Growing up in the UK, I never fully appreciated my parents’ effort so that we could speak Cantonese and read and write Chinese. It was only after I had my first daughter that I realised it was important to me to teach her to at least give her the opportunity to be bilingual and encourage her to speak Cantonese.

I struggled to find resources to teach her. Teaching spoken Cantonese is challenging because it differs from written Chinese, and Cantonese spoken casually differs from what you hear in more formal settings, such as on the news.

It’s even more challenging if only one parent speaks Cantonese, or if you are not a native speaker.  As children get older and are immersed in English at nursery or school, it becomes easier for you and your child to default to speaking English.  There is also a tendency for even native speakers to code-switch, mixing up languages.  This is something I continue to struggle with.

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world


My first spoken Cantonese book was simply about animals, written in traditional Chinese colour-coded to Jyutping pronunciations and English translations.  I got a lot of positive feedback and added more books to the series. I also wrote a book with parenting phrases (Daily Conversation) and some picture books.

This website was started to provide free resources for learning spoken Cantonese.  This is a part-time project that is funded by book sales (after a proportion of profits from book sales have been donated to charity), so please let me know if there are any resources you would like to see.

Thank you to everyone who has bought a book or supported me in any way through my journey, especially readers who have reached out with advice or corrections. To all the parents out there who are doing their best to keep the language alive, 加油 (gaa1 jau2) – add oil!

xx Farina

These are some of the charities to which donations have been made:

AAPI Community Fund
Bowel Cancer UK
Cancer Research
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Prostate Cancer
Rainbow Trust
World Land Trust