new year & setting goals


Hello! Today I want to share a couple of vocab with you about the new year and setting goals, perseverance and giving up, succeeding and failing, as well as some 4 character idioms and some slang terms.

The first vocab of course will be the new year, 新一年 (Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen), 新 (Dummy PY: Sun) means new, 一年 (Dummy PY: Yat Neen) means one year. Together it literally means new a year, new one year, but really it means new year. We don’t really say 新年(Dummy PY: Sun Neen), omitting the number 1 for the regular new years, we usually only refer to 新年 (Dummy PY: Sun Neen) when we are talking about Chinese New year. So 新一年(Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen), for the regular new year.

In a sentence, for example,

新一年, 我要學好廣東話。(Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen, Ngo You Hawk Ho Gwong Dong Wah)

New year, I need to learn my Cantonese well.


喺新嘅一年, 我要學好廣東話。(Dummy PY: Hai Sun Ge Yat Neen, Ngo You Hawk Ho Gwong Dong Wah)

In this new year, I need to learn Cantonese well.

Or to say new year, new beginnings, you will say,

新一年, 新開始。(Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen, Sun Hoy Chee)


新嘅一年, 新嘅開始。(Dummy PY: Sun Ge Yat Neen, Sun Ge Hoy Chee)

Since we talked about 開始(Dummy PY: Hoy Chee) meaning to begin or start as a verb and beginning as a noun. 開 (Dummy PY: Hoy) when it is used by itself, it means to open. 始(Dummy PY: Chee) means the origin or beginning. So 開始(Dummy PY: Hoy Chee) put together as a whole, literally is to say open a beginning, meaning to start or begin.

For example, to say,

2021 has begun.

2021 年開始咗啦! (Dummy PY: 2021 Neen Hoy Chee Jor La!)

Or everyday example,

我今年開始咗學廣東話。(Dummy PY: Ngo Gum Neen Hoy Chee Jor Hawk Gwong Dong Wah)

I this year began learning Cantonese.

As a noun, it will be the earlier example,

新一年, 新開始。(Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen, Sun Hoy Chee)


新嘅一年, 新嘅開始。(Dummy PY: Sun Ge Yat Neen, Sun Ge Hoy Chee)

On the other hand, to say something has ended, the words are 結束(Dummy PY: Geet Choke) / 完結 (Dummy PY: Yuen Geet), both mean to end or the end, both are verbs and nouns. 結 (Dummy PY: Geet) means a knot, like when you tie a knot, that knot. 束 (Dummy PY: Choke) means a bunch, like a bunch of flowers, 一束花(Dummy PY: Yat Choke Fa), I mentioned this in last year’s Valentine’s day episode. 束(Dummy PY: Choke) as a verb also can mean to tie. Like to tie up the bag. So literally 結束(Dummy PY: Geet Choke) is to say to tie a knot for the bunch. That means to finish. Maybe it was related to the kind of work Chinese people used to do, like handling silk for example. I am not 100% sure what kind of work, but this word has been around in the Chinese language for a long time ago. One of the earliest usage of this word 結束(Dummy PY: Geet Choke) to mean the end or to end could be traced back to the Eastern Zhou period from 256BC to 771BC.

As for 完結 (Dummy PY: Yuen Geet), the meaning is basically the same. 完(Dummy PY: Yuen) means finished, over, and again 結 (Dummy PY: Geet) means a knot. So 完結 (Dummy PY: Yuen Geet) means ending the knot or the ending knot. But you can also shorten 完結 (Dummy PY: Yuen Geet), and simply say 完 (Dummy PY: Yuen) also means to finish or to end, 完 (Dummy PY: Yuen) is more casual than both 結束(Dummy PY: Geet Choke) / 完結 (Dummy PY: Yuen Geet).

How to use 結束(Dummy PY: Geet Choke) / 完結 (Dummy PY: Yuen Geet) in application? For example:

2020 has ended.

2020 年結束咗啦! (Dummy PY: 2020 Neen Geet Choke Jor La!)

2020 年結束啦! (Dummy PY: 2020 Neen Geet Choke La!)


2020 年完結咗啦! (Dummy PY: 2020 Neen Yuen Geet Jor La!)

2020 年完咗啦! (Dummy PY: 2020 Neen Yuen Jor La!)


2020 年完結啦! (Dummy PY: 2020 Neen Yuen Geet La!)

2020 年完啦! (Dummy PY: 2020 Neen Yuen La!)

Or another example,

完啦? (Dummy PY: Yuen La?)

This is the end?

完結啦? (Dummy PY: Yuen La?)


結束啦? (Dummy PY: Yuen La?)

If you want to say, saying bye to 2021, you can use the term 告別 (Dummy PY: Go Bead) /講拜拜 (Dummy PY: Gong Bye Bye) to mean saying goodbye. 告別 (Dummy PY: Go Bead) means to say bye because 告(Dummy PY: Go) is short for 告訴 (Dummy PY: Go So)meaning to tell, 別 (Dummy PY: Bead) means to be apart or be away. So 告別(Dummy PY: Go Bead) put together means to tell someone you guys will be separating, meaning to say goodbye. As for 講拜拜 (Dummy PY: Gong Bye Bye) that’s fairly simple. 講 (Dummy PY: Gong)means to say, 拜拜 (Dummy PY: Bye Bye)is obviously bye-bye in English. Comparatively speaking 告別(Dummy PY: Go Bead) is more proper and formal than 講拜拜 (Dummy PY: Gong Bye Bye). 講拜拜 (Dummy PY: Gong Bye Bye) is fairly casual. For example,

我好開心可以同2020 年講拜拜! (Dummy PY: Ngo Ho Hoy Sum Hoh Yee Tongue 2020 Neen Gong Bye Bye!)

I am happy that I can say bye to 2020!


我好開心可以同2020 年告別! (Dummy PY: Ngo Ho Hoy Sum Hoh Yee Tongue 2020 Neen Go Bead!)

I am happy that I can say bye to 2020!

Or, if you want to say,

“Say bye to Auntie.”

同Auntie 講拜拜啦! (Dummy PY: Tongue Auntie Gong Bye Bye La!)


同Auntie 告別啦! (Dummy PY: Tongue Auntie Go Bead La!)

So because usually for the new year 新一年 (Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen), we like to set new goals and targets. Goals or targets in Cantonese is 目標(Dummy PY: Muk Bill). 目 (Dummy PY: Muk) means eyes, 標(Dummy PY: Muk Bill) has many meanings, but here it means a marking, a mark, or a sign. So that means literally 目標(Dummy PY: Muk Bill) means eyes on the mark, so basically saying targets or goals. To say set a goal, you will say 定下目標(Dummy PY: Ding Ha Muk Bill) or 定立目標 (Dummy PY: Ding Lap Muk Bill). How do you use it in a sentence?

For example,

新一年,你有冇定下目標呢?(Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen, Neigh Yau Mow Ding Ha Muk Bill Ne?)


新一年,你有冇定立目標呢?(Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen, Neigh Yau Mow Ding Lap Muk Bill Ne?)

In the new year, have you set a goal?

Before I give you another example of 目標(Dummy PY: Muk Bill), I will introduce another vocab to you, which is 放棄(Dummy PY: Fong Hey) meaning to give up. 放 (Dummy PY: Fong) means to release or to let go, 棄(Dummy PY: Hey) means to abandon. 放棄(Dummy PY: Fong Hey) is a verb only. So another example would be,

你放棄你嘅目標啦? (Dummy PY: Neigh Fong Hey Neigh Ge Muk Bill La?)

You are giving up on your goal?

Don’t give up!

唔好放棄! (Dummy PY: Um Ho Fong Hey!)

Now the opposite of giving up 放棄(Dummy PY: Fong Hey) is 堅持(Dummy PY: Geen Chi) meaning to persist, to insist, or persistence. 堅 (Dummy PY: Geen) means solid or hard in texture, 持 (Dummy PY: Chi) so together it literally means a firm hold or grip. But it actually means persistence or perseverance kind of meaning.

An example would be,

Don’t give up! You have to persist!

唔好放棄! 你要堅持落去! (Dummy PY: Um Ho Fong Hey! Neigh Yiu Geen Chi Lock Heui)

Or a daily life example,

佢好堅持話自己啱! (Dummy PY: Keui Ho Geen Chi Wah Ji Gay Arm)

He/she is very insistent on saying that he is right!

To say that you are determined, determination in Cantonese is 決心 (Dummy PY: Kut Sum). 決心 (Dummy PY: Kut Sum) is a noun (Dummy PY: Kut Sum), it means determination. 決 (DummyPY: Kut) means to decide, and 心(Dummy PY: Sum) means heart, so literally it means the heart to decide. On the other hand, if you want to say the word decide or decision, in Cantonese it is 決定(Dummy PY: Kut Ding).

For example:

佢好有決心想學好廣東話。(Dummy PY: Keui Ho Yau Kut Sum Seung Hawk Ho Gwong Dong Wah.)

He/ she is determined/ he has the determination to learn Cantonese well.

Or for the word decide 決定,

佢決定學好廣東話。(Dummy PY: Keui Kut Ding Hawk Ho Gwong Dong Wah.)

He/ she decides to learn Cantonese well.

Next, I want to talk about how to say successful or success. Success in Cantonese is 成功 (Dummy PY: Sing Gong). 成 (Dummy PY: Sing) has many meanings and here it can be understood as to complete or finish. 功 (Dummy PY: Gong) can mean effort, result, achievements, etc. So together it literally means completing the achievement, meaning success or successful or even as a verb to succeed.

For example,

想成功? 一定要努力! (Dummy PY: Seung Sing Gong? Yat Ding You No Lick!)

Want to succeed? Have to work hard!

成功嘅人係要不斷堅持! (Dummy PY: Sing Gong Ge Yan Hi You Butt Deun Geen Chee!)

Successful people have to non-stop persist!

On the other hand, if you want to say to fail, a failure, in Cantonese it is 失敗 (Dummy PY: Sutt Bye). 失 (Dummy PY: Sutt) means to lose, and 敗 (Dummy PY: Bye) by itself, also means to fail. So 失敗 (Dummy PY: Sutt Bye) very clearly means fail.

For example,

You are not failing. You just have not yet succeeded.

你唔係失敗. 只係未成功! (Dummy PY: Neigh Um Hi Sutt Bye. Ji Hi May Sing Gong!)

Another example,

If you are not willing to work hard, you will for sure fail.

如果你唔肯努力, 你一定會失敗。 (Dummy PY: Yu Guo Neigh Um Hung No Lick, Neigh Yat Ding Wui Sutt Bye)

Next, I want to teach you 2 4-character idioms about trying your best and giving up halfway. The first one is 全力以赴 (Dummy PY: Cheun Lick Yee Foo) meaning try your very best. The literal meaning, 全力 means all the strength, 全 means all, 力 means strength, 以赴 (Dummy PY: Yee Foo) means to go. So literally it means all your strength to go, meaning go with all your strength, basically saying try your very best. You can use this 4-character idiom as a verb phrase in your sentences. How to use it?

For example,

全力以赴,做到最好。(Dummy PY: Cheun Lick Yee Foo, Jo Doe Jeui Ho)

Try your best, do the best.

我考試全力以赴, 所以我攞好高分! (Dummy PY: Ngo How See Cheun Lick Yee Foo, Saw Yee Ngo Law Ho Go Fun!)

I tried my best at the exam, so I got a high mark!

That one was easy. The next one is 半途而廢 (Dummy PY: Boon Toll Yee Fye) meaning giving up halfway. 半途 (Dummy PY: Boon Toll) means halfway. 半 (Dummy PY: Boon) means half, 途 (Dummy PY: Toll) means journey. Literally means half of the journey. 而 (Dummy PY: Yee) means and, 廢 (Dummy PY: Fye) means to stop or it can also mean waste in other contexts but here means to stop. So literally it means halfway through the journey and stop. Meaning stopping midway or giving up midway. Again, 半途而廢 (Dummy PY: Boon Toll Yee Fye) you can also use as a verb phrase.

For example,

如果你半途而廢, 你一定會失敗。 (Dummy PY: Yu Guo Neigh Boon Toll Yee Fye, Neigh Yat Ding Wui Sutt Bye)

If you give up halfway through, you will for sure fail.

我哋一定要堅持, 唔可以半途而廢。(Dummy PY: Ngo Day Yat Ding You Geen Chee, Um Ho Yee Boon Toll Yee Fye)

We have to persist, cannot give up halfway.

Now since we had so much serious talk, let me share some slang terms with you that are also related to the topic. To clarify, I believe these are Hong Kong slang terms, not quite sure if you were to say it to other non-Hong Kong Cantonese speakers if they can really understand you. Just a word of caution. The first one is the term “Chur”. Chur has no written Chinese symbol. We spell it as Chur, it means intense, but more so only applies to when you are trying intensely. There is a non-super slang version, you can instead say 博 (Dummy PY: Bok), also to mean intense. 博 (Dummy PY: Bok) is referring to 博到盡 (Dummy PY: Bok Doe Jeun), basically means trying intensely to the max and the end. Chur and 博 (Dummy PY: Bok)can be used as an adjective or adverb. When might you hear it?

For example,

佢哋又唔係比賽, 駛唔駛咁chur 呀? (Dummy PY: Keui Day Yau Um Hi Bay Choy, Sigh Um Sigh Gum Chur Ah?)

佢哋又唔係比賽, 駛唔駛咁博呀? (Dummy PY: Keui Day Yau Um Hi Bay Choy, Sigh Um Sigh Gum Bok Ah?)

They are not competing, do they need to try so intensely?

我好攰呀! 返工好chur 呀! (Dummy PY: Ngo Ho Goo-e Ah! Farn Gong Ho Chur Ah!)

我好攰呀! 返工好博呀! (Dummy PY: Ngo Ho Goo-e Ah! Farn Gong Ho Bok Ah!)

I am so tired! Work is so intense!

The next slang term is 頹(Dummy PY: Tui). 頹 (Dummy PY: Tui) is short for 頹廢(Dummy PY: Tui Fye), meaning feeling really down and defeated, just not able to find the strength in yourself to carry on and sort of just let the situation be and not really proactively trying to handle the situation kind of meaning. 頹(Dummy PY: Tui) is also an adjective, you can use 頹(Dummy PY: Tui) to describe people, meaning they have lost motivation or power. If you use 頹 (Dummy PY: Tui)to describe items or objects or an experience, 頹(Dummy PY: Tui) sort of means the object or the experience is weak, whoever created the object or the experience didn’t try hard enough kind of meaning.

For example,

嘩! 無見你一個月, 做咩咁頹呀? (Dummy PY: Wah! Mo Geen Neigh Yat Gor Yut, Jo Meh Gum Tui Ah?)

Wow! I haven’t seen you for a month, why are you so defeated looking?

好頹呀! 我又輸咗啦! (Dummy PY: Ho Tui Ah! Ngo Yau Shu Jor La!)

Very defeated! I lost again!

Lastly, another slang term quite similar to 頹 (Dummy PY: Tui) is hea. Hea also is not a Chinese character, we spell it as Hea. when Hea is used as a verb, it means like to chill. When Hea is used as an adjective, it means when someone is not trying hard, not really caring, there is no heart kind of meaning but also it can mean chill as well.

For example,

新一年, 你唔好Hea 過呀! (Dummy PY: Sun Yat Neen, Neigh Um Ho Hea Guo Ah!)

The new year, you do not not try and waste it away!

你返工咁hea, 你就好啦! (Dummy PY: Neigh Farn Gong Gum Hea, Neigh Gow Ho La!)

Your work is so chill, so good for you!

你唔好hea 學廣東話啦! 一世都學唔識啦! (Dummy PY: Neigh Um Ho Hea Hawk Gwong Dong Wah La! Yat Sigh Doe Hawk Um Sick La!)

You should not not put your heart into your Cantonese learning! Won’t learn it in a lifetime that way!