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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Cantonese Pronunciation Guide.
In this series, you'll master Cantonese pronunciation. Proper pronunciation is essential in Cantonese, and in this series, you'll learn it in a fast, comprehensive, and easy way.
In this first lesson, you'll learn about the building blocks of the Cantonese pronunciation system that will help you in future lessons.
As you're probably quite aware, Cantonese doesn't use an alphabetical writing system like English does. Instead, it uses characters that are comprised of parts that depict physical objects or abstract ideas.
"Literacy in Cantonese requires the memorization of thousands of components and characters. As you can see, this can be quite daunting for new learners of Cantonese.
For example, if you were asked to pronounce this character, where would you even begin?"
"You'll pick up the writing system eventually, but since we're just focused on pronunciation, we need to skip them for now.
We need to start dealing with the sounds of Cantonese without the baggage of characters, and that's where the Cantonese jyutping comes in."
佛 (fat6)
Jyutping is the transcription of Cantonese using Roman letters. This makes learning Cantonese much easier, particularly for English speakers. As you begin to learn more characters and improve in Cantonese, you'll eventually rely less and less on romanization. But for now, it's a good place to start.
Now, let's have a look at all the sounds in Cantonese.
There are 22 consonant sounds, and 7 vowel sounds in Cantonese. You can form every single word in Cantonese by using these sounds.
Still seem complicated? Well how about this: of the 22 consonant sounds in Cantonese, you *already know* 21 of them. That's right, if you're a native English speaker, then you already make these sounds every day.
You can also ignore five of the vowel sounds for the same reason.
The only thing standing between you and perfect Cantonese pronunciation are two new vowel sounds and one new consonant sound. You can handle that!
Now let me introduce Teddy, who will be helping you to master these new sounds.
Hello my name is Teddy in Cantonese
Throughout this series, Teddy will be giving you native pronunciation examples for you to imitate. But for this first lesson, just sit back and listen to the unique sounds of Cantonese:
角 (gok3)
卡 (kaa1)
瓜 (gwaa1)
誇 (kwaa1)
唔 (m4)
五 (ng5)
班 (baan1)
拍 (paak3)
達 (daat6)
拖 (to1)
將 (zoeng1)
鏘 (coeng1)
阿 (aa3)
靴 (hoe1)
於 (jyu1)
In the next lesson, we'll look at the top 5 pronunciation mistakes Cantonese learners make. You'll want to make sure not to fall into these common traps.
After that, we'll start going through the vowels and consonants of Cantonese. This is your chance to learn how to correctly say all of the words you just heard.
We'll finish up the series by covering some special topics that will really make your Cantonese sound natural!
To close this lesson, here's a question for you.
Why is it important to spend time on learning proper pronunciation, even if you're already an advanced speaker?
The answer...
You will be understood, and this will help you build more confidence as you communicate in Cantonese. For beginners, you're creating a strong foundation to build on. And for more advanced students, this is your chance to improve your accent and lose any bad habits you may have picked up.
What is hard about pronouncing Cantonese to you? Tell us about it in the comments!
See you in the next Ultimate Cantonese Pronunciation Guide lesson!