08 June 2010

[HK 7} : Faux pas

I realized, only after my mom corrected me, that when I thought I was saying :

不 好 意 思
(pronounced "mm hou yi si" in Canto or "bu hao yi se" in Mandarin)
which is a polite way to say "excuse me" or "sorry," I was actually saying :
(pronounced "mouh yi si" or "mei you yi se")
... which means "meaningless" or more directly, "has no meaning."
Whoops... maybe another reason why people give me funny looks.


  1. haha :) i always learned bu hao yisi as "how embarrassing," which i guess is a formal way of saying "i'm sorry"

  2. Ah, well it does as a direct translation. I think it's supposed to be a more heart-felt way of expressing an apology or discomfort in disturbing someone, by deflecting the blame upon yourself. (Very Chinese...)