#11 Guest Episode: Brittany Chan, Part 1 (English/粵語)
The first part of a two-part conversation with YouTuber and blogger Brittany Chan, who creates content about overseas Chinese communities and studying Cantonese. Topics discussed include what first inspired her to begin making videos, as well as the community that has supported her along the way.
1. 興奮 hing1 fan5 (ADJ) excited
2. 華裔 waa4 jeoi6 (N) Chinese descent
3. 推廣 teoi1 gwong2 (V/N) to promote / promotion
4. 啟發 kai2 faat3 (V/N) to inspire / inspiration
5. 竹升 zuk1 sing1 (N) overseas born Chinese
6. 事不宜遲 si6 bat1 ji4 ci4 (EXP) without further ado
7. 初學者 co1 hok6 ze2 (N) beginner
8. 傳承 cyun4 sing4 (N/V) heritage / to pass down generation
9. 缺乏 kyut3 fat6 (V/N) to lack / lack
10. 提供 tai4 gung1 (V) to provide
11. 題材 tai4 coi4 (N) theme
12. 類型 leoi6 jing4 (N) type
13. 支持 zi1 ci4 (V/N) to support / support
14. 製作 zai3 zok3 (N/V) production / to produce
15. 迴響 wui4 hoeng2 (N) resonance
16. 回應 wui4 jing3 (N/V) response / to respond
17. 反應 faan2 jing3 (N/V) reaction / to react
18. 類似 leoi6 ci5 (ADJ) similar
19. 網紅 mong5 hung4 (N) influencer
20. 交流 gaau1 lau4 (N) exchange
21. 過程 gwo3 cing4 (N) process
22. 接觸 zip3 zuk1 (V/N) to contact / contact
23. 媒體 mui4 tai2 (N) media
24. 討論 tou2 leon6 (V/N) to discuss / discussion
25. 公衆人士 gung1 zung3 jan4 si6 (N) general public
26. 誤解 m3 gaai2 (N/V) misunderstanding / to misunderstand
27. 地區性 dei6 keoi1sing3 (ADJ) regional
28. 差異 caa1 ji6 (N) difference
ADJ - Adjective
ADV - Adverb
CONJ - Conjunction
EXP - expression
MN - Measure word + noun
N - Noun
V - Verb
VO - Verb Object
感謝大家嘅支持，我哋嘅節目已經被下載超過 5000 次喇。希望大家繼續努力學好粵語、分享我哋嘅節目內容、同向我哋提供你哋嘅寶貴意見啦，多謝。
A huge thanks to everyone for your support—Chatty Cantonese has already reached five thousand downloads. We hope everyone continues to work hard at studying Cantonese. Don't forget to share our episodes, and as always, we look forward to your feedback and suggestions. Thanks!
本集節目係我哋同 Brittany Chan 對話嘅第一部分，Brittany 係一位 YouTube 頻道同網誌創作人，內容對象爲海外學習粵語嘅華人。我哋討論佢最初製作影片嘅靈感，同埋一路支持佢創作嘅群體。大家都要記得下個禮拜返嚟聽埋第二部分喇。
This episode features the first part of our conversation with Brittany Chan, a YouTuber and blogger who creates content about overseas Chinese communities and studying Cantonese. We discussed what first inspired her to begin making videos, as well as the community that has supported her along the way. Be sure to check back next week for part two.
(Hello, hello everyone! Today we are particularly excited. We have a guest who is very influential in terms of Cantonese and online teaching, and she will be sharing [her experiences] with us today. We welcome Brittany!)
(Hello, hello everyone!)
嗱噉啦，那通常我哋開始呢，我哋就會直接呢，請嘉賓呢，即係自己介紹自己多啲嘅。噉我不如等下 Brittany。噉呀你用返廣東話，去同我哋分享下你嘅背景, 介紹下自己, 好唔好呀？
(Well, usually when we start, we will straight away ask our guest to introduce themself a bit more. So I’ll wait for Brittany. How about you use Cantonese to share with us a little about your background, introduce yourself–sound good?)
好呀，好呀，OK 噉 hello，大家好，我係 Brittany，我係一個CBC，即係喺加拿大出世嘅華裔2。我係一個住喺 California 嘅 YouTuber，通過我嘅 channel 我就希望可以推廣3廣東話啦，同埋啟發4其他竹升5呀，好似我噉嘅 ABC， CBC 去講多啲廣東話。
(Sure, sure. Ok, hello, hello everyone! I’m Brittany, I’m a CBC, meaning I’m of Chinese descent and born in Canada. I’m a YouTuber living in California. Through my channel I hope to promote Cantonese and inspire other overseas Chinese, like ABCs, CBCs, etc., to speak more Cantonese.)
係呀，我哋特別開心啦，即係 Brittany 同我哋一齊啦，我諗好多嘅聽衆同觀衆都有睇過你喺 YouTube上面同大家做嘅分享嘅。好，噉事不宜遲6喇，噉我哋其實都有啲問題想問下你嘅。噉呀不如 Cameron, 你可唔可以開始，睇下你有乜嘢問題呢？
(Yup, we are especially happy to have Brittany with us, I think many of our listeners have seen the things you have shared with everyone on YouTube. Well, without further ado, we have some questions we’d like to ask you. How about you start Cameron–what questions do you have?)
The first one is one that I think a lot of people are wondering about is–again, lots of people watch your videos, we’ve heard lots of people actually mention them to us–how did you get started with that as an idea, thinking of YouTube as a platform to promote Cantonese？
噉係啦，頭先都講我哋依家好多人喺 YouTube 上面睇到你嘅分享嘅影片啦。噉我哋第一個問題就係問你，呢個嘅想法或者呢一個嘅做法呢，你係點樣開始諗到嘅呢？
So, this actually started as a fun little passion project for myself to help my husband Jared learn Cantonese. Well, he was my boyfriend at the time, but he wanted to learn Cantonese and he's actually a language nerd himself and he was a German translator at the United Nations and studied German, but online he kind of found that there was kind of a lack of intermediate level, or I guess, Cantonese content, for English speakers. So that's kind of how it all started, and then it kind of developed. I started learning from my own videos, and you know, I realized there was also a lack of intermediate level content for heritage speakers. I didn't find any content for zuk1 sing1 [Chinese born overseas, literally “bamboo pole”] by zuk1 sing1, you know, so why not me? I figured, you know, it's not that it can't be too hard, it is difficult to a certain extent, but I think, you just gotta get started. So I took that opportunity, I had some help behind the scenes from Jared who has a language learning background, as well as my dad, who is from Hong Kong.
That's awesome. To get back to what you were saying earlier about noticing that gap in content for both intermediate learners or English speakers as well as heritage learners, are there specific skills or topics that you see or are the most necessary, the most needed by those learners？
In terms of topics and skills, nothing too specific. There's definitely, you know, topics that people ask me a lot but I think it's more just the overall atmosphere of learning that I try to convey through my videos, through the topics that I cover. As you mentioned earlier, making mistakes is a big/huge part of language learning, and I think a lot of heritage speakers have a bit of this, I don't know what to call it but maybe “language trauma,” where we're told that we don't speak good enough, and this and that, and it causes us to not want to speak at all. So what I'm trying to do is to get past that and hopefully make it a stress-free learning environment for heritage learners where, you know, we talk about things that we're familiar with, but you know, kind of a light environment, nothing too serious. I just want to make it fun.
And then you also mentioned earlier your dad has been helpful. What has, sort of, family support been like for your own experience with Cantonese, especially now maybe doing it in such a public way？
So yeah, I mean, my parents and my family support is very important to this endeavor. I mean, there're a few factors that motivate me through my family in doing this, and one is that, you know, that they actually help me, but the other is that I've, I wouldn’t say inadvertently because it's pretty direct, but I've become closer with my family because of it. And as a result, their support has empowered me to learn, to improve my own Cantonese and in turn it has helped me become closer with them. So their support has been very instrumental in the creation of the channel and the improvement of my own Cantonese, as well as, you know, I would say even encouraging Jared to learn, because every time I've gone home Jared ‘s Cantonese has improved incrementally, whether it's through his own efforts or through our combined efforts or the efforts that he's made through helping me with my channel, and it's really shown in our relationships.
In terms of feedback, I know you have a lot of loyal fans and followers, many of whom comment on the show, but also, I've also seen people share it on Twitter. What has the fan engagement been like? How does that shape the content that you create?
I've gotten a lot of very good reactions from my channel, and I was actually really surprised at the beginning, because I'm sure you can imagine, when you start putting your face on the Internet, the first thing is a little bit of fear, like, “What are people gonna say about me? What are they going to think what I'm doing or saying?” and the reaction has been, I would say, positive across the board, and I've been very lucky for that. I'm very appreciative, but I've also gotten a lot of support from fellow heritage speakers who are also trying to recover their long lost childhood Cantonese. Andy that has, I think, that is probably one of the biggest motivators for me, in terms of continuing my channel and continuing to put out the content that I do, because I know how that feels. I have friends who are also in their shoes and want to reconnect, not only with like a part of their identity, but like just with family, you know. And on top of that, you know, I think discovering more people like myself, that's been really rewarding. I grew up in a, I would say, predominantly white area in Toronto, and I don't know as many people like myself when I was younger, and growing up I met more heritage speakers or CBCs, ABCs. But through Cantonese with Brittany, through engaging with my followers, my subscribers, I really like now know that I'm not alone, and it's really great.
Yeah, and also, I noticed one of your most popular videos is also where you share your favorite other Cantonese language creators which I thought was really cool, almost sort of creates an ecosystem on YouTube that people can look at. I just thought that was really inspiring and cool. I'm wondering if interacting with those other creators and learning from them, has that had any effects in terms of how you even thought about sharing and creating content about Cantonese?
Definitely, I mean definitely, just connecting with other creators has really impacted, I would say, for one, like the business aspect of being behind a channel, and you know, all that. But on top of that just being able to connect on that creator level, you know, understanding each other in terms of what works, what doesn't, what captures people, what doesn't really work, topics that, you know, their audience enjoys, and I could probably also touch on. I've done a lot of collaborative work with Jade from InspirLang, and she's been a great source of friendship as well as I would say like “colleagueship,” I don't know. But you know, she's been, you know, a good friend to me since we've met. I actually met her way before I started my channel. Jared had taken lessons from her, I was like “hello”, and then later on we connected through Cantonese with Brittany and I was like “I actually know you” and she was like “what?” so it's a very small world and I think it's a very beautiful thing that I can connect with people from all around the world, you know, to talk about the thing that we love, which is the Cantonese language.
Yeah that is a really nice way to put it. I'm also curious about growing up, did you consume a lot of Cantonese media, whether it be music or TV shows where things around you had a big influence on what Cantonese looked or sounded like?
So when I was little, I listened to… well, where I live in Toronto, there's a lot of commuting. We'd be driving for hours a day going from school to tennis practice, to skating practice, back home, and back to skating practice, a lot of commuting. And during those times, my mom would always put on the local Cantonese radio. So I spent a lot of time listening to that and actually one of my biu2 go1 [older male cousin on mother’s side] was a zyu2 chi4 jan4 [host] on the radio show, so it was like an added excitement to listen to that and also listen to my cousin talk. I listened to the radio quite a bit. In terms of like visual content, not so much. Once in a while, when I would spend time with my po4 po2 [maternal grandmother], we would watch Zan1 Cing4 [真情, A Kindred Spirit, a TVB soap drama series] once in a while, but I don't really remember too much like TVB, or maybe like we also watched the Hoeng1 Gong2 Siu2 Ze2 [Miss Hong Kong Pageant] whenever it was on, but I didn't watch too much of that. When I was really little, I would say like five years old, I would watch the Do1 Laa1 A Mung6 or Ding1 Dong1 [Cantonese names for Doraemon cartoon] with my brother and we would have those old VHS tapes, we would watch those on repeat on repeat on repeat and sometimes we repeated what they were saying and we didn't even know what they were saying, but I think that was probably the most Cantonese content I consumed in terms of visual content.
One question that wd like to ask all of our guests is, when engaging with people who might not know about Cantonese as much, just the general public, what are some of the myths or misconceptions that you feel like you have to dispel？
So I have noticed a few myths, I believe one of your guests, Pearl, had mentioned that Cantonese, or she didn't mention it, but one of the myths are, Cantonese is not useful. That's definitely a complete myth. Cantonese is incredibly useful to me, not only in a, you know, economic sense, but also a personal sense, but it has actually been beneficial to me for one of my jobs when I used to work in New York City. I worked in the garment industry and all the ladies I worked with in production spoke Cantonese. And that was an invaluable tool to have when I was working with them, just interacting with them on a day-to-day basis, they treated me like one of their daughters, they were, I mentioned this in the first video that I showed my face, they were offering their sons to me. And they're like “oh I have a son about your age, would you like to meet him, how about you come over for Chinese New Year?” It was, I mean, it was as if I were back home, so it was incredibly invaluable to be able to speak Cantonese in that situation. I felt like I was at home. Another myth that I believe, or that I believe is a myth, it was just on the tip of my tongue. I don't know, it's not really a myth, I just don't want people to feel like… Um, I lost that train of thought, sorry.
No worries. You've had all these experiences in Cantonese speaking environments whether it be in Canada or in the US, both in New York and California. Have you noticed any variations in how people speak Cantonese or the ways that they use the language in their daily life?
So I don't know if I would say there's much of a difference between how people speak in Toronto versus say, San Jose or anything. But I definitely notice there's a difference between like my parents’ Cantonese, my generation’s, like the heritage speakers’ Cantonese as well as, you know, someone who's from Hong Kong, that's definitely like super simplistic. There's way more different kinds of Cantonese speakers in Asia, of course, but one of the funny little anecdotes I have about this is, up until recently, because I was raised by Hong Kong immigrants of the seventies, I didn't know the word for Russia was no longer the USSR. So I have been going through my life calling Russian people Sou1 Lyun4 Jan4 [Soviet people]. And until one time I went to a ping pong club in New York City and my coach was from Gwong2 Dung1 [Guangdong], and I was like “oh the Russian coach just came in”, but I said the Sou1 Lyun4 Gaau3 Lin6 [Soviet coach], right, and he was like Ngo4 Lo4 Si1 [Russia], and I was like, “Yeah okay, whatever,” you know. And then I looked it up later on my dictionary and I was like “oh I've been calling Russians like Sou1 Lyun4 Jan4 my whole life”! So that was kind of a funny little… yeah I mean, I learned a vocabulary word from immigrants who I guess they just never registered it. And yeah, that was kind of a little funny realization to me.
That is funny.
I did actually remember my second myth.
Go ahead, go ahead.
Recently I… so the second myth that I was thinking about was that there's some sort of perfect language, and this isn't even specifically Cantonese. I think… I don't know if this is cultural, like culturally specific, or to any other culture, but I think there's this idea behind language that we need to be able to speak to a certain level and then we can speak it. But I think if you speak it, you speak it, you know, speak the way you speak it, and I think through Cantonese with Brittany, through engaging with my audience, I've actually learned that there's many ways to speak a language, there are many ways to express yourself and the fact that we're even speaking our language, I think it's a very beautiful thing, and I'm excited to celebrate that, you know, where we're speaking together.