Should I Learn Mandarin or Cantonese in Hong Kong?

“Should I learn Mandarin or Cantonese if I live in Hong Kong” is the question asked by many expats. Hopefully this article will give you some guidance.

Cantonese, a Chinese spoken variant originating from Guangzhou city in Guangdong province is the native dialect in Hong Kong. 89.5% of the population in Hong Kong speak Cantonese. Besides, Cantonese is spoken in large parts of Southern China, not only Hong Kong.

That’s why many people will recommend you learn Cantonese if you plan to stay in Hong Kong for a long time. It can make your life in Hong Kong easier and much more enjoyable, as you will be able to interact with locals more easily. English is one of the official languages of Hong Kong but some people cannot speak English well. For example, if you take a taxi, you may struggle to communicate with the driver. In addition, if you live in Hong Kong, you are much more likely to be exposed to Cantonese, so there will be far more opportunities for you to practice your language skills and gain real life experience.

Mandarin is the official language in China. It is used by most of the Chinese schools, colleges and universities, as well as TV programs, movies, and radio stations. As China plays a more important role on the international stage, learning Mandarin becomes more important.

If you want to be more widely understood, you should learn Mandarin. Nowadays with more and more trade and communication between Hong Kong and mainland China, more and more Cantonese speakers are learning Mandarin. Of course, if you plan to travel or work in China in the future, you can learn Mandarin.

Another solution is to learn the two languages if you have the time and resources.

In fact many of our students in Hong Kong who have learned some Cantonese begin to take Mandarin courses as well.

To learn Cantonese or Mandarin, the final decision is up to you. You need to ask yourself what your real goal is for learning a Chinese language then find the best solution for yourself.

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