Cantonese v Mandarin


Is it easier to learn Mandarin Chinese than Cantonese? (Asked by Victor on 03/12/08)

Both are just as difficult or just as easy. I am a native Cantonese speaker so Cantonese presents no difficulties to me. In Hong Kong, I often saw Mormon preachers, who appeared to have come here for a short period of time, but they spoke perfect Cantonese as they were required to preach to people in the street in Cantonese. As Ms. Help of italki.com rightly pointed out, it would be a matter of how often you practise the language. All things equal, I agree with Ms. Talk that Mandarin is easier. As she said, after one was able to speak Mandarin, it would then be easy to pick up Cantonese.

Contonese is merely a dialect, which is commonly used in Hong Kong, Southern part of China and the overseas Chinese communities in North America, Australia, Western Europe and probably in South America as well. However, there are no tools to assist you to learn Cantonese. Whereas for Mandarin there is pinyin. For you, I think Mandarin is easier and more useful. With no disrespect to Cantonese speaking people (as I am one of them), I think it is a waste of your time to learn Cantonese. With Mandarin you can communicate with over 90% of the Chinese. Further, like myself, majority of the young Cantonese can apeak Mandarin. So unless you wish to communicate with a diminshing population of “Cantonese only” speaking persons, otherwise, no matter how hard it is you should stick with Mandarin. (Brandon Zin replied on 3/19/2008)

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