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Back After Hiatus

May 24, 2010

Hey everybody. Sorry to keep you all waiting. I’ve been quite busy with work and other priorities in life, but I finally came with a new page. I just wanted to say that my parents used to tell me that listening to Cantonese songs would help me learn Cantonese. I can tell you with confidence that it will NOT help you learn Cantonese. Something about the mass majority of popular songs containing lyrics of Mandarin grammar might have something to do with it. If you ever spoke the way they sing in Cantonese songs, you will be laughed at, probably.

On another note, I am still in the process of creating an outline for the future lessons. I am scouring the net for books and their table of contents to see how their material is laid out, as well as what kind of grammar they choose to teach. There isn’t much available so it’s becoming a little tough to make a meaty blog. I am also figuring out ways to incorporate common, and perhaps infrequent, idioms into the future lessons. These kinds of things are important but are rarely ever mentioned in text books. If any of you have ideas, please feel free to comment. Thanks in advance!


April 4, 2010

I don’t see many sites out there promoting this nifty little tool but man, it is a time saver! For those of you familiar with rikaichan for Japanese, you will feel at home with this for your Cantonese studies.

Cantofish is a Firefox add-on that you download (sorry to those that use other browsers). It works by you hovering your mouse cursor over any Chinese characters (including Cantonese characters) and it pops up with the character, the pronunciation, and the meaning. It’s incredibly useful and a massive time saver for those of you that had to copy and paste the characters you didn’t know or remembered into an online dictionary.

To use it effectively, it would help to understand basic Cantonese. Because the algorithm looks for a match in the dictionary by taking the hovered word first and going as far right as possible to find the longest match, you may want to hover over to the next character to the right to find a better translation, or one more over to the left to see if there’s something even longer. It depends but you certainly don’t want to carelessly hover over words and misconstrue the meaning of it all.

Aside from that, this add-on is very self explanatory. The only other thing you may want to keep in mind are the keyboard shortcuts. Pressing the A key will make the pop up appear in different locations. C will copy the entire pop up onto your clip board. S will save the pop up to a file. I really only use A in case the pop up shows up in a weird location upon starting Cantofish up.

Download Cantofish here:

Hey there!

April 1, 2010

Hi there! My name’s Eric Yip and I am an American Born Chinese (ABC). For the longest time, I’ve wondered why there weren’t many resources on Cantonese, much less good ones, on the Internet. I could be asking for too much but after learning Japanese for quite some time, I was astounded to find an incredible wealth of information and resources dedicated to teaching Japanese. In fact, there is one website in particular that I think exceeds most expectations and that is Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese. Although his site is not perfect (nothing is) I find his website incredibly well written with a good structure. I also like the fact that he teaches the informal mode of speaking instead of formal first and this is a conscious decision that many authors steer clear away from. He clearly had a vision for Japanese learning and he stuck with it.

So if Japanese can have a lot of resources, why can’t Cantonese as well? I’m not sure why this is the case; maybe it’s laziness, or maybe it’s because they can’t figure out a good way to teach it. Whatever it is, I’m here to shatter it all to pieces. I do believe I have the capacity to teach Cantonese in the same compact and efficient manner as Tae Kim did for Japanese. Hence, this blog was born. Please excuse the name rip-off.  (^▽^;)

A little about myself: I was born in the USA and my ancestors are from Guangdong. I am the first generation here in America so I’ve had quite the linguistic experience growing up. It’s surprising to learn that English is my third language, and yet it is my best. My first is a Chinese dialect called ‘Hakka’ and second is Cantonese. But once I started school, it all went away. It wasn’t until high school when I actually showed any interest in learning Cantonese. But even throughout high school years and on forward, I still retain a lot of the bad grammar that came from myself attempting to copy what I hear and translating directly from English into Cantonese. As such, I would like to apologize ahead of time in the case I ever do make a mistake, and I’m sure I definitely will. It wasn’t until recently that I started to study Cantonese so I will constantly add what I learn into the lessons here. If any of you that are fluent speakers find mistakes in my lessons and examples, please feel free to correct me! Where would we be if we didn’t make any mistakes? That’s a rhetorical question, don’t answer it.

So I hope that you all support me in this endeavor. I will try my best to keep this updated daily with the most correct information. Please leave a comment if you have something to say or have any questions. Thank you!