嗰個哥哥高過嗰個哥哥 gó go go gò gòu gwó gó go go gó

‘That elder brother is taller than that elder brother’

I’ve noticed more and more people are trying now to learn ‘Chinese’ – mostly Mandarin. Some of them do it because they see an opportunity for work, other are aware of Chinese people coming to their countries, opening factories etc., some do it for fun. I do it for love.

I’m from Europe, my husband is from Asia – we like it or not, English was the easiest way to communicate for us, not so good for our families. Typical family meeting looked like this:


Looks quite fun but not when you need to ‘talk’ like that everyday for a long time. I know that my husband will not be with me 24/7, many times I’ve had problems being alone with my mother-in-law and just showing gestures what we want. Since that time I’ve decided I will speak CANTONESE. He is a Hongkonger, just like his father, speaking to each other with that wonderful language – yes, it’s oficially used in Hong Kong so it shouldn’t be called as dialect – and so will our future child and me.

Since that time I regret my decisions 2383157935942 times, but I never give up so till today I keep on studying. I want to give you some tips and books you can use to help you with your studying of Cantonese.



  • Start from Mandarin: Cantonese is quite different from Mandarin, has bigger ammount of tones, uses traditional, more complicated signs than Mandarin, spelling is different, even cantonese jyutping is different from mandarin pinyin. Knowing Mandarin will give you ‘base’ to start speaking more difficult Cantonese
  • Pick books in your language at the beginning: in my country, when I first decided to speak ‘Chinese’ I could only find Mandarin books, Cantonese could be only bought in English on the Intnernet and picking my native language first was a great choice – some of the terms are very difficult and use ‘specific’ language that might be hard for a person studying language A in language B when his native language is C. Once you know the terms you can focus only on material in book rather than wondering what author wants from you


  • Find ‘signs book’: don’t worry about your handwriting, most of Chinese people I met have really horrible handwriting but what really matters is the stroke order – it’s important while writing when you try to imput something on the phone, apps sense stroke order and way they are written, but as long as you make it right it will suggest you sign you want to use. Not to mention people will judge it – once you decide to learn it, learn properly. I know that it’s sometimes really difficult, but writing it for 10-20 times will make you have it in mind.


  • Pick books with CDs: without hearing you won’t be able to speak Cantonese nor Mandarin, those two are based on tones and that tones can change the whole meaning, just take a look on today’s post title. Signs are totally different, but without tones you wouldn’t hear a difference. My personal choice for book is Complete Cantonese with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide – from beginner to itermediate, uses Yale romanization, over 400 pages for around 25 usd.


  • Practice dialogs and writing: Internet now gives you a chance to have an international conversations without going out of the bed, many sites offer language exchange, don’t hestitate and try to speak and write as much as you can. The other way to make is… KARAOKE! Yes, that’s right – go karaoke. It helps you match character with a sound, it’s easy, it makes learning fun and that’s one of the method parents use to teach their children.

  • Watch Hong Kong movies: Hong Kong is home of many great movies, you can find anything – horrors, romantic movies, comedies, category III movies with violence and nude scenes and original HK productions have two subtitles – traditional signs and English and believe me, from my own experience it’s much easier to learn Cantonese if you’re keep on hearing the language, matching sounds with words and actions. Besides many movies with Samuel Hui, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Nicholas Tse there are many good dramas like for example The Grate Magician. If you want, check out my youtube channel: www.youtube.com/user/legendofamoonbunny – as a fan of HK cat. III movies I upload from time to time the rare one, hard to find for a gwailo/gwaimui with subtitles.

I wish a good luck, patience and motivation to speak that beautiful language. Remember that more you are into that culture, music, tv shows it will be much easier to study.

遲啲見 and like this page on facebook!


21 thoughts on “嗰個哥哥高過嗰個哥哥 gó go go gò gòu gwó gó go go gó

  1. Wish I can be as patient as you…. I’ve been here 13 years and I know very little of the language, just what some of my domestic helper-friends taught me. But I agree, watching Hong Kong movies ( I do on cable) can help you (slightly) understand Cantonese.


  2. Hey there! I saw that you liked one of my posts on my Hong Kong study abroad blog. It’s great that you are learning Cantonese. Good luck! I’ve been trying to pick up some helpful phrases myself. Do you currently live in Hong Kong?


    1. I wish, currently we’re in America with my husband’s work 🙂 but I hope after he gets working experience we come back – life might change 🙂 did you try to learn Cantonese? try watching TVB, they have a lot of dramas, it makes studying easily 🙂 have fun and enjoy HK, it’s really lovely place 🙂


  3. Ironically, I’m currently gaining work experience in Hong Kong haha! I’ll be coming back to America in a few weeks though. Time sure flies fast around here!

    I know some simple Cantonese phrases like excuse me, sorry, etc. I wish I had time to really get into it but I’ll only need a little to get by for my trip.


  4. Hi there! thanks for visiting my blog, I’m glad you liked my post about Beijing! I admire your determination to learn Cantonese, I wish you all the best!
    PS: We have 2 things in common: Polish root (unfortunately I don’t speak Polish) and an Asian partner 🙂


  5. You have an interesting blog here. Unusual keen eyes for differences in culture and languages. Thanks for visiting my blog. What a pleasure to be reminded of the band Beyond. It was one of my favourites. 😀


    1. You caught my eye with harbour, not to mention a good movie 🙂 I’m so into Cantonese movies, especially HK cat. III, recently I’ve tried some romantic comedies but there’s not much to see 😦 any ideas for that? 🙂 Beyond… two days later, actually probably just one for you, it will be 20 years since Wong Ka Kui is gone – time passes by but great music stays 🙂


  6. 20 years already??! Gosh. It is a sad case that he had to fall from the stage. 😦 I grew up with HK movies but since I live in the UK for 7 years, I think I have lost my Asian sense of humour so I don’t watch them about 18 years now except serious stuff like Donnie Yen’s Ip Mun, historical movies or cultural Zhang YiMou films. Yes the harbour gravatar was indeed authentically HK! 😀


  7. appreciate Your diligent to learn Cantonese. I am native Chinese who start from Childhood in Hong Kong but was not born here.
    I would point out that Mandarin is a bit different different to what you have known. Mandarin use Traditional Chinese Writing while Putonhua use simplified version though spoken part are almost the same.
    It may be that some Phrases and Wording are much in Different for some Items and Incidence. Hope You enjoy the learning and will know and understand much more ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can totally relate to you!
    My late Grandmother never really mastered Indonesian language. She was educated in Mandarin and spoke Cantonese at home. When I went out shopping with her, I had to be the translator.

    Things got even more interesting when my siblings came a long. They do not speak Cantonese. They only speak Indonesian and Hokien (Fujian) language, which is our ghetto Chinese language.

    Whenever we went to the market together and bought something from a native Indonesian, we sounded like the farmer conversing with his hens, ducks and geese at the same time! All those different sounds!!! 😀


  9. Reblogged this on BOOKALUST and commented:

    Great tips for those who want to learn Cantonese – a beautiful language which is less studied by many people through times. I had a hard times with Cantonese because finding materials is difficult. It is a great article for starters!


  10. I try to learn cantonese, as my boyfriend is from Hong-Kong, the most difficult part … 9 tons …. so i feel like only my dear lover can understand what i’m trying to say (with my french accent it becomes very funny). But i don’t give up! At least, i can understand few words and survive without him in Hong-Kong. I can ask for a milk tea and egg waffle, this is how to survive in Hong-Kong for me!!! 🙂


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