Rest assured, that, at Euroasia, we do make our Cantonese lessons as straightforward as possible.
You’ll probably be aware that Cantonese, like Mandarin, is written in characters, of which there are, well, a few thousand! Each character represents not a sound, but a word or an idea. But don’t be put off! You don’t need to learn the characters at the beginning of your study. After a while, you’ll start to recognise a few of the most common, but it is possible to represent Cantonese using our Latin alphabet, and this form is used in our courses. (Interestingly, the written form of Cantonese is pretty much the same as that of Mandarin – it’s just that when speakers of the two languages read the words, they produce completely different sounds!)
The pronunciation of Cantonese can be a bit of a challenge to start with.
It’s a tonal language, which means that what appears to us to be one word can have different meanings depending on the way the voice goes up and down as it’s spoken. Cantonese is generally regarded as having six tones.
The vocabulary of Cantonese is based on a fairly limited number of single-syllable words. Because Cantonese is not in any way related to English, it takes a while to get used to learning items of vocabulary. Bu the good thing is that the words are short!
The grammar of Cantonese is not the hardest aspect of the language; although it’s certainly quite different from that of English, it doesn’t have as many irregularities and special forms to learn as you would have, for example, in French or German. Once you get used to some basic ideas, you’ll find that you can actually say quite a lot!
At Euroasia, we really encourage you to speak Cantonese, right from the first lesson. The basics are not that hard!
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