familiar / to familiarize / familiarity
16. 翻譯 faan1 jik6 (V/N) to translate / translation
17. 焫著 l/naat3 zoek6 (V) to energize / ignite / provoke
18. 辣醬 laat6 zoeng3 (N) chili/hot sauce
19. 關係 gwan1 hai6 (N) connection/relationship
20. 嬲 nau1 (V/ADJ) to be mad / angry
21. 比喻 bei2 jyu6 (N/V) analogy / to make analogy
22. 撈亂 lou1 lyun6 (V) to mix up / confuse
23. 資料 zi1 liu2 (N) information
24. 推廣 teoi1 gwong2 (V/N) to promote / promotion
25. 詩意 si1 ji3 (N) poetic feel

ADJ - Adjective

ADV - Adverb

N - Noun

V - Verb


Cameron: Raymond,你係好鍾意聽廣東話歌嘅係唔係?

(You really like Cantopop, right?)


Raymond: 我細個我後生1啲嘅時候,我聽多好多嘅. 因爲可能大家都會有聽過流行曲2,粵語流行曲裏面有好多好出名嘅歌手係咪?我諗大家都識,張國榮呀、梅艷芳呀、陳百強呀、許冠傑呀,呢啲好有影響力嘅歌手。但係我唔講我呢排聽咩歌,之前你自己有冇留意3到最近流行啲乜嘢廣東歌呀?

(When I was young, I listened to it a lot. Since most people have probably listened to classic songs, Cantopop has a lot of famous singers, right? I think everyone knows Leslie Cheung, Anita Mui, Danny Chan, Sam Hui--these were all pretty influential singers. But I won’t say what I have been listening to these days, what Cantopop songs have you noticed are popular recently?)


Cameron: 哈,我覺得而家大家聽緊MIRROR。

(Ah, I think everyone is listening to MIRROR.)


Raymond: 係啦,大家開口埋口講幾個英文字啦:MIRROR 啦、Error 啦、 另外有個女歌手叫Serrini啦,即係雖然都係英文嘅名,但係佢哋都係唱廣東話歌嘅。

(Yeah, every time people open their mouths they bring up a few English words: MIRROR, ERROR, there’s also a female singer named Serrini, like, although these are all English names, they all sing Cantonese songs.)


Cameron: 其實呢,我覺得音樂係一個非常之好學語言嘅方法啦。我有啲朋友佢哋學緊韓文,好鍾意 K-POP,所以佢哋會用 K-POP 嘅歌詞嚟學韓文嘅。廣東話都係可以用音樂學嘅,但係都有啲方面係要留意嘅係唔係?

(You know, I think that music is a great method for studying languages. I have some friends who are studying Korean, they really like K-POP, so they use K-POP lyrics to study Korean. Cantonese can also be studied through music, though there are some things you have to watch out for, right?)


Raymond: 係呀,噉用粵語歌或者廣東歌去學廣東話呢,一個問題就係,大家開始會發現到呢,即係你唱歌用嗰啲歌詞4呢,同平日大家生活上面,日常講嘢嘅表達5方式都幾大分別嘅。我諗 Cameron 你甚至你唱卡拉 OK 可能都會留意到啦。你自己有冇留意到,例如有啲咩,即係歌詞同埋我哋講廣東話,講嘢嗰個分別6喺邊度呀?

(Yeah, when using Cantopop to study Cantonese, one issue that people come across is that there is a big difference between song lyrics and the expressions of daily life. Cameron, I think you probably notice this when you sing karaoke. Have you noticed any differences between song lyrics and spoken Cantonese?)


Cameron: 嗯,好多廣東歌係用書面語7嘅,譬如話佢哋用嘅係“的”,唔係“嘅”,所以唱嘅係“我的心”唔係“我嘅心”。另一個例子就係“係”。佢哋用嘅係“是”,係普通話嘅“是”。所以唱嘅唔係“你係我嘅朋友”,反而係“你是我的朋友”。雖然都有啲廣東歌係用口語8嘅廣東話,但係好多經典9歌係用書面語嘅。所以,如果你想學文學10嘅話,我覺得粵語歌係幾好嘅練習工具呀,因爲好多歌好似係詩嚟嘅。

(Well, a lot of Cantonese songs use formal written language, such as saying dik1 instead of ge3 [possessive particle], so one sings “ngo5 dik1 sam1,” not “ngo5 ge3 sam1.” Another example is hai6 [to be]. They use si6, which is the same as shì in Mandarin. So what gets sung isn’t “nei5 hai6 ngo5 ge3 pang4 jau5”, but rather, “nei5 si6 ngo5 dik1 pang4 jau5.” Although some Cantonese songs use colloquial language, many classic songs use written language. So if you want to study literature, I think that Cantonese songs can be a good study tool, as many songs can seem like poems.)


Raymond: 嗯,係呀。我就諗到你如果係想利用歌詞呢去增加11你嘅詞彙12呀,即係學多啲生字呢,我覺得如果你已經係有啲廣東話嘅基礎13呢,你用歌詞其實都幾好嘅。因爲可能你唔係淨係擔心嗰個發音,即係因爲你唱歌你嗰個聲調已經冇咁重要,你係跟住嗰個音樂啦。噉所以你喺歌詞嗰度你會學到多啲比較,我哋所謂比較文雅14,比較優雅14,即係好似你講好似啲詩,或者係寫作嘅時候用嘅嗰啲,所謂比較靚嘅一啲字。

(Yes, that’s right. I think that if you want to use song lyrics to increase your vocabulary, as in study more new words, provided you already have a solid foundation in Cantonese, using song lyrics can be pretty good. That’s because you might not just be worrying about the pronunciation [by that point], as tones aren’t as important when singing, and you’re just following the music. When you’re singing, you learn relatively elegant or refined language, almost like you’re speaking like a poem, or using the words you would use when writing, somewhat more beautiful words. )


Cameron: 嗯,但係都有啲歌會將口語同書面語嘅廣東話一齊用。Raymond 有冇啲例子可以幫我哋深入啲討論呢個差別6呢?

(Yup, though some songs might mix together colloquial language and written language. Raymond, do you have any examples that could help us examine this difference in more depth?)


Raymond: 噉我哋講開 MIRROR,我哋就搵一首 MIRROR 佢哋啱啱開始比較多人熟悉15或者唱嘅一首歌。佢哋個名又係用英文嘅。嗰個英文名呢,嗰首歌名呢,叫 “Ignited,”噉你知唔知Ignited 呢個字呢,佢喺歌詞裏面,佢翻譯16出嚟,佢點樣翻譯呀?

(Well we discussed MIRROR, so we’ve found a MIRROR song that many people have just gotten familiar with and are singing. The name also uses English. The English name of the song is “Ignited.” Now do you know what word they use to translate “ignited” in the lyrics?)


Cameron: 嗯... 係咪“焫著17”呀?

(Uh… it’s naat3 zoek6 right?)


Raymond: 係呀“焫著”。噉呢個字呢,噉你同講廣東話嘅人講呢,即係佢覺得係“焫著” (laat3 zoek6) 囉,或者有人話“焫著” (naat3 zoek6) 噉樣。呢嗰又係另外一個問題啦。不過淨係講呢一個字呢,我諗我未見過任何嘅教廣東話嘅書,有教呢個字嘅。但係呢個字我哋會其實都講得唔少。你知唔知點用呀?

(Yes, naat3 zoek6. Now this word, if you speak Cantonese with a lot of people, some will think it is pronounced laat3 zoek6, or there are those who will say naat3 zoek6--that is another issue. But just in terms of this word alone, I think I have never seen a Cantonese textbook that taught this vocabulary, though we use it quite a bit in speaking.. Do you know how to use it?)


Cameron: 其實我想講嘢就係,我第一次聽呢首歌嘅時候,我以爲佢哋唱嘅就係“辣辣辣辣醬”。

(Actually, what I’d like to add first is that the first time I heard this song, I thought what they were singg was “lat6 lat6 lat6 lat6 zoeng3.”)


Raymond: 即係“辣醬18”呀?食嗰啲辣醬?

(You mean chili paste? As in the chili paste you eat?)


Cameron: 因為我聽錯。。同Ignited有乜嘢關係19

(Since I misheard it… What relationship does it have with Ignited?)


Raymond:有關係喎。 

(But there is a relationship.)


Cameron: 但係我睇過先知係“焫著”。

(But only when I looked [at the lyrics] did I see that it was “laat3 zoek6”.)


Raymond: 係啦,噉甚至可能有啲人以爲佢哋就“啦啦啦” 噉樣啦,都唔知係唱緊乜嘢。呢個詞係咪,你係唔係喺呢首歌裏面學識呢個詞呢?以前你識唔識呢個字呀?

(Yes, and there might even be people who think they are just sing “la la la” like that, but they don’t know what they are actually singing about. As for this word, did you learn it from this song? Or did you know the word before?)


Cameron: 我係通過呢首歌學呢個詞嘅。佢嘅意思係唔係令到另一個人20咗嘅?

(I learned it from this song. Doesn’t it mean to make someone mad?)


Raymond: 係呀,呢個都有少少比喻21啦,即係你好似將佢燒,用火燒噉樣啦,噉“焫著”。“佢焫著我呀”噉樣,噉即係“佢激嬲我啦,令到我好嬲啦”。噉但係“焫著”其實就亦都係歌名直接翻譯,其實真係你去燒一啲嘢就係叫“焫著”啦. 另外“焫”呢個字呢,其實亦都係一個形容詞嚟嘅,“好焫呀”,或者“焫手”。呢個係第三聲喎,唔係第六聲喎,唔係“辣”,唔係你話“辣醬”嗰個“辣”,唔係第六聲係第三聲。“焫”你知唔知形容詞“好焫”係乜嘢意思呀?

(Yes, it’s a bit of a metaphor, as when you heat something, you set fire to it, so you ignite it. So if you say, “He ‘ignited’ me,” you’re saying, “He provoked me, he made me mad.” But it is also directly translated in the song’s lyrics, as in if you [physically] ignite something, that’s laat3 zoek6. Also, another meaning of the character laat3 is as an adjective, as in “very hot,” or “hot to the touch.” These are using the third tone, not the sixth tone the way the word for “spicy” does in the word “chili paste.” So do you know what laat3 means as an adjective?)


Cameron: 嗯.. 唔知道。


(Um, no.)


Raymond: 其實都係有關嘅意思,就係好熱呀。所以呢你話今日嘅天氣呢,即係我覺得“熱辣辣”呀。噉以前有啲人會寫係嗰個辣醬嗰個“辣“啦。噉其實呢個“焫”呢,都係一樣嘢好熱。嗰樣嘢呢,嗰個嘢係“焫”。有時我哋話“焫手”呀,例如我有碗湯,你話“小心呢碗湯好焫手”。唔係“好辣”喎,係“好焫手”第三聲。即係話嗰碗湯好熱呀,係啊,所以唔好撈亂22咗。

(Actually, it’s a related meaning, it just meaning “hot.” So if you say the weather is very hot today, I think of the expression “jit6 laat6 laat6.” Previously, some people would write the character laat6 from the word for chili paste. But this word, the character laat3, also means hot. As in that stuff, it’s hot [to touch]. We also sometimes say “laat3 sau2”, as in a bowl of soup, you say, “the soup is very hot to the touch.” Now this is not “hou2 laat6”, but “hou2 laat3 sau2,” the third tone . So if you are saying that soup is very hot, you don’t want to mix these expressions up.)


Cameron: 但係歌詞裡邊佢嘅寫法係咪比較特別㗎?因爲我都睇到啲資料23係用“辣味”嘅“辣”。呢個字寫“焫著”嘅“焫”嘅。

(But the way it’s written in lyrics is special, right? As I have also seen materials that use the character “laat6/laat3” from chili paste, using this character to write the laat3 in laat3 zoek6.)


Raymond: 都有聽過一啲嘅同事啦,或者啲朋友呢講,即係呢首歌未流行之前呢,大家唔係好多見到呢個字噉樣寫嘅。噉因爲而家呢首歌流行呢,大家就開始“哦原來我哋噉樣寫嘅”,多咗人噉樣寫喇而家。即係呢個其實都幫到推廣24嗰個文字你點樣去配合個口語啦,幾有意思呀。

(I have also heard colleauges and friends say that before this song became popular, they had not seen this word written this way [with 焫]. But since this song became popular, every is like, “Ah, so this is how it is written,” so now more people write it like this. So it’s like this song has promoted how this character matches with this colloquial expression, it’s quite interesting.)


Cameron: 同埋呢首歌喺其他嘅地方佢嘅歌詞係咪比較書面語嘅?

(Also, in other places this song uses more written/formal language, right?)


Raymond: 係呀,所以呢個亦都幾有趣嘅,即係雖然成首歌最重要嗰句歌詞就係“焫焫焫焫焫著”啦,但係全部其他嘅基本上你睇返,好似你啱啱講嘅你會見到有“的”呀,有“不”呀,嗰啲書面語嘅用法嘅,有個“了”字呀噉樣。佢唔去嘅話“喇”或者“咗”呀噉樣。噉所以都睇嗰個歌詞嘅內容啦,因爲其實呢首歌雖然係快歌,但我諗佢都係想表達佢一啲嘅感覺,一啲想法,都有少少詩意25嘅呢首歌。

(Yes, this is also interesting. Although this song’s most important lyric is this “laat3 laat3 laat3 laat3 laat3 joek6,” essentially if you look at the rest, it’s like what we just talked about in terms of dik1, bat1 [written language equivalent to 唔 m4], these written terms, or like liu5. They aren’t using laa3 or zo2 [particles for completed action]. And if you look at the contents of the lyrics, even though it is a very fast song, I think they still want to express their feelings, their thoughts, it’s still a bit of a poetic song.)




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