CNTO: Cantonese Language Courses

The University of British Columbia is the only Canadian university to offer a comprehensive, for-credit Cantonese language program.

The UBC Cantonese Language Program now has its own website:

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Summer 2020

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.


Recent Events

Hong Kong Comedian Vivek Mahbubani Visits UBC

A Conversation on Pop Culture with Artist Anita Lee

The First Annual Cantonese Fun Night (2018)

The Second Cantonese Worlds Workshop and the 4th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics

The First UBC Cantonese Singing Contest

Professor Sze-Wing Tang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong visits UBC

In the media

啦你傾學廣東話 [OMNI Cantonese—BC]

卑大連辦4日粵語文化活動 香港舞台劇填詞大師岑偉宗現身工作坊 [Ming Pao Daily]

Why a Canadian university is fascinated by Hong Kong [Zolima CityMag]

With more speakers of Mandarin than Cantonese in Canada now, what future for the southern Chinese dialect there? [SCMP]

卑詩大學亞洲研究學系過新年,大家一齊打麻雀! [OMNI Cantonese—BC]

Coaching Cantonese in Canada─Raymond Pai bridges cultures and generations [CUHK]

Development of a New Cantonese Studies Program at UBC


Zoe Lam is a sessional lecturer at UBC Asian Studies, where she teaches Basic Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers. She received her B.A. in Modern Languages and Intercultural Studies and M.Phil. in Linguistics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and had taught a variety of language-related subjects at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Recently she received her Ph.D. in Linguistics at UBC, where she did research on Cantonese phonetics and heritage language maintenance in Canada. Her Ph.D. project investigates how heritage speakers of Cantonese in Canada perceive tones. As an advocate of knowledge mobilization, Zoe works closely with community members, and was the instructor of a Cantonese Saturday School held at the historic Mon Keang School in Vancouver Chinatown. She was invited to speak about her Cantonese-related academic and community work at local and international media outlets, including CBC Radio, Vancouver Sun, Metro News, Fairchild Radio, South China Morning Post, and Singtao Daily.

Raymond Pai is Lecturer of Cantonese at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He teaches all levels of Cantonese courses and collaborates with the local community and organizations on various projects related to Cantonese and its culture. He received his MA in Linguistics and TESOL certificate from Brigham Young University. Having taught Chinese at the Defense Language Institute and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, he also worked as a certified translator and interpreter in California, and currently is the Cantonese examiner for the University of Arizona. A native of Hong Kong, Raymond’s research and teaching interests include language learning motivation, language technology and testing, and psycholinguistics. He is also a performer in music and theatre both locally and on stages across the globe.