Do you know how to say hello in Cantonese? This is our first Cantonese lesson at Popup Cantonese and it's designed to be the simplest lesson on our site. Join us and by the end of this short podcast, you'll know how to say hello and goodbye, and be able to communicate with real Cantonese speakers using a few very common sentences, like asking how someone is doing or telling them you'll see them later.

In future lessons in this series, we'll review these words and phrases so that you remember them, while adding new high-frequency ones. And while our podcasts are always free, be sure to check our transcripts to get written copies of everything you're saying, and remember to try out our generative audio review as well. And if you have any questions, please leave them in the discussion section below. We look forward to having you on Popup Cantonese.
 said on
December 14, 2010
good lesson, and supporting popupcantonese!
 said on
December 14, 2010
I love the spinoff. Excellent accomplishment, and good first lesson, though I hope we'll see Popup Cantonese branch into a more playful direction, like its elder sibling.

I must admit the degree of enunciation employed by the voice actors caught me off guard, and I laughed a bit. Zoi gin. Zoooooooooi giiiiiin. :D
 said on
December 14, 2010
Great stuff! Many thanks for this site. You guys really are the best!

Though like palafx said... I really miss the jokes and overly detailed explanation of the tones. For me this is what made Popup Chinese great in the first place... a bit of a break here and then from the actual topic always keeps me motivated.
 said on
December 14, 2010
So will this be a new podcast that we need to which we subscribe through itunes , or will the recordings be integrated with the popup chinese podcast?

congrats on the expansion!

 said on
December 15, 2010

One of the areas we've been weak with Popup Chinese has been with people who know literally ZERO Chinese and are looking for their first lesson. More advanced people love us, but a lot of absolute beginners just don't know how to start. Or they're scared of the dialogues.

We've put this lesson series for Cantonese to see how a more structured right-from-hello series works out. The idea is to teach the absolute essentials in the language and also introduce the tones in the process -- without the need for separate lessons on them. Because trying to slip the tones into normal lessons really kills a lot of the fun, etc.

We'll be releasing dialogue-based podcasts with a more "normal" structure once we have the first ten or so critical phrases lessons out. And if the format works out, then we'll develop something similar for Popup Chinese and make it an optional introductory lesson series. Constant experimentation and all....

Thanks for the feedback, etc. :)



 said on
December 15, 2010
@Big Cow,

Separate website and separate iTunes feed (we're getting that setup now). The potential for people to get confused between mandarin and cantonese is too big. Also, this way we can develop a separate dictionary, etc. and have traditional Chinese as the default setting for everything, instead of forcing people to switch manually as with Popup Chinese.



 said on
December 20, 2010
@Trevelyan, et al

Awesome fun! With three seperate entries so far, it's already shaping up quite nicely and I'm glad to see the direction you've taken so far. As previously stated, the lack of a 零基础的 basic introduction to Chinese on Popup Chinese is a bit of a turnaway for absolute beginners, so I'm really glad to see the simple stuff being tackled here.

As always, I support you guys in everything, and looking forward to seeing Popup Cantonese grow and develop like its elder brother!

 said on
December 20, 2010
Xiao Hu,

Yeah. I think the format is actually working out pretty well, and think that #2 is considerably stronger than #1 too: a bit more light-hearted but still focused on the basics with a lot of repetition.

The big problem that rears its head in most Chinese lessons is that the tones tend to dominate any lesson in which they're taught: they overpower any other points mentioned. By lumping them in with fundamental vocab, we're trying to give people the basics, with the idea is that by the time people are ready to move up to dialogue-based lessons, everyone will have already internalized the various tones and we can focus on using the language in context instead.

I'm finding it useful myself, although we'll have to see how it works out across the whole series before doing something like this on Popup Chinese. As always, constant experimentation is good.

Cheers, and thanks for the support,


 said on
December 30, 2010

 said on
December 30, 2010


 said on
January 5, 2011

 said on
January 13, 2011
I'm just starting to learn Cantonese and have been looking EVERYWHERE for a relatively cheap way to learn it - I stumbled upon your podcasts and almost fell over with how easy it is.

THANK YOU for creating these - I'll definitely be getting a subscription soon!
 said on
January 13, 2011

Thank you for your support! We're just starting, too, and will be making more and more helpful podcasts. Stay tuned!
 said on
February 2, 2011
Dear Everybody,

Since discovering Pop Up Chinese about a year ago I always dreamed of a Pop Up Cantonese and alas, my dream has come true! Thank you !

I live in Shenzhen but spend half of the time in Hong Kong and it's amazing how many times I found myself in a situation where the only language I could use was Cantonese around here. Even in the mainland you meet a lot of people who simply speak very little or no Mandarin.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out about the pronunciation of "你好“. In books it comes as Nei Hou, however, the sound you hear ALL THE TIME is clearly a LEI HOU, with an L. I have observed this also in Mandarin Speakers from other areas outside Guangdong.

This N/L pronunciation is also very present in Shenzhen, for example, I live in 南山區, it should be "Nan Shan Qu " but I keep hearing and sometimes people will only understand the pronunciation LAN SAN QU.

Anyway, another new sort of trend that you notice especially in HK teenagers is the way they say 我,instead of Ngo they just say Oh , but it's a bit frowned upon, I guess.

Lastly, what is very common as well are the expressions HALOU and BAI BAI, slightly different in pronunciation to HELLO and BYE BYE, but meaning the same.

Please correct me if I'm wrong about all I said!


P.S. -Can you guys tell me a good Cantonese Input method for Mac and iPhone?

 said on
February 3, 2011
Since I'm no expert, I'm happy to weigh in on this.

My Cantonese teacher says that the "n" is traditional, and young people are now using the "l". But I have heard my aunt-in-law speak with l's, and she's in her 60's. So I guess it's how one defines young. On the other hand, she was Guangzhou born and raised, so perhaps the language habits are different in Hong Kong.

My guess is that n's are taught, because teaching is based on texts, which are based on earlier texts, etc. The language has changed, but the texts have not.

Teaching n or l is like deciding whether to teach standard Mandarin with the Beijing accent. Teaching without the growling r's might be more universally correct, but then students learn a classroom language. I would weigh in on the side of l's, since that's where the language is going. But no matter which initial consonant I use, I'll still be a non-native speaker, which means I can get away with more, or be incomprehensible no matter how I try to say it.

However, I consider Nicole, who has a great language sense and feet firmly planted in both GZ and HK, as the final authority. Or should I call here Licole?
 said on
February 3, 2011
I think anyone will agree that whether it's the n/l predicament in Cantonese or the lack of distinguishing s/sh, c,ch and z,zh in southern Putonghua, in the end you HAVE to know the difference. Simply because Input methods will stick to the standard for a long time - regardless of whether still in actual use or not.

I remember very clearly this scene when I was teaching English in a small Town in Guangdong and I watched my students type Putonghua. I was amazed by how often they simply didn't know what initial to use. Half of the time it was just try & error. Sometimes they weren't even sure if it's -n or -ng. Granted, this ignorance of their own language happens to all native speakers of all languages. But still. I couldn't believe how much their accent had handicapped them. That said, I believe that foreigners actually have an advantage here. That is if you learn the old fashion way and not just pick it up off the street. When the time comes that you reach this exceptional thing called "fluency" and your mind kinda switches to autopilot, leaving you time to flirt with the stewardess (that is the content of what you actually say ;) my guess is, you're much more capable of handling the indifference of n- and l-. And should you really be surrounded by a bunch of Only-L-ers, you'll pick it up eventually. But you won't forget where you came from.

In other words: I wouldn't worry about this too much in the beginning. I tried to stick to standard mandarin in the south and I was glad that I did when I later moved to Tianjin. Standard to slang is almost no effort whereas the other way sure as hell is.

 said on
February 22, 2011

I recommend Cangjie as an IME actually. It is supported by Mac OS X and Windows, but I'm afraid it is not available on the iPhone right now. So maybe it is not a good option.

Not everyone likes Cangjie (because it has a learning curve, it's "old", etc.), but being able to type Traditional, Simplified, Mandarin and Cantonese all in the same way with a QWERTY keyboard is rather nice in my opinion. And it does help me remember characters too.
 said on
February 22, 2011
@Alenic @bryan_d_robinson

Since I'm using Windows and Sogou Pinyin to type Cantonese, I'm not sure what to recommend. But I have HK friends using Cangjie and they say it's good.
 said on
May 23, 2011
THIS IS THE BEST CANTONESE LEARNING SITE EVER!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for making this site! Today is the best day of my life!!!!!!!!! =)
 said on
May 23, 2011

Amen to that! This site IS truly the best site for learning Cantonese. This company puts out the two best sites for learning their respective languages (Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese).

David and Brendan are the true American Idols.

Keep up the awesome work guys, we're all loving it!
 said on
May 24, 2011
...Can't be said too often: so true!

God bless the Popup crew!

Although I'm not sure David would want himself be refferd to as an "American Idol". Let's see what he has to say A BOAT that... ;)
 said on
May 24, 2011

HA HA! You're right, David is the Canadian Idol.

David and Brendan seem to be dedicated to providing an educational platform that's fun, interesting, stimulating, comprehensive and communal. To me it's got all the elements that make me want to continue learning.

So maybe I should say it's Daven the Canerican Idols???
 said on
May 24, 2011
@phenstyle @Xiao Hu @Benrose

Thank you all so much!!! 多謝你哋嘅支持!
 said on
May 24, 2011
Benrose and Xiao Hu,

Most Canadians in the States try to blend in quietly so we're ready to strike the moment the Queen gives the signal. The Chinese teaching is just cover for my ongoing efforts to get everyone speaking French.


 said on
May 24, 2011

Lol. 加拿大人"在下一盘很大的棋"。
 said on
October 27, 2011

haha, does Canada actually have a queen? Since I'm nowhere near the states, once your queen waves the flag and the 太监军队 strikes, I'll be far, far away from ground zero.

BTW: Have you reserved the popupsnoot domain name?...I mean popupfrench? 开玩笑哦!
 said on
April 21, 2012
@Xiao Hu When we refer to our queen here in Canada, we're talking about Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of Great Britain. Her face is on some of our money too. :)
 said on
July 9, 2015
Hard to believe there have been no comments since 2012! Thanks for the beginning Cantonese materials. I'm enjoying the site so far.
 said on
July 9, 2015
Curious, building off of the structures in this lesson, how would one ask the question, "who are you"?

Nei5 hai6 seoi4?


Nei5 hai6 sam6mo1 yan4?

 said on
July 23, 2015
Hi ee.kc.ran,

I'm not exactly a Cantonese expert but as far as I am aware 'who?' in Cantonese is 邊個? bin1 go3?

Who are you?


nei5 hai6 bin1 go3 aa?

You can also say say 'who?' by putting '嚟㗎' after '邊個', as in the example:


go2 go3 neoi5 jan4 hai6 bin1 go3 lai4 gaa3?

Who is that woman?

Hope that helps!

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