Cantonese is a variation of the Chinese language which is widely spoken in Southern China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Cantonese is also an incredible stepping stone to learning to speak Mandarin, another derivative of the Chinese language. Chinese written characters are used in both, but Cantonese uses more tones than Mandarin. This makes learning Mandarin after Cantonese much easier. Here are our thoughts on language learning program, CantoneseClass101.
CantoneseClass101 Review: Overview
Signing up for CantoneseClass101 gets you a free lifetime account, which gives you access to common word lists, hundreds of audio and video lessons, and extensive learning tools. You can upgrade to one of three monthly subscriptions for access to the entire library of lessons, personal and interactive lesson quizzes, and even one-on-one instruction.
A few samples of what you will find with CantoneseClass101 include:
- Relevant and regularly updated lessons
- Lessons that are structured and ordered to best teach you the language
- Vocabulary lists for a variety of words consistent with today’s cultures
CantoneseClass101 is a language learning program that lets you learn at your own pace on your own time. If you need more practice on a lesson, simply take it again. All of the monthly subscription plans include access to apps for your Android or iOS device. This means that you can turn your lunch break, commuting time, or office waits into productive learning time.
What We Liked About CantoneseClass101
Here are a few positive points that stood out while using the program:
What We Didn’t Like About CantoneseClass101
Every language learning program has its flaws. Here’s what could use some improvement:
What are the Lessons Like?
As mentioned, there are four skill levels from which to choose.
As an Absolute Beginner, you will start out learning how to speak Cantonese with an introduction to pronunciation, grammar, and writing. By the end of your first lesson, you will have covered asking the who, what, when, why, where, and how questions.
Intermediate lessons center around living in Hong Kong, getting a job, banking, etiquette, and hogging the lime light.
As an Advanced learner, you will flex your fluency with lessons about various Hong Kong movies, tourist locales, and purchasing tickets. The native teachers speak slowly and enunciate so that you can keep up. With culture intertwined into each lesson, you gain fluency in Cantonese as well as knowledge of the country.
Who Should Use CantoneseClass101?
Those who want to lean Cantonese will benefit from using CantoneseClass101 including those who:
- Plan to do business in Hong Kong or Southern China
- Are planning a trip to Hong Kong or other Cantonese-speaking areas
- Love Cantonese language, culture, songs, or movies
- Have a Cantonese partner, family member, or friend
- Are motivated and thrive on independent study
Who Shouldn’t Use CantoneseClass101?
As with all language learning programs, a proper fit is essential for optimal learning. Those who might not benefit from CantoneseClass101 include:
- People who need one-on-one instruction
- Those who lack the motivation to dedicate time to learning
- Fluent speakers looking to delve deeper into the language
Best CantoneseClass101 Alternatives
While it is easy to find loads of apps and programs that claim to teach you to speak Cantonese, few can provide in-depth lessons. Many free Cantonese apps and programs we tried like Duolingo and Wikihow do not cover much grammar, tone, or pronunciations, leaving you with a glorified translation dictionary. The few Cantonese courses we found an how they measure up to CantoneseClass101 is detailed below.
CantoneseClass101 vs. Learn Cantonese Sheik
This UK-based website is free to use, but you can also make a donation of your choice for access to customized quizzes, expanded vocabulary lists, and access to learning tools. Free accounts are subject to advertisements. Sheik appears to have an extensive library of lessons, but it mostly consists of forum posts by other members.
There is no clear cut starting point, which only leaves one to guess where to begin.
CantoneseClass101 vs. Cantolounge
Cantolounge is run by Hong Kong native based in Canada. You can download the excellent 127-page “The Complete Guide to Learn Cantonese” PDF for free, which covers what it takes to learn the language. You will also find grammar lessons via videos, vocabulary lists, and transcripts. Also available is a Jyutping chart with over 1500 recording for pronunciation practice.
Similar to the Sheik program, there is not a clear starting point for beginners, and it’s possible to get lost amongst the abundance of information. That said, as a free resource, this is probably your best bet.
Though lacking the comprehensive lessons of CantoneseClass101, Cantolounge could be beneficial as a supplemental learning program.
Is CantoneseClass101 Worth the Money?
We think that a person who is serious about learning Cantonese is making a good investment with CantoneseClass101. The lessons, even with the free account, are some of the most involved and all-encompassing that we could find.
It’s clear that the CantoneseClass team has invested thousands of hours into creating the most comprehensive course out there. And they continue to improve and add new lessons every week.
While Basic starts at only $4 a month, I’d really recommend Premium ($10 per month) as being the best option, while still being cost effective. We reached out to the CantoneseClass101 team who have kindly offered our readers 30% off their subscriptions.
While we do receive commissions for our referrals, we strongly believe in ONLY recommending products we’ve actually tried and genuinely like. If you sign up using our link, you save money AND it also helps support our site.
One-Time Payment Lifetime Membership Option
If you’re like me and you don’t like paying for something every month, there’s a secret lifetime membership option that might be for you.
If you’re serious about learning long-term, this might be your best option.
Better yet, if you’re learning multiple languages, Innovative Languages (the team behind the Pod101 and Class101 programs) offers lifetime access to ALL 34 languages. Mind you, it’s not cheap. But if you think long-term and realize that you’ll get a ton of use out of all the different languages over the years to come, it’s a really good deal.
Final Thoughts on CantoneseClass101
We find CantoneseClass101 essential for anyone seeking fluency in Cantonese. Those who are simply looking to learn useful phrases for upcoming business or leisure trips to Hong Kong will benefit greatly from the orderly, progressive lessons.