As a follow-up to my Language Log post on Li Yang's fēngkuáng liánxiǎng 疯狂联想 ("crazy association"), Chris Fraser sent me three images of an old Cantonese book that purports to teach English by means of what it calls "Táng zì zhù yīn" 唐字註音 ("phonetic annotation with Tang [i.e., Chinese] characters").
A few examples are transcribed and translated below.
Given the ca. 1902 date of the book, It's interesting how many of the Chinese translations are in Cantonese, not Mandarin (Guānhuà 官話 [lit., "officials' talk"]). The third one below is a good example. Clearly the book was aimed at the Hong Kong / Guangzhou regional audience.
p. 22, line 1:
"Don't bother me."
勿攪我 ("Don't disturb me.")
dung1 dei6 po3 daa1 mei5
p. 22, line 2:
莫出聲 ("Don't emit a sound.")
bei1 si6 dei6 lou6
p. 22, line 8:
"Don't mind what he says."
吾[=唔]好理佢話 ("Don't attend to his speech.")
dung1 dei6 maai5 jin4 wat1 hei1 se1 si6
p. 23, line 3:
"What is that to you?"
關你乜事 ("What business is it of yours?")
wat1 ji1 si6 taat3 dou1 jiu1
p. 23, line 10:
"I have not seen you for a long time."
好久未見你 ("For a long time I haven't seen you.")
aai1 haa1 fu1 leot6 sin1 jiu1 fo1 ai3 long4 taai3
The last one is a good early example of Cantonese "n" and "l" merger, as the writer must have pronounced 律 "leot6" as "neot."
[Thanks to Chris Fraser for calling this book to my attention and for help with the transcriptions]