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Archive for the 'Tips & Techniques' Category

How Long Does it Take to Learn Cantonese?

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Some of you might have heard about how difficult it is to learn Cantonese. After all, Cantonese is a tonal language with its own writing system based on thousands of Chinese characters

Do you fancy to learn Cantonese but want to get a rough idea of how long it’s gonna take? Or maybe you’ve already passed the beginner stage and would like to see how your progress compares to that of your peers?

A Timer

Today at CantoneseClass101, we’ll answer the question: How long does it take to learn Cantonese? 

Our answers will be based on the three levels of Cantonese proficiency: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This will give you a rough idea of what to expect throughout your Cantonese learning journey and serve as a benchmark. 

Let’s get to it!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. The Many Factors Involved
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve a Beginner Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Advanced Level?
  5. Tools to Facilitate Your Language Learning Journey
  6. Why is CantoneseClass101 Great for Learning Cantonese?

1. The Many Factors Involved

Before we talk about how long it will take to reach each level, there are a few key factors we need to consider. They’ll impact how fast you can learn Cantonese, so keep them in mind when coming up with your own estimate!

Cantonese vs. the languages you know

Cantonese is quite different from most languages. For one, it’s a tonal language that relies on pitches to distinguish between words. It also uses a completely different writing system than English does. Cantonese uses characters that are composed of parts that depict physical objects or abstract ideas—there are thousands of characters and each one carries a sound and a meaning. 

If you know Mandarin, which is also a tonal language that uses characters, chances are that you’ll pick Cantonese up much faster!

Your motivation

How much time and effort you’re willing to spend makes a huge difference. Are you learning Cantonese because of your partner? Or are you a big fan of Cantonese movies? Having a goal or a strong reason will help you strive for success and overcome any hurdles along the way!

Your language learning resumé & age

A Resume

It’s not easy to learn a new language, but having previous experience will speed up your progress. This is because you’ll already know how and where to start! Also, the more languages you’re exposed to, the easier it gets to decipher their logic and understand the inner workings of their grammar and structures.

Of course, age matters too. It’s easier to memorize new words and rules while you’re young. Studies have found that language-learning ability declines at age 18. The sooner you learn a language, the better!

Are you planning to learn the Chinese characters too?

Chinese characters are logograms. Each Chinese character is unique with its own pronunciation, and you’ll need to memorize 2000-3000 of them to read a newspaper. It does take a bit of time to recognize how the characters look and how to write them. 

If you only want to learn how to speak Cantonese, you might want to consider studying only the romanization (i.e. the jyutping system) and bypass the learning of Chinese characters. This will speed up the learning curve a lot.

2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve a Beginner Level?

A Baby with Some Books

Beginner-Level Skills

  • CEFR Equivalent: A1-A2

Speaking & Listening

You should be able to conduct basic and simple conversations (self-introductions, asking for directions, ordering food) and know some survival Cantonese.

Reading & Writing

At this level, you will only need to know some jyutping.

Duration

So how long will it take to learn Cantonese if you only want to achieve this level? Assuming you spend at least an hour per day studying…

  • Average: 2-3 months 
  • If you know Mandarin: 2 months or even less

Tips

The most important thing for Cantonese beginners is to accumulate vocabulary. So, make good use of flashcards! You can use them to remember words, simple phrases, and anything else you want. A simple search for “flashcards” on your phone’s app store should give you plenty of options.

Another tip is to learn the romanization system. Literacy in Cantonese requires the memorization of thousands of components and characters, which can be daunting for new Cantonese learners. To start learning the sounds of Cantonese without the baggage of characters, Cantonese jyutping (also referred to as Cantonese romanization) is the perfect place to start. This is essentially a way to help translate Cantonese pronunciation into English pronunciation. 

With the romanization system, you’ll be able to learn the correct pronunciation of a word easily. No guessing and no Chinese characters needed!

3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Intermediate Level?

Middle School Students

Intermediate-Level Skills

  • CEFR Equivalent: B1

Speaking & Listening

At the intermediate level, you should be able to…

  • …articulate more complex thoughts.
  • …use different sentence patterns to some degree.
  • …handle short conversations or discussions with locals.
  • …pronounce words more accurately (not mixing up the 9 tones!).

Reading & Writing

Your reading and writing skills will still be quite limited, though you’ll be more familiar with how jyutping works. 

Duration

Assuming you spend at least an hour per day studying, here’s how long it might take you to reach intermediate-level Cantonese. 

  • Average: 6 months 
  • If you know Mandarin: 3-4 months

Tips

The crucial element required to reach an intermediate level is “practice.” 

By now, you should have accumulated some additional vocabulary, phrases, and even sentence patterns. You’ll need to practice speaking more so that you can put all of that knowledge to good use! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, and start chatting with local friends! If you don’t have Cantonese-speaking friends, you could try finding study partners online or an online coach. Through making mistakes, you’ll figure out where and what you should improve.

4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve an Advanced Level?

A Group of Adults in Discussion

Advanced-Level Skills

  • CEFR Equivalent: C1

Speaking & Listening

Upon reaching an advanced level of Cantonese, you should be able to…

  • …converse with locals with ease.
  • …give fluent speeches.

Reading & Writing

Being an advanced Cantonese student means that you can recognize roughly 2000-3000 Chinese characters in addition to the jyutping. This will allow you to read newspapers and other short, simple texts. 

Duration

So how long would it take to learn Cantonese to this level of fluency? Assuming you spend at least an hour per day studying…

  • Average: 1-3 years**
  • If you know Mandarin: 6-12 months

** Learning the language takes 1-2 years on average for those who ignore the Chinese characters and focus solely on speaking. If you decide to pick up the Chinese characters as well and want to read a newspaper, the average time needed is 3 years.

Tips

Deep immersion (like living in a Cantonese-speaking region) is the ideal path for reaching the advanced level. Through daily usage and conversation, you’ll learn the various ways to articulate ideas in Cantonese—not just through textbook examples, but also through local slang terms and idioms. Make local friends, speak the local language, and experience life locally!

If staying in a Cantonese-speaking city is not an option, why not watch Cantonese movies and TV shows? This would be a fun way to learn the language, plus it can teach you more about the local culture!

5. Tools to Facilitate Your Language Learning Journey

Wondering how to learn Cantonese faster? While effort and time count, there are also some tools you can use to smoothen your path and speed up your progress! 

Online lessons

When it comes to learning a language anywhere and anytime, online classes are your bread and butter. They’re usually fit for any level and are much more affordable than schools or private lessons.

For example, you can watch and listen to over a thousand videos and audio lessons from CantoneseClass101 through our mobile app, desktop software, or website.

CantoneseClass101.com

Private schools and teachers 

Private schools and teachers are usually the most effective resources, as they can tailor the course just for you—but they’re also the most expensive. We would suggest carefully reading feedback and reviews from students before committing to anything. Stay away from courses with too many students per teacher and beware of scams!

Immersion

Immigration Entry Card

Immersion is truly the best way to learn a language, whether it’s deep immersion like living/working/studying in the local country or soft immersion like watching Netflix/TV/movies in your target language. Immersion is helpful because it’s much more authentic and you can observe how the language is being used in different scenarios—the underlying rules of the language. Over time, you’ll also know much more about the language and culture. If you’re engaging in deep immersion, you can make local friends too!

Why is CantoneseClass101 Great for Learning Cantonese?

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community where you can discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher service with a Premium PLUS account! 

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you feel ready to start learning Cantonese after reading this article. And if you already know some Cantonese, please share with fellow learners how long it took you to get where you are. We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Your Guide to Basic Cantonese for Business

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The world of work can be wildly different from one country to another, and when traveling somewhere—either permanently or as a visitor—you’ll have to quickly leave a good impression to make the best of your new business environment. Mastering the local language certainly helps. 

This is just as true for visitors to Hong Kong as it is for visitors to any other country. Even though English is one of the official languages, many local businesses and companies prefer candidates who can speak Cantonese. Knowing even basic Cantonese for business will definitely help you maintain good relationships with your colleagues and business partners!

Can’t wait to put some Cantonese business phrases in your pocket? Keep reading and let CantoneseClass101.com give you a hand! Here, you’ll find the phrases you need with examples to help you navigate Hong Kong’s business world.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Nailing a Job Interview
  2. Interacting with Coworkers
  3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting
  4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails
  5. Going on a Business Trip
  6. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Nailing a Job Interview

Job Interview

Fancy getting a job in Hong Kong? Learn the Cantonese business phrases below to nail your job interview, and don’t miss our article on How to Find a Job in Hong Kong!

Talking about your university

Chinese Character: 我喺_____畢業。
Romanization: ngo5 hai2 __________ bat1 jip6
Meaning: “I graduated from __________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我喺中⽂⼤學畢業。
  • Romanization: ngo5 hai2 zung1 man4 daai6 hok6 bat1 jip6
  • Meaning: “I graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong.”

Talking about your major

Chinese Character: 我主修_____。
Romanization: ngo5 zyu2 sau1 __________
Meaning: “I majored in __________.”

Example  

  • Chinese Character: 我主修數學。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zyu2 sau1 sou3 hok6
  • Meaning: “I majored in mathematics.”

Talking about your current job

Chinese Character: 直⾄現時為⽌,我係_____嘅_____。
Romanization: zik6 zi3 jin6 si4 wai4 zi2, ngo5 hai6 ______ ge3 ______
Meaning: “Until now, I have been working as ______ at ______.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 直⾄現時為⽌,我係ABC公司嘅會計。
  • Romanization: zik6 zi3 jin6 si4 wai4 zi2, ngo5 hai6 ABC gung1 si1 ge3 wui6 gai3
  • Meaning: “Until now, I have been working as an accountant at ABC Company.”

Talking about your work experience

Chinese Character: 我仲做過_____。
Romanization: ngo5 zung6 zou6 gwo3 _________
Meaning: “I also have experience as a(n)__________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我仲做過項目經理。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zung6 zou6 gwo3 hong6 muk6 ging1 lei5
  • Meaning: “I also have experience as a project manager.”

Talking about your desire to make the move

Chinese Character: 因為我想_____。
Romanization: jan1 wai6 ngo5 soeng2_____
Meaning: “Because I want to_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 因為我想增值⾃己。
  • Romanization: jan1 wai6 ngo5 soeng2 zang1 zik6 zi6 gei2
  • Meaning: “Because I want to progress (myself).”

Talking about why you want to work for the company

Chinese Character: 我鍾意_____,同埋想嘗試其他嘢。
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3_____, tung4 maai4 soeng2 soeng4 si3 kei4 taa1 je5.
Meaning: “I like_____, and I wanted to try something else.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我鍾意接受挑戰,同埋想嘗試其他嘢。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 zip3 sau6 tiu1 zin3, tung4 maai4 soeng2 soeng4 si3 kei4 taa1 je5
  • Meaning: “I like challenges, and I wanted to try something else.”

2. Interacting with Coworkers

A Group of People Chatting

Want to connect with your coworkers or business partners in Hong Kong? In this section, we’ll cover some Cantonese business language for communicating with your coworkers, both in the workplace and out! 

Starting a conversation when you haven’t talked in a while

Chinese Character: 近排點呀?
Romanization: gan6 paai4 dim2 aa3
Meaning: “How’s it going recently?”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 早晨呀,Tim, 近排點呀? 
  • Romanization: zou2 san4 aa3, Tim, gan6 paai4 dim2 aa3
  • Meaning: “Good morning Tim, how’s it going recently?”

Inquiring about that person’s team at work

Chinese Character: 你條Team最近忙咩呀?
Romanization: nei5 tiu4 Team zeoi3 gan6 mong4 me1 aa3
Meaning: “What is your team busy with recently?”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 好耐冇見,你條Team最近忙咩呀?
  • Romanization: hou2 noi6 mou5 gin3, nei5 tiu4 Team zeoi3 gan6 mong4 me1 aa3
  • Meaning: “It’s been a while since we last met. What is your team busy with recently?”

Telling them where you’re headed

Chinese Character: 我要去_____。
Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 heoi3  ______
Meaning: “I am going to  ______.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我要去會議室。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 heoi3 wui6 ji5 sat1
  • Meaning: “I am going to the meeting room.”

Telling them what you like

Chinese Character: 我鍾意_____。
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 _________
Meaning: “I like__________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我鍾意藍色。
  • Romanization: ngo5 zung1 ji3 laam4 sik1
  • Meaning: “I like the color blue.”

Telling them what you don’t like

Chinese Character: 我唔鍾意_____。
Romanization: ngo5 m4 zung1 ji3_____
Meaning: “I don’t like_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我唔鍾意呢個project。
  • Romanization: ngo5 m4 zung1 ji3 ni1 go3 project
  • Meaning: “I don’t like this project.”

Letting your coworker know that you’re leaving

Chinese Character: 我走先喇。
Romanization: ngo5 zau2 sin1 laa3
Meaning: “I have to go now.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我走先喇,聽日見!
  • Romanization: ngo5 zau2 sin1 laa3, ting1 jat6 gin3
  • Meaning: “I have to go now, see you tomorrow!”
Business Phrases

3. Sounding Smart in a Meeting

Share your ideas and opinions with team members by using some practical Cantonese for business meetings!

Giving suggestions

Chinese Character: 你應該_____。
Romanization: nei5 jing1 goi1_____
Meaning: “You should_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 你應該接受挑戰。
  • Romanization: nei5 jing1 goi1 zip3 sau6 tiu1 zin3
  • Meaning: “You should accept the challenge.”

Commenting on a suggestion

Chinese Character: 你嘅建議_____。
Romanization: nei5 ge3 gin3 ji5_____
Meaning: “Your suggestion_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 你嘅建議不獲採納。
  • Romanization: nei5 ge3 gin3 ji5 bat1 wok6 coi2 naap6
  • Meaning: “Your suggestion was not accepted.”

Expressing your opinion

Chinese Character: 我認為_____。
Romanization: ngo5 jing6 wai4  ______
Meaning: “I think  ______.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我認為我哋要擴展服務供應。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jing6 wai4 ngo5 dei6 jiu3 kong3 zin2 fuk6 mou6 gung1 jing3
  • Meaning: “I think that we should broaden our offer.”

Showing your agreement

Chinese Character: 我同意_____。
Romanization: ngo5 tung4 ji3 _________
Meaning: “I agree (with) __________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我同意你嘅⽅案,我哋應該喺尖沙咀開分店。
  • Romanization: ngo5 tung4 ji3 nei5 ge3 fong1 on3, ngo5 dei6 jing1 goi1 hai2 zim1 saa1 zeoi2 hoi1 fan1 dim3
  • Meaning: “I agree with your proposal that we should open a branch in Tsim Sha Tsui.”

Showing your disagreement

Chinese Character: 我嘅諗法唔同。
Romanization: ngo5 ge3 lam2 faat3 m4 tung4
Meaning: “I have a different opinion.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我嘅諗法唔同,我哋要有新嘢畀個市場。
  • Romanization: ngo5 ge3 lam2 faat3 m4 tung4, ngo5 dei6 jiu3 jau5 san1 je5 bei2 go3 si5 coeng4
  • Meaning: “I would not agree with you. We have to bring something new to the market.”

Providing feedback on a suggestion

Chinese Character: 聽起嚟_____。
Romanization: teng1 hei2 lei4 _________
Meaning: “Sounds like _________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 聽起嚟有啲複雜。
  • Romanization: teng1 hei2 lei4 jau5 di1 fuk1 zaap6
  • Meaning: “This sounds a little bit complicated.”

4. Handling Business Phone Calls and Emails

A Lady Having a Phone Call at Work

Now, let’s go over some useful phrases to help you do business in Cantonese over the phone or through email.

Picking up the phone

Chinese Character: 聽電話
Romanization: teng1 din6 waa2
Meaning: “to pick up the phone”

Example 

  • Chinese Character:  ⼀聽到電話響,⽴即聽電話。
  • Romanization: jat1 teng1 dou2 din6 waa2 hoeng2, laap6 zik1 teng1 din6 waa2
  • Meaning: “Once you hear the telephone ring, please pick up the phone immediately.”

Introducing yourself over the phone

Chinese Character: 喂,我係_____。
Romanization: wai2, ngo5 hai6 _________
Meaning: “Hello, this is__________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 喂,我係日新公司嘅李家明。
  • Romanization: wai2, ngo5 hai6 jat6 san1 gung1 si1 ge3 lei5 gaa1 ming4
  • Meaning: “Hello, this is Sun New company’s Li Ka Ming.”

Letting the other person know what you’d like to discuss

Chinese Character: 我想傾下_____。
Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 king1 haa5_____
Meaning: “I want to discuss_____.”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 我想傾吓啲細節。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 king1 haa5 dik1 sai3 zit3
  • Meaning: “I want to discuss the details.”

Asking if there’s anything else

Chinese Character: 仲有冇其他嘢?
Romanization: zung6 jau5 mou5 kei4 taa1 je5
Meaning: “Anything else?”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 仲有冇其他嘢我可以幫到你?
  • Romanization: zung6 jau5 mou5 kei4 taa1 je5 ngo5 ho2 ji5 bong1 dou2 nei5
  • Meaning: “Is there anything else I can do to help?”

Replying to an email

Chinese Character: 覆電郵
Romanization: fuk1 din6 jau4
Meaning: “to reply to an email”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我嘅主要工‎作係覆電郵。
  • Romanization: ngo5 ge3 zyu2 jiu3 gung1 zok3 hai6 fuk1 din6 jau4
  • Meaning: “My main task is to reply to emails.”

Greeting someone in an email

Chinese Character: _____你好:
Romanization: _____nei5 hou2
Meaning: “Hello _____,”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 陳先生你好:
  • Romanization: can4 sin1 saang1 nei5 hou2
  • Meaning: “Hello Mr. Chan,”

Thanking someone for his/her support

Chinese Character: 感謝你的支持。
Romanization: gam2 ze6 nei5 dik1 zi1 ci4
Meaning: “Thank you for your support.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我們非常感謝你的支持。
  • Romanization: ngo5 mun4 fei1 soeng4 gam2 ze6 nei5 dik1 zi1 ci4
  • Meaning: “We appreciate your support a lot.”

Asking for a meeting

Chinese Character: 我想約_____開會。
Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 joek3 _________ hoi1 wui2
Meaning: “I would like to set up a meeting for _________.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我想約星期⼀開會。
  • Romanization: ngo5 soeng2 joek3 sing1 kei4 jat1 hoi1 wui2
  • Meaning: “I would like to set up a meeting for Monday.”

5. Going on a Business Trip

Business Trip

If you’re traveling to Hong Kong for work, memorize these phrases to successfully navigate your business trip in Cantonese!

Checking in with a reservation

Chinese Character: 訂咗房。
Romanization: deng6 zo2 fong2
Meaning: “(I’ve) made a reservation.”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 我姓張,已經訂咗房。
  • Romanization: ngo5 sing3 zoeng1, ji5 ging1 deng6 zo2 fong2
  • Meaning: “I have a reservation under Cheung.”

Asking about room vacancy

Chinese Character: 今晚有冇房?
Romanization: gam1 maan1 jau5 mou5 fong2
Meaning: “Do you have a vacant room for tonight?”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 你好,今晚有冇房?
  • Romanization: nei5 hou2, gam1 maan1 jau5 mou5 fong2
  • Meaning: “Hello, do you have a vacant room for tonight?”

Asking for guidelines/permission

Chinese Character: 我可唔可以_____?
Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5_____
Meaning: “Can I_____?”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 我可唔可以用商務中心?
  • Romanization: ngo5 ho2 m4 ho2 ji5 jung6 soeng1 mou6 zung1 sam1
  • Meaning: “Can I use the business center?”

Checking out

Chinese Character: 退房
Romanization: teoi3 fong2
Meaning: “check out”

Example

  • Chinese Character: 唔該,我想退房。
  • Romanization: m4 goi1, ngo5 soeng2 teoi3 fong2
  • Meaning: “Excuse me, I would like to check out.”

Expressing your needs

Chinese Character: 我要_____。
Romanization: ngo5 jiu3_____
Meaning: “I need_____.”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 我要間非吸煙單⼈房。
  • Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 gaan1 fei1 kap1 jin1 daan1 jan4 fong2
  • Meaning: “I would like to have a non-smoking single room.”

Asking for directions

Chinese Character: _____ 喺邊度?
Romanization: _________ hai2 bin1 dou6
Meaning: “Where is _________?”

Example 

  • Chinese Character: 會議室喺邊度?
  • Romanization: wui6 ji5 sat1 hai2 bin1 dou6
  • Meaning: “Where is the meeting room?”

6. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Now that you’ve learned the basic business phrases, are you interested in picking up even more Cantonese? 

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any business phrases or situations we didn’t cover. We’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy learning, and good luck with your business endeavors!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Cantonese

Learn Cantonese: YouTube Channels You’ll Love Learning With

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Learning Cantonese can be a real headache—after all, with nine tones and 20k+ characters, Cantonese is one of the most difficult languages to master! But, with the right tools, you can certainly learn Cantonese a lot quicker and more effectively. 

Did you know that in your search for effective Cantonese lessons, YouTube can be an excellent resource? 

Just think of all those nights aimlessly scrolling through YouTube videos, watching one after another. Before you know it, it’s three in the morning and…what time was your alarm clock set for? 

What if you could combine YouTube and language learning to get the best of both worlds? Faster progress and endless entertainment!

As a learner myself, I strongly believe in the power of exposure for language acquisition, and how immersing yourself in Cantonese can help you more than any grammar lesson ever could. Absorbing a variety of media in Cantonese is the best way to effortlessly become more fluent.

In this article, I’ll present you with the best Cantonese YouTubers and channels for language learners in 2020. I’ve made sure to include channels in a variety of categories, from language learning to cooking and lifestyle vlogs. When coupled with the CantoneseClass101 YouTube channel (which I’ll talk more about later), these channels can give you everything you need to immerse yourself in Cantonese and make quick progress.

Enough talk. Here’s our list of the best Cantonese YouTube channels for learners!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. CarlosDouh
  2. 張媽媽廚房Mama Cheung
  3. hongkongmap
  4. MTR Hong Kong
  5. MIHK VLOG
  6. Leave Your Mark
  7. Alfred Chan
  8. 文子MtzCherry
  9. 果籽
  10. Learn Cantonese with CantoneseClass101.com
  11. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. CarlosDouh

Category: Language
Level: Beginner – Intermediate

CarlosDouh makes interesting videos about the Cantonese language and Hong Kong culture. He mainly teaches Cantonese slang—in a very engaging way. I couldn’t help but keep cracking up when browsing through his videos. I recommend this channel for beginners and intermediate level learners, as his videos are easy to follow and he normally introduces just one slang word per video. 

Check out his video on 公主病 (gung1 zyu2 beng6) to find out what this phrase means!

2. 張媽媽廚房Mama Cheung

Category: Lifestyle (cooking)
Level: Intermediate

On this delightful Cantonese cooking YouTube channel, Mama Cheung teaches you how to cook homestyle Hong Kong dishes, so you can learn how to cook and speak at the same time. Most of her videos have English subtitles, and she posts a new video every Thursday. Definitely stay tuned with the Mama Cheung channel if you’re a foodie like me! 

In the meantime, check out how to make Tomato Tofu Soup and get a taste of homestyle Cantonese soup.

3. hongkongmap

Category: Travel
Level: (Upper) Intermediate

This channel offers a virtual guided tour of Hong Kong by a local. Although most of the videos don’t have subtitles, it’s a wonderful way to learn more about the glamourous city from a more local perspective. If you’re interested in exploring the culture, lives of ordinary citizens, and unique places to visit, we highly recommend giving this channel a try. 

Check out one of the local tours and see if it suits you!

4. MTR Hong Kong

Category: Transport
Level: Intermediate

This is an informative channel about the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), the most used public transportation system in Hong Kong. With both Chinese and English subtitles, these videos are a good way to learn both the language and a bit more about one of the world’s best transport systems! Most of the videos are short enough to finish in one sitting—a great way to learn Cantonese if you only have a little bit of time. 

Watch this video to see what MTR has done in light of COVID-19.

5. MIHK VLOG

Category: Lifestyle / Video Blog
Level: (Upper) Intermediate

This channel features vlogs recorded by local teenagers. It’s a great platform for learning more about the youth culture in Hong Kong (and having a good laugh). Better yet, some of the videos have both Cantonese and English subtitles, something that will be very convenient for language learners. 

Watch their Hong Kong-style Pick-Up Line Challenge and see who these Cantonese YouTubers end up with!

6. Leave Your Mark

Category: Documentary
Level: Advanced

If you’re looking to watch something deep and serious, LeaveYourMark is right where you need to be. You can find in-depth interviews with some famous Hong Kongers, where they share their stories and beliefs. 

See what the famous songwriter 恭碩良 (gung1 sek6 loeng4) has to share!

7. Alfred Chan

Category: Lifestyle / Reviews
Level: Advanced

Do you need ideas on where to treat yourself in Hong Kong? This channel largely focuses on things like game and gadget reviews, as well as reviews for famous Hong Kong restaurants. Keep in mind that there are no subtitles, so the video could be a bit difficult for new Cantonese learners to understand. 

Check out this review on Felix, a restaurant in one of the most prestigious hotels in Hong Kong (the Peninsula Hotel), to see if you enjoy Alfred’s channel!

8. 文子MtzCherry

Category: Lifestyle / Vlog
Level: Beginner / Intermediate

This is a fun combination channel, hosted by a local teen giving out Cantonese tutorials and discussing life in Hong Kong. She also does a few vlog-style videos about her own life. Most of the videos have both Cantonese and English subtitles, which is perfect for language learners! Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll be able to enjoy her content and learn something new.

Watch her Cantonese lesson on hygiene to learn about how to stay clean and healthy in Hong Kong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuD8H2xSFJ8

9. 果籽

Category: Lifestyle
Level: Advanced

Here’s another channel with a variety of content. This local media channel covers a wide range of lifestyle topics: health, travel, food, personal stories, and more. There are Cantonese subtitles, but because the content is made for locals, they might speak a bit fast. Nonetheless, it’s a marvelous way to keep abreast of what’s going on in Hong Kong. 

Check out their video on the five most famous dogs in Hong Kong and learn their stories!

10. Learn Cantonese with CantoneseClass101.com

Category: Language
Level: All levels

If you’re not sure where to start your Cantonese learning journey, or want some help polishing your skills, visit the CantoneseClass101 YouTube channel. We have numerous videos for every skill level on a variety of topics: vocabulary, grammar, culture, and more! You can easily find just what you need by browsing through our categorized playlists. 

Want a sample of what to expect? Learn more about the Buddha’s holiday with CantoneseClass101.com!

11. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to step up your Cantonese after watching our YouTube videos?

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native! 

Before you go, we’d love to hear what your favorite Cantonese YouTube channel is! Let us know in the comments.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Is Cantonese Hard to Learn?

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You might have heard stories about how difficult it is to learn Cantonese. After all, Cantonese is a tonal language with its own writing system based on 3000 to 4000 Chinese characters!

Even though Cantonese sounds complicated, and is certainly different from European languages such as English and Italian, it’s not that hard to master when you’re using the right tools and approach. So is Cantonese hard to learn? As with learning any other language, you just need to put in time, effort, and of course, your passion!

In this article, we’ll cover the easiest and hardest parts of Cantonese, talk about why you should learn the language, and tell you how to learn it effectively!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Cantonese in a Nutshell
  2. Learning Cantonese – The Easiest Part
  3. Learning Cantonese – The Hardest Part
  4. Why Cantonese?
  5. I Want to Learn Cantonese. Where Should I Start?
  6. Why is CantoneseClass101 Great for Learning Cantonese?

1. Cantonese in a Nutshell

Hong Kong’s Flag
  • Cantonese is spoken in Guangdong Province of China, as well as in Hong Kong, Macao, and Southeast Asia. 
  • Cantonese originated from the city of Guangzhou, which is the capital of Guangdong Province (traditionally known as Canton). 
  • Cantonese is referred to as 廣東話 (gwong2 dung1 wa2), literally meaning “Guangdong dialect,” or 粵語 (jyut6 jyu5), meaning Yue speech.”
  • There are a total of 73 million Cantonese-speakers all over the world.

2. Learning Cantonese – The Easiest Part

Thumbs Up

Cantonese is straightforward!

For example, Cantonese grammar rules are simpler than those of many other languages. We don’t have tenses (past, future, past perfect, etc.) like English, nor do we have grammatical gender like French.

Also, we’re quite direct when expressing ourselves. Many Cantonese-learners, in an attempt to translate what is polite in their own language, actually make a mess of a sentence in Cantonese by adding a lot of unnecessary words. 

For example, take this sentence: “Would you mind going to the store for me please?”

  • A native Cantonese-speaker would ask: 你去士多? (nei5 heoi3 si6 do1)
  • Literal translation of 你去士多: “You go store?”

Many westerners find it strange to be so concise, since this would feel rude to say in English. But finding places to add superfluous words (such as “please” and other common English niceties) is unnecessary. Cantonese is direct!

3. Learning Cantonese – The Hardest Part

A Troubled Student

Pronunciation!

This is a major Cantonese language difficulty that many new learners face.

You probably know already that Cantonese doesn’t use an alphabetical writing system like English does. Instead, it uses characters that are composed of parts that depict physical objects or abstract ideas. Further, there are no concrete rules for how a character should be pronounced based on its appearance.

What makes Cantonese even more different from many European languages is that Cantonese is a tonal language. The meaning of a word can change depending on the pitch that’s used, even if the pronunciation is the same. People not familiar with this tonal system may be easily confused and think that certain tones sound identical! 

This problem of perception is perhaps why Cantonese is so hard to learn, especially considering that there are nine tones in Cantonese (compared to four tones in Mandarin).

If you’ve been learning Cantonese for any length of time, you may know by now that we use a romanization system called “Jyutping.” This system consists of two components: “pronunciation” followed by a “tone number, to notate the sound of a word. Be mindful that even if the “pronunciation” of two or more words is identical, the meaning of the words can be very different if they use different “tone numbers.”

For example:

Chinese CharacterRomanizationMeaning
baa1“bus”
baa2“handle”
baa6“cease”

As you can see, changing the pitch pattern can have a huge impact on a word’s meaning!

4. Why Cantonese?

Have you ever heard of Bruce Lee? Jackie Chan? Chow Yun-fat? Well, they all came from Hong Kong!

There are countless reasons why you should learn Cantonese.

By learning Cantonese, you’ll be providing yourself with new opportunities. As you strengthen your language skills and learn more about Cantonese culture, you’ll start to find that you’re able to better navigate life and take advantage of more opportunities in the workplace—and the world! Traveling to or doing business in Hong Kong will no longer be a far-away dream, but rather a very possible reality. You’ll even have the freedom to move to Hong Kong or Macao to earn a living, or better yet, build a career using your newfound skills—instead of being stuck in one place. 

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most significant financial centers! It has the highest Financial Development Index score and it was ranked as the world’s most competitive economy, as well as the freest market economy, in the world. Being familiar with the Cantonese language, culture, and business environment can be key in settling important negotiations or making major deals.

A Couple Reading Maps

Will you be traveling for pleasure instead? Well, a solid understanding of Cantonese can make your experience in the local Hong Kong markets, rural areas, and restaurants so much smoother and a lot more fun! 

Another great benefit of learning Cantonese is that it will give you the opportunity to grow and look at the world with a more open mind. For instance, take a look at Cantonese pop culture! Many of the movies, dramas, and songs that are loved by people from all over the world were created in Hong Kong. Not everything gets translated, either. So unless you know Cantonese, you’re missing out on a lot of the amazing things that Cantonese pop culture has to offer.

Career growth, smooth travels, personal enlightenment…but that’s not all! Studies have shown that studying another language can improve memory and keep one’s brain in good condition. This, in turn, may prevent early onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia, giving the language-learner up to five additional years of quality life to live! 

5. I Want to Learn Cantonese. Where Should I Start?

Question Marks

1. Learn the romanization.

Pronunciation might be hard, but with the romanization system, you’ll be able to learn the correct pronunciation of a word. This way, you don’t have to keep guessing and going over your vocabulary nonstop! 

Literacy in Cantonese requires the memorization of thousands of components and characters, which can be quite daunting for new Cantonese-learners. To start learning the sounds of Cantonese without the baggage of characters, Cantonese jyutping (also referred to as Cantonese romanization) comes in. This is essentially a way to help translate Cantonese pronunciation into English pronunciation.

2.  Focus on speaking.

Many Cantonese beginners find it tempting to learn both reading and writing at the same time. But we believe that it may be better to start learning how to speak before you get into reading and writing at all! This will keep you from using up all of your mental energy and getting burned out at the beginning of your studies, and provide a more solid base for your language studies.

As mentioned earlier, there are thousands of Cantonese characters, and they were created based on abstract ideas. It takes a long time to gradually memorize and become familiar with all of them. Instead, focus on speaking first. Master it. This will also give you a chance to practice speaking with locals! 

3. Practice makes perfect.

The truth is that the only way you’re going to get a standard accent, well-ordered sentences, and a better understanding of tones is by speaking. So just get out there and practice! Even if you make a mistake, Cantonese people can usually guess what you’re saying, especially when there’s context. And if they can’t understand, there’s always charades. 

And of course, you need a good teacher to guide you and provide the resources you need—and that’s where CantoneseClass101.com comes in!

6. Why is CantoneseClass101 Great for Learning Cantonese?

CantoneseClass101.com

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced-repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese-learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native! 

Before you go, we would love to hear your thoughts on learning Cantonese! What Cantonese difficulty do you face the most? Do you feel ready to start (or continue) learning, or do you still have questions or concerns?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Cantonese

The Most Common Cantonese Mistakes You Make When Learning

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Everybody makes mistakes. And yes, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll make mistakes while learning a new language, especially one as difficult as Cantonese

Making mistakes is no big deal—as you come closer to fluency in a language, you’ll have the time to figure out what mistakes you’re still making and how to address them. And that’s exactly what this guide is about.

In this article, we’ll list the most common Cantonese mistakes people make when learning  the language, covering a wide range of categories from pronunciation to word order. By the end of this article, you should be able to spot many mistakes, some of which are very easy to fix!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation Mistakes
  2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes
  3. Word Order Mistakes
  4. Grammar Mistakes
  5. Another Big Mistake in Cantonese
  6. The Biggest Mistake: Being Afraid of Making Mistakes in Cantonese!
  7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Pronunciation Mistakes 

A Man Pronouncing Words, Literally

Mistake #1: Using the wrong tones

Most learners aren’t familiar with tonal languages like Cantonese. In tonal languages, the meaning of a word can change depending on the pitch, even if the pronunciation remains the same. To people who don’t speak a tonal language, some tones may sound identical! This problem of perception is perhaps the most difficult part of learning a language like Cantonese.

If you’ve learned even a little bit of Cantonese, you probably know by now that we can use a romanization system called “Jyutping,” which consists of two components: “pronunciation,” followed by a “tone number.” Be mindful that even if the “pronunciation” of two or more words is identical, the meaning of the words can be very different if they have different “tone numbers.”

For example:

Chinese CharacterRomanizationMeaning
baa1“bus”
baa2“handle”
baa6“cease”

As you can see, changing the pitch can have a huge impact on the meaning! Always keep your eye and ear out for changes in tone and pitch to avoid a confusing mistake in Cantonese. 

Mistake #2: Mixing up J and Y in the Jyutping system

The Jyutping romanization system is a bit different from English, and one of the most confusing aspects of it is the J consonant. Although it’s represented as a J, it actually sounds like an English Y. So whenever you see the letter J in Jyutping, remember that it’s pronounced as a Y sound.

For example:

Chinese CharacterRomanizationMeaning
jau5“have”
ji3“two”
jyun4“dollar”

Mistake #3: Mispronouncing the C and Z consonants

The Cantonese C sounds a bit like a TS sound, like in “tsunami.” But unlike with the traditional TS sound in English, try to emphasize the T more than the S in Cantonese. Pronouncing it quickly may sometimes help with pronouncing the Cantonese C properly. Lastly, you want to release a burst of turbulent air when you’re pronouncing this sound.

The Cantonese Z sound is identical to that of the Cantonese C, except that you do not produce a burst of air. It has a strong DZ sound.

For example:

Chinese CharacterRomanizationMeaning
cin1“thousand”
cau1“draw”
ciu3“pretty”
zin1“fry”
zau1(common last name)
ziu3“shine”

2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes

A Dictionary

Mistake #4: Mixing up 咗 (zo2) and 過 (gwo3)

The great thing about Cantonese is that there are no verb tenses, conjugations, etc. However, there are two little words used to show that something took place in the past. These little words are particles, and they often come after a verb: 咗 (zo2) and 過 (gwo3).

Since both 咗 (zo2) and 過 (gwo3) indicate past tense, it’s quite common for people (especially beginners) to get these mixed up:

Romanizationzo2gwo3
Meaningshows that an action is complete, similar to the English “-ed” that comes after a verb when an action is doneshows an experience that someone has had before in the past
Take the sentence 我去 (ngo5 heoi3), meaning “I go,” as an example:
Characters我去咗我去過
Romanizationngo5 heoi3 zo2ngo5 heoi3 gwo3
Meaning“I went.”“I’ve been (there).”

From the example sentences above, you can see that when you add 咗 (zo2) to the sentence 我去 (ngo5 heoi3), or “I go,” the “go” becomes “went.” But if you add 過 (gwo3) instead, the “go” becomes “been.”

Mistake #5: Mixing up 唔 (m4) and 冇 (mou5)

There are two ways to negate a Cantonese verb: with 唔 (m4) or with 冇 (mou5). We put either of these two words in front of the verb to show that it is negative, but sometimes, it can be confusing to know when to use which.

The table below demonstrates the difference between the two:

Romanizationm4mou5
Meaningnegates action verbs in the present & future, or when talking about habitual thingsnegates verbs in the past tense, such as when you describe an action that either did not happen, or is not yet complete
Take the sentence 我食 (ngo5 sik6), meaning: “I eat,” as an example:
Characters我唔食我冇食
Romanizationngo5 m4 sik6ngo5 mou5 sik6
Meaning“I don’t eat.”“I didn’t eat.”

There are actually a couple more instances where you can use 冇 (mou5) to negate, but we’ll keep it simple here. You may check out our dictionary or class content to learn more!

3. Word Order Mistakes

A Lady Writing

Mistake #6: Putting the question word first in a question

In English, we usually start a question with the “W” words, like “Why,” “What,” and “Where,” but this is not the case in Cantonese. We do it the other way around, putting the Cantonese question word at the end of the question.

Take “Where is my book?” as an example:

  • Where: 邊 (bin1)
  • Is: 喺 (hai2)
  • My book: 我本書 (ngo5 bun2 syu1)

If you arrange the words in the English way, you’ll have 邊喺我本書 (bin1 hai2 ngo5 bun2 syu1), which is incorrect in Cantonese. The correct way to ask the question is: 我本書喺邊?(ngo5 bun2 syu1 hai2 bin1).

Let’s look at two more examples: “Who is she?” and “What are you eating?”

  • Who: 邊個 (bin1 go3)
  • Is: 喺 (hai2)
  • She: 佢 (keoi5)
  • Correct order: 佢係邊個?(keoi5 hai6 bin1 go3)
  • What: 咩呀 (me1 aa3)
  • You: 你 (nei5)
  • (Are) eating: 食緊 (sik6 gan2)
  • Correct order: 你食緊咩呀?(nei5 sik6 gan2 me1 aa3)

Mistake #7: Putting time adverbs at the end of a sentence

In English, we usually put the time adverb at the end, or occasionally at the beginning, of a sentence. But in Cantonese, we put the time adverb before the verb instead.

The correct way to add “time” to a simple “Subject (S) + Verb (V) + Object (O)” sentence in Cantonese is: “S + Time + V + O.”

Take “I watched a movie last week” as an example:

  • I: 我 (ngo5)
  • Watch: 睇 (tai2)
  • Movie: 戲 (hei3)
  • Last week: 上個禮拜 (soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3)
  • Correct order: 我上個禮拜睇戲 (ngo5 soeng6 go3 lai5 baai3 tai2 hei3)

Want to learn more about how to arrange words in Cantonese? Check out our article on Cantonese word order for more detailed information!

4. Grammar Mistakes

Question Marks

Mistake #8: Directly translating from English to Cantonese without considering parts of speech or context

Have you ever directly translated something from English to Cantonese? Sometimes it works, but very often, your listener may find it confusing. It’s like using Google Translate (it’s a very convenient tool, no doubt!) without double-checking the results (as they may be a bit odd).

Take “He is very sick” as an example:

  • Literal translation of “He is very sick” in Cantonese: 佢好病 (keoi5 hou2 beng6)
  • Meaning of  “佢好病”: “He’s crazy.”
  • Correct translation of He is very sick” in Cantonese: 佢病得好重 (keoi5 beng6 dak1 hou2 cung5)

It might take some time to develop a good understanding of the different parts of speech and how to more accurately translate into Cantonese, but no worries. Practice makes perfect. Try more, and learn from your mistakes!

Mistake #9: Using (or not using) a final particle

There are many final particles in Cantonese to indicate a change of mood or even the meaning of a word or phrase. If you use the wrong Cantonese particle, you may end up expressing the wrong emotion. And in some cases, forgetting to include a final particle may come across as rude! 

Below are some examples of final particles:

ParticleMeaningExample
呀 (aa3)used in neutral questions, or to soften the tone of affirmative statements so they don’t sound as abrupt我返屋企呀 ngo5 faan2 uk1 kei2 aa3“I’m going home.”
啦 (laa1)used in requests and imperatives (leaving it out could make the sentence sound rude)俾我啦 bei2 ngo5 laa1“Give it to me (please).”
囉 (lo1)indicates a suggestion or conclusion that should be obvious我冇車咪返唔到屋企囉 ngo5 mou5 ce1 mai6 faan2 m4 dou2 uk1 kei2 lo1“Without a car (of course), I am unable to go home.”

5. Another Big Mistake in Cantonese

Woman Covering Mouth with Both Hands

Mistake #10: Using too many words

A lot of Cantonese-learners, in an attempt to translate what is polite in their own language, will make a mess of a sentence in Cantonese by adding a lot of unnecessary words. Cantonese actually says things a lot more directly! 

Take “Would you mind going to the store for me, please” as an example:

  • A native Cantonese-speaker would ask with: 你去士多?(nei5 heoi3 si6 do1)
  • Literal translation of “你去士多”: “You go store?”

A lot of westerners find it strange to be so concise—it would feel rude to say that in English. But finding places to add superfluous “pleases” and stuff is unnecessary. It’s okay to use less words in Cantonese. It doesn’t sound rude at all.

6. The Biggest Mistake: Being Afraid of Making Mistakes in Cantonese!

A Woman Panicking

The truth is that the only way you’re going to get a standard accent, order sentences correctly, or get better at using and understanding tones is through making mistakes. So don’t worry. Even if you make a mistake, Cantonese people can usually guess what you’re saying, especially when there’s context. And if they can’t understand, there are always charades. 

The point is, you need to get out there and practice. Use the words you know. Engage in conversation. Then you’ll start to correct yourself, and your ear will get tuned to the language. Cantonese people love it when you try, so they’ll be very encouraging, for sure!

7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Learning from mistakes surely helps, but so does learning from 1000+ audio and video lessons!

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments how many of these mistakes you’ve made before, and if this article was helpful for you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

The Top 10 Most Common Cantonese Questions and Answers

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Just imagine: You’re going out with a group of native Cantonese-speakers. This is the perfect opportunity to make friends and practice your Cantonese in a real-life situation! But how do you break the ice? What should you say if you run out of topics or if your Cantonese isn’t solid enough to fuel the conversation?

The universal answer is: ask questions! 

Among countless benefits, being able to ask questions in Cantonese will help you avoid awkward silences by keeping the conversation going. It will also make the other person feel like you want to know more about them and value their opinion, thus making you more likeable. Asking questions opens a world of new information and cultural insight!

And one more perk: you don’t have to talk too much, just sit back and listen. Don’t think about your next question or how to steer the conversation back toward yourself. Just enjoy the ride and dive into whatever the other person has to say.

Convinced yet?

In this guide, you’ll not only learn how to ask questions in Cantonese, but also how to answer them. Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. What’s your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Do you speak Cantonese?
  4. How long have you been studying ?
  5. Have you been to [country/city]?
  6. How are you?
  7. What time is it?
  8. What are you doing?
  9. What’s wrong?
  10. How much is it?
  11. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. What’s your name?

First Encounter

Q: 你叫咩名?

“What’s your name?” has to be the most common conversation starter of all. Make sure you keep it in your pocket list!

Romanization: nei5 giu3 me1 meng2

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
giu3 Call
me1 What
meng2Name

A: 我叫。

The answer to this question is pretty straightforward. You either state your name directly, or add the words 我叫before your name and make it “我叫.”

Romanization: ngo5 giu3 .

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
ngo5I
giu3 Call

See some examples of how to answer this question in Cantonese below!

Example 1

Chinese Characters: 我叫欣怡。
Meaning: My name is Yan-yee.
Romanization: ngo5 giu3 jan1 ji4

Example 2

Chinese Characters: 我叫俊傑。
Meaning: My name is Chun-kit.
Romanization: ngo5 giu3 zeon3 git6

Example 3

Chinese Characters: 我叫詠珊。
Meaning: My name is Wing-shan.
Romanization: ngo5 giu3 wing6 saan1

Example 4

Chinese Characters: 我叫偉文。
Meaning: My name is Wai-man.
Romanization: ngo5 giu3 wai5 man4

2. Where are you from?

Q: 你邊度嚟㗎?

This Cantonese question opens up a lot of possible conversation topics, such as cultural differences and must-see places, for you and your new Cantonese friends!

Romanization: nei5 bin1 dou6 lei4 gaa3

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
邊度bin1 dou6Where
lei4Come
gaa3a Cantonese question particle that indicates question or doubt

A: 我嚟嘅。

There are two ways you can answer this question. The first is by answering directly with your city or country: 

  • 香港 (hoeng1 gong2) – “Hong Kong”

You may also add the word 我 before “Hong Kong,” and 嚟嘅 after it: 我香港嚟嘅.

Romanization: ngo5 lei4 ge3

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
ngo5I
lei4To come
ge3a final particle that implies assertion with emphasis

Here are some examples:

Example 1

Chinese Characters: 我美國嚟嘅。
Meaning: I’m from the U.S.
Romanization: ngo5 mei5 gwok3 lei4 ge3

Example 2

Chinese Characters: 我英國嚟嘅。
Meaning: I’m from England.
Romanization: ngo5 jing1 gwok3 lei4 ge3

Example 3

Chinese Characters: 我中國嚟嘅。
Meaning: I’m from China.
Romanization: ngo5 zung1 gwok3 lei4 ge3

Example 4

Chinese Characters: 我德國嚟嘅。
Meaning: I’m from Germany.
Romanization: ngo5 dak1 gwok3 lei4 ge3



3. Do you speak Cantonese?

Books of Different Languages

Q: 你識唔識講?

This is one of those basic Cantonese questions that you may be asked when you meet new friends in Hong Kong!

Romanization: nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
識唔識sik1 m4 sik1To know or not
gong2Speak

Here’s an example:

Chinese Characters: 你識唔識講廣東話?
Meaning: Do you speak Cantonese?
Romanization: nei5 sik1 m4 sik1 gong2 gwong2 dung1 waa2

A: Varies

Depending on how well you know the language, you can answer with one of the below phrases!

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
識少少。sik1 siu2 siu2Yes, I speak a little.
識一啲。sik1 jat1 di1Yes, I speak some.
識啲啲。sik1 di1 di1Yes, I speak a little bit.
識大部分。sik1 daai6 bou6 fan6Yes, I speak quite a lot.

4. How long have you been studying ?

Introducing Yourself

Q: 你學咗幾耐?

Once your new Cantonese friends find out that you speak at least a little bit of their language, you may very likely be asked this question!

Romanization: nei5 hok6 zo2 gei2 noi6

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
學咗hok6 zo2 To have learned
幾耐gei2 noi6How long

Here’s an example:

Chinese Characters: 你學咗廣東話幾耐?
Meaning: How long have you been studying Cantonese?
Romanization: nei5 hok6 zo2 gwong2 dung1 waa2 gei2 noi6

A: Varies

Here are a few examples of how you can answer this question. 

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
一個月。jat1 go3 jyut6For one month.
一年。jat1 nin4For one year.
三個月。saam1 go3 jyut6For three months.
兩年。loeng5 nin4For two years.

5. Have you been to [country/city]?

The Globe

Q: 你有冇去過?

Another great conversation starter. You can share your travel stories and learn more about your Cantonese friends’ adventures!

Romanization: nei5 jau5 mou5 heoi3 gwo3

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
有冇jau5 mou5 To have or to not have
去過heoi3 gwo3Have been

Here’s an example:

Chinese Characters: 你有冇去過香港?
Meaning: Have you been to Hong Kong?
Romanization: nei5 jau5 mou5 heoi3 gwo3 hoeng1 gong2

A: Varies

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
有呀,去過兩次。jau5 aa3, heoi3 gwo3 loeng5 ci3Yes, I’ve been twice.
有呀,去過四次。jau5 aa3, heoi3 gwo3 sei3 ci3Yes, I’ve been four times.
有呀,去過一次。jau5 aa3, heoi3 gwo3 jat1 ci3Yes, I’ve been once.
冇呀。mou5 aa3No. (I have never been.)

6. How are you?

Q: 你好嗎?

This is one of the most useful Cantonese questions to know, especially once you’ve made some good friends and want to inquire about their well-being.

Romanization: nei5 hou2 maa3

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
hou2Good
maa3a Cantonese question particle

A: Varies 

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
我幾好。ngo5 gei2 hou2I’m fine.
我好好。ngo5 hou2 hou2I’m great.
我非常好。ngo5 fei1 soeng4 hou2I’m very good.
我唔係幾好。ngo5 m4 hai6 gei2 hou2I’m not so well.


7. What time is it?

A Clock

Q: 而家幾點?

A great question to ask when you don’t have your watch with you!

Romanization: ji4 gaa1 gei2 dim2

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
而家ji4 gaa1Now
gei2How long / How many / How much
dim2Time

A: Varies

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
十二點。sap6 ji6 dim2It’s twelve o’clock.
九點。gau2 dim2It’s nine o’clock.
六點。luk6 dim2It’s six o’clock.
兩點。loeng5 dim2It’s two o’clock.

8. What are you doing?

Q: 你做緊咩?

Are you curious what your new bestie is up to? Ask them in Cantonese! 

Romanization: nei5 zou6 gan2 me1

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
nei5 You
做緊zou6 gan2 Doing
me1What

A: Varies 

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
我諗緊嘢。ngo5 lam2 gan2 je5I’m thinking.
我食緊嘢。ngo5 sik6 gan2 je5I’m eating.
我做緊嘢。ngo5 zou6 gan2 je5I’m working.
我畫緊嘢。ngo5 waak6 gan2 je5I’m drawing.

9. What’s wrong?

Emotions

Q: 咩事呀?

Does your friend seem down today? Ask them what’s wrong, and lend a listening ear! 

Romanization: me1 si6 aa3

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
me1What
si6Matter
aa3a Cantonese question particle

A: Varies 

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
我好攰。ngo5 hou2 gui6I’m tired.
我唔舒服。ngo5 m4 syu1 fuk6I’m unwell.
我好眼瞓。ngo5 hou2 ngaan5 fan3I’m sleepy.
我擔⼼。ngo5 daam1 sam1I’m worried.

10. How much is it?

Q: 呢個幾錢?

You have to know this question if you plan on shopping in Hong Kong! 

Romanization: ni1 go3 gei2 cin2

Breakdown:

Character RomanizationMeaning
呢個ni1 go3This
gei2How long / How many / How much 
cin2Money

A: Varies 

AnswerRomanizationMeaning
五十蚊。ng5 sap6 man1$50
一百蚊。jat1 baak3 man1$100
二千蚊ji6 cin1 man1$2000
兩百蚊。loeng5 baak3 man1$200


11. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

By now, you should have a better idea of how to ask and answer the most common Cantonese questions. Are there any important questions or answers we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help.

Fancy learning more Cantonese after familiarizing yourself with the questions and answers above?

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program by upgrading your account!

Know that your hard work will pay off, and before you know it, you’ll be speaking Cantonese like a native!

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An Introduction to Cantonese Language Proficiency Tests

Thumbnail

Do you fancy studying or working abroad in Hong Kong, but don’t speak Cantonese as your first language? Or maybe you want to know how good your Cantonese is after months of hard work? No worries, we’ve got you covered! 

Today on CantoneseClass101.com, we’ll be providing you with a summary of the most popular Cantonese language exams—so read on!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Cantonese Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Taking a Cantonese Language Exam
  2. What Cantonese Language Exams are There?
  3. COPA (CUHK)
  4. ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)
  5. Other Exams: GCSE Cantonese & HKDSE Chinese
  6. Bonus: Tips on Preparing for Your Cantonese Proficiency Exam
  7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Benefits of Taking a Cantonese Language Exam

A Golden Egg

There are lots of reasons why taking a Cantonese test can be good for you (and your studies)! In the following sections, we’ll go over the top benefits you can expect from doing so.

1. It will improve the way you learn.

Taking tests and exams will give you a better idea of your current Cantonese proficiency level. This knowledge will allow you to see if there are any gaps between reality and your expectations. If so, you can do some reflection to figure out the best way to improve your studies and learning habits.

When you sit for an exam, you’ll have to recall and apply what you’ve learned. So making your studies more targeted allows you (or forces you) to remember useful information. It also improves your ability to apply what you’ve learned in new contexts. 

2. It will increase your motivation.

Before an exam, people tend to study harder than ever. With a goal or target in mind (and the exam fees you paid), you’ll have a greater urge to study and improve your Cantonese.

3. It will demonstrate your Cantonese abilities to others.

If you’re looking to work in Hong Kong and want to impress your potential employer, getting a good Cantonese exam score will help a lot. Not only does it prove that you know Cantonese, but it also proves that you’re resilient and a great learner. Afterall, Cantonese is one of the hardest languages in the world!

2. What Cantonese Language Exams are There?

A Question Mark

Unlike IELTS for English-learners or JLPT for Japanese-learners, there are no government-administered Cantonese language tests in Hong Kong. However, we do have some oral tests designed for Cantonese language learners. The two most common tests are COPA (offered by the Chinese University of Hong Kong [CUHK]) and OPI (offered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages [ACTFL]).

There are also two more comprehensive Cantonese examinations: GCSE Cantonese and HKDSE Chinese. They’re actually part of the public examination designed for secondary school students. 

GCSE is a test that fifteen- and sixteen-year-olds must pass in order to graduate from the Key Stage 4 phase of their secondary education in either England, Northern Ireland, or Wales. HKDSE is Hong Kong’s university entrance examination, administered upon completion of a three-year senior secondary education.

3. COPA (CUHK)

1. Introduction

The COPA Cantonese exam is an adaptation of the Chinese Speaking Test (CST) developed by the Center for Applied Linguistics in the United States. 

Duration: 30-45 minutes

The examinee hears the test instructions and questions in their mother tongue (English, Japanese, or Korean) from a master tape, and then responds in the foreign language he or she is learning (Cantonese or Putonghua). Tasks cover a wide range of topics and speech functions, and responses are evaluated by two specially trained COPA raters.

The rationale in scoring the COPA is to find the level at which the examinee consistently fulfills the speaking functions. Each COPA task presents the examinee with a speaking task of a defined level of difficulty, based on the Proficiency Guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The ACTFL Guidelines describe aspects of speech that characterize speakers as having a given level of proficiency. These guidelines were developed in response to a movement in the language-teaching community, stressing the importance of meaningful communication in the foreign language classroom.

All assessment tools are made available to the public so that learners who want their speaking proficiency in Cantonese assessed may obtain an objective evaluation based on testing and linguistic principles. Currently, English-speakers are able to take the COPA in Cantonese and Putonghua. Students will be notified when the Japanese and Korean versions are available.

2. Score reporting

A certificate will be issued with a description of the proficiency level attained by the examinee. The possible levels are: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Superior. This certificate will serve as an indication of his/her speaking ability and can be used for various purposes.

The official reports will be sent to the examinee two months after the testing date. Two additional reports will be sent free of charge to institutions designated by the examinee at the time of the evaluation. All subsequent requests to send the official report directly will be charged HK$50 per copy.

3. Fees and application procedure

  • Application fee: HK$100
  • Examination fee: HK$800 

The following groups can take the exam at a special rate of HK$600:

  • Current CUHK and CLC students
  • Students from CUHK university division Advanced Putonghua course
  • Current CLC TCFL Advanced Diploma Programme students

You may download the application form on the official website and bring a check (payable to “Chinese University of Hong Kong”) with you on exam day.

4. ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

1. Introduction

Duration: 15-30 minutes

The OPI test takes the form of a phone call, during which the candidate and tester have a guided conversation. After a short introduction, the tester will ask the candidate personalized questions and adapt the conversation depending on the candidate’s language skills, interests, and comfort level. 

As this is a standardized test, it’s a reliable way of measuring a person’s speaking ability in a given language. This Cantonese proficiency test is designed to reveal patterns of weaknesses and strengths that the candidate possesses. 

The OPI tests the candidate’s ability to speak Cantonese effectively in everyday situations. The test does not base its grading on specific curriculum content, and because each interview is adapted for the individual candidate, a candidate’s score or performance is not compared to that of other candidates. 

2. Score reporting

The OPI is graded according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines (2012), the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) guidelines, or the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) guidelines. The scoring guidelines are determined based on the type of certification the candidate is looking to attain. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of how each rating scale works:

  • ACTFL – A candidate may be rated anywhere between Novice and Superior.
  • ILR – A candidate may be rated anywhere from ILR 0 (no proficiency) to ILR 5 (functionally native).
  • CEFR – A candidate may be rated anywhere from A1 to C2.

3. Fees and application procedure

  • Examination fee: US$159.00 

You may schedule a test online.

5. Other Exams: GCSE Cantonese & HKDSE Chinese

College Students

Now we’ll briefly introduce the GCSE Cantonese and HKDSE Chinese tests. As explained earlier, these two are actually part of the public exams, and are therefore much more difficult. We do advise that language-learners, especially beginners, aim for the two exams mentioned above (COPA and OPI) rather than the following two!

1. GCSE Cantonese

GCSE in Chinese (spoken Cantonese) consists of four parts to assess your Cantonese listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills: 

  • Part 1: Listening & Understanding in Chinese (Cantonese)
    • Length: 45 minutes, including 5 minutes of reading time
    • Weighting: 25% / 50 Marks
  • Part 2: Speaking in Chinese
    • Length: 10-12 minutes plus 12 minutes of preparation time
    • Weighting: 25% / 70 Marks
  • Part 3: Reading & Understanding in Chinese
    • Length: 1 hour 5 minutes
    • Weighting: 25% / 50 Marks
  • Part 4: Writing in Chinese
    • Length: 1 hour 25 minutes
    • Weighting: 25% / 60 Marks

You may find out more about the exam on the official university website

2. HKDSE Chinese

HKDSE Chinese is designed for very advanced Cantonese speakers—even local secondary school students tend to find it difficult!

  • Part 1: Reading
    • Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Weighting: 24% 
  • Part 2: Writing
    • Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Weighting: 24%
  • Part 3: Listening and Integrated Skills
    • Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
    • Weighting: 18%
  • Part 4: Speaking
    • Length: 25 minutes
    • Weighting: 14%

School-based assessment (SBA) will account for the final 20%. For those who aren’t sitting for the exam as secondary school students, an average SBA score will be applied instead.

You may find out more about the exam here.

6. Bonus: Tips on Preparing for Your Cantonese Proficiency Exam

Light Bulbs
  • Do as many mock tests as you can.
  • Study the vocabulary required for the test.
  • Study the sample answers to the questions.
  • Speak more with native Cantonese-speakers.

Remember, practice makes perfect!

7. How CantoneseClass101.com Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Language Skills

Planning to take a Cantonese exam soon? Come and practice your Cantonese with CantoneseClass101.com! With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, an abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

And keep in mind that if you prefer a one-on-one learning approach and want to further accelerate your Cantonese learning, you can take advantage of our MyTeacher program

Before you go,  let us know in the comments if we forgot to include anything, or if you still have some questions about these tests. We look forward to hearing from you, and will be glad to help!

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How to Find a Job in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been a popular destination for those seeking opportunities to work abroad. As a renowned international financial center often described as New York City on steroids, Hong Kong has not only attracted an abundance of travellers each year—it has also attracted many specialists and talents around the globe. Due to its location, low taxation, and vibrant city life, the number of expats working in Hong Kong has remained high since the handover in 1997.

Hong Kong City

Although English is one of the official languages of Hong Kong, Cantonese is the most widely spoken language in Hong Kong. Many local businesses and companies prefer candidates who can speak Cantonese, and several expats have reported that their Chinese language skills have helped them in their career advancement or job search. It’s a good idea to learn Cantonese, whether to open up more opportunities during your job search, or to enrich your experience in Hong Kong. If you want to know more about Cantonese or want to start learning the language itself, visit CantoneseClass101.com to find out more. When finding a job in Hong Kong, it’s always a good idea to have a good grasp of the culture and language.

Start with a bonus, and download the Business Words & Phrases PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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Without further ado, here’s our guide on how to find a job in Hong Kong.

Table of Contents

  1. Working in Hong Kong
  2. Hong Kong Job Market Landscape
  3. Different Types of Jobs You Can Find in Hong Kong
  4. Bonus: A Hong Kong Work Day
  5. How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

1. Working in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Causeway Bay

As an international financial and cultural hub, Hong Kong has various job opportunities that can benefit your career development and advancement. Many well-known multinational companies have established regional offices in Hong Kong. HSBC reported in 2015 that expats in Hong Kong have the best career progression and greatest earning potential.

Temple

Hong Kong is also famous for its low taxation and ample support for foreigners. As it’s home to many expats and talents from around the world, the city has many expat communities that offer guidance on things from where to live, what to do with spare time, and how to pick the right school for your children.

Here are some examples of sites that may be helpful for foreigners finding jobs in Hong Kong:

Bus

Convenience is also a key that sets Hong Kong apart from other large cities. Hong Kong has extremely modern and functional transportation systems, including one of the largest international airports operated on a 24-hour basis, an efficient massive subway system where trains arrive every minute during rush hour, as well as taxis, buses, minibuses, ferries, and trams. It’s easy to go anywhere at anytime, be it a lavish restaurant by the seashore or a club after midnight. If you need to buy daily necessities, convenience stores are always around the corner and many are open 24/7.

A long-lived entrepot and once a colony of the British empire, Hong Kong has a diverse mix of culture that has fascinated travellers from around the globe. The interesting cultural dynamics here is rare and worth trying out yourself, through working and living in Hong Kong. The robust and cosmopolitan nightlife has also seduced the hearts of many foreigners. Read more at CNN Travel and Time Out Hong Kong to see what the vibrant city has to offer.

2. Hong Kong Job Market Landscape

Hong Kong has a low unemployment rate of 2.8% (Feb. to Apr., 2018) and a diversified workforce. There are a lot of expats and non-native speakers working in Hong Kong, but the job market for expats has tightened recently due to work permit regulations and increasing competition from local and mainland Chinese employees. In order to be competitive, you’ll need to demonstrate specialties and skills, a high degree of professionalism, and ample experience. It’s a plus if you know Cantonese.

Below are some Cantonese CV, resume, and interview tips to help you navigate through your job hunting:

  • Ensure that your CV is up to date and is tailored for the job you’re applying for.
  • If you’re not experienced in writing CVs and cover letters, you can seek professional services and advice. Check out Purple CV, The CV Centre, or CV Lizard for more information.
  • Prepare for more than one round of interviews in Hong Kong. Two to four, or even more, rounds of interviews are common.
  • Your prospective employer may know a lot about you—so don’t lie. Some Hong Kong employers research job applicants before the interview.
  • Don’t whine or criticize your former employers, bosses, or colleagues. Stay positive in interviews.

A visa is required for non-residents to work in Hong Kong. In order to get an employment visa, you’ll need a confirmed job offer and a sponsor. The sponsoring company must also prove that the job position cannot be filled by a local. Hence, the easiest way to start working in Hong Kong is via internal transfer with your current employer to its branch in Hong Kong. This not only saves you the difficulties that arise in searching for a new overseas job, but it also increases your chances of getting a work visa. To understand more about working in Hong Kong, visit the Hong Kong’s Government website.

The salary you will be getting varies widely depending on the job you are landing, ranging from around HKD 30K per month as an English teacher to around HKD50K per month for a mid-level manager role. The paycheck can go even higher if you are looking for a more senior position or a job that requires highly specialized skills. According to the HSBC Expat survey in 2016, expats in Hong Kong earned nearly USD 170,000 a year, which is much higher than the global average of USD 97,000. Read more about Hong Kong salary at Expat Arrivals.

3. Different Types of Jobs You Can Find in Hong Kong

There are four different types of foreigners-friendly jobs in Hong Kong. The most common one is being a language teacher or a coach (e.g. for football). The professional services fields, such as banks, financial institutions, and consultancies, have also enticed a huge amount of expats. A growing demand for professionals in both the Multimedia & Creative Industries and the Science, Technology & Innovation Industries suggests there are more vacancies available for expats in these fields.

1- Teaching

Teaching

You can either teach a language or a special skill in Hong Kong. The languages in highest demand are English, Japanese, and Spanish, but demand for other languages isn’t thin either. As for skills, the skills that you can teach in Hong Kong vary, but the ones in highest demand are usually sports-related, such as football or rugby coaches.

Vacancies in institutions such as local schools, international schools, language centers, etc., are the ones you should start looking for first, as it’s much easier to get a visa sponsorship from them.

There are many popular Cantonese job hunting sites you can leverage to find a language teaching job:

If visa isn’t a concern, you can also be a private or online tutor. Hong Kong has a robust private tutor market and the remuneration is usually quite satisfactory. Referral is more common in the private tutor market, but you can also check out the following websites:

2- Professional Services

Skyscrapers

While trying to find employment in Hong Kong, it may be helpful for you to know that the sector that hires the most expats is probably the financial services sector. Hong Kong is a renowned international financial center and many financial institutions have established offices in Hong Kong to gain a foothold in the region, and also as a gateway to the Mainland Chinese market. Large banks and multinational corporations are usually willing to hire expats for their expertise and experience. Other sectors such as accountancy, sales and marketing, consultancies, human resources, legal, logistics, and engineering welcome expats as well.

There are many search portals online to help you look for a suitable position in these fields:

You can also search for jobs directly at your targeted companies’ job search portals. Usually large corporations in Hong Kong have their own job search engines with user-friendly interfaces.

3- Multimedia and Creative Industries

Creative

Graphic designers, interior designers, and other positions in the multimedia and creative industries are in high demand as well. As both the Hong Kong marketplace and educational world tilt towards the business field, talents in the multimedia and creative industries are highly sought after.

To look for opportunities in this area, check out these Cantonese job search websites:

4- Science, Technology, and Innovation

Robot

As Hong Kong is repositioning itself as a smart city, there’s a growing demand for talents in the science, technology, and innovation industries.

You can visit the following Cantonese job seeking websites:

These portals not only list jobs that are technology-related, but they are also popular job search portals for other industries in Hong Kong in general.

4. Bonus: A Hong Kong Work Day

Want to have a glimpse of what a work day in Hong Kong will be like? Check out the video below to learn more about working and living in Hong Kong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN-mjcgYGj4

5. How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Knowing Cantonese will certainly lead to a more fulfilling experience in Hong Kong. It helps you to communicate with the locals effectively and opens up doors to cross-cultural friendships, or even romance. Read the articles below at CantoneseClass101.com to learn basic Cantonese knowledge now.

We also offer MyTeacher program where you can improve your Cantonese language skills to find a job and prepare for the interview under our teachers’ guidance.

With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, either through your mobile apps, desktop software, or even our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

We’ve delivered until now more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, abundance of vocabulary learning tools and spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

We hope you’ve learned plenty about jobs in Hong Kong for English speakers, as well as helpful information on the Hong Kong job market landscape. Happy job hunting, and good luck on your future Cantonese endeavors!

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Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

Learning A Language on Your Own

Can You Really Learn Cantonese Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn Cantonese or any language without traditional classroom instruction: CantoneseClass101 has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is CantoneseClass101 specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning Cantonese or any language alone.

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3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learning Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn Cantonese alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn Cantonese alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study Cantonese and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning Cantonese Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with CantoneseClass101

Learning with CantoneseClass101

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of Cantonese Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual Cantonese conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. CantoneseClass101 has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by real Cantonese instructors and every lesson is presented by professional Cantonese actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with Cantonese Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although CantoneseClass101 has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, CantoneseClass101 has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and Cantonese learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, CantoneseClass101 has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
  • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
  • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
  • Cantonese Dictionary with Pronunciation
  • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
  • And Much More!

Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn Cantonese alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn Cantonese on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

CantoneseClass101 is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, CantoneseClass101 makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.

And the best part is: With CantoneseClass101, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now and get a FREE ebook to help “kickstart” your dream of learning a language on your own below!

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Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational Cantonese well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real Cantonese conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple Cantonese greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational Cantonese as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak Cantonese faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real Cantonese people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more Cantonese conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational Cantonese. In fact, with just a couple hundred Cantonese words you could have a very basic Cantonese conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in Cantonese, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

CantoneseClass101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Cantonese

Learning Cantonese

For more than 10 years, CantoneseClass101 has been helping students learn to speak Cantonese by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational Cantonese fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Cantonese Instructors: CantoneseClass101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you Cantonese vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak Cantonese and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common Cantonese Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational Cantonese. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real Cantonese conversations or lessons is all it really takes. CantoneseClass101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak Cantonese and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!