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Learn the Cantonese Alphabet from A to Z!

Learning to speak a new language is exciting; learning to write a new language is even more exciting! It will open new worlds for you. So, dig into these tips and advice for learning how to master the Cantonese alphabet easily - at CantoneseClass101 we make it easy, fun and relevant for you!

Starting anything from scratch can be challenging, especially if you learn how to write in a language completely different from your own. It is really like navigating through a territory that is completely unknown to you.

However, this need not be a big hurdle or a problem! At CantoneseClass101, we introduce you to Cantonese writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Cantonese alphabet completely from the start.

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Cantonese!

If you want to master the Cantonese language and become fluent, you must learn the Cantonese alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on..

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Cantonese learning beginners!

FREE Cantonese eBook

Download your FREE Cantonese practice sheets PDF today and learn the Cantonese language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Introduction

Chinese Uses Written Characters Known as 漢 字 [汉字] (hon3 zi6)

Traditional Chinese has been used for thousands of years. The traditional script is often considered extremely complex, but it is really a work of art that builds tens of thousands of characters representing different words from a few hundred simple pictographs and ideographs assembled in different combinations. In Cantonese, the traditional character script is called faan tai ji (繁體字), which translates as “complex characters.” In contemporary Chinese around between three and four thousand characters are in common usage.

Smaller “picture” components within characters combine to create larger characters. Some of these smaller pictures within characters give hints as to the meaning and pronunciation of individual characters (though not always). The first Chinese characters were pictures of simple objects like “man,” “hand,” “foot,” “mountain,” “sun,” “moon,” and “tree.” Then logical combinations of simple characters into more complex formulations followed in the Han Dynasty when the modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first took form. They have been commonly used since the fifth century.

In 1949 the Chinese government introduced and promoted simplified Chinese to improve literacy rates. Mainland China adopted the modern version of simplified characters, while Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan continued to use the traditional script. In overseas Chinese communities, traditional Chinese is still commonly used. In Australia, USA, and Canada, most printed Chinese materials are still distributed in the traditional character form.

Elements that Make up a Chinese Word

When written on the page, each character takes up exactly the same amount of space, no matter how complex it is or how many strokes it contains. There are no spaces between characters, and we do not group together the characters that make up compound words. So when reading Chinese, you have to figure out what individual characters mean and how to pronounce them. Then you need to figure out which characters are put together into which words.

Cantonese Romanization

The Cantonese language has three types of Romanization systems. Most native Cantonese speakers are not familiar with any romanization system however, and schoolchildren in Hong Kong and Guangdong are not taught any romanization system. Hong Kong people have adopted a loose unnamed romanization system which was developed by the Hong Kong government.

Cantonese Jyutping Chart

Cantonese uses a “phonetic system” called jyutping to aid learners of Cantonese in pronunciation. This jyutping uses roman letters to represent Cantonese sounds.

b
p
m
f
d
t
n
l
g
k
ng
h
gw
kw
w
z
c
s
j
i
mi1
di
ti
ni1
li1
wi
zi1
ci1
si1
ji1
ip
dip1
tip1
nip1
lip1
gip1
kip
hip1
zip1
cip1
sip1
jip1
it
bit1
pit1
mit1
dit1
tit1
nit
lit1
git1
kit1
ngit1
hit1
zit1
cit1
sit1
jit1
ik
bik1
pik1
mik1
dik1
tik1
nik1
lik1
gik1
gwik1
kwik
wik1
zik1
cik1
sik1
jik1
im
dim1
tim1
nim1
lim1
gim1
kim1
him1
zim1
cim1
sim1
jim1
in
bin1
pin1
min1
din1
tin1
nin1
lin1
gin1
kin1
hin1
zin1
cin1
sin1
jin1
ing
bing1
ping1
ming1
fing
ding1
ting1
ning1
ling1
ging1
king1
hing1
gwing1
wing1
zing1
cing1
sing1
jing1
iu
biu1
piu1
miu1
diu1
tiu1
niu1
liu1
giu1
kiu1
hiu1
ziu1
ciu1
siu1
jiu1
yu
zyu1
cyu1
syu1
jyu1
yut
dyut1
tyut1
lyut1
gyut1
kyut1
hyut1
zyut1
cyut1
syut1
jyut1
yun
dyun1
tyun1
nyun1
lyun1
gyun1
kyun1
hyun1
zyun1
cyun1
syun1
jyun1
u
fu1
gu1
ku1
wu1
ut
but1
put1
mut1
fut1
gut
kut1
wut1
uk
uk1
buk1
puk1
muk1
fuk1
duk1
tuk1
nuk1
luk1
guk1
kuk1
nguk1
huk1
zuk1
cuk1
suk1
juk1
un
bun1
pun1
mun1
fun1
gun1
wun1
ung
ung1
bung1
pung1
mung1
fung1
dung1
tung1
nung1
lung1
gung1
kung1
ngung1
hung1
zung1
cung1
sung1
jung1
ui
bui1
pui1
mui1
fui1
gui1
kui1
wui1
e
e1
be1
pe
me1
fe
de1
ne1
le1
ge1
ke1
he
ze1
ce1
se1
je1
ep
gep1
ek
bek1
pek1
dek1
tek1
lek1
kek1
hek1
zek1
cek1
sek1
em
lem1
eng
beng1
peng1
meng1
deng1
teng1
leng1
geng1
heng1
zeng1
ceng1
seng1
jeng1
ei
ei1
bei1
pei1
mei1
fei1
dei1
nei1
lei1
gei1
kei1
hei1
sei1
eu
deu1
eot
deot1
neot1
leot1
zeot1
ceot1
seot1
eon
deon1
teon1
leon1
zeon1
ceon1
seon1
jeon1
eoi
deoi1
teoi1
neoi1
leoi1
geoi1
keoi1
heoi1
zeoi1
ceoi1
seoi1
jeoi1
oe
doe1
toe1
goe1
hoe1
zoe
oek
doek1
loek1
goek1
koek1
zoek1
coek1
soek1
joek1
oeng
doeng
noeng1
loeng1
goeng1
koeng1
hoeng1
zoeng1
coeng1
soeng1
joeng1
o
o1
bo1
po1
mo1
fo1
do1
to1
no1
lo1
go1
ko1
ngo1
ho1
gwo1
wo1
zo1
co1
so1
jo1
ot
got1
hot1
ok
ok1
bok1
pok1
mok1
fok1
dok1
tok1
nok1
lok1
gok1
kok1
ngok1
hok1
gwok1
kwok1
wok1
zok1
cok1
sok1
on
on1
gon1
ngon1
hon1
ong
ong1
bong1
pong1
mong1
fong1
dong1
tong1
nong1
long1
gong1
kong1
ngong1
hong1
gwong1
kwong1
wong1
zong1
cong1
song1
oi
oi1
doi1
toi1
noi1
loi1
goi1
koi1
ngoi1
hoi1
zoi1
coi1
soi1
ou
ou1
bou1
pou1
mou1
dou1
tou1
nou1
lou1
gou1
ngou1
hou1
zou1
cou1
sou1
ap
ap
dap
tap
nap1
lap1
gap1
kap1
ngap
hap1
zap1
cap1
sap1
jap1
at
at
bat1
pat1
mat1
fat1
dat1
tat
nat1
lat1
gat1
kat1
ngat1
hat1
gwat1
wat1
zat1
cat1
sat1
jat1
ak
ak1
bak1
pak
mak1
dak1
lak1
gak
kak
ngak1
hak1
wak
zak1
cak1
sak1
am
am1
bam1
dam1
tam
nam1
lam1
gam1
kam1
ngam1
ham1
zam1
cam1
sam1
jam1
an
an1
ban1
pan1
man1
fan1
dan1
tan1
nan1
lan
gan1
kan1
ngan1
han1
gwan1
kwan1
wan1
zan1
can1
san1
jan1
ang
ang1
bang1
pang1
mang1
fang1
dang1
tang1
nang1
lang
gang1
kang1
ngang
hang1
gwang1
wang1
zang1
cang1
sang1
ai西
ai1
bai1
pai1
mai1
fai1
dai1
tai1
nai1
lai1
gai1
kai1
ngai1
hai1
gwai1
kwai1
wai1
zai1
cai1
sai1
jai1
au
au1
bau
pau1
mau1
fau1
dau1
tau1
nau1
lau1
gau1
kau1
ngau1
hau1
zau1
cau1
sau1
jau1
aa
aa1
baa1
paa1
maa1
faa1
daa1
taa1
naa1
laa1
gaa1
kaa1
ngaa1
haa1
gwaa1
kwaa1
waa1
zaa1
caa1
saa1
jaa1
aap
aap1
daap1
taap1
naap1
laap1
gaap1
kaap
ngaap
haap1
zaap1
caap1
saap1
aat
aat1
baat1
paat
maat1
faat1
daat1
taat1
naat1
laat1
gaat1
kaat1
ngaat1
haat
gwaat1
waat1
zaat1
caat1
saat1
aak
aak1
baak1
paak1
maak1
faak
daak1
laak1
gaak1
kaak1
ngaak1
haak1
gwaak1
waak1
zaak1
caak1
saak1
jaak1
aam
aam1
daam1
taam1
naam1
laam1
gaam1
ngaam1
haam1
zaam1
caam1
saam1
aan
aan1
baan1
paan1
maan1
faan1
daan1
taan1
naan1
laan1
gaan1
kaan
ngaan1
haan1
gwaan1
kwaan
waan1
zaan1
caan1
saan1
aang
aang1
baang1
paang1
maang1
laang1
gaang1
ngaang1
haang1
gwaang1
kwaang1
waang1
zaang1
caang1
saang1
aai
aai1
baai1
paai1
maai1
faai1
daai1
taai1
naai1
laai1
gaai1
kaai1
ngaai1
haai1
gwaai1
kwaai1
waai1
zaai1
caai1
saai1
jaai1
aau
aau1
baau1
paau1
maau1
naau1
gaau1
kaau1
ngaau1
haau1
zaau1
caau1
saau1
m
m1
hm1
ng
ng1
hng1

Why is Learning the Cantonese Alphabet Important?

AlphabetA language’s alphabet is its building blocks. Trying to learn how to write in Cantonese without first learning its alphabet is a bit like trying to build a brick house without touching the individual bricks! It is impossible to do a good job that way. So don’t believe language schools and methods that try to teach you otherwise. You will regret it later.

Also, once you start recognizing symbols and words, you will be encouraged by your own progress and motivated to learn even faster. Even just learning the basics of the alphabet will allow you to start recognizing simple Cantonese words, and it will feel great!

Furthermore, knowing the alphabet even helps with pronunciation, as learning the individual letters of any language will start uncovering nuances and intricacies that are not always apparent when you’re simply listening to the words.

Completely mastering the Cantonese alphabet, no matter how long it takes, will give you an excellent head start in learning how to write and read the language. It will offer you a solid foundation on which to build the other language skills, so set a goal to learn the alphabet so well that you’re able to recite it in your sleep!

Read on for helpful tips and secrets to learning the Cantonese alphabet quickly and effectively.

How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Cantonese

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Cantonese!

If you want to master the Cantonese language and become fluent, you must learn the Cantonese alphabet letters first. And you need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Cantonese learning beginners!

FREE Cantonese eBook

Download your FREE Cantonese practice sheets PDF today and learn the Cantonese language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely FREE!

3 Reasons to Learn Cantonese Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Cantonese lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Cantonese through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve download the Cantonese lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Cantonese using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Cantonese Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Cantonese lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Cantonese lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Cantonese using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Cantonese at CantoneseClass101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

Secrets to Learning the Cantonese Alphabet Fast

SecretWith a language, like with anything you have to learn from scratch, having a few mnemonic devices handy are key to learning it fast. A mnemonic device is basically any method or technique that helps you to retain or commit something to memory more easily.

Here are a few mnemonic devices to memorize the Chinese characters so you can speed up learning how to write in Cantonese.

① Find and Learn an Alphabet Song or Poem in Cantonese

Can you still remember your childhood alphabet song in your own language? The best way to commit it to memory so you can recite it is still your mom or first teacher’s way - with music, a song and/or a poem! Find a recording and learn to sing the song, or recite the poem along as best as you can. Ask your CantoneseClass101 teacher to help you understand exactly what you are singing or saying, and soon you’ll have reciting the alphabet under your belt! Repeat it out loud as often as possible.

However, you still need to learn how to write it.

② Study a Few Letters At a Time

Remember when you were young and learning to write for the first time? You didn’t start with words or sentences; you started with letters, one at a time!

Decide on tackling only a few letters each week, and then don’t move on from these till you are completely familiar with them. Don’t take on too many at once, or you may become discouraged. Also, remember to ask your teacher at CantoneseClass101 if you have questions!

Learn to incidentally spot the letters in books, road signs (If you’re living in the country), magazines, on TV, anywhere you encounter written Cantonese. Remember to write them out!

③ Write Out the Letters of the Alphabet By Hand

Make it a goal to write out your week’s letters at least once a day, and commit to this goal. You can also do it every time you have a free moment. Get yourself a special notebook for this purpose that you can carry with you anywhere you go. Sitting on the train or bus? Waiting for someone somewhere? Whip out your notebook and write the Chinese characters, or the letters you are learning. Aim for about 20 repetitions, while silently saying the letter in your head as you write it out. This way, you will soon be able to form and write words all by yourself! Exciting, isn’t it?

Writing something down with a pen also seems to engrave it in the brain in a way that nothing else does. As an added benefit, it gives you the satisfaction of seeing a new language in your own writing!

Once you’ve mastered the whole alphabet, commit to writing it out in its entirety at least once a day, for at least one month. More repetitions are obviously better.

④ Involve Your Whole Body

Research has shown that the more senses and actions we use to learn something, the quicker the new information sticks in the memory and becomes habitual. To apply this principle while learning the Chinese characters, write out huge letters by tracing them in the soil, or with chalk on the floor. Now, while saying the letter out loud, walk on the lines you have just traced. In this way, you ‘write’ the letter by moving your whole body!

Having fun just makes it even easier to learn something, so why not ‘write’ the letters out with dance steps while moving to your favorite Hong Kong music!

This is a simple trick that seems silly, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will commit intricate letters to memory this way. It really works!

⑤ Use Associations To Memorize Letters

This technique would involve saying the Chinese letter out loud, and then thinking of a word in your own language that sounds the same as the letter. That would then create a phonic association that should make it easier for you to remember the letter. Better even if the association is something you can draw or picture.

If the script of the new alphabet is very different from your own, look at it closely, and see if you can find an image that the letter reminds you of

⑥ Now Have Fun Trying To Write Words!

Try to write words from your own language in Cantonese, and ask your friendly CantoneseClass101 teachers for feedback! Or post them on the forum and see if anyone can read them. You will be so pleased with yourself when you start writing words that are readable and recognizable by native speakers.

Related Lessons

How to Say Hello in Cantonese
Do you know how to say hello in Cantonese? It’s the most basic phrase that you’ll need to say and hear in everyday life. If you don’t know yet, learn 15 ways to say hello and greet others in Cantonese. Why 15? The more variations you know, the more you can speak and the more fluent you become!
How to Introduce Yourself in Cantonese
Can you introduce yourself in Cantonese? Don’t worry! Check out the 10 Cantonese Lines You Need To Introduce Yourself with this free Review Sheet. From “My name is…“ and “I live in…” down to “My hobbies are…” Just review the 10 lines. It will only take you 2 minutes. Then, introduce yourself in the comment section below!
Top Cantonese Phrases
How good is your Cantonese? Care to put it to the test? Here’s the deal! We’ve come up with this must-know Cantonese Phrases List. Learn the top 25 Cantonese phrases, hear the native pronunciation and put your Cantonese to the test. Did you know them all? If not, review the list and master these easy phrases!
How to Say Thank You in Cantonese
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Cantonese. It’s one of the most important Cantonese phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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