WARNING! 小心! Some of the articles on this site contain words which may cause offence.

Because of the tones in Cantonese, and the close soundings of a lot of words (which sometimes make it quite easy to accidently swear when learning), there are jokes and slang phrases which take advantage of this. I’ve heard jokes in the past which play on words but unfortunately they are beyond my ability.

I’ve translated these from this source as an example, and a lot seem to be insults. They’re quite easy to understand. I’ll probably not use them, but it shows how easy it is for simple mistakes in a spoken sentence to make the whole theme of the conversation change, or make it incomprehensible. Some of the profanity characters have been substituted by the original author, so check the pronounciation if there is a random word in the middle of a sentence.

釣蟹/釣喇嘛花蟹←→ 屌西/屌那媽化屄

diu3 haai5/diu3 laa1 maa4 faa1 haai5←→ diu2 hai1 /diu2 naa5 maa1 faa3 bei1
“crab fishing” / “blue crab fishing monk” ←→ fuck cunt / fuck your mothers cunt

調理農務臭化系←→ 屌你老母臭花屄

tiu4 lei5 nung4 mou6 cau3 faa3 hai6←→ diu2 nei5 lou5 mou5 cau3 faa1 bei1
“agricultural duties are stinking / disgusting” ←→ fuck your mothers stinking cunt

鹹蝦燦←→ 冚家剷

haam4 haa1 caan3←→ ham6 gaa1 caan2
“bright shrimp paste” ←→ death to your family (a curse)

岸舟舟/硬膠膠←→ 戇鳩鳩

ngon6 zau1 zau1 / ngaang6 gaau1 gaau1 ←→ ngong6 gau1 gau1
“shore boat / hard platsic” ←→ idiot (fucking stupid / stupid prick)

凍檸水←→ 凍撚死

dung3 ning4 seoi2←→ dung3 lan2 sei2
“iced lemon water” ←→ cold fucking dead

大檸樂←→ 大撚鑊

daai6 ning4 lok6←→ daai6 lan2 wok6
“large lemon cake” ←→ fucking big trouble

多舊魚←→ 多鳩餘

do1 gau6 jyu4←→ do1 gau1 jyu4
“many old fish” ←→ fucking useless

小喇叭←→ 屌那媽

siu2 laa3 baa1←→ diu2 naa5 maa1
“little horn” ←→ fuck your mother

核彈頭←→ 柒撚頭

hat6 daan6 tau4←→ cat1 lan2 tau4
“nuclear warhead” ←→ dick head

錶你有冇←→ 屌你老母

biu1 nei5 jau5 mou5←→ diu2 nei5 lou5 mou5
“do you have a watch?” ←→ fuck your mother

我燒你數簿←→ 我屌你老母

ngo5 siu1 nei5 sou3 bou6←→ ngo5 diu2 nei5 lou5 mou5
“I burn your notebook” ←→ I fuck your mother

調位好冇?←→ 屌你老母

tiu4 wai6 hou2 mou5 ?←→ diu2 nei5 lou5 mou5
“is it good to mix position?” ←→ fuck your mother

做乜捻野←→ 做乜撚野

zou6 mat1 nan2 je5←→ zou6 mat1 lan2 je5
“you play what?” ←→ what the fuck are you doing?