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Now you have the tones, let's apply them to some words!

When you are starting out, it's important to establish some good learning habits to pick up Cantonese effectively. To focus on the tones, organise your vocabulary by tone and really make sure you hit the pitch. After a while, this will become second nature.

There are more exercises to widen your vocabulary in Lesson 6: What's Your Favourite? For now, your focus should be on mastering the tones, so that every time you see jyutping written, you can get the right tone. You will find it easy to adjust your way of saying things with the food words. Now it's time to forget about how you usually talk and get your Cantonese head on!

First let's learn some FOOD WORDS. You'll be surprised at how easy it is! You can download this as a worksheet with this button or scroll down to see it on screen.

But I also want to talk you through how it works. You can see the vocabulary is organised by tone. Make sure you get the first tone, before moving onto the second, and so on, then you can be sure of hitting the pitch with all six tones for any new words you learn.


Next you'll see the characters are written twice, once in black and the second one faded. This is so you can trace over it if you also want to learn to write. There is of course an order to the strokes, so I would recommend you find a tutor to help you.


The meaning I have left blank for two reasons. Firstly, not all my students are native English speakers and secondly, if you can't figure out 批 pai1 means pie, then I would be most surprised. By having the opportunity to figure things out for yourself, you will start to appreciate how Cantonese works. If you do have trouble with some of the less obvious ones, point at the word and say:

 點 講 呀?

  dim2   gong2   aa3

 How do you say that?

This is also a good place to say a few more words about JYUTPING. Mostly, it is intuitive - just read it as you would in English. There are a few things to watch out for, however. I have already talked about 'clipped sounds' in Lesson One (words ending in k, p or t), and you can make sure you have that with the words for doughnut and pancake below (both first tone words). Next, let's look at 'z' - think dz. If a words starts 'c' then think ts (keep your lips flat, do not make ch like in church) and if you see j then think ee with a very soft y in front. This sound clip will help you, or ask a friend:

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Getting your Cantonese head on: Food

1. First tone

 批                    批               pai1                           meaning:_____________

 冬甩 🍩           冬甩           dung1 lat1                meaning:_____________

 班𠽤                班𠽤           baan1 kik1                meaning:_____________

2. Second tone

多士                多士            do1 si2                       meaning:_____________

芝士                芝士            zi1 si2                         meaning:_____________

啤酒🍻            啤酒            be1 zau2                    meaning:_____________

芒果🥭            芒果            mong1 gwo2             meaning:_____________

茄汁                茄汁            ke2 zap1                    meaning:_____________

​3. Third tone

布甸               布甸             bou3 din1                  meaning:_____________

咖啡☕️           咖啡             gaa3 fe1                     meaning:_____________

咖喱🍛           咖喱             gaa3 lei1                    meaning:_____________

4. Fourth tone

茶☕️                               caa4                             meaning:_____________

檸檬🍋           檸檬             ning4 mung1              meaning:_____________

啤梨               啤梨             be1 lei4                        meaning:_____________

​​5. Fifth tone

乳酪               乳酪              jyu5 lok3                      meaning:_________

馬卡龍           馬卡龍          maa5 kaa1 lung4        meaning:_________

6. Sixth tone

豆腐               豆腐             dau6 fu6                       meaning:_________

壽司🍣           壽司             sau6 si1                         meaning:_________

沙律               沙律             saa1 leot6                     meaning:_________

新地               新地             san1 dei6                      meaning:_________

Mix it up!

士多啤梨🍓                       si6 do1 bei1 lei4            meaning:_________


三文治🥪                           saam1 man4 zi6           meaning:_________


漢堡包🍔                           hon3 bou2 baau1        meaning:_________


吞拿魚                               taa1 naa4 jyu2              meaning:_________


威化餅                               wai1 faa3 beng2        meaning:_________



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