This is a very good and sound introductory course in the Cantonese dialect spoken in south China (including Hong Kong), and elsewhere in Asia, as well as by many members of the Chinese diaspora throughout the world. Although their are considered to be four varieties of Cantonese - this course teaches the 'Yuehai' or 'standard' version of the dialect. In the official language of China (Putonghua), Cantonese is referred to as 'Guangdonghua', which translates as the 'language of Guangdong province', this is the place where the Yue people live, and the area that the dialect is thought to have developed. The British referred to the Guangdong area as 'Canton', and the Yue people residing there as the 'Cantonese'.
The paperback (1994) edition contains 248 numbered pages, an Acknowledgements section, and Introduction and 15 distinct chapters:
1) Maaih-yeh - Shopping.
2) Gaaujai-Meeting people.
3) Sihou - Interests and Leisure activities.
4) Sihgaan - Telling the time.
5) Ngoihbiu - Physical appearance.
6) Gachihn - Prices.
7) Faan-gung - Commuting.
8) Keuihdeih jouh-gan matyeh?
9) Bong Ngoh jouh di yeh - Do me a favour.
10) Hai bindouh? - Where is it?
11) Giu yeh Sikh - Ordering Food.
12) Tinhei - The Weather.
13) Yifuhk - The clothes we wear.
14) Leuihhahng gingyihm - Travelling expenses.
15) Da-dihnwa - On the telephone.
Key to exercises.
Index of grammatical structures.
This book is available both separately and accompanied by 120 minute audio CD that mirrors every written lesson chapter. This combines visual education (reading), with correct audio learning (hearing). The words on the audio track are pronounced by native Cantonese speakers and pronunciations provided are of a precise and reliable nature. This dialect of Cantonese can be heard in UK Chinese restuarants and in and around areas of Chinese settlements, it is also what is heard and experienced on the streets of Hong Kong. As this is a colloquial course, the language structures are reflective of everyday common usage, and a firm foundation is provided. The transliteration of the Cantonese terms into phonetical English is not through the usual 'pinyin' system, (which is used to render Putonghua - or Manderin - into English), but is rather created through the Yale system. This fact serves to demonstrate the differences (in pronunciation) that exist between Cantonese and the official language of China. This is a good course designed with sound educational methods - read, listen and verbally repeat. The book on its own will give an appreciation of Cantonese, but regular interaction with the audio CD, with reference to the book will give a good basic language acquisition in a number of weeks.