Holding a phone conversation is essentially the same as discussion in person, with the addition of the need to be put in touch with the person you are calling. This lesson focuses on the skills required to reach the person you are trying to call and skills for dealing with inbound calls.
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Answering the Phone & Asking Business
-bin- go 邊個 and -bin- /wai/ 邊位 can both be translated as "who" or "whom". Literally, however, they mean "which one" and "which seat" respectively. -bin- /wai/ is a more polite term of address, although -bin- go is not at all impolite. More details will be given in a grammar lesson on measure words.
Asking to Speak With Someone
Response Case 1: The person is not at home
/Keuih/ -cheut- /jo/ heui refers to the act of physically leaving while /Keuih/ -cheut- /jo/ \gaai\ refers to "going out" to run errands, enjoy oneself, etc. If a person just "stepped out" you would use /keuih/ -cheut- /jo/ heui while if you say /keuih/ -cheut- /jo/ \gaai\ it implies that the person will not be back for some time.
Response Case 2: The person is home
Hong Kong culture differs from Western culture when it comes to telephone protocol. Telephone contact is often very brief and to the point, even when those speaking are well acquainted. It is not uncommon for those non-acquainted to probe into the business of a caller. It is also common practice for a caller to ignore such an inquiry or give a perfunctory answer.
Response Case 3: Have reached the person speaking
Naturally, the response will be different if the speaker recognizes the caller.
Response Case 4: Wrong number/Doesn't live here
When you dial a wrong number, the person answering the phone frequently simply says "wrong number" and hangs up without a pause. If calling someone you are not familiar with or whose family is not familiar with you, the person may very likely hang up prematurely.
/Keuih/ \mh\ /hai/ -ni- dou jyuh can mean either that the person does not know the person you are calling for or that this person has moved out. /Mouh/ -ni- go \yahn\ clearly means that the person is unknown to the respondent.
Inquire/Leaving a Message
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