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Should I Study the Cantonese Language?

Should we learn Cantonese language or Mandarin when learning Chinese? We should start by understanding the similarities and differences between Mandarin and Cantonese. To know which path to take, it is imperative to know their differences. We should decide whether to learn Mandarin or Cantonese, it’s up to our own needs.

Chinese Cantonese Language
Chinese Cantonese Language

1. Chinese Dialects

Cantonese language and Putonghua are Chinese dialects. They share the same basic alphabet. However, they are unique as spoken languages. Putonghua is the official language of China and the common language of the country. In most parts of the country, this is the main spoken language, including Beijing and Shanghai, although many provinces still retain their own locality. On the other hand, Cantonese gravitates in  Hong Kong,  Macao, and Guangdong Province. Most Chinese communities, such as those in London and San Francisco, also speak Cantonese, because most Chinese immigrants came from Guangdong.

So, do all Chinese speak Mandarin? Actually, this is not the case. There has been an influx of Putonghua speakers in Guangdong Province, and many people now speak Putonghua. In other regions of China, many people also speak their regional languages, especially in China’s Tibet, Xinjiang, and other regions.

2. Learning Age

People who can speak Cantonese generally don’t start learning Putonghua at an early age, after all, it is hard to grasp as a kid. That is because many Cantonese pronunciations are almost the same as Putonghua, they are used to bringing some Cantonese pronunciations. This problem is incredibly prevalent that actors have it.  If you look closely, Hong Kong people and Guangdong actors do not have professional training, Mandarin basically has Cantonese in it.

So, should we learn Mandarin or Cantonese? It needs to be decided according to its own situation. Putonghua is the official language of China. All the languages spoken by Chinese students in school, national television, and radio are Putonghua.

3. How to Make Decision

If you want to travel around China or open up a business market in the Chinese mainland for work, Mandarin is definitely the first language to learn Conversely. If you are considering living in Hong Kong or Guangdong, for a long time, or have plans to settle down, then learning Cantonese is definitely a good choice. However, If you have enough time, energy, and enthusiasm to learn Mandarin and Cantonese, then you must learn Mandarin first and then learn Cantonese further.

Should I study Mandarin or Cantonese? According to the comparative analysis of the two languages, I believe you have a clear answer, according to your own situation and the purpose of learning Chinese. whether you choose to learn Mandarin or Cantonese,  you must keep on learning. Do not bow out just because it is hard.  Instead of “fishing for three days and drying the net for two days”, you must persevere so that you can learn something.

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