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Lesson Transcript

Matt: Hi, everybody! Welcome back to CantoneseClass101.com. I'm Mattew.
Nicole: And I'm Nicole. 大家好 (daai6 gaa1 hou2)
Matt: Today we have help for your Cantonese studies!
Nicole: Yes we do.
Matt: Today we're going to tell you the best tools to help you learn Cantonese…besides us, of course, that is.
Nicole: Yes, these are the supplements for you!
Matt: Yep, think of these tools as like the hammer, nails, glue, wood, etc, that are going to help you build your Cantonese. Build it into a nice big…Cantonese pyramid of language…or something!
Nicole: Yeah, once you have these tools, imagine what you can do, Matt…
Matt: Yes, you can totally fool people into thinking you can read and write Cantonese. I mean that in itself is a great party trick and side benefit while learning Cantonese.
Nicole: Yeah, our tool can even make Cantonese websites readable, even if you can't read Cantonese!
Matt: Which is great, because that way you can dive right into the Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong scene, or wherever Cantonese-spoken regions are, without even being there.
Nicole: Plus we'll show you how to get instant translations and Jyutping transcriptions for characters, learn Cantonese words a lot faster, and retain more vocabulary.
Matt: Now, the tools - some are slightly tech-oriented, others are just tried and true methods.
Nicole: Yes, but use the tools! They will help a lot.
Matt: Even if you just try out one or two, and find the one that suit you the best, it's going to bring a lot of benefit. We know because we've been there!
Nicole: The best part is, you can come to CantoneseClass101.com and share and learn what has worked for other students like you.
Matt: That’s right, we have learners from all over the world with all different styles. From the Bill Gates of learning Cantonese to the bookworm who doesn't like computers…there is someone in our community that relates to your style of learning, and we can all give each other tips.
Nicole: So come and say hello and make some language-learning partners.
Matt: Okay, now, number one…what is the number one thing you're going to need Nicole?
Nicole: A Cantonese dictionary!
Matt: Yeah, sorry guys. That was a bit anti-climactic, perhaps.
Nicole: Anti-climactic, maybe, but necessary.
Matt: However! What we do have for you are some very exciting dictionaries.
Nicole: Right, there are some surprising new forms out there that won't make your school bag any heavier.
Matt: Number two is a website called Adsotrans, that does everything from translating to converting to Jyutping.
Nicole: Another one, number three, is a strange sounding one.
Matt: Yes, called Cantonese pera-kun – sounds strange but you’re going to love it. Number four is an old standby, watching Cantonese movies.
Nicole: Oh I love that!
Matt: And last but not least, character writing software for your computer – great for those who are calligraphy challenged like me!
Matt: So, a Cantonese dictionary. This is like what, the hammer?
Nicole: Yeah. The most essential tool anyway!
Matt: Okay, yes, we know that you are thinking 'obviously.' But here are what we think are the best ones, and maybe some specialized forms of Cantonese dictionaries you’ve never heard of.
Nicole: So, of course you can choose the paper form.
Matt: But these are heavy and tedious. Looking up Cantonese characters is not an easy task, especially manually.
Nicole: So there are some more choices. Therefore, there are some great tools that have been created to make it easier.
Matt: One really popular one is the Pleco Dictionary for the Palm.
Nicole: These programs allow you to mouse over a character and instantly see its Jyutping and English definition.
Matt: Yes, so when you're staring blankly at your restaurant menu wondering how to know if that is chicken, cat, or frog, with a little finger finesse you can find out instantly.
Nicole: Yes, if you used a paper dictionary you might have a very impatient waiter, or paper cut.
Matt: Or worse, give up and just randomly point…scary…
Nicole: So try the Pleco if you have a palm device.
Matt: Though you might get your palms a little greasy.
Nicole: Eww.
Matt: On a side note, part of what makes Pleco so great, is the awesome Cantonese dictionary that it’s based on.
Nicole: Yes, you can buy it in book form too. It's available online or in language-learning bookstores.
Matt: Okay, now tool two is also an online help.
Nicole: Yes, it's called Adsotrans – inevitably, like everything in life these days, your learning process is going to be somewhat online, and you can't really avoid it.
Matt: Therefore, faced with characters you don't know on the screen, you are not alone. There is help!
Nicole: You can find it at www.adsotrans.com, and basically, what it is, is an incredible online super-dictionary.
Matt: You just cut and paste in any Cantonese text and let Adso analyze. Then you mouse over the results to see what the words mean and how to pronounce them.
Nicole: You can also use Adso to translate text directly from Cantonese to English.
Matt: Plus, it too has very thorough definitions, often even for slang or the more current terms, as it's constantly being updated.
Nicole: This is great to use when you are wanting to decipher some text in Cantonese, or to romanize your Cantonese.
Matt: Okay, speaking of the internet, tool three is a great way to jump into Cantonese.
Nicole: Yes, it's Cantonese Pera-kun.
Matt: So imagine – what could be cooler than being able to read Cantonese blogs, Cantonese newspapers…even buy things on the Cantonese Ebay…before you can actually read or speak Cantonese?
Nicole: Matt, you're talking crazy.
Matt: I know, but…it's true. All you need to do is download a plug in for Firefox called Cantonese Pera-kun.
Nicole: We will post a link to the plug in on the site, but its available at the Mozilla add-ons website. (link - addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/14843)
Matt: You just download and then install it, and drag its icon onto your navigation bar through View -> Toolbars -> Customize.
Nicole: Those are all great so far.
Matt: That’s right, but I think we need a 'techie' tools break. Let's get back to something more arts and crafts-y.
Nicole: Okay, like one of my personal favorite tools… Hong Kong movies.
Matt: Yep. No better way to burn Cantonese into your mind, or to reinforce what you have learned, through both visual and arbitrary stimulus.
Nicole: That’s right, you can choose both old-fashioned movies or modern movies.
Matt: Yes, you can buy the latest movies, or you can even download some of the old Hong Kong flicks off the internet.
Nicole: And you can put it in your iPhones too.
Matt: It makes it really convenient to use any spare moments. Guaranteed to push your Cantonese to the next level faster.
Nicole: Okay, now, back to the computer.
Matt: Yes, because it can help you to write Cantonese characters…even when you cannot.
Nicole: So, tool five – Cantonese association character writing software.
Matt: Now, with the help of all your tools, chances are you're going to be ready to want to start chatting with your newfound Cantonese friends online.
Nicole: Or bid on the Cantonese Ebay!
Matt: Yes, so how are you going to write to someone in Cantonese? This is what Cantonese Association's Jyutping input thingy will do for you.
Nicole: That’s right, you can use jyutping and it will help you choose the correct characters.
Matt: Yes, it has lots of good features. For example, it allows you to type out strings of words as long as you want. It's incredibly intuitive.
Nicole: All that means a really convenient way of typing Cantonese. If you don't have it, you can get it at the Cantonese Association website (www.cantonese.asia/ime/EasyCan3-Setup.exe).
Matt: All these things are great; I've used them all. But I do have to say that there is one last thing that I want to mention.
Nicole: What is that?
Matt: That is, the humble notebook and pen. So many uses, but I'll share my tip. Every time you hear a word, learn a word, or find yourself lacking a word that you need to know, write it down.
Nicole: Yes, otherwise you won't retain as much.
Matt: Yes, and the next time you are with someone Cantonese, you can ask them "How do you say such-and-such?" or “what does this mean?”, then just study the words whenever you pull out the notebook.
Nicole: Yes, it's a really good supplement.
Matt: It's really going to take your Cantonese to the next level.
Nicole: That’s right! So those are the top five tools for learning Cantonese.