Cantonese is a Chinese dialect originally spoken in Guangdong Province and the surrounding area. It is the most common form of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong and is also widely used in Macau, Malaysia, and Singapore. Cantonese has been around for centuries – it first appeared in written form in the 9th century AD.
Why it’s worth Learning Cantonese
There are many reasons why most people choose to learn Cantonese. Also, there are several reasons why deciding to learn Cantonese might be a good idea for you. Here are five of the main reasons:
Cantonese is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world
There are over 60 million speakers of Cantonese in China alone. With this many speakers, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find someone who can help you practice your Cantonese skills wherever you go.
It is a very versatile language
Cantonese is a very versatile language – it can be used for business, travel, or pleasure. If you know how to speak Cantonese, you’ll be able to communicate with a large number of people in many different parts of the world.
Learning Cantonese can improve your Mandarin skills
Since Cantonese and Mandarin are both forms of Chinese, learning Cantonese can actually help improve your Mandarin skills. Cantonese and Mandarin share a lot of similarities vocally, so by learning Cantonese, you can better understand how Mandarin works.
There are many opportunities to use your Cantonese skills when traveling
Asia is full of destinations known for their large Chinese populations (such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Macau). Knowing how to speak Cantonese can be extremely helpful when traveling to these countries since most of the population will only be able to communicate with you in this language.
Many famous people around the world speak Cantonese
Some famous people who speak or have spoken Cantonese include Bruce Lee, Andy Lau, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh. This means that by learning this language, you may receive some additional benefits beyond just being able to communicate with people in Asia.
How to Learn Cantonese
Considering all of the reasons why it might be worth learning Cantonese, how can you go about getting started? Here are a few tips:
Find a tutor or class
One of the best ways to learn any language is through a structured course or class. This will give you access to expert teachers who can help guide you through the language learning process.
Use online resources
If you’re unable to find a local class or want to supplement your learning, there are many great online resources available for learning Cantonese. These include websites that offer free lessons and paid online courses.
Use audio and video resources
Another great way to learn Cantonese is by using audio and video resources. This can include listening to Cantonese podcasts, watching Cantonese TV shows and movies, or even listening to Cantonese music.
Get involved with the local Cantonese community
If you have the opportunity, getting involved with the local Cantonese community can be a great way to improve your language skills. This can involve attending Cantonese cultural events, meeting with local Cantonese speakers, or even studying with a tutor who is from the local community.
The best way to improve your language skills is through regular practice. This doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate hours every day to your studies – you can spend just 10-15 minutes each day studying new words and phrases or even practicing what you’ve already learned.
What can you do with Cantonese once you’ve learned it?
If you’re thinking about learning Cantonese, there are several things that might motivate you. These include being able to communicate with friends or family who speak this language, being able to read signs written in Cantonese on your next trip (or while traveling on the subway), and even understanding how people from Hong Kong talk (since they speak a lot like people who speak Cantonese).
But of course, one of the most important things that come with learning a new language is the ability to use it in practical situations. So, what can you do with Cantonese once you’ve learned it? Here are six ideas:
Use it to order food at restaurants
One of the most common things that people do with a new language is use it to order food at restaurants. This involves knowing how to say the name of the dish that you want and any specific ingredients or modifications that you might want.
Use it to ask for directions
If you’re lost and need help finding your way, using Cantonese to ask for directions can be extremely helpful. This entails knowing how to say basic phrases as “Where is the bathroom” or “Which way is the subway?”
Use it to chat with friends and family
If you have Cantonese speakers in your life, speaking this language can help deepen your friendship. Having a common language that you can use to converse with someone will allow for more opportunities for communication. If you want to be able to speak with people from Hong Kong, learning Cantonese is a must.
Use it while traveling around Asia
Knowing how to communicate in both English and Cantonese can open up many doors when it comes to traveling around Asia – especially if you plan on visiting China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. Since most of these countries have large populations of Cantonese speakers, being able to speak this language can be helpful when looking for directions or asking questions.
Use it in business settings
If you’re planning on working in China or Hong Kong, learning Cantonese is a good idea. This is especially the case if you want a job that involves doing business with native speakers or speaking directly to customers. These situations will require that you know how to communicate fluently in Cantonese.
Use it while watching TV shows and movies from Hong Kong
While not everyone might have access to Chinese entertainment channels, many of the top US cable providers make it easy to watch television from anywhere around the world. If you want to learn more about Asian culture by watching TV, using Cantonese is the best way to do it. That’s because most of the shows shown on these channels are in Cantonese.
Do you want to learn Cantonese but are unsure where to start? At Lingo, we offer a Cantonese training course that will teach you the basics of this language and equip you with the skills you need to start speaking it in no time. Contact us now to learn more about our Cantonese classes and how they can help you. Call: +65 62533320
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