Ben in Hong Kong©

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


When Cantonese people answer a phone they often do so whilst saying the following word: "Whyye"

"Whyye," basically means 'Hello', and you hear it used so often it becomes pretty normal when your friends call, to answer the phone that way yourself.

My office has a new phone system and so I have a new number for my desk. It seems that this number used to belong to a previous Chinese only speaking person. This is because I have started to recieve repeated calls from a Chinese speaking woman. After the 3rd phone in a day the conversation went like this with my mystery caller x.

Me: Good afternoon (Company name), this is Ben speaking.
Caller x: Whyye
Me: Hello?
Caller x: Whyye
Me: I'm very sorry but i'm afraid I don't speak Cantonese, do you speak English?
Caller x: Whyye
Me: I'm sorry, do you speak English at all?
Caller x: Whyye
Me: Sorry, I don't speak Cantonese
Caller x: Whyye
Me: Oh I don't know why, my parents are English for starters
Caller x: Whyye
Me: And Cantonese was never an option to study at school

Caller x Hangs up

Next time i'm going to grab a Chinese friend to translate for me.


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