Travel around the world with us each Tuesday as we take a closer look at a different language every week!
Classification: Sino-Tibetan, Chinese Languages
Closest Relative: Other dialects of Chinese, including Mandarin
Official In: Hong Kong, Macau
Also Spoken In: PR China, Singapore
- Six or seven tones, depending on the form of Cantonese
- Retains many consonant sounds from Ancient Chinese that Mandarin does not
- Third most spoken Chinese dialect after Mandarin and Wu, with over 60 million speakers
- One of the few non-Mandarin dialect to have developed a recent written form
- Bruce Lee, martial arts legend
- Gary Locke, US Ambassador to China (2011-15)
Want to learn?
You can find Cantonese being taught at SLE Columbia this spring! In case you are not a Columbia student though, there are plenty of resources available to learn Cantonese online, such as LearnCantonese!, Fluent in 3 Months, or CantoneseClass101!