Cantonese For Families
Cantonese For Families is an excellent blog on Cantonese resources for families. With an increasing amount of resources available, it is tricky to keep on top of what is available. This blog is an invaluable resource that trawls through what is available and summarises the best of what is out there. The blogger does not promote paid content so you can be sure to get an objective view. Standout posts include the Sagebook word lists, links to Cantonese cartoons and themed resources on Chinese festivals. If you only use one resource, make it this one!
There are far fewer Cantonese cartoons and films out there compared with Mandarin, but there are some available that can help immerse your child in the language. When logged onto Netflix, go to www.netflix.com/browse/audio and select Cantonese as an audio option. This will show you what’s available in your country (there is marked variation between country to country, apparently due to licensing restrictions). You can also type ‘Audio in Cantonese’ in the Netflix search bar but this inexplicably also include some programmes where the Cantonese option is not available.
I’ve listed some programmes below that you can watch on Youtube (please be aware that this is constantly changing due to licensing restrictions and programmes being taken down due to copyright infringement). If you cut and paste the Chinese title I’ve listed in brackets into the Youtube search bar, this should bring up the relevant programmes.
Easy to understand
- Peppa Pig (粉紅豬一家親) available on Youtube and Netflix (in some countries) – this is a 2D animated series about a young pig (Peppa), her little brother (George), and their daily life with their friends, who are all different types of animals. The Cantonese spoken is very simple so it is great for kids who are starting to learn.
- Raa Raa The Noisy Lion (嘩嘩小獅子) available on Youtube – this is a 3D animated series about a lion named Raa Raa and his jungle friends. There are only a limited number of short episodes (around 10 minutes each) available.
- Patrick & Friends (Patrick 與好朋友) available on Youtube – like Raa Raa The Noisy Lion, the episodes are short and vary in length from 5-10 minutes. I haven’t actually watched this series but it looks pretty easy to understand.
- PJ Masks (睡衣蒙面俠 but sometimes listed as 睡衣小英雄) available on Youtube – this is a colourful 3D animated series about three friends who are secretly heroes who fight crime in the evenings. This is a big hit with both girls and boys as there’s lots of action. The downside is the vocab is very much geared to fighting crime so some of it isn’t very applicable to daily life!
- Hello Kitty (愛漫遊) available on Youtube – this is a very cutesy 3D animated series based on the famous Japanese phenomenon. Hello Kitty and her friends attend school and have some minor adventures with a bit of a magical element. This is only slightly harder in terms of comprehension compared with Peppa Pig. The animation is bright and colourful but the characters’ movements are a bit wooden though. Only one season is available on Youtube and not all the episodes from the season are available.
- My Little Pony (小馬寶莉動畫) available on Youtube – not many episodes are available of this 2D classic are available and they vary in length at around 5-10 minutes.
- Chibi Maruko-Chan (櫻桃小丸子) available on Youtube – this Japanese 2D cartoon was first aired in 1990 and it does look a bit dated compared with more current children’s cartoons. I love this series exploring the life of a 9-year-old girl and her family, but it’s not very popular with kids, probably because it’s not loud and colourful and there’s not really any action, as it’s based in a sleepy town.
- Doraemon (叮噹 aka 哆啦A夢) available on Youtube – this Japanese 2D cartoon started airing in the 1970s so this also looks a bit dated. There’s a lot of fondness for this series for some parents who grew up with this, particularly in HK.
There are some great channels out there:
嘉芙姐姐 – 兒歌童謠 – 故事動畫
This is a great HK-based channel by 嘉芙姐姐, with each video containing a mixture of talking, narrating an animated story and singing catchy tunes. Highly recommended!
This channel by a UK mummy has great vocabulary videos, songs and rhymes.