Watch: English vs Cantonese

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2:12 AM HKT, Wed October 18, 2017

The genre of “comparing different languages/dialects in a funny video” is a pretty hot one on the Chinese internet. Some people, like American comedian Jesse Appel, have built entire careers on the back of viral language-video fame. More recently, a German guy based in Shanghai became an overnight celebrity when a video of himself imitating several Chinese dialectics and personality types — overbearing mother-in-law, for one — garnered him a million-plus online following.

The latest language video to make the rounds on Chinese social media pivots a bit further south and pits Cantonese — a language totally distinct from Mandarin, with about 80 million speakers — against English.

The creator, who goes by Mr. Yang on YouTube, opens with a stated mission of dispelling some common misconceptions about the language (“It might sound like Cantonese people are yelling at each other all the time…”) and proceeds to give a handy series of side-by-side translations with a liberal dash of slapstick flair. Bonus points to Mr. Yang for including slow-mo double takes of the Cantonese phrases for us gweilo struggling to follow along at home.

Watch the full 2 minutes and 24 seconds of “extra Canto flavor” here:


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