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Study abroad in HongKong

Study abroad in HongKong

If you have decided to study abroad in Hong Kong, you may well be able to get by perfectly well without learning a local dialect.

Around a third of the population speak English as a second language and an even higher percentage speak or understand some English words.

If the course you have gone to study abroad in Hong Kong is in English, you may be forgiven for thinking that you will not need to learn another language. Whilst this is true, it would certainly make life a lot easier for you if you did learn a few phrases or words whilst you study abroad in Hong Kong.

Although Mandarin is the world's most-spoken language, it should not be your first choice if you want to be able to communicate with the locals in Hong Kong in their own language. Mandarin is more commonly spoken in China although it is gradually becoming more prevalent in southern regions such as Hong Kong too.

Cantonese is the language you will hear spoken when you study abroad in Hong Kong. It's unfortunately not the easiest language to learn, particularly for a westerner but it is possible to pick up a few key phrases to help you out in an emergency.

First of all, it's important to realise that Cantonese is a tonal language which means that different inflections can put a totally different meaning on the word or phrase you are trying to communicate.  Most taxi drivers speak some English but you need to take care when pronouncing your destination. For example, Hung San and Hong San are two completely different locations at separate ends of the island!

Knowing how to say thank you is always a big hit and there's two different phrases you should learn how to use.

'Mmm Goy' is a phrase used when someone has performed a kind act for you. It means quite literally ‘you shouldn't do that for me' and is a phrase used to express gratitude. It isn't appropriate to be used as a thank you for a gift.

'Dor je' is the second way to say thank you and means quite literally just that. It is also suitable for thanking someone for giving you a gift, and not when they have done something kind for you.

Knowing how much an item costs is a priceless ability for when you study abroad in Hong Kong. Ask a shopkeeper 'gay dor chin?' and you will get your answer.

Finally, with Hong Kong's notorious shortage of public bathrooms, you may need to stop and ask someone to point you in the right direction if the need arises whilst you are out. 'Chee Saw' is the only Cantonese word you will need to express your urgent requirement!

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