Guide: How to Say Taxi in Cantonese

Learning how to say “taxi” in Cantonese can be useful when traveling or communicating with Cantonese-speaking locals. In this guide, we’ll explore the formal and informal ways to say “taxi” in Cantonese. Although there are regional variations, we’ll primarily focus on the most commonly used terms. Let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say Taxi

When speaking formally or in a polite setting, you can use the term “taxi” as a loanword. Here are a few examples:

1. 計程車 (gai1 cing4 ce1)

This is the most common and formal way to say “taxi” in Cantonese. The term “計程車” is a direct translation of the word “taxi.”

Example: 請叫一輛計程車。
(Cing2 giu3 jat1 loeng6 gai1 cing4 ce1.)
Please call a taxi.

2. 的士 (dik1 si6)

“的士” is another term for “taxi” in Cantonese, particularly common in Hong Kong. Although slightly less formal than “計程車,” it is still a respectful and acceptable way to refer to a taxi.

Example: 我需要一輛的士。
(ngo5 seoi1 jiu3 jat1 loeng6 dik1 si6.)
I need a taxi.

Informal Ways to Say Taxi

In informal or casual situations, especially when conversing with friends or peers, Cantonese speakers often use alternative terms to refer to a taxi. Here are a couple of common examples:

1. 車 (ce1)

“車” is a casual and shortened version of “計程車” or “的士.” It is widely understood and used among locals, particularly in Hong Kong.

Example: 我要叫車去機場。
(ngo5 jiu3 giu3 ce1 heoi3 gei1 coeng4.)
I want to call a taxi to the airport.

2. 間車 (gaan1 ce1)

“間車” is a colloquial term that translates to “taxi” in Cantonese. It is primarily used in informal conversations among friends or family members.

Example: 我叫到間車返屋企。
(ngo5 giu3 dou3 gaan1 ce1 faan1 uk1 kei5.)
I caught a taxi back home.

Regional Variations

While the terms mentioned above are commonly used in most Cantonese-speaking areas, it is essential to note that some regional variations exist. Here are a couple of examples:

1. 計 (gai1) / 喼 (co1)

In parts of Guangdong province and neighboring areas, locals may use the term “計” or “喼” instead of “計程車” or “的士.” It carries the same meaning as “taxi” but is limited to specific regions.

2. 的 (dik1)

Similarly, in regions like Macau, you might hear “的” used instead of “的士.” It is a localized variation and commonly understood by locals in Macau.

Final Tips

When trying to communicate about taxis in Cantonese, keep these tips in mind:

  • Ensure correct pronunciation of Cantonese tones.
  • Be respectful and use the formal terms when speaking to strangers or in formal settings.
  • Try to learn the regional variations specific to your destination.
  • Take advantage of ride-hailing apps or point to a taxi if unsure about pronunciation.
  • Practice the phrases in advance to build your confidence when speaking Cantonese.

Remember, learning a few basic words in the local language can greatly enhance your travel experience and help you connect with the Cantonese-speaking community.

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