We can 搭, 上 and 落 transports. What about the transports themselves? What is the one you use the most in your daily life? The bus? Your car? Or is it the train? Let’s find out what these are in Cantonese.
Hired ground transports
巴 士 baa1 si6 Bus
It was also in Bite 14 - Transportation.
的 士 dik1 si6 Taxi / Cab
As with 巴士, this is also an English loan word!
火 車 fo2 ce1 fire car Train
“Fire car” was a literal translation. The name came from the earliest fire-powerd trains. Now it means all above-ground railways.
Fire-powered train, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 1947 (Public Domain)
Not completely, but there is much more autonomy here.
私 家 車 ci1 gaa1 ce1 Private car Car (what we usually drive)
「私家」 because it is too ambiguous to just say 「車」 as it can mean all cars. 私家車 = Privately-owned cars = the cars you and I own.
And how do we say “drive a car”?
揸 車 za1 ce1 drive car Drive a car
What if we chose to pedal our way through?
單 車 daan1 ce1 Bicycle
踩 單 車 caai2 daan1 ce1 step on bicycle (pedal) Ride a bicycle
How about the powered 2-wheels?
電 單 車 din6 daan1 ce1 electric bicycle Motorcycle
The first motorcycles were not “electric” per se, but the motor was and has always been. So here we are, 電單車.
And we’re back to “揸” for 電單車. Try saying out loud “driving a motorcycle” in Cantonese out loud before revealing the answer!
揸 電 單 車 zaa1 din6 daan1 ce1 drive electric bicycle Drive a motorcycle
A funny slang
Let’s top things off with a mildly amusing slang in Hong Kong:
11 號 巴 士 eleven-th baa1 si6 Route 11 bus
You would think “route 11” was a certain bus route. Yes, it can be, but it also means walking. Look at this photo:
Author’s fingers doing their legs imitation
2 legs are like the number “11”. So when someone says 「搭11號巴士」, it might mean “walking”.
We hope you enjoyed this Bite! Key takeaways:
- 巴士 (bus), 的士 (taxi), 電車 (tram)
- 私家車 (cars), 單車 (bicycles), 電單車 (motor bikes)
- 揸私家車 (driving cars), 踩單車 (riding a bike), 揸電單車 (driving a bike)
How do you say “take a taxi”? (Hint: bite 14!)
搭 的 士 daa6 dik1 si6 Take a taxi
So to compare:
- 搭 - taking a ride
- 揸 - driving
- 踩 - pedaling (almost always a bicycle)