Cantonese Slang (2) : 雞同鴨講

Learning Cantonese & Slang, 香港 HongKong Add comments

21st August 2017

Chicken speaks to a duck. — Is that possible?!  Yes!

My Cantonese teacher William and I are facing a communication issue. It happens quite often, that when he talks, I simply do not get it. And when I share a 爛gag (flat joke), he does not get it either.  We are talking at cross-purposes. It seems we are simply not on the same wave-length.

Because of all these incidents, he taught us following Cantonese slang.

“雞同鴨講 (gai1 tung4 aap3 gong2)”

Ok, let me breakdown this word first. It consists of four words

“雞 (gai1) = chicken,  同 (tung4) = same/with,
鴨 (aap3) = duck, 講 (gong2) = to speak”

So, it literally means “Chicken speaks to a duck” = The chicken and the duck are “talking” in their own language, but just do not get each other, because in this case they are talking two different languages.

Again can the chicken speak to a duck? — Yes! The chicken can speak to a duck, BUT they cannot communicate and understand each other!

There are few things I feel amazed of

  • The incident, that my teacher and me are talking at cross-purposes. This Cantonese slang is out of our learning topic. If we had not all these accumulating incidents, we would not learn it. This incident gave us the opportunity to learn another Cantonese slang!
  • Expression based on animals. Cantonese language contains  a lot of animal expressions!  It makes learning Cantonese (for me) much more fun!
  • The source of this slang. “雞同鴨講” is also a title of a Hong Kong movie directed by the comedian Michael Hui and is exactly about talking at cross-purposes. Sounds fun! Let me share with you  more after I watch this movie!

Want to learn more about Cantonese Slang? Please feel free to check out my entry “Cantonese Slang (1): 掃街” and/or future entries!

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