Cantonese vocabulary: Vehicles and modes of transportation

Why have I not made this list earlier??

BIL’s fiancée was over one evening and E wanted his bedtime reading from a Search & Find book and I was flexing my vocabulary muscles trying to find new things to point out and teach him new words even if there is no story to those images. I found myself with no words for fairly basic objects like saddle, tractor and wheelbarrow in a farm scene.

I could describe what a saddle, tractor and wheelbarrow are for but it grated on me that I couldn’t give him a word yet I knew there was an English word he would love and that would enrich his life. Instead, I was using the same old words to describe a concept (which isn’t that bad either). I was feeling truly remiss that I’m not increasing my vocabulary in response to his curiosity.

As I’ve noted in my bilingualism updates, there are words that E knows he was introduced to in Chinese first and doesn’t come across quite as often and so it seems the Chinese word becomes established. I’m quite proud of those words. For vehicles, he has so many English words but it’s not too late for him to learn there’s another word, a “private word” for me and him, that I can switch to.

NameCharactersPronunciationNotes
EMERGENCY VEHICLES
Police car警察車ging2 caat3 ce1
Ambulance救護車gau3 wu6 ce1
救傷車gau3 soeng1 ce1
Fire engine火燭車fo2 zuk1 ce1
消防車siu1 fong4 ce1
PERSONAL VEHICLES
Carce1
* Convertible開篷車hoi1 pung4 ce1
Bicycle單車daan1 ce1
Tricyle三輪車saam1 leon4 ce1
Tandem bicycle串聯單車cyun3 lyun4*2 daan1 ce1聯 is the same character in Soviet Union
Skateboard滑板waat6 baan2"slide board"
Scooter綿羊仔min4 joeng4*2 zai2e.g., Vespa
Motorcycle電單車din6 daan1 ce1
Van轀仔wan1 zai2E says "vay-en" whic his cute
COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Bus巴士baa1 si6*2sounds like English!
* School bus校巴haau6 baa1
Taxi的士dik1 si6*2sounds like English!
Train火車fo2 ce1
* Subway地鐵dei6 tit3
Freight truck貨車fo3 ce1
Limo小轎車siu2 giu6*2 ce1
Garbage truck垃圾車laap6 saap3 ce1
Tow truck拖車to1 ce1
Snow plough剷雪車caan2 syut3 ce1
Zamboni鋪冰機pou1 bing1 gei1"lay ice machine"
Submarine潛水艇cim4 seoi2 teng5
CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES
Cement mixer水泥攪拌車seoi2 nai4 gaau2 bun6 ce1"water dirt mixing car"
田螺車tin4 lo4*2 ce1"snail car"
Bulldozer推土機teoi1 tou2 gei1"push dirt machine"
鏟泥車caan2 nai4 ce1"shovel dirt car"
Crane吊機diu3 gei1"hanging machine"
Excavator挖掘機waat3 gwat6 gei1"scratch dig machine"
Dump truck泥頭車nai4 tau4 ce1"dirt head car"
Forklift叉車caa1 ce1"fork car"
FARM VEHICLES
Tractor拖拉機to1 laai1 gei1"drag pull machine"
Wheelbarrow手(推)車sau2 (teoi1) ce1
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