10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (2023)

Looking for the best online Cantonese course to learn the language?

Cantonese is rising in popularity, as more and more course options are being released.

In addition to tourism and foreign language careers, the benefits of speaking Cantonese cannot be overstated.

Today I’m going to give you my rundown of the best (and worst) online Cantonese courses.

Below you’ll find pros and cons for each Cantonese course, pricing and a summary. Where applicable, I’ll link to a review of the course.

Table Of Contents

  1. CantoneseClass101
  2. Pimsleur
  3. italki
  4. Memrise
  5. Glossika
  6. Transparent Language
  7. uTalk
  8. Mango Languages
  9. Assimil
  10. FSI Cantonese

IMPORTANT: Some of the items listed below are probably only loosely defined as “courses” for Cantonese. The reason I’ve included them is that they’re popular enough Cantonese tools and therefore should be included.

DISCLAIMER: The comments below are personal opinions and some affiliate links are used.

The best Cantonese courses online (most popular Cantonese resources)

1. CantoneseClass101

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (1)

Cost: Starts as low as $4 a month.

Summary: CantoneseClass101 is a brilliant online resource for learning Cantonese (especially listening comprehension). If you’re into podcast learning especially, this might be the course for you.

CantoneseClass101 uses audio lessons similar to podcasts. Lessons are suitable for beginners through more advanced levels. The instruction not only includes listening skills but also incorporates essential vocabulary and grammar with loads of other useful features.

What I like:

  • Large and always expanding variety of Cantonese lesson material
  • Clean lesson interface and downloadable content

What I don’t like:

  • Content choices are sparse beyond the beginner level
  • Too much English banter
  • While the lesson interface is nice, the rest of the site is overwhelming and confusing to navigate

UNIQUE OFFER: Use the code MEZZOGUILD to save 25% on any of their Cantonese course options.

See CantoneseClass101

2. Pimsleur Cantonese

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (2)

Cost: $14.95 a month subscription (or $119.95 per level)

Summary: Pimsleur’s a household name for learning Cantonese using spaced repetition recall. The lessons focus on practical vocabulary and expressions one might need in various scenarios. This includes greetings, common phrases, and vocabulary you might need when talking to native speakers.

In terms of just how much you get out of it, I’d say Pimsleur is a good entry point for Cantonese but it will only familiarize you with the basics. Treat its Cantonese course as a foundational course and then move on to something more comprehensive.

Pimsleur does not offer any video or written content. It’s audio only.

Read this Pimsleur review.

(Video) Top 10 Hardest Languages to Learn

What I like:

  • Pimsleur was based on solid research in second language acquisition.
  • Extremely effective method despite its age.
  • Heavy repetition of Cantonese language samples.

What I don’t like:

  • Outdated scenario examples.
  • Too much English.

See Pimsleur

3. italki

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (3)

Cost: Prices vary widely

Summary: italki connects learners with tutors, teachers and conversation partners. As with similar services, it doesn’t a curriculum or content to instructors - just facilitates.

The good thing about italki is their vetted onboarding process for teachers which ensures quality. italki has earned its amazing reputation.

Teachers succeed on italki through client feedback, meaning subpar teachers simply will not cut it on the platform.

What I like:

  • Facilitates great connections with expert teachers.

What I don’t like:

  • No set curriculum means you could be paired with an inexperienced new teacher not yet weeded out by italki’s review system.

See italki

4. Memrise

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (4)

Cost: Free

Summary: Memrise moved its free “community” courses to a site called Memrise a while back, while it continues to run a premium subscription on the original Memrise site.

From what I see, Memrise is identical to what Memrise use to offer.

Memrise are 100% free community-added courses (Cantonese and others) in the form of a gamified flashcard deck. You select a language or dialect, then go through a flashcard game of “watering plants”. It’s highly addictive and actually quite effective.

Some courses are excellent but not all courses are good. Look for ones that include audio and ones that teach phrases rather than single words.

See my video on downloading Memrise to Anki.

What I like:

  • It’s an effective memorization tool for phrases and words.
  • The addictive nature of the game gets you coming back often to continue learning.
  • It’s all free.
  • There are loads of community-driven courses to choose from.

What I don’t like:

  • As it’s community-driven, you can’t always guarantee quality.

See Memrise

5. Glossika Cantonese

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (5)

Cost: $30 a month.

(Video) Mandarin VS Cantonese #Shorts #Mandarin #Cantonese #Chinese #Asians #learnchinese #hongkong #china

Summary: I’m a huge fan of the Glossika series.

Glossika is one of the most unique language products available and, in my opinion, one of the very few that uses a natural, research-grounded method. In fact, the Glossika method aligns very closely with how I personally learned Cantonese and I’ve seen tremendous success doing it.

Glossika focuses on high repetition of lexical chunks – in other words, listening over and over to a sequence of sentences at natural speed and repeating them.

It is hands down the most effective trainer for Cantonese listening comprehension and requires little else but frequent, daily listening/repeating to audio.

See this massive Glossika review and interview I put together.

What I like:

  • One of the most truly unique and effective methods available, in my opinion.
  • I personally had tremendous success using Glossika for Cantonese (and Russian).
  • Focuses on heavy repetition of natural language chunks.

What I don’t like:

  • Difficult concept to grasp for new learners of Cantonese.
  • Natural approach requiring heavy repetition may feel tedious to some people.
  • Slightly higher priced monthly subscription.

See Glossika Cantonese

6. Transparent Language

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (6)

Cost: Pricing varies

Summary: Transparent is one of the most surprising online Cantonese courses I’ve tried.

The system and interface are antiquated and slow which is a real drawback, but if you can look past it, Transparent Language provides a real depth of Cantonese course content.

The voice recognition comparison is non-existent in Transparent Language. It relies on recording on your voice and showing you your sound wave to compare with the native speaker’s sound wave.

No inbuilt system to automatically compare sounds.

The Transparent Language course has a “Produce it. Say it.” section that literally asks you “Were you right?”.

In other words, no way to automatically detect whether you were correct or not – it relies on your own determination. This is incredibly outdated.

Overall, if you can look past the outdated design and deficient voice recording aspect, Transparent Language Cantonese is an outstanding course option.

What I like:

  • Cantonese dialogue is 100% natural speed
  • Extensive coverage and depth of content

What I don’t like:

  • Outdated and slow interface that’s a pain to navigate
  • Pronunciation section has no inbuilt voice recognition to compare to native dialogue

7. uTalk

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (7)

Cost: $4.99 monthly per language, $9.99 for all 140 languages, $99.99 for a lifetime subscription

Summary: uTalk is essentially a fancy flashcard app, an alternative to Memrise and a great way to learn words and phrases in hundreds of different languages.

(Video) Boy uses umbrella to prevent elevator door from closing, causes free fall

There are thousands of potential language pair combinations and tons of native speaker audio recordings with picture associations.

What I like:

  • Authentic native speaker audio
  • Hundreds of available languages
  • Thousands of potential language combinations
  • Easily affordable

What I don’t like:

  • Sloppy UI
  • Games are mediocre
  • Broad approach that isn’t tailored for specific languages

See uTalk

8. Mango Languages

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (8)

Cost: $7.99 a month

Summary: Mango Languages has implemented what I believe to be one of the best ‘chunking’ approaches in its course style I’ve ever seen (very close to my own successful method). It does this by avoiding grammar Cantonese explanations and instead highlighting lexical chunks in colors to help you learn language patterns.

One of the best features I’ve seen in a language product. Period.

The only problem with Mango is that it’s quite lightweight on its course depth. If they developed an advanced course for Cantonese, I’d be a raging fan.

What I like:

  • Beautifully designed Cantonese course
  • Focuses on lexical chunks (color coded) rather than rules which is how I prefer to learn

What I don’t like:

  • Minimal grammar focus
  • Lack of content depth for higher-level learners

9. Assimil (Le Cantonais)

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (9)

Cost: Prices vary widely

Summary: The Assimil method is old and outdated, and its ‘two wave’ approach has little value in light of current Second Language Acquisition trends (although its focus on patterns rather than grammar drills is ahead of its time). The Assimil dialogues are extremely useful, however.

See Assimil review.

What I like:

  • High quality dialogues
  • Perfectly arranged audio library
  • Very comprehensive

What I don’t like:

  • Translation-based
  • French only
  • Doesn’t appear to be backed by research or case studies
  • Unusual and bizarre situational topics

10. FSI Cantonese

10 Best And Worst Online Cantonese Courses For 2023 (10)

Cost: Free

Summary: FSI (Foreign Service Institute) is a government entity that trains diplomats and government officials in foreign languages. It offers Cantonese along with many other languages online for free (including audio recordings).

The problem with the FSI material is that it’s literally been around for almost a century.

(Video) Your Monthly Dose of Cantonese - Best of April 2023

It’s ancient.

So although you can download their comprehensive Cantonese course for free with audio, be aware that the material is literally photocopied booklets that were typed up on typewriters making it almost illegible.

If you’re patient, there’s some good value in the FSI courses but it’s so dated that I personally wouldn’t bother.

What I like:

  • Being a US government entity that trains diplomats, FSI naturally has incredible Cantonese course depth.
  • Free and easy to download lesson + audio on many sites (the link below is the easiest to access).

What I don’t like:

  • Archaic course.
  • PDF material is still just a photocopy of the original, typewritten paper so it’s dreadful to read.

Summary: Best online Cantonese courses

This pretty much sums up every online Cantonese course option currently available (if I missed one, let me know!).

In addition to a Cantonese course, make sure you’re getting regular Cantonese practice with native speakers.

For that, italki is the easiest way to find really inexpensive practice partners and tutors.

Just remember that even if you have all the courses on this list, you’ll still fail at Cantonese without the right motivation, and even a poor Cantonese course can be effective in the hands of someone with the right amount of determination to succeed.

For tips on how to learn Cantonese and overcoming various language learning struggles, subscribe below by ‘Joining the Guild’ (select Cantonese as your target language).

Know of a Cantonese course that I didn’t mention?

Share it below in the comment section.

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