An ever-changing life inspired by the pneuma


Learn Taishanese (aka Hoisanva, Toisanwa) – 學台山話

Filed under: Languages — feyMorgaina @ 15:19

我講台山話,未講普通話。我曉少少廣州話。I speak Taishanese, but I don’t speak Mandarin yet. I know a little bit of Cantonese. It’s taken some time, but I can finally type a bit of Chinese. 🙂

Some time ago I mentioned that I had found learning materials for Taishanese. I have finally finished volumes one and two of that material. 😀 The process of going through the DLI Chinese-Cantonese (Toishan) material has been slow-going for a few reasons (the material consisted of hand-written characters and I also had to make notes and flash cards by hand since I could not type Chinese characters at first), but now I should be able to make it through the next few volumes in a shorter time frame (there are seven volumes in total, though the last volume appears to consist of mostly military and political vocabulary).

Once I started learning how to type Chinese characters (using the Cangjie input method), I set up an Anki deck. If you use Anki, you may download my Anki deck consisting of characters, vocabulary, and expressions from Volumes One and Two of the DLI Chinese-Cantonese (Toishan) material. A permanent link can be found on my LEARN TAISHANESE (台山話) page.

I have also created corresponding courses on Memrise. If you use Memrise, you can search under Taishanese for my courses. The direct links to the courses are:

DLI Toishan-Cantonese Volume 1
DLI Toishan-Cantonese Volume 2

Under the Taishanese courses, you will also see a short course called Beginner’s Chinese Characters (in 台山話). This is based off another Anki deck of mine, which is also available for download (permanent link can be found at LEARN TAISHANESE (台山話)).

Now, I’m ready for Volume 3! 🙂



  1. Just randomly occurred to me last night to look for Hoisan materials, pretty much right after you posted this. Sometimes a man gets lucky. Thanks for uploading the FSI text. I thought I was SOL when I went on the government site and it wasn’t there. Thanks.


    fey Morgaina Reply:

    You are welcome! I was really happy when I found this material too.


    Comment by 番 — 2015/05/11 @ 14:12

  2. I found this blog searching for Toisan lessons (my caucasian boyfriend is interested in learning so that he can communicate with my parents, though funny enough he can speak some Mandarin with them so that works a bit, even though I don’t speak any Mandarin).

    Anyway, thanks for posting this – never thought I’d find a real Toisan course!

    My brother also just told me about a new documentary he watched on a flight called My Life in China. It’s about the filmmaker’s trip back to Toisan with his dad. Really interesting, especially because you don’t see much about the area in mainstream media.


    fey Morgaina Reply:

    You are welcome!

    Thank you for telling me about the documentary. I’m guessing it’s this one – My family might also find it interesting.


    Comment by Lele — 2016/01/25 @ 10:10

  3. It’s been years since I spoke Hoisan so I went through the vocabulary to refresh. It really does seem like some of the pronounciations are Cantonese and not Hoisan. Did it strike you like that?


    fey Morgaina Reply:

    I believe it is a mix of Taishanese and Cantonese, but overall, I’m glad to have the material. My father was from Taishan, but he passed some years ago, so the only reference I have for Taishanese is my mother. As it turns out though, she moved to Hong Kong when she still a child (I think around 5 or 6) and was there until she moved to Canada when she was around 20. So, my mother speaks both Taishanese and Cantonese. My maternal grandmother died some years ago too, and sadly I don’t remember much Taishanese from her. Either way, I think if there were other immigrants like my mother, there would naturally be a “Toishan-Cantonese” blend. It’s just the way language evolves.


    Comment by Ida — 2016/02/17 @ 07:26

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