Cantonese through News Stories: Hundreds of Dead Fish in Kwun Tong

 

Kwun Tong Dead Fish Image Two_19 OCT 2019

Introduction

Most of the news in recent months has been pre-occupied with the human realm. Here is an environmental story concerning the fish of Hong Kong and a recent incident in Kwun Tong, where hundred of dead fish appeared in mysterious circumstances.

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12 new words:

對出 deui3 chēut = on the outside of; next to the outside of
漂浮 pīu1 fàuh4 = to float
烏頭 wū1 táu4*2 = grey mullet (fish)
嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 = a final double particle
承辦商 sìhng4 baahn6 sēung1 = contractor
跟進 gān1 jeun3 = to follow up
每逢 múih5 fùhng4 = every time; whenever
換季 wuhn6 gwai3 = change of season
水質 séui2 jāt = water quality
魚類  yùh4 leuih6 = fish (a general term)
排除 pàaih4 chèuih4 = to exclude; to rule out (the possibility of . . .)
惡劣 ok3 lyut3 = vile (in this context = hazardous to fish)

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觀塘海面出現大批死魚。
A large number of dead fish appeared on the surface of the sea at Kwun Tong.
Note: 大批 daaih6 pai1 is commonly used to refer to a large number or a large amount of something. You occasionally also hear 分批 fān1 pāi1 = “in batches”.

觀塘海濱長廊對出尋晚開始有大批死魚喺海面嗰度漂浮。
Just next to the Kwun Tong Promenade, a large number of dead fish were [seen] floating on the surface from yesterday evening.
Note: Just lately, the expression 對出 deui3 chēut1 has been cropping up a lot in news reports. It combines the ideas of “opposite (in location); facing” [對] with “outside” [出]. Sheik gives the meaning as “on the outside of; next to the outside of”.

唔少係烏頭嚟㗎。
Many of them were grey mullet.
Note: The double particle 嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 is used in speech to add an “explaining tone” to utterances, perhaps with an added sense of assertion (this is the way it is). Sheik has “final modal particle to strengthen an assertion or question”. It can be used in questions, too, when asking for an explanation. For example, in a chapter of Current Colloquial Cantonese, a young woman who gets off a bus in the middle of nowhere asks: 呢度係邊度嚟㗎? = What is this place? (Chapter 5, “To Take the Minibus”). Although 㗎 can also be pronounced làih by some speakers, in 嚟㗎 lèih4 is always used.

海事處派承辦商到場清理,並且聯絡相關政府部門跟進。
The Marine Department [of the Hong Kong government] dispatched a contractor to clean up the site, and contacted relevant government departments to follow up.

估計現場大概有幾百條嘅死魚。
It has been estimated that there were several hundred dead fish at the scene.
Note: I am a bit puzzled by the grammar of 幾百條嘅死魚. I would have expected 幾百條死魚, but perhaps there is a sense here of a “fish in their hundreds” (?).

有專家話,每逢換季,海水嘅溫度同埋水質都會產生變化,令到水中嘅魚類死亡。
An expert said that every time there is a change of season, changes occur in both water temperature and water quality, causing fish in the water to die.

Note: 每逢 is a useful structure meaning “every time”. In Chapter Three of Colloquial Cantonese, 逢 fùhng4 is discussed in terms of regular activities that one might engage in: 我逢星期日踢足球 = “I play soccer every Sunday” and 我逢星期六打網球 = “I play tennis every Saturday” (“Interests and Leisure Activities”). I may be mistaken, but I think such things could also be expressed as 每逢星期六我都打網球 .

但係亦都唔排除可能因爲附近有海事工程令到水質惡劣,出現死魚。
However, [the expert] did not rule out [the possibility that] the dead fish had appeared as a result of marine engineering work in the area causing water quality to deteriorate.
Note: This sentence contains a second instance of the very useful structure 令到 lihng6 dou3, a structure which indicates causation. There is another example in the previous sentence. In some situations, the 到 dou3 is dropped, especially when followed by 人 yàhn4. Recently, Carrie Lam was reported as making the following remark: 行政長官林鄭月娥話,係令人釋懷、寬心嘅結局 = Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the outcome was a relief (lit. “to cause a person to dismiss from their mind”) and put her mind at rest.

岸邊就繼續有人垂釣。
On the shore, people continued to fish (?).
Note: I am not sure about 垂釣 sèuih4 diu3; it seems to mean “to drop a hook”. Perhaps it is a more formal way of saying 釣魚 diu3 4*2 = to go fishing.

有釣魚人士話,以往都見過呢一啲情況,唔擔心魚會受到污染。
A fisherman said that such things [呢一啲情況] had also happened in the past, and that he was not worried that the fish might be contaminated.
Note: A delightful feature of Cantonese is its use of 人士 yàhn4 sih6 to form expressions referring to the person who engages in a particular kind of activity. It can be added to verbs very conveniently. Some other examples include 遊行人士 = protest marcher, 輪侯公屋人士 = people on the waiting list for public housing, and 在場人士 = those people present (at a particular event).

2019年10月19日

 

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