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Cantonese is a beautiful language with a rich history and culture. It can be difficult to learn online though. 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 to learn Cantonese available that can help you overcome these obstacles.
Finding these apps can be tricky though. While there are quite a few apps to learn Mandarin out there, 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 decided to make 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 will actually help you learn the language. In addition to my own experiences using them, I also read through other users’ reviews and thoughts. Finally, I took into account how much each app costs and compared it to the value the app provides. Without further ado, the table below shows you the best apps to learn Cantonese.
|Best Overall Cantonese App|
|Best App to Learn Cantonese Vocabulary|
|Best App to Learn Words in Context|
|Best App to Practice with Native Speakers|
|Best App to Improve Comprehension|
|Best App to Learn Cantonese Writing|
|Best Cantonese App for Beginners|
|Best Cantonese App for Kids|
|Best App to Learn Cantonese for Free|
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 really teach you grammar though. Instead, it thrusts you into conversations where you can pick up on the grammar as you go. The main 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. It’s worth a try because Pimsleur offers a free 7-day trial as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best App to Learn Cantonese Vocabulary
If you want to expand your Cantonese vocabulary quickly, you need to try the Drops app. It stands out from other language learning apps because it focuses specifically on teaching you new words and phrases. Each word or phrase has an animation to help you remember the meaning. The best part about Drops is that it helps you review vocabulary over time and commit it to your long-term memory.
There are no grammar lessons or more traditional 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 so you remember it
- Animations and activities are engaging and fun
- The app is really simple to use
There’s a free version of Drops that lets you study vocabulary for 5 minutes every day, so give it a try! 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 pretty big discount on the monthly price. With a subscription, you can access all of the vocabulary lists as well as some additional 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 sentence, 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 sentences to practice
- Listen to and mimic native speakers’ pronunciation
- Includes beginner to advanced sentences
Truth be told, Glossika is quite a bit more expensive than most other language apps. A Glossika subscription costs $30.99 per month or $299.99 per year. You can try it free for 7 days with no obligations though. It’s worth taking advantage of the free trial, but the cost may not be worth it for all learners.
Best App to Practice with Native Speakers
The italki platform connects language learners and tutors around the world. There are currently over 150 online Cantonese tutors to choose from, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a tutor you like. What I like most about taking private lessons is that you can focus on exactly what you want to learn.
Some tutors follow a more formal curriculum and others will 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 over 150 Cantonese tutors
- Choose when and what you study
- Learn with a native speaker
- The platform is safe and secure
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 Improve Comprehension
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 bunch of different topics. CantoneseClass101 is a helpful tool because there are new lessons every week.
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 work with a tutor to develop a personalized learning plan.
- Thousands of lessons available
- Improve your listening and reading skills
- New content weekly
- Build a personalized learning plan
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 Writing
Skritter is by far the best app available to learn Chinese writing. While Mandarin Chinese uses simplified characters, Cantonese uses traditional characters. Since Mandarin is a more popular language to learn than Cantonese, a lot of language apps don’t teach you traditional characters. That’s not the case with Skritter though.
Skritter teaches you so many aspects of writing. 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 Cantonese App for Beginners
Mango Languages Overview
Mango Languages is the best 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 its own conversational goals and grammar goals.
It’s a guided course and holds your hand as you navigate 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. If you are in school or have access to a public library, ask them if they offer Mango Languages. You may be able to access the course for free through these organizations!
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 kids around 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 a native speaker.
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 also 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 already need to know them before using the app. It’s not the most beginner-friendly, but it’s the perfect 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 use the basic features of Clozemaster for free. If you enjoy the app and want access to its additional features and unlimited practice, you can subscribe. A Clozemaster Pro subscription costs $8.00 per month, $60.00 per year, or $140.00 for a lifetime.
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 exclusively helps you improve writing (like Skritter). 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 efficiently from your own 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.