I've been looking everywhere for a decite site that teaches Cantonese

December 12, 2009, 06:44 AM posted in General Discussion

I've been looking everywhere for a decite website that teaches Cantonese. So far I haven't found a single one!! I really want to learn and I was hoping that this site might have some Cantonese but it appears that there's only Mandarin here. I would become a huge fan of this site if there were a weekly Cantonese series teaching the basics/fundementals along with Cantonese-style pinyin. In fact, I would probably become a subscriber to this site just for that alone.

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December 12, 2009, 08:37 AM

Go to www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk

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December 13, 2009, 12:50 PM

As regards the Pimsleur Mandarin course, it was the first experience of learning Mandarin I had, before Chinesepod even existed I think. It's not for everyone perhaps, and is far from perfect, but I feel I gained a lot from it.

I still remember how I'd spend hours listening carefully to each lesson, to each segment which was to be repeated, and try to reproduce the sounds as faithfully as I could.

You certainly don't gain a vast vocabulary from it, but I believe it does teach good pronunciation to the patient learner, and lays a sound foundation for further study. Still worthwhile for a beginner in my opinion.

Chinese people just tend to laugh when they hear foreigners speaking Chinese badly (in my experience). This can be disconcerting, but I think it's seldom meant unkindly.

PS. Pinyin for Japanese, there's a novel idea waiting for some bright spark to figure out!

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December 12, 2009, 06:08 PM

Hi Xiaohu,

I've been to that site before. In my opinion, it's awful and hardly worth visiting

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December 12, 2009, 08:24 PM

jianpuzhai, I don't think it's all that great either. But it's the most complete resource on the web to learn Cantonese. Looks like you're going to have to get the Pimleur Cantonese series.

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December 12, 2009, 09:02 PM

I went online and checked out the Pimleur Cantonese series. The problem with that is it doesn't offer any sort of written supplement. People who purchase don't get to ever look at anything that goes with it (such as pinyin/English/Chinese characters) , and therefore it's not a good way to study- especially for visual learners. Besides that, it also costs over 300 dollars, which is really a lot to pay for a boxset of audio CDs. If they were interactive DVDs, like those of Rosetta Stone(which doesn't offer Cantonese), then that would be another story. Thanks for the suggestion, Xiaohu, but I have to pass on the Pimleur Cantonese series.  

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December 12, 2009, 11:32 PM


Pimsleur is the best!  Your goal is to learn to speak Cantonese right?  Don't worry that it doesn't contain jyutping or teach you to read, because your options out there are really limited.  Given everything that I know of, Pimsleur is going to be your very best option.

Perhaps the only option.

Pimsleur costs about the same as a yearly subscription to Chinesepod, and it's way less money that a year of Cantonese at College.

Like I said, your options here are extremely limited seeing as Cantonese is a dying language.

The only other thing I can think of is to try www.livemocha.com.  It's a site to match language exchange partners.  Sure everything is free, but you'll be completely at the mercy of the free time and focus of your language partner.  I tried it about a year and a half ago and found that the people I met on it were very flakey.  They would be very excited about language exchange for the first few weeks and then, slowly life would get in the way of language exchange.  Either that or it was a terrible case of 三分钟的热度.

Personally I would love for Praxis to start a Japanese and Cantonese site, but seeing that Cantonese is on the out and out, and the American love afair with all things Japanese has cooled off, I don't see it happening anytime soon. 

Please reconsider Pimsleur, it will get you speaking Canto in no time flat.  Trust me, it's worth the money.  

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December 13, 2009, 12:14 AM


There once was a texas gent named Clay,

With visions of a Canto-riffic day,

"For learning Canto, who gives a hoot?"

He asked, as he gave himelf the boot,





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December 13, 2009, 04:08 AM


I appreciate all your insight. I'll consider that product you mentioned, but since I'm sort of a visual learner, it might not suit my needs. I would love a Japanese site too!! I took a look at the Praxis languages available and I think that Chinese may be the only one that was a good idea. The others aren't "hot" languages. They're just not. Right now, east Asian languages are the most important; not: German/French/Spanish. And as for English, I think that's a language in which there are much better resources available (such as all of the English speaking humans that live all over the world and usually only speak English)

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December 13, 2009, 04:27 AM

You might also want to look at the FSI course.  It's not for everyone, but the price is right...

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December 13, 2009, 05:00 AM

Jianpuzhai, I totally agree with you, right now Asia is hotter than a drawer full of fire %u8682%u8681%uFF01CJK is the language mantra of the new century! Speaking of which, I wonder if Praxis is open to adding Korean? I personally would love to see Praxis put it's expertise to tackling Shanghainese, Sichuanese (Chongqing dialect), the Kunming dialect and Hokka. Maybe not fully indepth but perhaps a short intoductory series on each. Of course I know that's just wishful thinking.

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December 12, 2009, 01:12 PM

Well there once was a guy named Clay, and plans for a weekly show called "Cantoneasy". It was a good idea then, and would be an even better idea now.

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December 13, 2009, 08:01 AM

For what it's wortf, I completed the entire set of Pimsleur Mandarin. It didn't do squat for me. You learn far too few words for it to be useful. It also uses Spaced Repetition, but without input from the learner, making it much less effective than modern SR software.

As to CantoPod, I'd be all over it, but seeing how badly French- and ItalianPod is doing, I don't think we'll see any new pods in the near future, if at all.

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December 13, 2009, 08:23 AM

I will second Simon's comment regarding Pimsleur. I dropped it after about 15 lessons because it wasn't doing me any good.

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December 13, 2009, 08:47 AM

Hey guys,

I appreciate your input. I'm going to try out the FSI thing that vegabongpilgrim recomended. Thanks a lot for that, vegabondpilgrim.

As for the other languagepod sites that aren't doing well, I think it may be because they're far from in demand right now(especially Italion and Spanish). If I were to pick a handful of languages they would be(in no particular order) : Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Portuguese(because of Brazil and because it sounds dope).


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December 13, 2009, 10:23 AM

While I'm always pleased to hear of interest in Japanese, I've said before I don't think it's a language easily taught via podcast. User experience will be much more frustrating for beginners of Japanese than Mandarin I think.

Something Mandarin has that Japanese doesn't that benefits foreign learners is pinyin. If you learn pinyin under good guidance you will be able to reproduce the "correct" sounds of Mandarin. Romanized Japanese will not help you reproduce the sounds we want to hear people utter when they're speaking Japanese--whether or not they're native speakers (yes we're rather demanding in this respect).
Despite the difficulty many Japanese have with pronunciation when we learn foreign languages, we can't seem to help cringing at, find it difficult to be generous and tolerant of, heavily-accented Japanese. Unfortunate because that helps discourage many learners, but true.

What Japanese has that Mandarin doesn't is the phonetic characters hiragana and katakana, along with all the kanji that need to be learned. But because romanized is not a valid way to get the sounds of Japanese accurately, even newbies would have to begin learning to read and write immediately. This also helps daunt some would-have-been learners I suppose.

Students of foreign languages "only wanting to learn to hear and speak, not read/write" is something I have discovered since coming to CPod. We don't have that concept where I come from. I don't know how a native-speaker teacher at a JPod would react to JPoddies asking why romanized text can't be provided along with Intermediate-level lesson material.

Another thing, the use of honorifics in Japanese can be a pain to learn, but you really do need to learn them well if you're going to speak or write anything. It's quite different from English or Mandarin in this way. I know many Chinese learners of Japanese who find them difficult (it's cultural, not just linguistic). I would go so far as to say that someone who can't be bothered to get the honorifics down correctly may as well drop the idea of learning Japanese right now, because that can not be neglected.
If you do neglect, you will most certainly end up being impolite and misunderstood nearly every time you open your mouth, incurring anger when you are only trying to be friendly.

... all of the above notwithstanding, if interest is real, why not let Praxis know how much money you are willing to pay for it? If there is enough demand and enough revenue to sustain such a Pod, they would give it serious consideration wouldn't they?

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December 13, 2009, 10:31 AM

Hi Zhenlijiang,

I don't agree with most of things you just wrote and guess what...I don't care if Japanese people dislike hearing heavy accents. I don't care at all and it only makes me happy if I make people angry. How do you like that? (Please don't reply, I don't really want to hear back from you. No offence)


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December 13, 2009, 10:33 AM

Even rude people are entitled to their opinions, but you should read/listen more carefully if you're going to respond to someone.

Do I know you from somewhere?

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December 13, 2009, 10:52 AM

I do not think it is a good thing that we Japanese can be quite intolerant when people are making the effort to learn our language. I am saying that unfortunately, it is there in reality, in varying degrees.

And heavily-accented Japanese does not make us angry, we just can't help not liking it.
Rudeness does make people angry, and "rudeness" is very often the unfortunate result of not knowing the honorifics well. This doesn't just happen with foreigners. It happens more and more among us Japanese.

I think we can generally say that Chinese people are much more tolerant of "butchering" by foreign learners than we are. That's encouraging and makes learners of Mandarin want to do even better, makes Mandarin an even more popular language.

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December 13, 2009, 12:08 PM

Hi zhenlijiang

Just relax. I don't understand well why you think learning Japanese with a podcast is so difficult. Actually learning correct pronunciations/intonations by use of a podcast is not so easy because noboday corrects your bad pronunciations, but I think the same is, more or less, also true for other languages.

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December 13, 2009, 06:14 AM

Hi jianpuahai

I think you should've said this way,

Right now, east Asian languages are the most important for me; not: German/French/Spanish.