Two women talking with the background of a traditional Chinese building.

Cantonese - Level 1


Course description

Cantonese, a captivating tonal language spoken by millions worldwide, is a cornerstone of southern China's cultural identity. Its vibrant tones and rich history echo through bustling Hong Kong streets, America’s Chinatowns, and the hearts of countless communities. Whether you're drawn to the dynamic energy of Cantonese cinema, the culinary delights of dim sum, or the desire to connect with Cantonese speakers on a deeper level, this introductory course is your key to unlocking this fascinating language.

Learning objectives

After completing this course, students are expected to:

  • Understand the power of tones in Cantonese, where a single word can transform meaning based on its pitch. This course will equip you with the foundational skills to navigate this essential aspect of the language.
  • Have basic conversations on familiar topics like greetings, introductions, and expressing simple needs.
  • Navigate simple interactions in shops, restaurants, and other common settings in Cantonese-speaking communities.
  • Lay the groundwork for further Cantonese language learning.


World Language courses are offered three times per year:

  • September (registration opens in June)
  • January (registration opens in November)
  • April (registration opens in November)


Our online hybrid language courses make language learning flexible and convenient. The use of both synchronous and asynchronous delivery styles allows for both real-time virtual classroom conversation practice (synchronous delivery) and self-paced study (asynchronous delivery). The synchronous delivery style will occur during the scheduled class dates and time, using Zoom for videoconferencing, chat and screen sharing for class instruction and pair/group work. The asynchronous delivery style uses Brightspace, an online environment where learners can access class materials and resources for self-paced study throughout the week. Educational activities can include exercises, readings, forums, audio/video files, quizzes, etc.

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