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About Cantonese Pronunciation Rules

Pronunciation in Cantonese is the great way the Cantonese word or simply a Cantonese language is without a doubt spoken, or the way in which someone uttters a single word. If one is said to have the”proper Cantonese pronunciation”, then it means both of these within a particular Cantonese dialect. Learn More

The Cantonese word may be said in a different way by various persons or communities and that varies according to many factors, for instance: the actual time period of the cultural exposure associated with their childhood, the place that the someone is located, their particular ethnic group, ones own social position, and / or their own education. Learn the rules
Cantonese Language Words

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When it comes to Cantonese, the same letter used in two different words may make two different sounds. Many letters in Cantonese language are not pronounced at all. Usually, it is possible to sound out words. Hence, many experienced non native Cantonese speakers (and occasionally some native speakers) often mispronounce Cantonese words.

Just like English, Cantonese pronunciation can be very complex, due to intricacies like silent letters, many sounds for a single letter, in addition to countless exceptions to whichever rules you get in the Cantonese pronunciation. This website has several internet pages which explains the Cantonese pronunciation principles and exclusions in perfect detail. This is often great meant for advanced students, nonetheless it can be quite confusing for first timers of Cantonese language. We try to easily simplify Cantonese pronunciation rules to make it simpler for that you start Cantonese, even though you may certainly not know how each and every Cantonese letter combination is actually said in almost every circumstance. We understand that sooner or later, you will need to study a lot more in-depth Cantonese instruction on Cantonese pronunciation rules.

Learn How to Pronounce Cantonese Words

The pronunciations given in this guidebook use the Yale Romanization system. Sounds can only be approximated at best. This guide gives a general indication of the correct sound to make,
but the best way to be completely accurate is to listen closely to native speakers and to mimic the sounds they make.
a as in "spa"aa
igh as in "sigh"aai
ow as in "how"aau
am as in "Vietnam"aam
an as in "Taiwan"aan
combination of aa and ngaang
ap as in "tap"aap
at as in "hat"aat
ack as in "back"aak
i as in "kite"ai
ou as in "scout"au
ome as in "some"am
un as in "sun"an
ung as in "lung"ang
up as in "cup"ap
ut as in "cut"at
uc as in "suck"ak
e as in "bet"e
ay as in "say"ei
em as in "temple"em
eng as in "length"eng
eck as in "peck"ek
ee as in "tee"i
ew as in "few"iu
eem as in "seem"im
een as in "seen"in
ing as in "sing"ing
eep as in "sleep"ip
eet as in "meet"it
ick as in "sick"ik
aw as in "paw"o
oy as in "boy"oi
oe as in "toe"ou
awn as in "pawn"on
ong as in "song"ong
aught as in "caught"ot
alk as in "walk"ok
oo as in "coo"u
ooey as in "gooey"ui
oon as in "soon"un
ung as in "Bandung"ung
oot as in "boot"ut
ook as in "book"uk
er as in "her" (Britsh English, with rounded lips)eu
combination of eu and ngeung
ork as in "work" (British English)euk
o as in "no" (British English)eui
on as in "person"eun
ot as in "carrot"eut
Somewhat like ew as in "few"yu
Somewhat like une as in "tune"yun
Somewhat like ute as in "cute"yut
mm as in "hmm"m
ng as in "sing"ng
Cantonese is a tonal language. This means that the same syllable, pronounced in a different tone, has a different meaning. To complicate this, there may be more than one character pronounced as the same syllableDifferent variations of the Cantonese dialect have a different number of tones, from as few as six to as many as ten or more. Most speakers, however, and all modern linguistic interpretations
with the same tone (though this is uncommon). In this case, context usually helps resolve the ambiguity. This may sound daunting, but is in fact is better than say, English, where there are a great deal of wordsget by with being able to distinguish (both in spoken and heard Cantonese) between the following six tones
that are spoken identically (eg. their, there, they're) and have nothing but context to help determine which one it is. Cantonese has context and tone to help distinguish words.Yale Description Start-to-end pitch Yale Description Start-to-end pitch
1āHigh Level4àhLow Falling
2áMid Rising5áhLow Rising
3aMid Level6ahLow Level
The tonal pronunciation of Cantonese is by far the most difficult aspect of the often daunting language. The very minor initial difficulty in learning the tones is sometimes more than made up for by simple grammar,
and absence of almost all plurals, genders, tenses and forms that make many other world languages seem difficult by comparison.

Select the hyperlinks below to see a list of practical Cantonese travel words which you’ll find sorted by group. For every holiday phrase in Cantonese, you will find the English translation.

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