chapter  10
Cantonese as seen from Japanese eyes
Pages 17

Cantonese is learned by Japanese for many reasons. Some are fascinated by Hong Kong films, and others attracted by the sounds of Cantonese they hear in the bustling streets of Hong Kong. However, they tend to stop learning at the elementary level, thinking Cantonese is too difficult to master. What is little known is that, when seen from Japanese eyes, Cantonese has many interesting similarities with Japanese, and if Japanese learners know and apply these similarities to their study, Cantonese-learning will be less difficult and much more enjoyable. For example, Japanese learners can make good guesses about when and which syllable-final unreleased plosives may appear in Cantonese if they know the corresponding sounds in Japanese. This chapter aims to illustrate some of the major similarities observed at different linguistic levels, such as pronunciation, word order, sentence particles, and pragmatic strategies. It is hoped that it will provide useful learning and instructional strategies for Japanese learners of Cantonese and the teachers who teach them.