Rosetta Stone Cantonese

Updated December 15th, 2023

Rosetta Stone is a household name when it comes to language learning.

Unfortunately there is no Rosetta Stone Cantonese course.

Why is there no Rosetta Stone Cantonese course?

There are over 70 million Cantonese speakers, so it’s hard to call Cantonese a minority language. Still, Cantonese is often overshadowed by Mandarin Chinese, which is the most widely spoken language on the planet. Mandarin is also the official language of China, so most language learning companies pick Mandarin as their Chinese course, and don’t make much of an effort to teach Cantonese. 

Rosetta Stone is no different. The company has been around since 1992, and not once have they announced any plans of releasing a Rosetta Stone Cantonese course. 

If you’re waiting for Rosetta Stone to teach you Cantonese I wouldn’t get your hopes up. Your best bet to learn the language is using different courses. Here are some of the best options for learning Cantonese. 

Best alternatives to Rosetta Stone Cantonese

If you’re learning Cantonese, your options for courses are a lot more limited than for other more popular languages. Rosetta Stone isn’t the only company to skip Cantonese. Duolingo also has no intention of creating a course for the language. 

However, there are still some helpful options out there. Here’s a few of the best ways you can learn Cantonese.  

Cantoneseclass101

Cantoneseclass101 is the most comprehensive Cantonese course on this list. It’s essentially a Cantonese course packaged as a podcast. Each episode (lesson) features a conversation between two native Cantonese speakers. The podcast hosts act as your personal language teachers and breakdown any important grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights from the dialogue. 

Cantoneseclass101’s podcast lessons are an excellent way to develop your Cantonese listening and pronunciation skills. They’re also very effective at teaching grammar and vocabulary. Cantoneseclass101 also has a lot of free resources such as a Cantonese to English dictionary, writing lessons and pdfs, pronunciation training guides, lists of important phrases, flashcards, and more. 

Cantoneseclass101 is a great resource for anyone learning Cantonese. Most podcast lessons are only available through a paid monthly membership (which starts at $4 per month). However, Cantoneseclass101 also provides a free lifetime account, which gives you access to a limited selection of Cantonese lessons, and all of the site's free resources. There’s even a free monthly prize pack which includes a selection of free downloads and learning materials. 

Pimsleur Cantonese

Pimsleur is the only audio course that teaches you how to speak Cantonese conversationally. Pimsleur uses a unique question-recall-response method to train you how to speak and think in Chinese Cantonese. In each 30 minute lesson you are taught how to say a collection of Cantonese phrases word by word, and syllable by syllable. Then you are prompted to answer and ask questions using those phrases (without using any English). 

Pimsleur is a powerful way to start speaking Cantonese. The main drawback of the course is that it’s an audio course and doesn’t teach you how to read or write Cantonese (though Rosetta Stone courses don’t always teach that either). There’s also only one level of Pimsleur Cantonese, while most other languages have up to five Pimsleur levels. 

If you’re learning to speak Cantonese conversationally then Pimsleur is certainly worth checking out. You can get your first lesson for free, so I recommend trying the course out and making sure it’s right for you. 

Italki

Italki is a language learning site that allows you to browse the profile of language teachers from around the world, and book paid one on one lessons with them via video chat. There are over one hundred Cantonese teachers on Italki. You can book lessons for 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 1 ½ hours. Teachers provide learning materials and share texts, videos, and pictures in real time during their lessons. 

Speaking Cantonese with a real person, is one of the most effective ways to learn the language. Even if there was a Rosetta Stone Cantonese course, it wouldn’t give you the opportunity that Italki does. 

Italki also provides free resources you can use without booking any lessons. There’s a language learning forum where you can ask for corrections and tips from native Cantonese speakers. There’s a blog maintained by the sites’ teachers. There’s also a public notebook where you can practice writing with Chinese characters. 

*After a purchase of $20 or more. After you complete your first lesson 10 free Italki credits will be added to your account.

Ling App

Ling offers a fun and motivating method to learn Cantonese. The Ling app comes from a Thailand-based company called Simya Solutions, dedicated to offering language-learning resources for the “less popular” (in other words, non-European) languages out there. 

The app really lives up to this goal, as it offers language courses in over 60 languages, including Cantonese! A complete Ling course offers content ranging from beginner to expert level, with a total of 200 lessons if you pay for the premium subscription. Each lesson features a variety of fun, game-like activities as well as test and review elements.

Like Pimsleur, Ling features lots of audio recordings presented by native Cantonese speakers. This is so important when learning a tonal language! Plus, you can practice speaking using the voice recognition software in the app, or try out vocabulary in a “conversation” with the in-app chatbot feature.

If there is a downside here, it is that you may find many of the recorded conversations a bit on the formal side. If you want more informal, daily-life-style conversation, you may want to try using a global conversation tool like Hello Talk.

One great thing about Ling’s Cantonese course is that it includes lessons and activities to help you learn reading and writing in Cantonese. Many apps shy away from non-English alphabets, but Ling will give you at least an introduction to Chinese characters!

Probably the best thing about Ling is that it uses so many different types of activities in the lessons, you will not quickly get bored and feel like you have to repeat the same boring activities again and again, as you might in Rosetta Stone. You also get lots of motivation by earning points and tracking your progress, like you would in a gamified program like Duolingo.

Drops (Cantonese)

Drops is another fun app you can use to boost your Cantonese vocabulary through short daily activities. Drops comes from the same company that created Kahoot, and it has a beautiful and engaging interface. The app claims to teach you Cantonese in five minutes a day.

If you are serious about learning Cantonese, this probably sounds too good to be true--and it is! You should not plan to use Drops as a stand-alone method for studying the language. However, it can serve as a wonderful supplement to your core learning program because it makes learning Cantonese vocabulary fun.

One of the great things about this vocabulary tool is that you can choose to work on a particular theme, like workplace vocabulary vs shopping, or travel vs food. Alternatively, you can start with what Drops calls “foundation words,” which is a good idea if you are a Cantonese beginner.

Most of the activities you use to learn the words feature swiping-style challenges and games, like word searches or matching. All of them use image association as a mnemonic device to help you mentally associate a new word with a particular image or animation. You can also access word lists and review activities to see your progress.

On top of this, Drops offers a really cool Chinese character feature where you can learn how to put characters together and begin to understand the basics of literacy for Cantonese.

You can sign in to Drops for five minutes a day for free, but if you want to truly explore all the app has to offer, you will have to commit to a monthly subscription fee.

Conclusion

Don’t let the fact that Rosetta Stone doesn’t offer a course for learning Cantonese, keep you from learning the language. Even though Cantonese isn’t the most popular foreign language around, there are still some great courses out there to help you learn it. Try out these choices and find out which is right for you. You can start learning today even without Rosetta Stone Cantonese.

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