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Cantonese is a beautiful language with a rich history and culture. But it can be a difficult language to learn. From its tonal pronunciation to its use of traditional Chinese characters in writing, mastering Cantonese can be an uphill battle. Thankfully, there are a lot of apps available to learn Cantonese that can help you overcome these challenges.
Finding these apps can be tricky though. While there are quite a few apps to learn Mandarin, not as many apps offer Cantonese since it’s not as widely spoken. And the ones that do can be low quality and a complete waste of your time. So to help you out, I made this list of the best Cantonese learning apps.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn Cantonese?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
What Are The Best Apps To Learn Cantonese?
To find out which apps should make the list, I tested a bunch of different apps to see which ones can help you learn the language. In addition to my own experiences using them, I also read through other users’ reviews and experiences. Finally, I took into account how much each app costs and compared it to the value the app provides. Below, you’ll find the table of the best apps to learn Cantonese. Scroll down to learn more about each one.
|Best Overall Cantonese App|
|Best Cantonese App for Beginners|
|Best App to Learn Words in Context|
|Best for Speaking Practice|
|Best App to Learn Cantonese Writing|
|Best for Learning With a Structured Course|
|Best Cantonese App for Kids|
|Best App to Learn Cantonese for Free|
|Best App to Learn Cantonese Vocabulary|
Best Overall Cantonese App
Pimsleur is the best overall app to learn Cantonese because it gets you speaking as soon as you start the course. It’s an excellent choice if you want to become conversational quickly because it walks you through useful, everyday conversations. You’ll learn a lot of important vocabulary and also improve your listening and speaking skills with the app.
It doesn’t teach much grammar. Instead, it immerses you in conversations where you pick up the grammar as you go. The downside of Pimsleur is that you won’t learn reading or writing because it’s an audio-only course. Try Pimsleur for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Pimsleur review.
- Audio course gets you speaking immediately
- Learn useful conversations and important vocab
- Super convenient lessons you can take anywhere
You can subscribe to the Pimsleur Cantonese course for $14.99 per month. If you want to learn other languages in addition to Cantonese, you can access all Pimsleur courses for $20.99 per month. You also have the option to buy the entire Cantonese course for one payment of $119.95. Pimsleur offers a free 7-day trial as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best Cantonese App for Beginners
CantoneseClass101 has thousands of different lessons available to help you improve your Cantonese. You can find lessons that use text, audio, and video to study a wide variety of topics. CantoneseClass101 is a helpful tool because there are new lessons every week, so there’s always new content to study.
With fresh content that helps you practice reading and listening, you’ll start understanding more and more Cantonese in a shorter amount of time. With some subscriptions, you can also work with a tutor to develop a personalized learning plan.
- Thousands of lessons available
- Improve your listening and reading skills
- New content weekly
You can receive short Cantonese lessons weekly from CantoneseClass101 for free. A basic subscription ranges from $4.00 to $8.00 per month depending on the length of your subscription. The premium subscriptions to CantoneseClass101 can go up to $47.00 per month if you want access to all features.
Best App to Learn Cantonese in Context
Glossika is an app that focuses on your speaking and listening skills. Its formula is straightforward: listen to a native speaker pronounce a phrase, then repeat that same sentence aloud. It emphasizes repetition and you will repeat the sentences several times throughout your study session.
There are no actual lessons on Glossika. Instead, you absorb the grammar, vocabulary, and speaking rhythms by mimicking the audio. It’s an interesting way to learn and can help you gain confidence when you speak. Try Glossika for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Glossika review.
- Thousands of practice sentences
- Listen to and mimic native speakers’ pronunciation
- Includes beginner to advanced sentences
A Glossika subscription costs $16.99 per month for access to one language or $30.99 per month for access to all 60+ languages available. You can try it free for 7 days with no obligations to see if you enjoy using it.
Best for Speaking Practice
The italki platform connects language learners and teachers from around the world. There are currently over 150 Cantonese tutors to choose from, so you’re sure to find a tutor you like. What I like most about taking 1-on-1 lessons is that you can focus on exactly what you want to learn.
Some tutors follow a formal curriculum and others let you choose the topic and material you study. There’s a lot of flexibility. You can also take lessons anytime you want. Try italki for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this italki review.
- Search and filter 150+ Cantonese tutors
- Choose when and what you study
- Learn with a native speaker
- Safe and secure platform
Each tutor on italki can set his or her own prices for lessons. Cantonese lessons usually range from $15.00 to $20.00 per hour. The prices can be as low as $5.00 per hour or as high as $25.00 per hour. Most tutors offer a discounted trial lesson, so you can try a few different tutors to find your perfect match.
Best App to Learn Cantonese Writing
Skritter is by far the best app available to learn Cantonese writing. While Mandarin Chinese uses simplified characters, Cantonese uses traditional characters. Since Mandarin is a more popular language to learn than Cantonese, many language apps don’t teach traditional characters. Fortunately, Skritter teaches the traditional characters.
Skritter teaches everything from stroke order and writing style corrections to character decompositions and tone practice. You can learn everything about writing in one place.
- Practice writing directly in the app
- Get immediate feedback to improve your writing
- Learn decompositions to memorize new characters quickly
A subscription to Skritter costs $14.99 per month. There’s also a 6-month subscription available for $59.99 and a yearly subscription for $99.99. If you want to try out the app before subscribing, you can take advantage of Skritter’s 7-day free trial. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee on all new subscriptions.
Best for Learning With a Structured Course
Mango Languages Overview
Mango Languages is an excellent app to use if you’re a complete beginner learning Cantonese. It starts from zero and helps you build your communication skills in a logical way. There are 10 different chapters in the course, and each chapter has conversational and grammar goals.
It’s a guided course that navigates different topics in Cantonese. It also builds on what you already learned in previous lessons, which helps review and reinforce previous material. Try Mango Languages for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Mango Languages review.
- Guided course that covers everyday topics
- Learn both conversational skills and grammar
- Excellent for complete beginners
A subscription to Mango Languages costs $7.99 per month for access to one language or $17.99 per month for access to all languages. There are also yearly options available: $79.99 for one language or $179.99 for access to all languages. Many schools and public libraries offer Mango Languages for free.
Gus on the Go
Best Cantonese App for Kids
Gus on the Go Overview
If you’re looking to help your child learn Cantonese, Gus on the Go is the best app to do so. It teaches 90 different vocabulary words, from animals and food to shapes and parts of the body. The app also helps them master pronunciation by using audio from native speakers.
The lessons are interactive and the app uses games to help children remember the vocabulary they’ve learned. Lesson reviews also reinforce everything they’ve studied to help them remember more vocabulary over time. Gus on the Go uses traditional Chinese characters and Hong Kong phrasing to help them learn the language as a native speaker would.
- Engaging activities to learn vocabulary
- Reviews and game reinforce learning
- Uses natural language that mimics native speakers
The Gus on the Go app costs $3.99 per language. You can purchase it directly in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Best App to Learn Cantonese for Free
If you’re looking for a free app to practice Cantonese, Clozemaster is the best place to start. It’s an app that uses multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions to help you learn new words in the correct context. There are no bells and whistles with Clozemaster, but it works well.
There are thousands of sentences to practice, so you’ll always have new content. It’s important to note that Clozemaster uses traditional Chinese characters, so you’ll need to know them before using the app. It’s not meant for beginners, but it’s an excellent way for intermediate and advanced speakers to practice. Try Clozemaster for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Clozemaster review.
- Thousands of practice sentences
- Learn vocabulary in context to speak more naturally
- Uses traditional characters with English translation
- Leaderboard helps you stay motivated
You can practice 30 sentences for free everyday. If you enjoy the app and want unlimited practice and access to additional features, you can subscribe to Clozemaster Pro for $8.00 per month, $60.00 per year, or $140.00 for a lifetime subscription.
Best App to Learn Cantonese Vocabulary
If you want to expand your Cantonese vocabulary quickly, the Drops app is the perfect choice. It stands out from other language learning apps because it focuses specifically on vocabulary, and helps you learn in an interactive way. Each word or phrase has an animation to help you remember the meaning. Drops is an excellent choice because it helps you review vocabulary over time and commit it to your long-term memory.
There are no grammar lessons in the Drops app, but there are thousands of words and phrases that can improve your fluency in a short amount of time. Because it only focuses on vocabulary, it’s a good idea to use Drops as a complement to other language apps. Try Drops for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Drops review.
- Learn thousands of useful words quickly
- Review vocabulary over time to commit it to memory
- Animations and activities are engaging and fun
There’s a free version of Drops that lets you study vocabulary for 5 minutes every day. If you enjoy it, you can subscribe to the app for $13.00 per month. There are also yearly and lifetime subscriptions available that give you a discount on the monthly price. With a subscription, you can access all of the vocabulary lists as well as some additional features.
Why You Should Use Apps To Learn Cantonese
Using an app to learn Cantonese can help you learn the language quickly and more effectively. Instead of following a traditional course, language apps offer the flexibility to focus on what you want to learn. If you need to practice a specific skill, like writing, you can use an app that helps you improve this specific skill. Apps also have new content added periodically, whereas a textbook will always have the same, sometimes outdated, content. Apps are convenient and you can take them with you wherever you go.
Best Apps To Learn Cantonese: Final Thoughts
The apps on this list will help you learn Cantonese effectively from your home. Learning a language like Cantonese can be difficult if you’re studying on your own. There are a lot of challenging aspects, from the tones you need to master for speaking to the characters you need for writing. Each of these apps can help you improve your communication skills. With consistent practice, you’ll be able to talk with native Cantonese speakers effortlessly!
Best Apps To Learn Cantonese: FAQ
The best app for learning Cantonese is Pimsleur. The app gets you speaking Cantonese in your very first lesson, and it teaches you the most important vocabulary and grammar. It’s also one of the most convenient apps to use because its course is all audio. You can study with Pimsleur in your car, at home, or even in the gym!
Unfortunately, Babbel does not teach Cantonese. There are a lot of other popular apps that do teach it though. The best apps to learn Cantonese are Pimsleur, Drops, italki, and CantoneseClass101.
As of December 2021, Duolingo offers a Cantonese course. However, Duolingo’s lessons are not very high-quality and don’t teach you to speak naturally. If you’re a complete beginner, the best Cantonese course to take is Mango Languages. Once you know enough characters, you can practice with a free app like Clozemaster.
Cantonese is an extremely difficult language for English speakers to learn because it’s a tonal language and uses traditional Chinese characters in its writing. Both of these aspects are completely different from the English language. English doesn’t use tones to portray different meanings. You also can’t sound out words phonetically in Cantonese because each character has its own definition.
To see how long it will take you to reach your Cantonese learning goals, check out our Fluency Calculator.
To learn Cantonese quickly, you should use a combination of different language learning apps. For speaking, Pimsleur is the best app. To learn characters and writing, you can use an app like Drops or Skritter. Studying consistently with apps like these will help you learn the Cantonese language more efficiently than traditional study methods.