Intermediate Cantonese DVD-ROM

by Beverly Hong-Fincher, Ph.D.

Intermediate Cantonese DVD-ROM is comprehensive multimedia language courseware. This DVD-ROM package is the equivalent of a textbook and workbook, with audio and video.

It can be used either by independent learners or by students in a traditional or self-instructional classroom setting, and covers material equivalent to a one-year college course.

What's Inside:

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Watch an example video on YouTube
(Note that this does not include the text, translations, and footnotes from the full lesson)

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About the Author

Beverly Hong-Fincher received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in linguistics, and M.A. from University of Michigan, also in linguistics. Her B.A. is from the Taiwan National University in Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Her teaching experience includes the University of Washington (Seattle), Middlebury College, George Washington University (founder of the Chinese Program), The Connecticut College (Chair of Chinese and Japanese) and the Australian National University. Aside from her early work on Navaho, "The Phonemic Status of Navaho Stress" in Anthropological Linguistics, her later publications mainly focus on content-based language teaching/learning and sociolinguistics. She has published two books in the field of Mandarin Chinese: "Situational Chinese", New World Press, Beijing (audio recorded by actors of the People's Art Theatre), 1983; "Speak Chinese Today", Charles Tuttle, Tokyo, 1991.

Among her better known students throughout the world is Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia. She has also done extensive fieldwork in China since 1971; one of her syndicated articles appeared in the Washington Post, "The Return of a Native", Feb. 13, 1972, two days before President Nixon's trip to China. The same article was reprinted the following year by the Japan Times before Prime Minister Tanaka's visit to China.

Author's e-mail address is

Author's Introduction to the DVD-ROM

Introduction by
Beverly Hong-Fincher, Ph.D.

This course takes a holistic approach to learning Cantonese, at a post-elementary level. It is assumed that learners would have learned the necessary tools such as the most important foundation work of pronunciation, an overall grammar of the Chinese language with Cantonese characteristics, such as the abundance of sentence final particles and some basic vocabulary. The discussions contained in these lessons will enable you to intelligently speak and understand what others are discussing in today's Cantonese speaking world.

It does not matter in the least what textbooks you've used before or that you've learned it from conversing or eavesdropping in the streets of Guangzhou, Hong Kong,Ho Chi-Min city, San Francisco or other Diaspora communities. You may also have learned these skills from Gongfu classes, watching films or listening to pop songs in Cantonese. So far as we know, there is no research data to show that we must follow a fixed chronological procedure on how to learn a language after one has acquired the necessary tools mentioned above. Take a careful look at how children learn their first and second or third language. They typically first pay attention to the big chunks of speech and then fine tune the subtleties of consonants and vowels, particularly the diphthongs and trip thongs. A full analysis of this is given in my book, Situational Chinese (New World Press, Beijing, 1983).

Most of the course consists of discussions on different contemporary topics between two good friends. These topics range from the most familiar, such as going to have a tea brunch, Yam Chah, at the famous Buhn Kai (Ban Xi in Mandarin) restaurant in Guangzhou, to the somewhat sensitive subject of politics among Chinese Twenty-Somethings. However, not all topics concern Cantonese speakers inside China, According to recent estimates, one third of Cantonese speakers are found in the Chinese Diasporas. Thus, some lessons are devoted to discussions of Bill Moyer's TV program "Becoming Americans: The Chinese Experience." After all, the early Chinese who came to Gauh-Gamsaan, the Old Gold Mountain (San Francisco) and San-Gamsaan, the New Gold Mountain (Melbourne, Australia) and elsewhere were solely Cantonese from Sei Yap, the four counties in Guangdong. Included are also global topics such as 9-11, the Olympics, AIDS, SARS and contemporary Chinese musicians in America.

In Lessons 11 to 14 learners will have the opportunity to act out "Mr. Dong-Guo and the Wolf", an adaptation of a Ming Dynasty play, Zhongshan Lang. My students in First Year Chinese at the Australian National University first performed a shorter version on stage. In order to perform well, one must memorize the lines the way actors do. My suggestion is to select a few of your favorite lines each day, and practice, practice, practice. Very soon you'll have built up your own repertoire and be ready to perform!

You will notice that terms of address terms are left out of the conversations. This is to give learners a choice of usage. Given the familiar relationship and relative age between the speakers, and also the casual setting of the conversation, the following are possible choices: 1) Use of the prefix Ah- to surnames of each other (Ah + Given Name applies to pre-adults, or used by a much older person toward a much younger person) 2) Use of full names, i.e. Surname + Given name (particularly prevalent if they had gone to school of college together). 3) Use of Western Christian names (a sign of modernity no longer limited to Hong Kong. The use is also a convenient way to avoid appropriateness in assessing the interlocutor's age or status) 4) For a full discussion on terms of address, please refer to my various publications on the subject.

Table of Contents

System Requirements

 To run the Critical Languages Series DVD-ROM software, your computer will need to meet these requirements:

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8
    Products have been tested to work on Windows XP, but we can no longer recommend it due to the end of support by Microsoft.
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Screen resolution of 1024x768 or greater
  • Internet Explorer 5.5 or greater
  • Windows Media Player 7 or greater
  • Microphone recommended

This disc requires a PC and will not play on a standard DVD movie player.

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Intermediate Cantonese DVD-ROM is being used at The University of Arizona, the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, and many other institutions and schools. .