#17 Conversation: Updating Old Movie Lines (粵)

Have you ever watched an old movie and wondered if some of the lines might be spoken differently today? This week, Cameron challenges Raymond to a game where he has to take lines from Cantonese movies from the 50s and 60s and update them for a contemporary audience. Some of the lines include phrases that are used less in contemporary Hong Kong, while other phrases are still in use yet also have newer, trendier versions.
If you listen to the episode and think of relevant slang, be share to share with us on Twitter!

1. 呢排 ni1 paai2/4 (ADV) recently
2. 遊戲 jau4 hei3 (N) game
3. 現代 jin6 doi6 (ADJ) contemporary
4. 禮貌 lai5 maau6 (N) politeness, courtesy
5. 理想 lei5 soeng2 (N/ADJ) ideal
6. 劇本 kek6 bun2 (N) script
7. 盡力而爲 zeon6 lik6 ji4 wai4 (EXP) to do one’s best
8. 保證 bou2 zing3 (V/N) to guarantee, guarantee
9. 時尚 si4 soeng6 (ADJ/N) fashionable, fashion
10. 不時 bat1 si4 (ADV) from time to time
11. 順便 seon6 bin2 (ADV) by the way, incidentally
12. 場合 coeng4 hap6 (N) occasion
13. 簡單 gaan2 daan1 (ADJ) simple
14. 保持 bou2 ci4 (V) to keep, to maintain
15. 反而 faan2 ji4 (ADV) on the contrary, instead
16. 間唔中 gaan3 m4 zung1 (ADV) occasionally
17. 忽然 fat1 jin4 (ADV) suddenly
18. 文縐縐 man4 zau3 zau3 (ADJ) bookish, erudite, genteel
19. 謙遜 him1 seon3 (ADJ) humble
20. 長輩 zoeng2 bui3 (N) elder, senior
21. 客氣 haak3 hei3 (ADJ) courteous, modest, polite
22. 得滯 dak1 zai6 (ADV) too much, excessive
23. 隨便 ceoi4 bin2 (ADJ) casual
24. 講得通 gong2 dak1 tung1 (VC) to make sense (lit. able to talk through)
25. 年代 nin4 doi6 (N) decade, era, generation
26. 神髓 san4 seoi5 (N) spirit, vibe
27. 純正 seon4 zing3 (N) pure
28. 夾雜 gaap3 zaap6 (V) to mix with
29. 殖民地 zik6 man4 dei6 (N) colony
30. 味道 mei3 dou3 (N) flavor, smell, taste
31. 混雜 wan6 zaap3 (N) to blend with
32. 轉台 zyun3 toi4 (VO) to switch channel
33. 運用 jung4 heoi2 (V) to apply, to utilize
34. 溫暖 wan1 nyun5 (ADJ/N) warm, warmth
35. 聲音 sing1 jam1 (N) sound
36. 暖窩 nyun5 wo1 (N) hot pan
37. 安樂窩 ngon1 lok6 wo1 (N) cozy home
38. 唔耐煩 m4 noi6 faan4 (ADJ) impatient
39. 典故 din2 gu3 (N) origin story
40. 口誤 hau5 ng6 (N) slip of tongue
41. 即刻 zik1 haak1 (ADV) immediately
42. 取笑 ceoi2 siu3 (V) to laugh at, to mock
43. 複雜 fuk1 zaap6 (ADJ) complicated
44. 想像 soeng2 zoeng6 (N/V) imagination, to imagine
45. 老土 lou5 tou2 (ADJ) corny, old fashioned/school


ADJ - Adjective
ADV - Adverb
EXP - Expression
N - Noun
V - Verb
VO - Verb object

Cameron: 噉 Raymond,我呢排1睇好多嗰啲 50 年代同 60 年代嘅粵語長片,噉我發現有時佢哋講嘅嘢就係同而家會講嘅嘢有少少唔同。所以我今日就諗到個一場遊戲2,係我哋可以一齊玩嘅,我就揀咗啲句子,我會俾你聽,跟住你可以試下就翻譯成現代3嘅廣東話。佢哋嘅呢啲講法可能係,就嗰個... 之前嘅講法,或者嗰個... 比較有禮貌4嘅講法。所以可能我哋,我哋而家嘅理想5就係嗰個彭浩翔嘅劇本6係咪?佢而家嘅劇本係好口語嘅。
(Well, Raymond, recently I have been watching those feature-length Cantonese films from the 50s and 60s, and I discovered that what they say differs slightly from what is said today, so today I thought up a little game for the two of us to play together. I picked some sentences, I’ll read them to you, and then you can try to “translate” them into more contemporary Cantonese. Some of these ways of speaking might be from the past or might be more formal. Perhaps now our ideal might be a screenplay by Pang Ho-cheung, right? His screenplays are very colloquial. )

Raymond: 我盡力而爲7啦,我都唔敢保證8我會講到依家呢,大家最時尚9或者流行嘅講法,盡量啦。
(I’ll do my best, but I can’t guarantee that what I say now will be the most fashionable or trendy, but I’ll try.)

Cameron: 好好,但係如果嗰啲聽眾有自己嘅睇法,噉你可以喺 Twitter 分享吓。我哋都好想知道你自己嘅睇法。噉第一個句子係好短嘅,係覺得比較易嘅,就係“失禮晒”。
(Great. But if listeners have ideas of their own, you can share them on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you. So, the first sentence is relatively easy, it’s, “My sincere apologies.”)

Raymond: 嘩,呢句都好耐冇聽喎。其實以前都,我自己就少講,但係都會不時10聽到嘅。“失禮晒”呀... 而家點樣講呢?或者你可唔可以順便11講下,你記唔記得大概啲咩場合12,佢喺咩情況之下噉樣講㗎?我都要諗下先。
(Wow, I haven’t heard this in a long time. However, in the past, I would say it some, and I would occasionally hear it, too. “My sincere apologies,” how do we phrase that now? Could you briefly explain, if you remember the scene, what the circumstances were under which someone said this? I want to think a little.)

Cameron: 所以呢個係電影裡邊, 有個人就係遲咗。
(This was in a movie, when someone was late.)

Raymond: 如果今日噉嘅情況,我都會講啲比較簡單13嘅說話,講“唔好意思”呀、另外一個會講“打攪晒”呀,呢個你有冇聽過呀?“打攪晒”即係“麻煩晒你”嘅意思噉樣囉。係,噉我淨係諗到呢個囉。係呀,“唔好意思”呀、“麻煩晒”呀、“打攪晒”呀噉。
(If the situation were today, I would also say something fairly simple, like, “Sorry,” or, “Sorry for the trouble [Literally, totally bothered/inconvenienced],” have you heard that one before? “Sorry for the trouble” is like “Sorry for the inconvenience.” Yes, I would just think of that. Yes, so, “Sorry,” “Sorry for the inconvenience,” “Sorry for the trouble.”)

Cameron: 好好,噉我都覺得呢個呢個例子好特別,因爲呢個“失禮”就係其他方言同埋其他語言仲保持14嘅,譬如話嗰個韓文都有嗰個 “Sillye-hamnida”。嗰個 “Sillye” 就係“失禮”一樣嘅漢字,所以我覺得係...
(Good. I also think that this example is interesting because the characters for “sat1 lai5” are preserved in other topolects and languages. For instance, it’s the same as the characters for “Sillye-hamnida.” The Chinese characters for “Sillye” are the same Chinese characters [실례합니다, 失禮합니다], so I also think…)

Raymond: 係呀,日文都有㗎。
(Yes, Japanese also has it.)

Cameron: 係,日文都有,同埋嗰個台語有呀。所以廣東話之前有嘅,但係而家冇咁流行。另一個就係,“小姓黃”,我會講嘅就係“小姓白”。
(Yes, Japanese does too, as does Taiwanese. So Cantonese had it before, but now it is not as popular. Another phrase is “My surname is Wong,” though I would say “My surname is White.”)

Raymond: 哈哈,我都係講“小姓白”。係囉,你講呢啲真係,其實我以前反而15會講,我再後生啲嘅時候我間唔中16會講嘅。但係我諗而家,我而家我記得我最近都好似講過一次,但係呢,大家都會笑囉。即係話你忽然17間講嘢咁文縐縐18噉樣嘅?另一個講法,你甚至可以講“小弟”啦,小弟姓乜嘢,再更加謙遜19
(Haha, I also say, “My surname is White.” Wow, what you said is something I would say in the past, when I was younger I would say it from time to time. But I think that now, I can only remember saying it once recently, but everyone would laugh. Like, what are you doing suddenly sounding so genteel? Another way to say it would be to say, “Little brother” [a polite way for a male speaker to refer to himself], like “little brother is named something,” it’s even more humble.

Cameron: “小弟”?
(“Little brother?”)

Raymond: 係呀。

Cameron: 哦~

Raymond: 係呀“小弟”,你有冇聽過?“小弟姓乜” 噉樣。即係等於,特別對方如果係長輩20嘅話噉樣囉。
(Yup, “little brother,” have you heard it? As in, “little brother is named…” It’s especially for when one speaks to one’s elders.)

Cameron: 哦~

Raymond: 而家就真係少,好少咁客氣21呀,客氣得滯22呀真係。

(It’s used very rarely now, people are very rarely that courteous, it’s really overly courteous.)

Cameron: 意思係唔係我哋而家冇乜禮貌呀?

(You mean these days we don’t have any manners?)

Raymond: 而家大家隨便23啲啦,加上而家我哋都話,我差唔多成日都喺個 Zoom 度,着衫都隨便咗呀我哋都話。

(These days everyone is a bit more casual. In fact, these days we says that we’re pretty much on Zoom all the day, we’re even gotten casual about putting on clothes.)

Cameron: 哈哈,係呀,係呀,係呀。好,下一個係,我俾你聽,跟住就可以分享我哋自己嘅意見。就係“我唔係大人物”。

(Haha, yes, yes, true. Alright, I’ll say the next one, and then I can share my own then I can share my own thoughts. So it’s, “I’m no important person.”)

Raymond: 嗯,“我唔係大人物”。噉而家呢個都講得通24嘅。即係我唔係大人物。

(Huh, “I’m no important person.” We would still use that today. As in, “I’m not an important person.”)

Cameron: 都有時係會用英文嘅講法係唔係?我覺得喺香港有啲呢啲嘢都有個英文嘅詞語,係可以用嘅。

(But aren’t there also times when people would use an English term? I think that in Hong Kong, there is also an English way of saying this that can be used.)

Raymond: 嗯... 你而家問我英文應該點講係咪?

(Uh, are you asking how to say it in English?)

Cameron: 呢個我都覺得廣東話都可以有“我唔係 VIP”,係唔係呀?

(I think in Cantonese you can also say, “I’m no VIP,” right?)

Raymond: 哦,係。你又噉有冇聽過,“我唔係咩大粒佬”呀?

(Ah, yes. Have you heard, “I’m no big shot?”)

Cameron: 哦,大粒佬,係呀係呀。

(Ah, big shot [daai6 laap1 lou2], yes, yes.)

Raymond: 就諗到噉樣講。

(I just thought of saying it that way.)

Cameron: 係呀,睇呢個年代25嘅粵語嘅時候覺得佢哋好少會用英文。

(Yes, looking at this era of Cantonese [50s and 60s], I feel like they used English less.)

Raymond: 哦當然係。

(Of course.)

Cameron: 係呀係呀,有時我聽一個句子覺得,如果係而家講嘅,可能會加一個英文嘅詞。

(Yes, sometimes when I hear a sentence, I think that if it were said today, one might add in an English word.)

Raymond: 係,呢個,你講呢個現象都幾有趣。即係嗰個年代嘅明星好多,其實到今日或者近年佢哋仍然有繼續,拍戲呀,演戲呢,你會覺得佢哋仍然係用廣東話嗰個神髓26,用廣東話我哋所謂,純正27啲或者即係少啲去夾雜28咗英文個情況,呢個都係佢哋用嗰個語言嘅習慣囉。

(Yes, the phenomenon you bring up is very interesting. There are in fact many stars from that era who are still filming and performing now or were so until recently, and I still think of them as the spirit of Cantonese. Their linguistic habit is to speak pure Cantonese or to mix in English less.)

Cameron: 係呀,同埋有一部電影裏邊有個人話“好似佢哋係上海講嘅”,跟住佢講一句英文,所以好似佢哋覺得講英文嘅地方就係上海,唔係香港。雖然嗰陣時,香港仲係殖民地29,但係佢哋覺得嗰個上海有比較嗰個國際嘅味道30,係唔係?

(Yes, and in one movie a person said, “As they say in Shanghai,” and then proceeded to speak a sentence of English. It was as if the English-speaking locale were Shanghai, not Hong Kong. So even though Hong Kong was a colony at the time, they still thought that Shanghai had more of an international flavor, right?)

Raymond: 係,噉所以呢個亦都係我哋所謂語言學嘅現象。以前我哋叫咩嘢 code-mixing  啦,即係你係混雜31咗嗰個其他語言入去,定係 code-switching 呢,就係轉台32呀,我哋之前講嘅轉台啦。噉但係而家都,而家呢個講法亦都有變化嘅。而家反而我哋仲流行講叫 translanguaging,即係好多人,佢有好多種語言嘅背景,其實佢會好自然噉樣將呢啲語言係互相去,去最有效噉樣去運用33嘅。

(Yes, this is also a sort of linguistic phenomenon. Previously what we referred to as code-mixing, that’s the blending in part of another language. But code-mixing is really “changing the channel,” we previously talked about this. But now the way of talking about this has changed a bit. Rather, a more prevalent way to talk about this now is “translanguaging,” where many people who have backgrounds in multiple languages will naturally use these respective languages in the most effective manner/context.)

Cameron: 好,下一個就係,“你好體貼我哋嘅”。

(Alright, so the next one is, “You’re show every consideration for us.”)

Raymond: 呢度我比較知道,而家有啲新嘅講法。“體貼”呢個亦都當然唔係話而家冇用到嘅,不過而家有啲新啲嘅。後期啦會話“你做事好貼心呀”。噉但係而家仲有一個新啲嘅,你知唔知,你有冇聽過呀?

(This I am rather familiar with, there is a new way to say this now. Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t still use tai2 tip3 [considerate], but there is now a newer way to express the same meaning. A later way to say this would be to say, “You’re very considerate of us.” But now we have an even newer way of saying this, do you know if you have heard it?)

Cameron: 咩呀?


Raymond: 都係有個“心”字,你知唔知呀?“而家好窩心”呀,而家啲人話。即係啦你做嘢…

(It also has the character sam1 [heart], do you know? “So warm-hearted now,” people say that these days. It means when one… [NOTE: the term wo1 sam1 窩心 has the opposite meaning in Hong Kong Cantonese and Taiwanese Mandarin from what it means in mainland China])

Cameron: “窩心”?

(Wo1 sam1?)

Raymond: “窩”,係呀,即係呢令到你個心好溫暖34嘅,叫好“窩心”呀。我覺得呢個係近年講多咗,係囉。

(Wo1, yes, it means something makes your heart feel very warm, we call that “wo1 sam1.” I think this has been used more in recent years, yes.)

Cameron: 我好鍾意佢嘅,佢嘅嗰個聲音35係好靚嘅。

(I really like it, its sound is very pretty.)

Raymond: 係咩,可能同個聲都有啲關係。即係嗰個“窩”,即係個暖窩36安樂窩37,即係你有個家嘅感覺囉。

(Really? Perhaps it has something to do with the sound, like a warm pan or a cozy home, you get a feeling of home.)

Cameron: 好,“以我自己呀,時常發脾氣”。

(Alright, “As for me, I often lose my temper.”)

Raymond: 即係你講前面嗰部係咪“以我自己呀”?

(Are you referring to the “As for me” in the beginning?)

Cameron: “以我自己” 我覺得係,“以”特別就係比較書面嘅,同埋我覺得“發脾氣”雖然仲可以用嘅,但係我覺得“發脾氣”都有其他嘅更廣東話嘅講法,因爲我覺得“發脾氣”係好多方言同埋普通話都可以講嘅,但係…

(The “as for me” I think sounds a bit like written language. As for the “loose my temper/faat3pei4hei3,” while that can still be used, I think there are other ways to say that in Cantonese, as “faat3 pei4 hei3 can be used in multiple topolects and Mandarin, but…)

Raymond: 係,“發脾氣”係啦,呢個當然我哋今日都仍然會講嘅,“佢成日發脾氣”啦。如果你話俗語啲啦,噉呀會話“發忟憎”啦,我諗我唔知你係咪諗緊呢個。“好忟呀”、“發忟憎”、“唔耐煩38”嗰個意思啦。仲有呀,跟着一個係有少少搞笑嘅。“發脾氣”呢,我唔知點解有人,可能係唔小心講錯,跟住大家跟住噉樣講。你知唔知講成乜嘢?變咗個數字呀,你知唔知呀?

(Yes, “faat3pei4hei3,” of course we still say that now, as in, “He’s always angry.” If you are speaking more colloquially, you can say “faat3 mang2 zeng1,” I think I’m not sure if you were referring to this. “hou2 mang2 a3,” “faat3 mang2 zeng1, m4 noi6 faan4” [impatient], that meaning. Also, there’s one that is rather funny. “Faat3pei4hei3,” I don’t know why, but some people, maybe they aren’t careful with how they say things, and then people start saying it that way–do you know what they have started saying it as? It’s become a number, do you know?)

Cameron: 唔知。


Raymond: “發脾四”呀,有冇聽過?

(Faat3pei4sei3 [with hei3 becoming sei3, the number “4”], have you heard this?)

Cameron: “發脾四”?呢個係好啲嘅,因爲嗰個“四“同死嗰個,都係有嗰個…

(Faat3pei4sei3? This is great, as “four” and “death” [sei2] have [that association], there’s also that…)

Raymond: 我唔知個典故39係咩呀,聽到覺得好好笑囉。”你做咩’發脾四’呀,”噉而家好流行係,即係講,用嗰啲字呢,其實係即係冇原因嘅。即係,但係聽起上嚟噉啱差唔多音。或者係,可能真係有人係唔小心講錯咗,我哋叫做口誤40呢,噉但係一個傳一個呢,啲人就可能覺得又幾搞笑呀。其實我仲有啲例子,我即刻41諗到呀。譬如呢,我哋話去食好嘢呢,即係食啲好好食嘅嘢,食好嘢呢,你知唔知最近有個流行嘅講法,係因爲有一個人佢講錯咗,跟住大家跟住噉樣講,你知唔知係食好乜嘢呀,你知唔知呀?

(I don’t know what the origin story is, but when I hear it I think it’s very funny. “What are you doing being so ‘foured off’ [instead of “pissed off”],” that’s pretty popular now, using that word, but there isn’t really a reason, but the sound really sounds like it fits. Or maybe people really weren’t careful and spoke incorrectly, what we called a “slip of the tongue,” but then it gets passed on from one person to the next, and some people think that it is rather funny. Actually there are some other examples that I also thought of. For instance, when we talk about really delicious things, as in eating something really tasty, do you know that there is a really trendy way to say that? It’s because one person spoken incorrectly, and then everyone started saying, do you know what they say, “eating something well?”)

Cameron: 唔知呀。

(I don’t know.)

Raymond: 係“食好西”呀,你有冇聽過呀。

(It’s “sik6 hou2 sai1” [Literally, “eat good west”], have you heard that?)

Cameron: “食好西”?未聽過。

(“Eat good west?” I haven’t heard that.)

Raymond: 因為呢,我諗佢好似係唔知係打字,因為打電腦嘅時候呢,佢想話“食好東西”呀。噉但係呢,佢就打成“食好西”呀。跟住呢,大家跟住就“我哋去食好西”呀。跟住而家係一個,都係啲年輕人間唔中去…都有少少取笑42嗰個,其實嗰個係一個歌手呀,據說係佢打錯字噉樣囉。

(It’s because I think they [the person who originated the phrase] didn’t know how to type, because when they were typing on the computer, what they wanted to type was “eating something good” [Note: the written Chinese term for “something” is dung1 sai1, combining the characters for east and west]. However, they typed it as, “eat good west.” And then everyone started saying, “Let’s go ‘eat good west.’” Now it’s something that young people sometimes say, also to sort of mock the singer who started the phrase by typing wrong.)

Cameron: 嗯,了解。

(Ah, I understand.)

Raymond: 我覺得係同樣嘅原理啦,唔知“發脾四”係咪噉樣。我再講多一個啦,你唔介意。噉呢,譬如“老實”,“我哋老老實實噉樣講”,“我哋老實”。呢個你知唔知有一個新嘅講法係乜嘢呀?

(I think it is the same principle, but I am not sure if “faat3 pei4 sei3” is like that. I’ll say one more, if you don’t mind. For instance, the term “honestly/lou5 sat6,” as in, “We spoke very frankly,” “to be frank.” Do you know that there is a newer way to say this?)

Cameron: 係咩呀?

(What is it?)

Raymond: 係“老老竇竇”呀。

(It’s “lou5 lou5 dau6 dau6.” [Literally a reduplication of a word for “father”])

Cameron: “老老竇竇”?

(Lou5 lou5 dau6 dau6?

Raymond: 你知唔知點解?

(Do you know why?)

Cameron: 乜人嘅“老竇”講咩呀?

(Whose dad, what is he saying?)

Raymond: 即係,“老竇”你知係阿爸嘅講法啦。但係嗰個“竇”字呢,其實睇起上嚟呢,好似嗰個“實”字,但係更加複雜43啲嘅。噉呢,又唔知係咪打錯定係睇起上嚟好似呢,“老實”變成“老老實實”變成“老老竇竇”,跟住啲人覺得好好笑。跟住呢,而家有人會話,“老老竇竇”呀,其實係佢想講係“老老實實”噉嘅意思囉。
(Yeah, “lou5 dau6” is a way to say “father.” But the character for “dau” looks a little bit like the character for sat6, except it’s more complicated. I also don’t know if it’s because someone inputted it incorrectly or saw it as looking similar, and lou5 sat6 became lou5 lou5 dau6 dau6, and then some people thought it was very funny. So now people will say “father father,” but what they want to express is the meaning “to be frank.”)

Cameron: 噉多謝你跟我就玩呢個,我嘅遊戲。我唔知道你鍾唔鍾意,但係我覺得…

(Thank you for playing my game with me. I don’t know if you liked it, but I think…)

Raymond: 我覺得非常之有趣呀,因爲我知, 都同你講過,我都係最近開始睇返啲粵語長片呀,我同啲學生一齊睇。估唔到呢,我同啲學生都話,都比想像44中好睇喎、有趣喎。雖然我哋話所謂嘅老土45啦,噉但係呢我哋又諗下點解呢啲係老土呢?其實所謂老土,係咪一定唔好嘅呢,噉都唔一定係。

(I think it was very interesting, as I know, I’ve also told you, I have also been watching these old feature-length Cantonese films with my students. I never thought that me and my students would find them better than we imagined, they’re very interesting. Although we say they’re kind of old-fashioned, we also ponder, “Why are they old-fashioned?” In fact, something that’s old-fashioned might not necessarily be bad, certainly not.)