Bite 9 - Addressing people

November 13, 2020


Now we know how to tell apart a man, woman, girl and boy. What if we need to talk to them face to face?

There are several ways you can address people before talking to them.

Kids (any number of them)

小    朋    友
siu2 pang4 yau2

Slow kids:

Any woman, don’t know her name

小    姐
siu2 ze2

Any man, don’t know his name

先    生
sin1 saang1

Know her name; to show courtesy (acquaintance, female)

陳    小   姐
can4 siu2 ze2

Ms. Chan

where “陳” is the surname of the person. There are others like 張, 黃, 李, 趙 etc.

Know his name; to show courtesy (acquaintance, male)

張      生
zoeng1 saang1

Mr. Cheung

Below are ways to greet a random old person. This way you show care and respect. (as you normally should in Chinese culture!)

If you are not sure, old people actually appreciate you calling them 先生 / 小姐 (this way it feels much younger 😎)

Old woman

婆   婆
po4 po2

Old man

伯     伯
baak3 baak3


Asking names:

先    生,    你   叫   咩   名?
sin1 saang1 nei5 giu5 me1 meng2
Mister,    you called what name?

Mister, what is your name?

Saying thank you:

唔  該   哂    呀  陳   小   姐
m4 goi1 saai3 aa can4 siu2 ze2

Thank you, Ms. Chan!

Wrapping up

We say 小朋友 to young little kids you don’t know;

We greet strangers by saying 先生 / 小姐;

We hail people we know saying their surname + 先生 / 小姐;

We address our old with 婆婆 / 伯伯.

Written by hulloanson#2533, HongKonger
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