Archive for the ‘Cantonese vs Mandarin’ Category

Mandarin or Cantonese?

This is a reply to one of our visitors, James S., a 1st year business student from Australia and am looking to study a language to further my eventual business career.

James, please send us your email address using this form at

These questions and answers may be interested to him:

Mandarin or Cantonese?

1.Which is the hardest?  Cantonese:  more tones to master, less learning materials, too many phonetic systems to pick from.

2. Which is more common? Mandarin:  more speakers, and it is the standard or official Chinese and even people in Hong Kong and other Cantonese speakers are learning it.

3. Which should I learn first?  If you have a choice, choose Mandarin.  If you have Cantonese girl friend and her parents speak Cantonese only. Then you have no choice but Cantonese :-)
The major differences between Mandarin and Cantonese
The differences between Mandarin & Cantonese
Althought Mandarin and Cantonese may share many Chinese characters, we can find
the following major differences between these two languages:

1. Very different pronunciation.
e.g. 你好(hello)
Mandarinní hǎo Cantonese: nei5 hou2
e.g. 火車(train)
Mandarin: huo3 che1 Cantonese: fo2 ce1
2. Mandarin 4 tones vs Cantonese 6 tones

Mandarin 師時史是 shī shí shĭ shì
Cantonese 師史試時市是 si1 si2 si3 si4 si5 si6
Mandarin 湯糖躺燙 tāng táng tăng tàng
Cantonese 湯躺燙糖 tong1 tong2 tong3 tong4
3. different characters or words are used
e.g. Engligh: I like him
Mandarin 我喜歡他
Cantonese 我中意佢
4. different word order
e.g. Engligh: I need to go first.
Mandarin 我要先走了。
Cantonese 我要走先了。

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Cantonese vs Mandarin

Is it a war between Cantonese and Mandarin or Cantnoese-speakers and Mandarin-speakers? Haha, no. This column is more of a bridge between.

As a fluent Cantonese and Mandarin speaker, I love both languages and the people who speak either or both. So often that I found lots of inefficient communication between the two native speakers who use the wrong pronunciation or expressions (different Chinese characters) that leads to misunderstanding.

I can help them, with my articles here, in a series. I wrote an articles about Cantonese and Mandarin more than 10 years and published here, which has made the #1 site about Mandarin and Cantonese differences in Google and other major search engines. If you are one of those searchers, I hope you will find my new articles or free lessons helpful. If you still have questions or request for new contents, please contact us.

My main purpose is to help beginners to choose the right Chinese language to begin with, or help Mandarin-speakers to learn Cantonese or Cantonese-speakers to learn Mandarin.

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Learn Cantonese

粵語角Cantonese Corner:
Learn Some Cantonese for fun!

Cantonese is spoken in Southern China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In SF Bayarea, Mandarin and Cantonese are the only two kinds of Chinese programs on TV and Radio. Early Cantonese emigrants, Cantonese pop songs, TV programs, and movies are major reasons for its influence in the Chinese communities.

Interesting enough, VOA (Voice of America) has programs of two Chinese languages: one is Mandarin or Putonghua(the official standard Chinese speech) and the other is Cantonese. The prime time Chinese news of Channel 26 in Bayarea is in Cantonese(7 to 8 pm) and the next hour is usualy bilingual, Cantonese and Mandarin (in different sound tracks with SAP for Mandarin). From this, we can see how important Cantonese is for the Chinese community.

Many people believe Cantonese is more colorful and you can learn Cantonese for fun and it will open a great window for you! After mastering this language you may find a new job, a loving Cantonese girl/boy friend who can cook you some great Cantonese soup or dishes. started the earliest Cantonese online lessons in 1996. We are going to celebrate our 15th anniversary by giving out 15 gifts to random users who have just registered.

Than you for all your support.

Great News!

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Differences Between Mandarin and Cantonese

Where Cantonese & Mandarin Are Spoken國語(国语) = National Language or Mandarin vs 粵語(语) = Cantonese

Mandarin (國語 or 普通話) is the official language in Mainland China and Taiwan and is used by most of the Chinese schools, colleges and unversities and in most of the TV programs, movies, and radio stations all over the country (even in Guangzhou or Canton where people speak Cantonese in their daily life.) Mandarin is one of the five official languages in the United Nations.

Even Hong Kong schools are switching to Mandarin education from its Cantonese education after or even a little before 1997 (when UK ended its colony status there.) RTHK has added a Mandarin radio station and lots of Mandarin TV programs.You can even get different languages spoken for the same programs in the same channel with a special device built in their TV sets. more on “Differences between the two Chinese languages”

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