The Department of Asian Studies is thrilled to offer UBC’s first for credit university Cantonese Language program. Thanks to a generous donation by brothers Alex and Chi Shum Watt, we will be offering 2 sections of beginner level courses during the 2015/16 school year and then both beginner and intermediate level courses beginning the following year in 2016/17. We have also now developed a Cantonese course for Mandarin speakers which has been introduced in 2016/17 school year!

Program Website

A comprehensive list of courses offered by the Department of Asian Studies can be found in the UBC Calendar.

Winter 2019

CNTO301 Basic Cantonese I Sections

Elementary level (part I) course in Cantonese for non-heritage learners with no prior exposure to or background in Cantonese. Focus on training for basic listening and conversational skills in Cantonese. Heritage speakers of Mandarin are NOT eligible.

CNTO303 Basic Cantonese II Sections

Elementary level (part II) Cantonese for non-heritage learners. Continuation of CNTO 301. Focus on training for basic listening, conversational, and reading skills.

CNTO311 Basic Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers Sections

Basic oral and presentation skills in Cantonese. This is an accelerated course that covers content and topics similar to CNTO 301 and CNTO 303, but is structured specifically for heritage speakers of Mandarin.

CNTO401 Intermediate Cantonese I Sections

Intermediate lower level (part I) Cantonese for non-heritage learners.

CNTO451 Advanced Cantonese through Popular Culture Sections

Popular culture in Hong Kong from media such as television, cinema, popular music, literature, social media, etc., through advanced authentic Cantonese listening and reading materials. Open to non-heritage and heritage speakers of Mandarin and/or Cantonese.

*ALL incoming students who wish to take ANY CNTO-titled courses are required to complete an “On-Line Placement Questionnaire” to obtain a placement approval for registration. Full details on our Chinese placement process can be found here.

Class of 2015W

UBC Asian Studies Cantonese Class of 2015W.

The inaugural class of 2015W

After nearly 8 months of hard work, the students of the first year of Beginning Cantonese at UBC showcased their language skills in the format of a video competition on April 8, 2016. Five groups of students presented their work with diverse themes and approach, including a romance story of a different kind, a Rocky-like training program on campus, an epic gambling saga, an adorable but forgetful mama, and a love song. The videos were followed by a presentation of special guest Ms. Karen So of the Omni Cantonese TV News. Ms. So who is an experienced and well known TV news broadcaster in Vancouver, shared her journey on her journalist career and interesting anecdotes on her job. The instructor Mr. Raymond Pai and two students of the winning group Mary Shen and Micki Yin were then interviewed by Karen afterwards. The event and the interview were featured on a news segment aired on Omni TV News. Links to the TV program and some of the student video presentations can be found here:

Omni Cantonese TV Interview

A Telephone Call

Student Video: Rocky UBC

Student Video: 賭神之殤

Meet Raymond Pai – The New Cantonese Language Instructor

Raymond-Pai.jpgSince receiving my MA in Linguistics and TESOL certificate from Brigham Young University, I have taught Chinese at the Defense Language Institute and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. I have also been working as a certified translator and interpreter in California as well as the Cantonese examiner for the University of Arizona. As a native of Hong Kong, I have always been interested in Cantonese language education and I always try to keep up with the language policy and current events in Hong Kong. My MA thesis research was a Case Study on the Post-colonial Government Language-in-education Policy Towards Biliteracy and Trilingualism. My other academic and research interests include language learning motivation, language attitudes, language technology and testing, psycholinguistics, just to name a few. When not teaching, I enjoy music, theater, travels, and water sports (a certified scuba diver here!) If you are lucky you might also catch me performing on local stages. I am thrilled to be joining UBC and be a part of the brand new Cantonese program. It has been a personal goal of mine to help educate and preserve the Cantonese language and its culture. Personally I think there has not been a better time and a more beautiful place to run the program. Vancouver already feels like my second home because of its connections and resemblance to my dear home Hong Kong!

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