Learning Cantonese: Capturing the Sky

This is a very short video again featuring the Hong Kong landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei. The moral is simple yet profound, and is summed up in the final sentence: 或者喺你觀察到其他人去畫天空呢一啲作品之後|可能令到你產生咗一種 | 「原來唔係咁單一」嘅觀察嘅方法嘅,咁一樣嘅 (you can find my rough English translation below).

The Cantonese titles of the video differ in interesting ways.  The words 自在風景 literally mean “free and easy landscape”, but are rendered in English as “the breath of landscape”, while 凝聚天空, which makes use of the verb 凝聚 yìhng4 jeuih6 = “(of vapour) to condense”, becomes “capture the sky”. In other words, we are dealing here with different versions rather than direct translations.

For a Cantonese learner, the joy of this video is Wong’s one use of 埲 buhng6, a classifier (or “measure word”) specifically for walls. I don’t come across it very often; generally 幅 fūk1 seems to be preferred. Actually, within the span of his 1-minute presentation, you’ll hear Wong use both, one more reason to fall in love with Cantonese all over again!

There is also a very nifty item of vocabulary: 順住時序 seuhn6 jyuh6 sìh4 jeuih6 = in chronological order. Combined with the verb 排列 pàaih4 liht6, you get one way of saying “to arrange in chronological order”.

Please scroll down for my transcription, English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in English and Standard Written Chinese). Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.


Caption: 自在風景 | The Breath of Landscape

Caption: 凝聚天空 | Capture the Sky

黃進曦:其實我由5月份開始呢 | 其實就去唔同地區啦 | 二十間中小學就去做一 workshop 嘅|主要呢,就係同佢哋去畫當日個天空 呀|其實呢一埲牆呢,主要就係嗰二十間中學嘅作品|噉我排列個方法呢,就其實係順住時序嘅 | 另外呢一幅牆呢 | 其實就係藝術館呢一個位呢 | 現場我再一啲唔同嘅朋友過一齊 | 去畫天空嘅一個作品嘅 | 透過呢個workshop 之後 | 或者喺你觀察到其他人去畫天空嘅呢一啲作品之後|可能令到你產生咗一種 | 「原來唔係咁單一」嘅觀察嘅方法嘅,咁一樣

● 中小學 jūng1 síu2 hohk6 = primary and secondary schools | ● 埲 buhng6 = a classifier for walls | ● 排列 pàaih4 liht6 = to arrange; to put in order | ● 順住時序 seuhn6 jyuh6 sìh4 jeuih6 = in chronological order cf.  時序 = sequential timing | ● 觀察 gūn1 chaat3 = to observe; to watch | ● 單一 dāan1 yāt1 = single; unitary; perhaps even “homogenous”

Stephen Wong Chun Hei: In actual fact, beginning in May, I went to various different districts, doing workshops in twenty primary and secondary schools. What we did mainly was to paint the sky on that [particular] day. The paintings on this wall here are mostly those by students at these twenty schools. My way of arranging them was according to chronological order. On this other wall over here, here in this part of the [Hong Kong] Museum of Art, I got a number of my friends together here together, each one of them painting a picture of the sky on this spot. By means of these workshops, and after looking at the skies painted by other people, perhaps it might make you think to yourself [產生咗一種] “Well, there’s no single way of doing it” when it comes to how one looks [at the world].

2 thoughts on “Learning Cantonese: Capturing the Sky

  1. In fact, the classifier “bung6” for wall is what I heard and learned when I was a kid. It’s a colloquial classifier. “fuk1” is more like a literal classifier for wall to me. In learning written Chinese, we’d never write “bung6埲” .


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