Learn Cantonese
with Ling

Use our comprehensive lessons, conversation topics, and more to connect with those closest to you

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Why you’ll keep coming back to Ling

Interactive exercises

Improve your pronunciation by practicing your conversation skills with our app’s interactive chatbot!

Engaging activities

Practice your skills with mini-games or track your progress \with fun quizzes. You’ll never forget a grammar rule again

Mix of languages

Choose from over 60 languages, both big and small, and listen to audio from real native speakers.

Proven results

Backed by linguistic research, our learning methods can help you achieve fluency in record time.

Master 4 language skills in 10 minutes a day

1
1-3 minutes to learn new vocabulary
Select a language, lesson, and topic of study. Get introduced to new vocabulary and any relevant grammar tips.
2
3-5 minutes to review
Quick comprehension checks! You might be asked to match the photo with the word, sort the sentence, or match the cards together.
3
3-5 minutes to test your listening skills
Listen to the conversation between two native speakers. Next, fill in the blanks of their conversation accordingly.
4
Done!
Did that seem too easy? Don’t worry, Ling offers lessons for all 5 language levels, from beginner to advanced.

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Frequently asked questions about Learn Cantonese

How Long Does It Take To Learn Cantonese?

The length that it will take you to learn Cantonese depends on two factors, both of which we’ll be talking about shortly.

Cantonese is among one of the most complex languages to learn, much like Arabic and Japanese. If you have zero knowledge of Chinese and are a native English speaker, you may need to study for at least two to three years to become fluent.

According to the Foreign Service Institute, Cantonese is classified as a category IV language, meaning that it will take the average learner 2200 lesson hours to reach proficiency.

Now you know the first factor, let’s talk about the second factor, which is all up to you. Here are some factors that might affect someone’s ability to learn Cantonese:

Motivation Level

Perhaps the most crucial aspect in learning any skill is your motivation to learn. Your willingness to attend a Cantonese class online or practice the exercises will make or break your learning experience.

One way to help with this is to set an achievable goal, either daily or monthly so that you’re able to track your progress effectively.

Study Habits

Let’s face it – learning a new language is hard. Oftentimes, when we’re confused, we fall back on our native language to help us. All of this is hard to overcome, especially if you’ve set out to learn a language as difficult as Cantonese.

That’s why it’s so important to form good study habits early on in your language journey. By concentrating 3-4 hours per day on learning new vocabulary and developing your listening and speaking skills, you’ll start to see results. Remember not to study in sudden bursts with no regard for your goal! If you make a good study routine, learning Cantonese online should feel easier over time.

Is Cantonese Harder To Learn Or Mandarin?

This depends on who you ask, but let’s compare the two languages to get a better idea.

Cantonese shares many similarities with Mandarin, notably, both languages are present in Hong Kong, Macau, and China. However, Mandarin is considered the standardized version of Chinese with 1.1 billion native speakers worldwide. On the other hand, Cantonese has at least 80+ million native speakers worldwide.

Mandarin and Cantonese are both tonal languages, but many language learners find Mandarin easier to pronounce. Cantonese has a total of 58 finals, 19 initials, 9 sounds, and 6 tones. Whereas Mandarin only recognizes 23 initials, 35 finals, and 4-5 tones.

In addition to speaking, writing is also more difficult in Cantonese than it is in Mandarin. This is because Cantonese still uses the traditional Chinese writing system.

In the end, Cantonese does seem to require more time and effort to learn than Mandarin. However, this should only motivate you to study the language! Just because the language is difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

What Is The Fastest Way To Learn Cantonese?

Learning to speak Cantonese requires time and dedication since its vocabulary and tones are very distinct from other popular languages.

You can decrease your learning time significantly by taking a Cantonese language course, either online or in person. Many intensive courses can help you achieve the B2 level in as little as three months!

However, if you don’t have the time to attend a class or prefer learning on your own, here are some tips to make studying Cantonese faster.

  • Use flashcards to learn Cantonese characters
  • Watch Cantonese movies with subtitles to practice your reading and listening skills
  • Take at least 30 minutes a day to practice the different tones
  • Put sticky notes on objects you use every day with their Cantonese names
  • Set mini goals, either weekly or biweekly, to keep you on track
  • Download the Ling app for comprehensive Cantonese lesson plans, daily study reminders, and easy activities and exercises
How Hard Is Cantonese To Learn?

Cantonese is classified as a category IV language, according to the FSI, which means that you can anticipate complicated grammar rules, pronunciation, and much more. But, don’t let these factors get in the way of you learning Cantonese.

To help you out, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering learning Cantonese:

  • Grammar: Cantonese grammar rules don’t have tenses, gender rules, conjugations, and honorifics. Instead, additional words are needed to emphasize these grammar concepts. Cantonese also uses the same sentence structure as English, Subject-Verb-Object (SVO).
  • Vocabulary/Writing/Reading: Cantonese is very much logographic with their alphabet, which means a slight stroke difference or pronunciation change can completely alter the meaning of a word.
  • Speaking/Listening: Cantonese is a tonal language with anywhere between six to nine tones. This means learning Cantonese  will require a lot of repetition and mimicking.