Cantonese is a regional variety of Chinese. It is mainly spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong, and parts of Guangxi and also Malaysia.
Cantonese is spoken by approximately 84.9 million people worldwide and is used by 60% of Chinese speakers in the Bay Area, and 48% in California.* Cantonese is the second-most spoken Chinese language with a history spanning 2,000 years. Yet far from being old-fashioned, it is one of the most free-wheeling and fun languages there is to speak!
Oakland Public Library’s Let’s CantoTalk is a series of online beginning Cantonese classes presented online by Canto Lingo and Asian Branch Library, and sponsored by the Friends of Rockridge Library. Check out our YouTube playlist, opens a new window with the first three recorded classes.
To compliment the lessons, or for anyone interested in learning Cantonese and written Chinese, we’ve compiled the following exciting resources:
With your Oakland Public Library card, you have access to Pronunciator, opens a new window, a fun and free way to learn any of 163 languages with personalized Courses, movies, music, and more. Learn online, either on your desktop computer or mobile device! Access and register, opens a new window to get started.
Oakland Public Library’s Cantonese language learning resource list
Explore Cantonese-learning resources: oaklandlibrary.org/cantotalk
Lights, Camera, Cantonese!
Many people learn a language by immersing themselves in cultural media. Get your Cantonese groove on, opens a new window by watching these movies, TV shows, and language learning channels (available on DVD, the library's streaming platforms, and YouTube): oaklandlibrary.org/lightscameracantonese
Cantopop music list
Songs are an effective way to train your brain to listen to a language through lyrics and melody. Cantopop (a contraction of "Cantonese pop music") is a genre of pop music sung in Cantonese. These CDs and YouTubes will get you Canto Poppin' … so turn up the volume, opens a new window.
Cook Guide Cooking Channel
With 1.08 million subscribers and counting, the Cook Guide YouTube channel, opens a new window is perfect for learning how to cook, listening to Cantonese while reading English and Chinese subtitles.
- Explore Laney College’s Department of Modern Languages , opens a new windowor look for classes:
- Go to https://laney.edu
- Click on "Search for Classes"
- From subject area dropdown menu, choose "Chinese"
A book list, opens a new window for readers who can speak Cantonese and are interested in revisiting Cantonese and learn more about Hong Kong culture. The list includes Cantonese learning materials, recipes, music, movies, travel and history books.
Don’t forget, Oakland Public Library has librarians ready to help you find the language learning resources you need, so have fun and Let’s Canto Talk!