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Looking at learning Basic Cantonese


eion_padraig
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So I'm living in Guangzhou and now after just over 2 years here I've decided to spend a bit of time learning Cantonese. My Mandarin is somewhere at the lower intermediate level in listening/speaking/reading/typing. I picked up a book Interesting Cantonese, which looks decent though it's from Hong Kong. I'm hoping to start with Cantonese focused on taxi driver/restaurant/directions/basic social interactions. So set phrases would be fine initially. I don't know if I'll devote the time and energy to get much past that stage.

 

Any particular recommendations for websites? Other books? 

 

I have quite a few Cantonese speaking friends (who I usually speak to in Mandarin or sometimes English) who are excited to help me practice here and there (I'm not expecting them to give me classes or anything that obnoxious).

 

Also, my Mandarin teacher is from Guangdong, so she has also taught Cantonese before to foreigners though I'm not sure I want to stop taking Mandarin classes with her and I don't know that I have time to add additional classes.

 

Eion

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Pleco now has two Cantonese dictionaries:

  • CC-Canto is basically a free add-on to CC-CEDICT, though it's still in beta stage. Canto-English. Also has an online version: http://cccanto.org/
  • 廣州話方言詞典 costs $20 and is Canto-Mandarin. Headwords are given in both trad and simp, but descriptions are only in trad.

Cantodict (http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/) is a free collaborative project and is Canto-English. Pleco doesn't offer it, but Hanping does as a standalone app (can't remember the price, I think it's around $5).

 

I'm not so sure about other stuff. I have a couple of textbooks, the one I'd recommend most is 初學廣東話 by 孔碧儀. The text (definitions, explanations etc.) is all in trad Chinese, though, so not sure if that's what you're looking for.

 

Disclaimer: My Cantonese is only beginner level, and I currently have little incentive to improve it (I live in Beijing). I have, however, used all of the above resources (except for the Hanping Cantodict app, though it looks like it has good reviews on the Google play store).

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I liked 大家嘅廣東話 Cantonese for Everyone when I used it (never finished...should probably pick it back up). Glossika's Cantonese course is quite good too, and I've been told by several native speakers that the speaker's pronunciation is excellent.

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Check out cantonese 101.com. There is a wealth of content there and you can listen to dialogues and individual sentences over and over with the click of a button so it is very convenient. It is free for a month and afterwards you would have to subscribe, but it might very well be worth it depending on how much progress you make.

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@Demonic_Duck thank you for the Hanping mention. Here are the relevant links to our app:

 

Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.embermitre.hanping.cantodict.app.pro

Amazon Appstore: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/dl/android?p=com.embermitre.hanping.cantodict.app.pro

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  • 4 weeks later...
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I'll also vouch for the Hanping Cantonese Dictionary app. It's really the only useful Cantonese resource for Android, at least. And it's well designed and easy to use. As much as I adore and depend on Pleco for Putongua, it does not translate English to Cantonese with actual Cantonese usage, but rather translates for Mandarin usage and gives the Cantonese pronunciation of those words.

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@LautauLarry - that's actually not true anymore; as @Demonic_Duck mentions we now have our own open-source Cantonese-English dictionary, CC-Canto. You can get it as a free Pleco add-on in the "Add-ons" screen in Pleco, or can download it from our website at cantonese.org and use it with whatever app you like.

 

We're hard at work improving CC-Canto - adding new entries, correcting existing ones, and tagging for colloquial / formal / spoken / written / old-fashioned usage (and adding some more Cantonese tags to our version of CC-CEDICT too) - but it's already proving very popular with our users.

 

We're also working to add some more Cantonese-specific information to our PLC dictionary, particularly for single-character entries. We also have a couple of other Cantonese dictionaries in the pipeline too, including a small but handy English-to-Cantonese one ("The Right Word in Cantonese") and an exciting new one that we're hoping will be released next year.

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There is a site learnchineseez who has phrases and audio in mandarin and cantonese. Also if you look down their opening page they have downloaded the FSI courses with both the books on pdf and audio. It is the full course and pretty extensive.  FSI ( foreign serves Institute) courses were developed for foreign service and civil service employees of the government. I think the courses are public domain now. They have created them in a massive amount of languages. Another site that host these sources is live lingua

 

Cheers

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