Real Cantonese Subtitle

What is Cantonese Subtitle?

Subtitle on TV is merely Mandarin translation.

Most people (including Chinese) who don’t speak Cantonese think that subtitle provided by TV stations, like the picture above, is “Cantonese” subtitle.  I once encountered a person, who doesn’t speak an ounce of Cantonese, couldn’t stop arguing with me that the subtitle he saw on TV was “Cantonese”. In fact, subtitle provided by TV stations is merely Mandarin translation of Cantonese dialogue. However, since the belief  “Cantonese is a dialect” is so deep-rooted, and written Mandarin subtitle on TV/movie reinforces the idea, most non-Cantonese speaker considers written Mandarin subtitle as genuine Cantonese – “Cantonese sounds so different from Mandarin but its written form is same as Mandarin.”

And people who reject Cantonese has grammatical differences from Mandarin constantly use the simplest sentence structure such as “I love you” in Cantonese is also SVO to support their argument. (English is also SVO, right?) . For the good of my own argument support and Cantonese learners/scholars, I decided to add real Cantonese to TV shows and two subtitled videos were created.

Real Cantonese Subtitle

Upper line is Cantonese subtitle and lower line is Mandarin translation

I faithfully recorded every dialogue and paid great attention on the final particle, like “吖嘛 aa1 maa1” in the picture, which is a distinctive feature of Cantonese and not always taught in detail in Cantonese-learning books.


Please wait a while

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


  1. sek6 si6 · · Reply

    I love it! Cantonese supertitles! But do you have anything easier, by any chance, like children’s programming, maybe?

  2. This is amazing! If you could put English on it too then it would make a fantastic Chinese learning aid – I’ve been looking for programmes with Cantonese and English subtitles for ages.

  3. Amazing! This is what we need. Are there other place where we can find Cantonese videos with real subtitles? These are great tools to learn speaking Cantonese

  4. Cantolove · · Reply

    Yes I realized!!!! If u watched TVB dramas in the 80s/90s u’ll notice that the subtitles are faithful to every single cantonese word. Like the cantonese expressions e.g.
    大雞唔食細米, 偷雞唔到蝕渣米 etc. Now TVB looks for a Mandarin acceptable expression as an alternative with about the same meaning. It gives the impression that cantonese words/expressions are incorrect and that its just verbal expression . BUT these words have been around since ages ! cantonese expressions are so intimately close to our thinking , funny and straight to the point I can hardly think they would go extinct . It is however very important to write down these words/expression in a notebook and pass on to the next generation so it remains correctly right, written words are very powerful influence . If u dun preserve the words u lose your culture and identity, which is what is happening in the natives they had 80 languages several writing systems … Almost all of it vanished and they are living miserably with identity problem. french quebecer with poor historical value of 400yrs their french is at stake they put law 101 to protect their french language I.e. It is mandatory to learn French, french prints must be larger than other languages and on top in the menus, brand product title , bills.
    I’m not saying we should have strict laws like the above because honestly I think if u love cantonese it’s natural that you will keep on thinking about IT believe IT is part of you. But a bit of structural foundation is required especially chinese overseas who want to pass on cantonese to the next generation.

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