Auld Lang Syne in Cantonese

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[from a long-time Language Log reader]

One of the well known Cantonese versions of Auld Lang Syne: 友誼萬歲 jau5 ji4 maan6 seoi3 “Long Live Friendship” from Hong Kong:

朋友 再見聲聲 往昔歡笑 來日記取
pang4 jau5  zoi3 gin3 seng1 seng1  wong5 sik1 fun1 siu3  loi4 jat6 gei3 ceoi2
Farewell friends, happy memories of the past, 
Retrieving in the future.

憶記舊日情誼 痛哭歡笑 在校園裡
jik1 gei3 gau6 jat6 cing4 ji4  tung3 huk1 fun1 siu3 zoi6 haau6 jyun4 leoi5
Recalling past sentimental bonds, crying and laughing at school.

一切別恨離愁 埋藏心裡 日後再追
jat1 cai3 bit6 han6 lei4 sau4  maai4 cong4 sam1 leoi5  jat6 hau6 zoi3 zeoi1
All feelings of departing and leaving,
Storing in our hearts,
looking back later,

一切歡呼歎息 印於心裡 默默懷記
jat1 cai3 fun1 fu1 taan3 sik1  jan3 jyu1 sam1 leoi5  mak6 mak6 waai4 gei3
All cheering and sighing,
Imprinted in our hearts,
Remembering speechlessly.

離去 倍覺依依 這一生裡 仍念我師
lei4 heoi3  pui5 gok3 ji1 ji1  ze5 jat1 sang1 leoi5 jing4 nim6 ngo5 si1
Departing, so unwilling,
In this life, still missing my teacher,

此際話別臨岐 再隱隱記 舊日淘氣
ci2 zai3 waa6 bit6 lam4 kei4  zoi3 jan2 jan2 gei3  gau6 jat6 tou4 hei3
Saying goodbye now,
Recalling slightly,
The mischief of the past

小鳥今天遠飛 離巢他去 但願進取
siu2 niu5 gam1 tin1 jyun5 fei1  lei4 caau4 taa1 heoi3  daan6 jyun6 zeon3 ceoi2
Flying afar today,
These little birds,
leaving their nests,
May they be in progress

指引光輝遠景 有足跡處 儘是桃李
zi2 jan5 gwong1 fai1 jyun5 ging2  jau5 zuk1 zik1 cyu3  zeon2 si6 tou4 lei5
Pointing a bright future,
As there are footprints,
Flowers of peach and plum are there.

誠意送上祝福 盼好風會 常為你吹
sing4 ji3 sung3 soeng5 zuk1 fuk1  paan3 hou2 fung1 wui5  soeng4 wai6 nei5 ceoi1
Presenting best wishes sincerely,
Wishing good wind will breeze through for you frequently

此際伸手笑握 縱聲歌唱 在校園裡
ci2 zai3 san1 sau2 siu3 ak1  zung3 seng1 go1 coeng3  zoi6 haau6 jyun4 leoi5
Shaking hands happily now,
Singing freely at school

不理日後如何 前途趕上 步步進取
bat1 lei5 jat6 hau6 jyu4 ho4  cin4 tou4 gon2 soeng5  bou6 bou6 zeon3 ceoi2
Don't worry about the future,
Chasing ahead,
Making progress step by step 

今天雙手放開 再握之際 又在何處
gam1 tin1 soeng1 sau2 fong3 hoi1  zoi3 ak1 zi1 zai3  jau6 zoi6 ho4 cyu3
Where shall we shake our hands again,
After releasing our hands today?

A sample with music:

Auld Lang Syne-李麗蕊 Sara Lee

Written by:

鄭國江 zeng6 gwok3 gong1 (born 1941). He is a household name of lyrics written in Hong Kong for decades since 1970s. These lyrics are dated to 1985.

In Chinese, the genre of this kind of farewell song is known as 驪歌 lei4 go1.

VHM:  brings tears to my eyes.  After the imposition of the Nation Security Law, Hong Kong is no more.

Selected readings


  1. Peter B. Golden said,

    January 4, 2024 @ 10:12 am

    @VHM – brings tears to my eyes too. Linguistic genocide, which is the purpose of the Nation Security Law is destroying one of the most interesting cities in the world and its unique culture. My wife, Shanghai-born, lived in Hong Kong 1949-1958, has Hong Kong Cantonese as her second tongue. Younger siblings more often speak Cantonese than Shanghainese. Nephews and nieces in Hong Kong are, of course, Cantonese-speaking as their main language. Family conversations shift back and forth between Shanghainese, Cantonese and Mandarin (esp. for those who went to Taiwan). I played the YouTube version for my wife and it brought tears to her eyes as well. Thank you, Victor, for this post on LL.

  2. Jonathan Smith said,

    January 5, 2024 @ 9:54 am

    … well guess what song was played at the handover ceremony 7/1997
    but note "slow march into a new order" not "*world order"

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