I’m a believer in not having to pay for something you can get for free, and learning Cantonese is no different. Especially if you’re in Hong Kong!
1. Download this free podcast off itunes: Naked Cantonese. It’s awesome. (I have no idea why it’s called Naked Cantonese…) Cecilie is a Norwegian lady on a mission to make Cantonese the world language! Each lesson covers a new, relevant, easy-to-understand theme. Her website is happyjellyfish, where you can find her youtube clips and much more. This woman really loves Hong Kong and China!
I see there are other Canto podcasts, but Cecile’s is the most fun.
2. Sign up for a free profile at My Language Exchange and native HKers looking to improve their English will contact you to do a language swap. Be sure to upload a photo (ten times more people contacted me after I uploaded a photo.) Here’s my L.E. inbox:
I had my first language exchange Sunday! Jessica’s an intellectual properties lawyer who wants to get better at communicating with her clients. She’s already at a fluent level of English, but was able to stop our convo and ask what a “slippery slope” was. I also said the word “period”, to make a point (like, “There’s no reason for that, period.”) She hadn’t heard that before.
As for me, I learned the word for “today”, but can’t remember it at the moment. And also a “how-ya-doin’?” type greeting: “Lay-di-maa.” I said it to Chip this morning. She was thoroughly impressed. Here we are with Ian (and his phone) at F.A.B.:
Is Ian serious having his phone out like that?! I don’t even know anymore. Honestly, I’ve just about had enough of Ian and his phone.
3. Be around people speaking Canto. Just having the TV on and trying to pick out sounds will help your brain. Every hundred words or so, I hear a word I recognize. Soon it’ll be every 50 words, then every 20, and so on. Oh, and pay attention in the elevator.
Prefixing anything with “naked” makes it more desirable. NYC’s Chinatown merchants do the same thing with other English words, like “good.” Which is why we have the Good Food Market and not the Bad Food Market.
Pingback: Cantonese versus Mandarin. | O hi, Asia!