Cantonese is considered to be the Chinese Traditional language. It’s spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, Guang Zhou, and Southern parts of China in that locality.
Why Is There No Cantonese on Duolingo?
At the moment, Duolingo uses the Mandarin Chinese as its Chinese language. The reason why Cantonese doesn’t have its own section is probably that many people think that it’s too similar to Mandarin. However, I found out that the two of them maybe share the written component but the spoken form is significantly different. So, Cantonese speakers cannot understand Mandarin without any study and vice versa.
Also, there are many people that think it’s enough to have just an option to learn Mandarin instead of Cantonese since it’s more useful. I simply can’t agree with that since has utility as well. I mean, it sure has more use in learning Cantonese then High Valyrian and Klingon language -both of them can be found on Duolingo purely for entertainment reasons.
I think chances are high that there will be no Cantonese on Duolingo lessons on Duolingo in the near future.
Why Is Having Cantonese On Duolingo Important?
Everyone who thinks that Cantonese doesn’t need its own course on Duolingo is wrong. Let me defend my point of view here.
The fact is that Cantonese, as well as Mandarin speakers, need to study the other language in order to communicate with each other. I know that because I have a Chinese friend who studied Mandarin Chinese but grew up speaking fluent Cantonese.
She lives away from Chine for almost 25 years and now she only knows basic phrases in Cantonese. That made her very sad because she couldn’t speak freely with her family on her mother tongue. So, my friend is highly interested in refreshing her Cantonese and very disappointed because she can’t do it using Duolingo.
If you ask her (and me), having no Cantonese On Duolingo is a huge minus.
What Are The Alternatives To Duolingo?
I am glad you asked. There is one very obvious recommendation that can be made here, and that is the Ling Cantonese app. Ling uses native Cantonese speakers to help you learn Cantonese just like it will sound in the country.
Through the gamification of learning, it also makes the whole process much more engaging. You can see yourself progress as you make your way through the different topics and tests that come along with it.
Then there is the chatbot feature that simulates conversations and makes for great practicing your Cantonese language skills. For an introvert like me, it helps to build up my courage to eventually feel confident enough to use it when out and about.
While these mobile apps do share a common goal of making language learning fun and accessible, what sets Ling apart is the focus on practical vocabulary, sentences, and phrases that you will use in everyday speech.
This one is actually a part of the same family as Ling. Simply Learn Cantonese is a phrasebook in app form, giving you all the benefits that come with that. You can listen to the words and phrases being spoken by native Cantonese speakers, along with the Cantonese and phonetic spellings of the words.
It makes for a great companion both when practicing and when you are in Cantonese. It makes use of flashcards and the spaced repetition learning technique that is said to really improve language learning.
It may not be the top choice if you want a deep understanding of the language but helps you start out with pronunciation and basic grammar like word order.
There are quite a few different apps and websites that work great with helping you to learn Cantonese. Each one goes about its own way to replace the hole made by the lack of Cantonese in Duolingo. Ultimately, it is a case of finding which option works best for your case.
Like we said before, it is good to make a language learning plan and mix things up if you are serious about learning Cantonese. If you are just looking for a more casual experience to learn a few phrases before traveling, then apps might be the best option for you.