Cantonese is truly magical, a language with deep historical roots and traditional legacy. There are around 60 million native Cantonese speakers residing in Hong Kong, Macau, Southern China in Guangdong province, regions of Malaysia and in Chinatowns across the globe. Despite the rep it gets for being a difficult language to learn, with the correct approach and a strong commitment, you can make notable progress in a relatively short amount of time! Keep reading to find out our top suggestions on how to learn Cantonese Chinese language fast!
To get over the steep learning curve that comes with being introduced to the Chinese writing system, find a quality beginner’s guide that can help you learn the basics of speech first. Prepare to make a real investment of time to learn Cantonese Chinese characters, this is a long-term goal you can set for yourself but if you are planning a visit to China and would like to be conversational, this is the way to go. As long as your short term goal prioritizes the reading, listening and speaking aspects of language acquisition, it makes sense to focus a dialogue book that includes a Romanized transcript.
No matter what language you are learning, remember how critical it is to become obsessed with listening to it on a daily basis. Absorbing yourself in literature, films, music, etc. will allow your brain to become familiar to the nuances in tone and ultimately helps you retain more of what you learn.
There are a lot of sounds you have to hear countless times over and over again before it really molds into your memory. Always try to give yourself a challenge by listening to the dialogue by itself first to gauge how much you can recall without help from the transcript. You should also attempt to read and listen simultaneously as well once you have evaluated your progress. Also, it is very important to be on the lookout for the tone markers and pay careful attention to them while you listen.
Something you want to avoid is relying heavily on English descriptions. Make the commitment to hold yourself accountable to focus and learn every day, even if it is only one new word or phrase.
After successfully incorporating Cantonese Chinese into your daily life, the next step involves expanding your understanding of passive Cantonese vocabulary. A great way to put your vocabulary to work so you can start speaking what you’ve been learning is to start using flashcards.
In today’s age, there are countless apps you can download to your phone or laptop that let you customize flashcards for whatever you are trying to teach yourself. This is perfect so that when you are visiting China, your cards will be right on your phone! You should take a few minutes in the morning or whatever spare time you can come up with in your day to practice going over the words on your flashcards. Testing yourself with self-assessments has been proven to be one of the best ways to memorize and store information long-term.
A great tip to consider is writing out the whole sentence to give yourself some context when you find that you do not understand a word. When setting up the display, you should put Cantonese on one half of the flashcard and English on the opposite half. See how much you can remember by looking at the English side and seeing if you can recall the sentence in Cantonese. This is a great strategy because it makes your bring have to pull the answer out of its reservoir of knowledge which helps with being able to speak Cantonese. While you have conservations, you should tap into these same skills to make it easy to make connections.
When you find that there are some words that are more difficult for you to remember than others, it’s time to whip out the mnemonics. Mnemonics refers to associating a word to a specific object or picture. Your brain will form a connection between the new word and something that it is already familiar with or has experienced. This helps you to recall the new word next time because there is the association that now exists and the easier it is to picture certain images, the more likely it will be effective in increasing your memory.
Setting goals will help you in all facets of your life, especially when learning something new. When you set goals, you hold yourself accountable, are able to acknowledge the growth you are making and they help to keep you motivated so you avoid becoming stagnant in your progress. Starting your language learning journey off by defining your reasons for getting started and what you hope to accomplish will be one of the best decisions you can make in this process!
Set short term goals to avoid the common plateauing, frustration or boredom that often comes once you find yourself over the mundane routine the language learning process can sometimes feel like. Another great tip is to bring in new resources or learning materials because they keep you engaged and help you to continue to evolve in your learning process. For example, working out and performing the same repetitive workout routine each time, you will eventually stop seeing results since the muscle won’t grow.
Set milestones for what you want to achieve without obsessing over perfect fluency being the ultimate goal. Be realistic and your plans will keep you on track and help to boost your confidence. Make sure to be very deliberate in your goal setting, creating measurable, specific, and time-sensitive objectives you know what daily steps need to be taken.
If you have the ability to, getting a tutor or friend who is a native Cantonese speaker to help practice and speak with you will make all the difference in your language learning journey. When you are trying to figure out how to learn Cantonese Chinese quickly, having a persistent friend or professional available to have conversations with can be one of the fastest ways to put the vocabulary you’ve been learning into spoken word!
As long as you follow these tips on how to learn Cantonese Chinese language quickly and are consistent in implementing them in your daily routine, you will be impressed by your progress after only a few months!