After studying on my own for several years, for well over 1,000 hours, I still couldn’t have a decent conversation in Cantonese. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what to do about it. I’d tried so hard, and I’d gotten so much advice from people who wanted me to succeed. Why didn’t it work? Was I lazy? Stupid? Or was there something else going on?
The story behind the book:
The ideas in How to Fail at Cantonese come from my own experience of 5 years at trying–and consistently failing–to learn Cantonese. I felt quite alone in this journey.
But then I started hearing from others in the international polyglot community. Some people found ways to break through to success with Cantonese. Others didn’t. But they all had different perspectives and valuable insights that have helped me shape my attitudes about language learning. Surprisingly, some of the most useful advice I’ve gotten is from foreigners who learned Cantonese while living at home in Europe!
Anyway, I won’t give away my “secret to success” here. But amidst the current plethora of language apps, online courses, and books that tell you that you can “Become fluent in just 10 minutes a day!”, my method to success is both counter-intuitive, and relatively simple.
The theory behind this book is that learning Cantonese is not about trying harder to chat with friends, or “immersion” activities like watching TV or listening to the radio. It’s more complicated than that, but also much simpler. You have to do what works for you.
At this point, you might still be hoping that I’m going to give away my “secret to success”. Sorry. If you want to learn how I did it, you’ll have to read the book, or sign up for coaching. And it won’t be what you think.
But honestly, it doesn’t matter how I learned Cantonese, because I’m not a prototypical student. What works for me might not work for you. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
And that’s one part of why learning Cantonese can be really frustrating! But I’ve been tenacious enough–or crazy enough–to keep studying anyway. My hope is that I can help you to do the same.
The Sales Pitch
I guess it’s time for the sales pitch.
But I don’t have a clever sales pitch. I didn’t create a bunch of freebies. I didn’t even make a unique email address associated with this website. (Who has time to check those anyway?)
And, I’m not creating a daily email list to bombard your inbox with my ideas about learning Cantonese. (Although, I have to be honest…I actually enjoy reading insightful emails from other language learning sites. So I can’t say anything bad about them!)
Not only am I lousy at marketing, though. Right now, I’m going to give away the least attractive part of my book. Are you ready for it?
About halfway through my book, How to Fail at Cantonese, I actually give several reasons that you should consider giving up on learning Cantonese! (And, it’s not an attempt at reverse psychology. Unless you really want to learn Cantonese, then I might actually persuade you to quit!)
Isn’t that crazy?
So, I’m sure this is all very bad marketing. But the original heart behind the book is not to make Cantonese “easy”. (It’s not!) Rather, this book helps make Cantonese possible—and that’s more important!
In the end, if you decide to learn Cantonese, that would be phenomenal! Cantonese will make your life uniquely richer and cooler. And I’d love to help you succeed!
Why you want a Cantonese Coach:
“Coaching” is not a glorified word for “teaching”. It’s not a marketing trick for tutors to make more money.
I will be your “coach” in the sense that I will help you formulate a “game plan” for learning Cantonese. And then I’ll push you towards executing it. And I’ll get on your case when you’re lazy. And I’ll give you encouragement and motivation when you’re ready to quit.
Note: “Cantonese Coaching” is a combination of consulting and coaching services. At the beginning, the emphasis will be more on language consulting.
Here are a few questions that you might want help with:
—Which romanization system should I use? (Yale? Jyutping? Guangdong Romanization? Or one of the many other systems?)
—I really need to learn Cantonese! But how can I do it when I’m so busy?
—I’m struggling with whether to learn Cantonese or Mandarin. Which one is actually going to be best for me?
—I’m afraid that Cantonese will be replaced by Mandarin. Is it actually still worth studying?
—Can you recommend a specific online tutor?
—There are so many resources! Which one is best for me?
—How can I get real speaking practice?
—I’m extremely motivated to learn, but don’t have much money. How can I learn Cantonese as cheaply as possible?
[Disclaimer: This language coaching service is not accredited by an official coaching body such as ICF.]
Who is coaching for?
And perhaps you know it would help to have someone nudge you along–and push if necessary!–so that you don’t quit.
I’m a little biased, but I really think this is a super awesome deal. You’ll get an introductory Cantonese learning evaluation, and your first two 30-minute coaching sessions, all for $75 USD.
This is actually worth $197!!!
And…I totally just made up that number. (Sorry, I’m terrible at sales!) But, if you look elsewhere for language coaches and study consultants, the rates are generally much higher than what I charge. “Cantonese Coach” is my personal passion project, not a big tutorial scheme to get rich. And that means that you get high-quality sessions that radically impact your vision, motivation, focus, and outcomes–for an unbeatable price.
One last note on how coaching works. Depending on your preferences, coaching sessions will involve some combination of email, voice or video call, and a convenient file-sharing platform. This is pretty simple, but will make a HUGE difference.
That’s all! Let me know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can simply click below to buy the introductory coaching package on PayPal.