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дима: Ты лучше всех!

I’ve just come back from another Russian lesson with the excellent Dimitri. People: You think Cantonese is difficult – try Russian. Every word, I mean noun, adjective, verb and adverb, has hundreds of different forms. Even numbers change wildly according to what comes after them. In Cantonese, dollar(s) have only one form: 蚊 (man) . In Russian there are three ways to say “ruble” depending on how many there are. In Cantonese, if you can count to ten and know the words for hundred, (百) thousand (千)and ten thousand (萬) you can basically count to as many millions as you want, using the same one-syllable words. In Russian, between 1 and 100 there are probably 50 different pronunciations with the number 40 suddenly taking off from the pack and having nothing to do with the number 4.

Then there are the genders of course, and every bloody word veering off to the left and right with only the first syllable (if you’re lucky) known to man. Endings, beginnings, things depending on whether there is one, four or more than five of the bloody thing … It’s like mathematics.

When I’m in the room with Dimitri I go into a kind of trance and can kind of communicate with him by remembering the first few syllables of words and mumbling the rest. When I stand on the pavement outside, shaking lightly and not knowing which direction to walk, I think: What was that all about? If you’d held a gun to my head I wouldn’t be able to remember what had gone on in that room three minutes ago.

So students of Canto: Embrace the Canto. It really is SO easy! When you know ten words, you actually know a hundred words. Whereas in Russian those words will be 1,500 different-sounding words which you have to memorise one by one. I’m just saying.

And the buffalo? Well, that’s a Russian bear with horns.

肇慶 Beautiful Siu Heng – Great As Long As You Don’t Dabble


Oh China. I love you so much. This is Siu Heng, the town where, on top of the many scraggy crags, there are signs (signage) exhorting people not to “parapet”. No Parapeting! the signs say in no uncertain terms.


If you’re brave and indeed go all the way to the parapet, there are other stern signs saying “No Tossing” and on your way down you’re reminded: “No Striding”.


肇慶 – Siu Heng (town in western Guangdong province)
牌 – pai (sign, card, label)
山頂 – Saan deng (mountain top, hilltop)

CantoNews Live from the Throbbing Metropolis of Mui Wo

Nick (a.k.a. Cassette) and I go to an Italian restaurant in the throbbing metropolis of Mui Wo, centre of the universe and make a programme about lots of interesting things – specifically the idiotic spelling

Bye, Bye, Column

All good things come to an end, apparently. Even life! Yes, compared to dying, losing a twice-monthly column in an increasingly obscure Asian newspaper is certainly a small thing. But oh! I loved that column.

New Website – New Instruction Videos! (Well. New Covers, Anyway)

If you’re unfortunate enough to live outside Hong Kong and can’t take Cantonese lessons from, er, moi, there’s no need to despair! Now you can have a mini-Cantonese fundamentalist right in your living room. Fun,

SUNDAY: “Cold”

Hong Kong is in a frost frenzy! The temperature has crept below 10C – the temperature in my living room, that is – and everyone is busy posting, of all things, screen shots of their

The War Against Cantonese – Now They Are Using Children

I spent last weekend in Zhongshan, birthplace of Sun Yat-sen and the original bastion of Cantonese. Not sure about the numbers but an incredible amount of immigrants to the various gold and hard-work slave-conditions hellholes

Shi Shi Shi Shi (Reasons To Learn Canto #220)

The above film is a true picture of what Hong Kong will be like if the Chinese government get its way in forcing all us lowly subjects to speak the holy language Mandarin, or Putonghua

New Canto Film!!!!!

It’s been a year but finally more Cantonese. If you want to be in a film, give us a shout! This one wasn’t as easy to make as normally, logistically. But with iMovie and some

Good Old Aluminium Man

Yesterday we finished shooting In A Whorehouse – The Sequel, so soon there will be a brand new Canto extravaganza on YouTube. About time, some would say, as the last one, ‘Romeo and Juliet –

China Everything – The Movie. Yes, Mandarin!!!!

Three months of work are finally over and the result is a 114 minute travel, language, transport and accommodation guide to the Silk Road including Kazakhstan, and, well, anything in China really. The premiere was

A Little Proddie Placie

Wei wei, it’s finally happening: I’m launching my new book Don’t Joke On The Stairs on Blacksmith Books this week. I actually wrote most of it four years ago and had signed a contract with

CTM 14

CTM 14



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