As an official language of Hong Kong spoken by 62 million people worldwide, Chinese Cantonese holds an important place in the world. If you’ve become interested in delving into the language and learning Chinese Cantonese but don’t have the time or desire to enroll in a traditional class, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with some of the best opportunities and resources to learn Chinese Cantonese in less traditional ways.
Learn With a Partner
Just because you’re not in a classroom doesn’t mean that you can’t have the valuable guidance that a knowledgeable instructor can give to you. Consider finding a learning exchange partner with whom you can learn from—for free. The idea is that everyone has teachable skills, so instead of hiring a tutor to teach you, why not teach each other and pay in time? If you’re afraid that you don’t have any skills, think about the languages you speak—English is the most sought after language to learn in learning exchange! Check out the users on LRNGO to connect with a learning exchange partner for free. You can find someone near you and meet at the library or a local coffee shop, or connect with people anywhere in the world with video chat.
Learn Through Immersion
This may seem like an obvious one, but there are tons of opportunities for you to travel the world and get valuable experience living with Chinese Cantonese for the cost of a plane ticket. Sites like Helpx and WWOOF provide tons of opportunities for you to volunteer all around the world. Search through listings that seek volunteers to work on organic farms, bed and breakfasts, renovations, and more for room and board, meaning that all you have to be responsible for is a plane ticket and your time. The length of stay varies, so opportunities are flexible. This is a great option because it allows you to be surrounded by the language and culture surrounding Chinese Cantonese and help connect you with others across the world.
Learn On Your Own
If you’re looking to strengthen your skills on your own, there are tons of online resources that will give you the foundational skills to work with Chinese Cantonese.
Omniglot has a great resource list of Cantonese phrases to help you get started communicating and a Cantonese characters list for the basics. The site also gives references to other useful sites for Cantonese language learners.
Learn Cantonese gives you access to tons of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation resources that will surely prove useful for beginners.
Cantonese Class 101’s YouTube Channel offers a variety of topics within the realm of learning Cantonese in a helpful video format, including the playlist "Cantonese Lessons in 3 Minutes", giving you no excuse for not having enough time to learn.
Podcasts are another great way for you to learn on your own as you can listen to them as you do other daily activities. Next time you’re on your drive home from work, play a Naked Cantonese podcast, which gives you a free subscription to 200 podcasts that help you learn to deal with a variety of situations or check out Cantonese Class 101’s podcast which offers podcasts for beginner and intermediate level students.
Chinese Cantonese can prove to be a demanding subject; using a Chinese tutor to assist can speed up the process and considerably aid the student. In learning any foreign languages, it takes time to learn to think, process information, and speak the new language. Hiring a Chinese tutor for private Cantonese lessons requires you find a trustworthy person or source agency to work through. Ultimately, the person you hire must be worth the investment of time and money in order to teach the valuable skills required in learning a foreign language such as Cantonese.
There are many excellent online Chinese tutor agencies, as well as Au Pair, Childcare, Nanny, housekeeper and personal assistant agencies to choose from. Other options for learning foreign languages such as Mandarin and Cantonese are promoted at a variety of schools and colleges across the country. Programs such as those taught at Cactus Worldwide Ltd with schools in New York, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto offer both traditional foreign language courses in Mandarin and Cantonese and provide services that include a Chinese tutor. A number of college campuses and alternative elementary schools offer Cantonese language immersion programs.
Cantonese can be a demanding and challenging language to master which makes using a Chinese tutor more beneficial. Agency costs range from expensive to reasonable as different agencies will set various rates. University students will often hire out as part-time tutors with less expensive rates and more flexibility.
There are also other interesting ways to learn foreign languages such as Cantonese. For example, you can use a live online lesson or classes. Many schools also have an available Chinese tutor online which can be a great way to build your confidence, language and thinking fluency, and Cantonese vocabulary while having the flexibility of a home learning environment with variable hours.
Photo Credit: Phil Wiffen