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Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a variety of the Chinese language spoken within Guangzhou
Guangzhou
(historically known as Canton) and its vicinity in southeastern China. It is the traditional prestige variety of Yue, one of the major subdivisions of Chinese. In mainland China, it is the lingua franca of the province of Guangdong, being the majority language of the Pearl River Delta, and neighbouring areas such as Guangxi. It is the dominant and official language of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau. Cantonese
Cantonese
is also widely spoken amongst overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
(most notably in Vietnam and Malaysia, as well as in Singapore
Singapore
and Cambodia
Cambodia
to a lesser extent) and throughout the Western world. While the term Cantonese
Cantonese
refers narrowly to the prestige variety, it is often used in a broader sense for the entire Yue subdivision of Chinese, including related but largely mutually unintelligible languages such as Taishanese. When Cantonese
Cantonese
and the closely related Yuehai dialects
Yuehai dialects
are classified together, there are about 80 million total speakers.[3] Cantonese
Cantonese
is viewed as a vital part of the cultural identity for its native speakers across large swaths of southeastern China, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau. Although Cantonese
Cantonese
shares some vocabulary with Mandarin, the two varieties are mutually unintelligible because of differences in pronunciation, grammar and lexicon. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of verbs, sometimes differs between the two varieties. A notable difference between Cantonese
Cantonese
and Mandarin is how the spoken word is written; both can be recorded verbatim, but very few Cantonese speakers are knowledgeable in the full Cantonese
Cantonese
written vocabulary, so a non-verbatim formalised written form is adopted, which is more akin to the Mandarin written form.[4][5] This results in the situation in which a Cantonese
Cantonese
and a Mandarin text may look similar but are pronounced differently. Additionally, for the necessary verbatim use of auxiliary words, for example in online chatting and arrest record, people use specific coinage characters for the same pronunciation which obeys the creating rule of Mandarin.

Contents

1 Names 2 Geographic distribution

2.1 Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau 2.2 China 2.3 Southeast Asia

2.3.1 Vietnam 2.3.2 Malaysia 2.3.3 Singapore 2.3.4 Cambodia 2.3.5 Thailand 2.3.6 Indonesia

2.4 North America

2.4.1 United States 2.4.2 Canada

2.5 Western Europe

2.5.1 United Kingdom 2.5.2 France 2.5.3 Portugal

2.6 Australia

3 History 4 Substrate influences 5 Cultural role 6 Phonology

6.1 Initials and finals 6.2 Tones

7 Written Cantonese 8 Romanization

8.1 Early Western effort 8.2 Cantonese
Cantonese
romanization in Hong Kong 8.3 Comparison

8.3.1 Initials 8.3.2 Finals 8.3.3 Tones

9 Loanwords 10 See also 11 Notes 12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links

Names[edit] In English, the term "Cantonese" is ambiguous. Cantonese
Cantonese
proper is the variety native to the city of Canton, which is the traditional English name of Guangzhou. This narrow sense may be specified as "Canton language" or " Guangzhou
Guangzhou
language" in English.[6] However, "Cantonese" may also refer to the primary branch of Cantonese that contains Cantonese
Cantonese
proper as well as Taishanese and Gaoyang; this broader usage may be specified as "Yue" (s粤; t粵). In this article, "Cantonese" is used for Cantonese
Cantonese
proper. Historically, speakers called this variety "Canton speech" or " Guangzhou
Guangzhou
speech" (广州话; 廣州話; Gwóngjāu wá), although this term is now seldom used outside mainland China. In Guangdong province, people also call it "provincial capital speech" (省城话; 省城話; Sáangsìng wá) or "plain speech" (白话; 白話; Baahk wá) In Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau, as well as among overseas Chinese communities, the language is referred to as " Guangdong
Guangdong
speech" (广东话; 廣東話; Gwóngdūng wá) or simply "Chinese" (Chinese: 中文; Cantonese
Cantonese
Yale: Jūngmán).[7][8] In mainland China, the term " Guangdong
Guangdong
speech" is also increasingly being used among both native and non-native speakers. Given the history of the development of Yue dialects during the Tang dynasty
Tang dynasty
migrations to the region, in overseas Chinese communities, it is also referred to as "Tang speech" (唐话; 唐話), given that people refer to themselves as "people of Tang" (唐人). Due to its status as a prestige dialect among all the dialects of the Yue branch of Chinese varieties, it is often called "Standard Cantonese" (标准粤语; 標準粵語; Bīujéun Yuhtyúh). Geographic distribution[edit] Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau[edit] See also: Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Cantonese The official languages of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
are Chinese and English, as defined in the Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Basic Law.[9] The Chinese language
Chinese language
has many different varieties, of which Cantonese
Cantonese
is one. Given the traditional predominance of Cantonese
Cantonese
within Hong Kong, it is the de facto official spoken form of the Chinese language
Chinese language
used in the Hong Kong Government and all courts and tribunals. It is also used as the medium of instruction in schools, alongside English. A similar situation also exists in neighboring Macau, where Chinese is an official language along with Portuguese. As in Hong Kong, Cantonese is the predominant spoken variety of Chinese used in everyday life and is thus the official form of Chinese used in the government. The Cantonese
Cantonese
spoken in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau
Macau
is mutually intelligible with the Cantonese
Cantonese
spoken in the mainland city of Guangzhou, although there exist some minor differences in accent, pronunciation and vocabulary. As Cantonese
Cantonese
has more complex and sophisticated pronunciation than Mandarin, some HongKongers would insist that their official language is only Cantonese, not including Mandarin. China[edit]

Distribution of Yue Chinese
Yue Chinese
languages in Southeastern China. Standard Cantonese
Cantonese
and closely related dialects are highlighted in pink.

Cantonese
Cantonese
first developed around the port city of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
in the Pearl River Delta
Pearl River Delta
region of southeastern China. Due to the city's long standing as an important cultural center, Cantonese
Cantonese
emerged as the prestige dialect of the Yue varieties of Chinese in the Southern Song dynasty and its usage spread around most of what is now the provinces of Guangdong
Guangdong
and Guangxi.[10] Despite the cession of Macau
Macau
to Portugal in 1557 and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
to Britain in 1842, the ethnic Chinese population of the two territories largely originated from the 19th and 20th century immigration from Guangzhou
Guangzhou
and surrounding areas, making Cantonese
Cantonese
the prominent Chinese language
Chinese language
in the territories. On the mainland, Cantonese continued to serve as the lingua franca of Guangdong
Guangdong
and Guangxi provinces even after Mandarin was made the official language of the government by the Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
in the early 1900s.[11] Cantonese remained the dominant and influential language in southeastern China until the establishment of the People's Republic of China
China
in 1949 and its promotion of Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
as the sole official language of the nation throughout the last half of the 20th century, although its influence is still strong in the region.[12] While the Chinese government discourages the use of all forms of Chinese except Standard Chinese, Cantonese
Cantonese
enjoys a relatively higher standing than other Chinese languages, with its own media and usage in public transportation in Guangdong
Guangdong
province.[13] Furthermore, it is also a medium of instruction in select academic curricula, including some university elective courses and Chinese as a foreign language programs.[14][15] The permitted usage of Cantonese
Cantonese
in mainland China is largely a countermeasure against Hong Kong's influence, as the autonomous territory has the right to freedom of the press and speech and its Cantonese-language media have a substantial exposure and following in Guangdong.[16] Nevertheless, the place of local Cantonese language
Cantonese language
and culture remains contentious. A 2010 proposal to switch some programming on Guangzhou
Guangzhou
television from Cantonese
Cantonese
to Mandarin was abandoned following massive public protests, the largest since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. As a major economic center of China, there have been recent concerns that the use of Cantonese
Cantonese
in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
is diminishing in favour of Mandarin, both through the continual influx of Mandarin-speaking migrants from poorer areas and strict government policies. As a result, Cantonese
Cantonese
is being given a more important status by the natives than ever before as a common identity of the local people.[17] Southeast Asia[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
has historically served as a lingua franca among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, who speak a variety of other forms of Chinese including Hokkien, Teochew and Hakka.[18] Additionally, Cantonese
Cantonese
media and pop culture from Hong Kong
Hong Kong
is popular throughout the region. Vietnam[edit] See also: Hoa people In Vietnam, Cantonese
Cantonese
is the dominant language of the ethnic Chinese community, usually referred to as Hoa, which numbers about one million people and constitutes one of the largest minority groups in the country.[19] Over half of the ethnic Chinese population in Vietnam speaks Cantonese
Cantonese
as a native language and the variety also serves as a lingua franca between the different Chinese dialect groups. Many speakers reflect their exposure to Vietnamese with a Vietnamese accent or a tendency to code-switch between Cantonese
Cantonese
and Vietnamese.[20] Malaysia[edit] See also: Malaysian Chinese
Malaysian Chinese
§ Cantonese In Malaysia, Cantonese
Cantonese
is widely spoken amongst the Malaysian Chinese community in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur[21] and the surrounding areas in the Klang Valley
Klang Valley
(Petaling Jaya, Ampang, Cheras, Selayang, Sungai Buloh, Puchong, Shah Alam, Kajang, Bangi and Subang Jaya). The dialect is also widely spoken as well in the town of Sekinchan
Sekinchan
in the district of Sabak Bernam
Sabak Bernam
located in the northern part of Selangor state and also in the state of Perak, especially in the state capital city of Ipoh
Ipoh
and its surrouding towns of Gopeng, Batu Gajah
Batu Gajah
and Kampar of the Kinta Valley
Kinta Valley
region plus the towns of Tapah
Tapah
and Bidor
Bidor
in the southern part of the Perak
Perak
state, and also widely spoken in the eastern Sabahan town of Sandakan
Sandakan
as well as the towns of Kuantan, Raub, Bentong
Bentong
and Mentakab
Mentakab
in Pahang
Pahang
state and they are also found in other areas such as Sarikei, Sarawak
Sarawak
and Mersing, Johor. Although Hokkien
Hokkien
is the most spoken variety of Chinese and Mandarin is the medium of education at Chinese-language schools, Cantonese
Cantonese
is largely influential in the local Chinese-language media and is used in commerce by Chinese Malaysians.[22] Due to the popularity of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
popular culture, especially through drama series and popular music, Cantonese
Cantonese
is widely understood by the Chinese in all parts of Malaysia, even though a large proportion of the Chinese Malaysian population is non-Cantonese. Television networks in Malaysia
Malaysia
regularly broadcast Hong Kong
Hong Kong
television programmes in their original Cantonese
Cantonese
audio and soundtrack. Cantonese
Cantonese
radio is also available in the nation and Cantonese
Cantonese
is prevalent in locally produced Chinese television.[23][24] Singapore[edit] See also: Chinese Singaporeans
Chinese Singaporeans
and Languages of Singapore In Singapore, Mandarin is the official variety of the Chinese language used by the government, which has a Speak Mandarin Campaign
Speak Mandarin Campaign
(SMC) seeking to actively promote the use of Mandarin over other Chinese varieties. Cantonese
Cantonese
is spoken by a little over 15% of Chinese households in Singapore. Despite the government's active promotion of SMC, the Cantonese-speaking Chinese community has had relative success in preserving its language against Mandarin compared to other dialect groups (because nowadays younger generations of Cantonese
Cantonese
origin Chinese are more Mandarin and English educated although it is still preserved by the older generations, which made use of this dialect as a bridging vernacular language amongst both older and younger generations as a medium of communication amongst them despite Mandarin being the lingua franca of all ethnic Chinese subgroups including Peranakans, who studied and spoke it as a second or third language).[25] Notably, all nationally produced non- Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin Chinese
TV and radio programs were stopped after 1979.[26] The prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, then, also stopped giving speeches in Hokkien
Hokkien
to prevent giving conflicting signals to the people.[26] Hong Kong
Hong Kong
(Cantonese) and Taiwanese dramas are unavailable in their untranslated form on free-to-air television, though drama series in non-Chinese languages are available in their original languages. Cantonese
Cantonese
drama series on terrestrial TV channels are instead dubbed in Mandarin and broadcast without the original Cantonese
Cantonese
audio and soundtrack. However, originals may be available through other sources such as cable television and online videos. Furthermore, an offshoot of SMC is the translation to Hanyu Pinyin
Hanyu Pinyin
of certain terms which originated from southern Chinese varieties. For instance, dim sum is often known as diǎn xīn in Singapore's English-language media, though this is largely a matter of style, and most Singaporeans will refer to it as dim sum when speaking English.[27] Nevertheless, since the government restriction on media in non-Mandarin varieties was relaxed in the mid-1990s and 2000s, the presence of Cantonese
Cantonese
in Singapore
Singapore
has grown substantially. Forms of popular culture from Hong Kong, such as television series, cinema and pop music have become popular in Singaporean society, and non-dubbed original versions of the media became widely available. Consequently, there has been a large of number of non- Cantonese
Cantonese
Chinese Singaporeans being able to understand or speak Cantonese
Cantonese
to some varying extent, with a number of educational institutes offering Cantonese
Cantonese
as an elective language course.[28] Cambodia[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
is widely used as the inter-communal language among Chinese Cambodians, especially in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh
and other urban areas. While Teochew speakers form the majority of the Chinese population in Cambodia, Cantonese
Cantonese
is often used as a vernacular in commerce and with other Chinese variant groups in the nation.[29] Chinese-language schools in Cambodia
Cambodia
are conducted in both, Cantonese
Cantonese
and Mandarin, but it always depends on the school.[30] Thailand[edit] Thailand
Thailand
is home to the largest overseas Chinese community in the world, numbering over 9 million individuals. Cantonese
Cantonese
is the fourth most-spoken variety of Chinese in Thai Chinese
Thai Chinese
households after Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese.[31] However, within the Thai Chinese commercial sector, it serves as a common language alongside Teochew or Thai. Chinese-language schools
Chinese-language schools
in Thailand
Thailand
have also traditionally been conducted in Cantonese. Furthermore, Cantonese
Cantonese
serves as the lingua franca with other Chinese communities in the nation.[32] Indonesia[edit] See also: Indonesian Chinese § Language In Indonesia, Cantonese
Cantonese
is locally known as Konghu and is one of the variants spoken by the Chinese Indonesian
Chinese Indonesian
community, with speakers largely concentrated in major cities such as Jakarta
Jakarta
(the capital city), Surabaya
Surabaya
and Batam. However, it has a relatively minor presence compared to other Southeast Asian nations, being the fourth most spoken Chinese variety after Hokkien, Hakka and Teochew. [33] North America[edit] United States[edit]

Street in Chinatown, San Francisco. Cantonese
Cantonese
has traditionally been the dominant Chinese variant among Chinese populations in the Western world.

Over a period of 150 years, Guangdong
Guangdong
has been the place-of-origin for most Chinese emigrants to Western nations; one coastal county, Taishan (or Tóisàn, where the Sìyì or sei yap variety of Yue is spoken), alone may be the origin of the vast majority of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. before 1965.[34] As a result, Yue languages such as Cantonese and the closely related variety of Taishanese have been the major Chinese varieties traditionally spoken in the United States. The Zhongshan variant of Cantonese, with origins in the western Pearl River Delta, is spoken by many Chinese immigrants in Hawaii, and some in San Francisco
San Francisco
and the Sacramento River
Sacramento River
Delta (see Locke, California); it is a Yuehai variety much like Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Cantonese, but has "flatter" tones. Chinese is the third most widely spoken non- English language
English language
in the United States when both Cantonese
Cantonese
and Mandarin are combined, behind Spanish and French.[35] Many institutes of higher education have traditionally had Chinese programs based on Cantonese, with some continuing to offer these programs despite the rise of Mandarin. The most popular romanization for learning Cantonese in the United States is Yale Romanization. The majority of Chinese emigrants have traditionally originated from Guangdong
Guangdong
and Guangxi, as well as Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macao (beginning in the latter half of the 20th century and before the Handover) and Southeast Asia, with Cantonese
Cantonese
as their native language. However, more recent immigrants are arriving from the rest of mainland China
China
and Taiwan and most often speak Standard Mandarin (Putonghua) as their native language,[36][37] although some may also speak their native local variety, such as Shanghainese, Hokkien, Fuzhounese, Hakka, etc. As a result, Mandarin is becoming more common among the Chinese American community. The increase of Mandarin-speaking communities has resulted in the rise of separate neighborhoods or enclaves segregated by the primary Chinese variety spoken. Socioeconomic statuses are also a factor as well.[38] For example, in New York City, Cantonese
Cantonese
still predominates in the city's older, traditional western portion of Chinatown in Manhattan, in Brooklyn's small new Chinatowns in sections of Bensonhurst and in Homecrest. The newly emerged Little Fuzhou
Little Fuzhou
eastern portion of Manhattan's Chinatown and Brooklyn's main large Chinatown in and around Sunset Park are mostly populated by Fuzhounese
Fuzhounese
speakers, who often speak Mandarin as well. The Cantonese
Cantonese
and Fuzhounese enclaves in New York City
New York City
are more working class. Flushing's large Chinatown, which now holds the crown as the largest Chinatown of the city, and Elmhurst's smaller Chinatown in Queens are very mixed, with large numbers of Mandarin speakers from many different parts of China and Taiwan. They comprise the primary cultural center for New York City's Chinese population and are more middle class.[39] In Northern California, especially in the San Francisco
San Francisco
Bay Area, Cantonese
Cantonese
has historically and continues to predominate in the Chinatowns of San Francisco
San Francisco
and Oakland, as well as the surrounding suburbs and metropolitan area, although Mandarin is now[when?] also found in Silicon Valley. In contrast, Southern California
Southern California
hosts a much larger Mandarin-speaking population, with Cantonese
Cantonese
found in more historical Chinese communities such as that of Chinatown, Los Angeles, and older Chinese ethnoburbs such as San Gabriel, Rosemead, and Temple City.[40] While a number of more-established Taiwanese immigrants have learned Cantonese
Cantonese
to foster relations with the traditional Cantonese-speaking Chinese American
Chinese American
population, more recent arrivals and the larger number of mainland Chinese immigrants have largely continued to use Mandarin as the exclusive variety of Chinese. This has led to a linguistic discrimination that has also contributed to social conflicts between the two sides, with a growing number of Chinese Americans (including American-born Chinese) of Cantonese
Cantonese
background defending the historic Chinese-American culture against the impacts of increasing Mandarin-speaking new arrivals.[38][41] Canada[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
is the second most common Chinese variety spoken among Chinese Canadians. According to the Canada 2016 Census, there were 565,275 Canadian residents who reported Cantonese
Cantonese
as their native language. As in the United States, the Chinese Canadian community traces its roots to early immigrants from Guangdong
Guangdong
during the latter half of the 19th century.[42] Later Chinese immigrants came from Hong Kong
Hong Kong
in two waves, first in the late 1960s to mid 1970s, and again in the 1980s to late 1990s on fears arising from the impending handover to the People's Republic of China. Chinese-speaking immigrants from conflict zones in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam, arrived as well, beginning in the mid-1970s and were also largely Cantonese-speaking. Unlike the United States, recent immigration from mainland China
China
and Taiwan to Canada has been small, and Cantonese
Cantonese
still remains the predominant Chinese variety in the country.[43] Western Europe[edit] United Kingdom[edit] The overwhelming majority of Chinese speakers in the United Kingdom use Cantonese, with about 300,000 British people claiming it as their first language.[44] This is largely due to the presence of British Hong Kongers and the fact that many British Chinese
British Chinese
also have origins in the former British colonies in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
of Singapore
Singapore
and Malaysia. France[edit] Among the Chinese community in France, Cantonese
Cantonese
is spoken by immigrants who fled the former French Indochina
French Indochina
(Vietnam, Cambodia
Cambodia
and Laos) following the conflicts and communist takeovers in the region during the 1970s. While a slight majority of ethnic Chinese from Indochina speak Teochew at home, knowledge of Cantonese
Cantonese
is prevalent due to its historic prestige status in the region and is used for commercial and community purposes between the different Chinese variety groups. As in the United States, there is a divide between Cantonese-speakers and those speaking other mainland Chinese varieties.[45] Portugal[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
is spoken by ethnic Chinese in Portugal who originate from Macau, the most established Chinese community in the nation with a presence dating back to the 16th century and Portuguese colonialism. Since the late-20th century, however, Mandarin- and Wu-speaking migrants from mainland China
China
have outnumbered those from Macau, although Cantonese
Cantonese
is still retained among mainstream Chinese community associations.[46] Australia[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
has traditionally been the dominant Chinese language
Chinese language
of the Chinese Australian
Chinese Australian
community since the first ethnic Chinese settlers arrived in the 1850s. It maintained this status until the mid-2000s, when a heavy increase in immigration from Mandarin-speakers largely from Mainland China
Mainland China
led to Mandarin surpassing Cantonese
Cantonese
as the dominant Chinese dialect spoken. Cantonese
Cantonese
is the third most-spoken language in Australia. In the 2011 census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics listed 336,410 and 263,673 speakers of Mandarin and Cantonese, respectively. History[edit] See also: Yue Chinese

Chinese dictionary from the Tang dynasty. Modern Cantonese pronunciation preserves almost all terminal consonants (-m -n -ng, -p -t -k) from Middle Chinese.

During the Southern Song
Southern Song
period, Guangzhou
Guangzhou
became the cultural center of the region.[10] Cantonese
Cantonese
emerged as the prestige variety of Yue Chinese when the port city of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
on the Pearl River Delta became the largest port in China, with a trade network stretching as far as Arabia.[47] Cantonese
Cantonese
was also used in the popular Yuè'ōu, Mùyú and Nányīn folksong genres, as well as Cantonese opera.[48][49] Additionally, a distinct classical literature was developed in Cantonese, with Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
texts sounding more similar to modern Cantonese
Cantonese
than other present-day Chinese varieties, including Mandarin.[50] As Guangzhou
Guangzhou
became China's key commercial center for foreign trade and exchange in the 1700s, Cantonese
Cantonese
became the variety of Chinese interacting with most with the Western World.[47] Around this period and continuing into the 1900s, the ancestors of most of the population of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau
Macau
arrived from Guangzhou
Guangzhou
and surrounding areas after they were ceded to Britain and Portugal, respectively.[51] After the Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
of 1912, Cantonese
Cantonese
almost became the official language of the Republic of China
China
but lost by just one vote.[52] In Mainland China, Standard Chinese
Standard Chinese
(based on Mandarin) has been heavily promoted as the medium of instruction in schools and as the official language, especially after the communist takeover in 1949. Meanwhile, Cantonese
Cantonese
has remained the official variety of Chinese in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau, both during and after the colonial period.[16] Substrate influences[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
shows a clear substrate influence from Tai-Kadai. Robert Bauer (1996) points out twenty nine possible cognates between Cantonese
Cantonese
spoken in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
and Tai-Kadai, of which seven cognates are confirmed to originate from Tai-Kadai sources:[53] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
kɐj1 hɔ:ŋ2 ← Wuming Zhuang
Wuming Zhuang
kai5 ha:ŋ6 "young chicken which has not laid eggs"[54] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
ja:ŋ5 ← Thai jâ:ŋ "to step on, tread"[55] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
kɐm6 ← Wuming Zhuang
Wuming Zhuang
kam6, Thai kʰòm, Be-Lingao xɔm4 "to press down"[56] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
kɐp7b na:3[a] ← Wuming Zhuang
Wuming Zhuang
kop7, Thai kòp "frog"[57] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
khɐp8 ← Thai kʰòp "to bite"[57] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
lɐm5 ← Thai lóm, Maonan lam5 "to collapse, to topple, to fall down (building)"[58] Guangzhou
Guangzhou
tɐm5 ← Wuming Zhuang
Wuming Zhuang
tam5, Thai tàm "to hang down, be low"[59] Anne-Yue Hashimoto (1976) identifies these words: Cantonese
Cantonese
tei6 ( Wuming Zhuang
Wuming Zhuang
tøi6 = 'team') "pronominal plural", Cant. luk7 jau (WM lɯk9 puk9) "pomelo", Cant. saŋ5 (WM θaŋ5) "to blow the nose", Cant. uŋ3 (WM ȵoŋ4) "to push", Cant. ŋou2 (WM ŋau2) "to shake", Cant. na:t7 (WM ʔdat5) "hot".[60] The suffix -lou2 'guy' as in gwai2-lou2 'foreigner' is derived from Tai.[61] Besides the lexical influence, Cantonese
Cantonese
also exhibits Tai structural and grammatical influences. The ABB expressive reduplicated forms, which are common in Tai, can be found in Cantonese.

ABB expressive reduplicated forms[62]

Zhuang Kam Cantonese

cok-maet-maet 'strong, robust' ton11-tok31-tok31 round-plate-plate jyun4-luk1-luk1 round-wheel-wheel

lek-byaz-byaz scared-?-? 'terrified' man13-phi35-phi35 yellow-? 'rusty yellow' wong4-kam4-kam4 yellow- 'yellowed'

rang-ngau-ngau fragrant-sweet-sweet 'perfumed' tang45-nong453-nong45 fragrant-?-? 'perfumed' cau4-bang1-bang1 smelly-pong-pong 'smelly'

Cultural role[edit]

Gwóngjàu Wáh, the historically common name for Standard Cantonese written in traditional (left) and simplified (right) Chinese characters

See also: Cantonese
Cantonese
culture Spoken Chinese has numerous regional and local varieties, many of which are mutually unintelligible. Most of these are rare outside their native areas, though they may be spoken outside of China. Since a 1909 Qing dynasty
Qing dynasty
decree, China
China
has promoted Mandarin for use in education, the media, and official communications.[63] The proclamation of Mandarin as the official national language, however, was not fully accepted by the Cantonese
Cantonese
authorities in the early 20th century, who argued for the "regional uniqueness" of their own local language and commercial importance of the region.[64] Unlike other non- Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin Chinese
varieties, Cantonese
Cantonese
persists in a few state television and radio broadcasts today. Nevertheless, there have been recent attempts to minimize the use of Cantonese
Cantonese
in China. The most notable has been the 2010 proposal that Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Television increase its broadcast in Mandarin at the expense of Cantonese
Cantonese
programs. This however led to protests in Guangzhou, which eventually dissuaded authorities from going forward with the proposal.[65] Additionally, there are reports of students being punished for speaking other Chinese languages at school, resulting in a reluctance of younger children to communicate in their native languages, including Cantonese.[66] Such actions have further provoked Cantonese
Cantonese
speakers to cherish their linguistic identity in contrast to migrants who have generally arrived from poorer areas of China
China
and largely speak Mandarin or other Chinese languages.[67] Due to the linguistic history of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau, and the use of Cantonese
Cantonese
in many established overseas Chinese communities, diaspora speakers of Cantonese
Cantonese
is numerous compared to speakers residing in China. Cantonese
Cantonese
is the predominant Chinese variety spoken in Hong Kong and Macau. In these areas, public discourse takes place almost exclusively in Cantonese, making it the only variety of Chinese other than Mandarin to be used as an official language in the world. Because of their dominance in Chinese diaspora overseas, standard Cantonese and its dialect Taishanese are among the most common Chinese languages that one may encounter in the West. Increasingly since the 1997 Handover, Cantonese
Cantonese
has been used as a symbol of local identity in Hong Kong, largely through the development of democracy in the territory and desinicization practices to emphasise a separate Hong Kong
Hong Kong
identity.[68] A similar identity issue exists in the United States, where conflicts have arisen among Chinese-speakers due to a large recent influx of Mandarin-speakers. While older Taiwanese immigrants have learned Cantonese
Cantonese
to foster integration within the traditional Chinese American populations, more recent arrivals from the Mainland continue to use Mandarin exclusively. This has contributed to a segregation of communities based on linguistic cleavage. In particular, some Chinese Americans (including American-born Chinese) of Cantonese
Cantonese
background emphasise their non-Mainland origins(e.g. Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, etc.) to assert their identity in the face of new waves of immigration.[38][41] Along with Mandarin and Hokkien, Cantonese
Cantonese
has its own popular music, Cantopop, which is the predominant genre in Hong Kong. Many artists from the Mainland and Taiwan have learned Cantonese
Cantonese
to break into the market.[69] Popular native Mandarin-speaking singers, including Faye Wong, Eric Moo, and singers from Taiwan, have been trained in Cantonese
Cantonese
to add "Hong Kong-ness" to their performances.[69] Cantonese
Cantonese
films date to the early days of Chinese cinema, and the first Cantonese
Cantonese
talkie, White Gold Dragon (白金龍), was made in 1932 by the Tianyi Film Company.[70] Despite a ban on Cantonese
Cantonese
films by the Nanjing authority in the 1930s, Cantonese
Cantonese
film production continued in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
which was then under British colonial rule.[64][71] From the mid-1970s to the 1990s, Cantonese
Cantonese
films made in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
were very popular in the Chinese speaking world. Phonology[edit] Main article: Cantonese
Cantonese
phonology See also: Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Cantonese Initials and finals[edit] The de facto standard pronunciation of Cantonese
Cantonese
is that of Canton (Guangzhou), which is described in the Cantonese phonology
Cantonese phonology
article. Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Cantonese
Cantonese
has some minor variations in phonology, but is largely identical to standard Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Cantonese. In Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macau, certain phoneme pairs have caused one sound to merge into another. Although termed as "lazy sound" (懶音) and considered substandard to Guangzhou
Guangzhou
pronunciation, the phenomenon has been widespread in the territories since the early 20th century. The most notable difference between Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Guangzhou
Guangzhou
pronunciation is the substitution of the liquid nasal (/l/) for the nasal initial (/n/) in many words.[72] An example of this is manifested in the word for you (你), pronounced as néih in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
and as léih in Hong Kong. Another key feature of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Cantonese
Cantonese
is the merging of the two syllabic nasals /ŋ̩/ and /m̩/. This can be exemplified in the elimination of the contrast of sounds between 吳 (Ng, a surname) (ng4/ǹgh in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
pronunciation) and 唔 (not) (mh4/m̀h in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
pronunciation). In Hong Kong, both words are pronounced as the latter.[73] Lastly, the initials /kʷ/ and /kʷʰ/ can be merged into /k/ and /kʰ/ when followed by /ɔː/. An example is in the word for country (國), pronounced in standard Guangzhou
Guangzhou
as gwok but as gok with the merge. Unlike the above two differences, this merge is found alongside the standard pronunciation in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
rather than being replaced. Educated speakers often stick to the standard pronunciation but can exemplify the merged pronunciation in casual speech. In contrast, less educated speakers pronounce the merge more frequently.[73] Less prevalent, but still notable differences found among a number of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
speakers include:

Merging of /ŋ/ initial into null initial. Merging of /ŋ/ and /k/ codas into /n/ and /t/ codas respectively, eliminating contrast between these pairs of finals (except after /e/ and /o/): /aːn/-/aːŋ/, /aːt/-/aːk/, /ɐn/-/ɐŋ/, /ɐt/-/ɐk/, /ɔːn/-/ɔːŋ/ and /ɔːt/-/ɔːk/. Merging of the rising tones (陰上 2nd and 陽上 5th).[74]

Cantonese
Cantonese
vowels tend to be traced further back to Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
than their Mandarin analogues, such as M. /aɪ/ vs. C. /ɔːi/; M. /i/ vs. C. /ɐi/; M. /ɤ/ vs. C. /ɔː/; M. /ɑʊ/ vs. C. /ou/ etc. For consonants, some differences include M. /ɕ, tɕ, tɕʰ/ vs. C. /h, k, kʰ/; M. /ʐ/ vs. C. /j/; and a greater syllable coda diversity in Cantonese
Cantonese
(such as syllables ending in -t, -p, or -k). Tones[edit] Generally speaking, Cantonese
Cantonese
is a tonal language with six phonetic tones. Historically, finals that end in a stop consonant were considered as "checked tones" and treated separately by diachronic convention, identifying Cantonese
Cantonese
with nine tones. However, phonetically these are now considered a conflation of tone and final consonant and are seldom counted as individual tones in modern linguistics.[75]

Syllable type

Tone name dark flat (陰平) dark rising (陰上) dark departing (陰去) light flat (陽平) light rising (陽上) light departing (陽去)

Description high level, high falling medium rising medium level low falling, very low level low rising low level

Yale or Jyutping tone number 1 2 3 4 5 6

Example 詩 史 試 時 市 是

Tone letter siː˥, siː˥˧ siː˧˥ siː˧ siː˨˩, siː˩ siː˩˧ siː˨

IPA
IPA
diacritic síː, sîː sǐː sīː si̖ː, sı̏ː si̗ː sìː

Yale diacritic sī, sì sí si sìh síh sih

Written Cantonese[edit] Main articles: Written Cantonese
Written Cantonese
and Cantonese
Cantonese
Braille As Cantonese
Cantonese
is used primarily in Hong Kong, Macau, and other overseas Chinese communities, it is usually written with traditional Chinese characters. However, it includes extra characters as well as characters with different meanings from written vernacular Chinese due to the presence of words that either do not exist in standard Chinese or correspond with spoken Cantonese. This system of written Cantonese is often found in colloquial contexts such as entertainment magazines and social media, as well as on advertisements. In contrast, standard written Chinese continues to be used in formal literature, professional and government documents, and news media. Nevertheless, colloquial characters may be present in formal written communications such as legal testimonies and newspapers when an individual is being quoted, rather than paraphrasing spoken Cantonese into standard written Chinese. Romanization[edit] Cantonese
Cantonese
romanization systems are based on the accent of Canton and Hong Kong, and have helped define the concept of Standard Cantonese. The major systems are Meyer–Wempe, the Chinese government's Guangdong
Guangdong
Romanization, Yale and Jyutping. While they do not differ greatly, Yale is the one most commonly seen in the west today.[citation needed] The Hong Kong
Hong Kong
linguist Sidney Lau modified the Yale system for his popular Cantonese-as-a-second-language course and is still widely in use today. The Cantonese
Cantonese
romanization systems of Macau
Macau
are slightly different from Hong Kong's, the spellings are basically influenced by the Portuguese language. However, some words under the Macau's romanization systems are same as Hong Kong's (e.g. Lam 林, Chan 陳). Words with the alphabet "u" under Hong Kong's romanization systems are often replaced by "o" under Macao's romanization systems (e.g. Chau vs Chao 周, Leung vs Leong 梁). Both the spellings of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and Macao Cantonese
Cantonese
romanization systems do not look similar to the mainland China's pinyin system. Generally, plain stops are written with voiced consonants (/p/, /t/, /ts/, and /k/ as b, d, z/j, and g respectively), and aspirated stops with unvoiced ones, as in pinyin and Icelandic. Early Western effort[edit] Systematic efforts to develop an alphabetic representation of Cantonese
Cantonese
began with the arrival of Protestant
Protestant
missionaries in China early in the nineteenth century. Romanization was considered both a tool to help new missionaries learn the variety more easily and a quick route for the unlettered to achieve gospel literacy. Earlier Catholic missionaries, mostly Portuguese, had developed romanization schemes for the pronunciation current in the court and capital city of China
China
but made few efforts to romanize other varieties. Robert Morrison, the first Protestant
Protestant
missionary in China
China
published a "Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect" (1828) with a rather unsystematic romanized pronunciation. Elijah Coleman Bridgman
Elijah Coleman Bridgman
and Samuel Wells Williams in their "Chinese Chrestomathy in the Canton Dialect" (1841) were the progenitors of a long-lived lineage of related romanizations with minor variations embodied in the works of James Dyer Ball, Ernst Johann Eitel, and Immanuel Gottlieb Genăhr (1910). Bridgman and Williams based their system on the phonetic alphabet and diacritics proposed by Sir William Jones for South Asian languages. Their romanization system embodied the phonological system in a local dialect rhyme dictionary, the Fenyun cuoyao, which was widely used and easily available at the time and is still available today. Samuel Wells Willams' Tonic Dictionary of the Chinese Language in the Canton Dialect (Yinghua fenyun cuoyao 1856), is an alphabetic rearrangement, translation and annotation of the Fenyun. To adapt the system to the needs of users at a time when there were only local variants and no standard—although the speech of the western suburbs, Xiguan, of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
was the prestige variety at the time—Williams suggested that users learn and follow their teacher's pronunciation of his chart of Cantonese
Cantonese
syllables. It was apparently Bridgman's innovation to mark the tones with an open circle (upper register tones) or an underlined open circle (lower register tones) at the four corners of the romanized word in analogy with the traditional Chinese system of marking the tone of a character with a circle (lower left for "even," upper left for "rising," upper right for "going," and lower right for "entering" tones). John Chalmers, in his "English and Cantonese
Cantonese
pocket-dictionary" (1859) simplified the marking of tones using the acute accent to mark "rising" tones and the grave to mark "going" tones and no diacritic for "even" tones and marking upper register tones by italics (or underlining in handwritten work). "Entering" tones could be distinguished by their consonantal ending. Nicholas Belfeld Dennys used Chalmers romanization in his primer. This method of marking tones was adopted in the Yale romanization (with low register tones marked with an 'h'). A new romanization was developed in the first decade of the twentieth century which eliminated the diacritics on vowels by distinguishing vowel quality by spelling differences (e.g. a/aa, o/oh). Diacritics were used only for marking tones. The name of Tipson is associated with this new romanization which still embodied the phonology of the Fenyun to some extent. It is the system used in Meyer-Wempe and Cowles' dictionaries and O'Melia's textbook and many other works in the first half of the twentieth century. It was the standard romanization until the Yale system supplanted it. The distinguished linguist Y. R. Chao developed a Cantonese
Cantonese
adaptation of his Gwoyeu Romatzyh
Gwoyeu Romatzyh
system. The Barnett-Chao romanization system was first used in Chao's Cantonese
Cantonese
Primer, published in 1947 by Harvard University Press (The Cantonese
Cantonese
Primer was adapted for Mandarin teaching and published by Harvard University Press in 1948 as Mandarin Primer). The BC system was also used in textbooks published by the Hong Kong
Hong Kong
government. Cantonese
Cantonese
romanization in Hong Kong[edit] Main article: Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Government Cantonese
Cantonese
Romanisation An influential work on Cantonese, A Chinese Syllabary Pronounced According to the Dialect of Canton, written by Wong Shik Ling, was published in 1941. He derived an IPA-based transcription system, the S. L. Wong system, used by many Chinese dictionaries later published in Hong Kong. Although Wong also derived a romanization scheme, also known as the S. L. Wong system, it is not widely used as his transcription scheme. This system was preceded by the Barnett–Chao system used by the Hong Government Language School. The romanization advocated by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) is called Jyutping. The phonetic values of some consonants are closer to the approximate equivalents in IPA
IPA
than in other systems. Some effort has been undertaken to promote Jyutping, but the success of its proliferation within the region has yet to be examined. Another popular scheme is Cantonese
Cantonese
Pinyin, which is the only romanization system accepted by Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Education and Manpower Bureau and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Examinations and Assessment Authority. Books and studies for teachers and students in primary and secondary schools usually use this scheme. But there are teachers and students who use the transcription system of S.L. Wong. Despite the efforts to standardize Cantonese
Cantonese
romanization, those learning the language may feel frustrated that most native Cantonese speakers, regardless of their level of education, are unfamiliar with any romanization system. Because Cantonese
Cantonese
is primarily a spoken language and does not carry its own writing system (written Cantonese, despite having some Chinese characters unique to it, primarily follows modern standard Chinese, which is closely tied to Mandarin), it is not taught in schools. As a result, locals do not learn any of these systems. In contrast with Mandarin-speaking areas of China, Cantonese romanization systems are excluded in the education systems of both Hong Kong
Hong Kong
and the Guangdong
Guangdong
province. In practice, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
follows a loose, unnamed romanization scheme used by the Government of Hong Kong. Google Cantonese
Cantonese
input uses Yale, Jyutping
Jyutping
or Cantonese
Cantonese
Pinyin, Yale being the first standard.[76][77] Comparison[edit] Differences between the three main standards are in bold. Initials[edit]

Yale Cantonese
Cantonese
Pinyin Jyutping IPA

b b b p

p p p pʰ

m m m m

f f f f

d d d t

t t t tʰ

n n n n

l l l l

g g g k

k k k kʰ

ng ng ng ŋ

h h h h

j dz z ts

ch ts c tsʰ

s s s s

gw gw gw kw

kw kw kw kʰw

y j j j

w w w w

Finals[edit]

Yale Cantonese
Cantonese
Pinyin Jyutping IPA

aa aa aa aː

aai aai aai aːi

aau aau aau aːu

aam aam aam aːm

aan aan aan aːn

aang aang aang aːŋ

aap aap aap aːp

aat aat aat aːt

aak aak aak aːk

ai ai ai ɐi

au au au ɐu

am am am ɐm

an an an ɐn

ang ang ang ɐŋ

ap ap ap ɐp

at at at ɐt

ak ak ak ɐk

e e e ɛː

ei ei ei ei

eng eng eng ɛːŋ

ek ek ek ɛːk

i i i iː

iu iu iu iːu

im im im iːm

in in in iːn

ing ing ing eŋ

ip ip ip iːp

it it it iːt

ik ik ik ek

o o o ɔː

oi oi oi ɔːy

ou ou ou ou

on on on ɔːn

ong ong ong ɔːŋ

ot ot ot ɔːt

ok ok ok ɔːk

u u u uː

ui ui ui uːy

un un un uːn

ung ung ung oŋ

ut ut ut uːt

uk uk uk ok

eu oeu oe œː

eung oeng oeng œːŋ

euk oek oek œːk

eui oey eoi ɵy

eun oen eon ɵn

eut oet eot ɵt

yu y yu yː

yun yn yun yːn

yut yt yut yːt

m m m m̩

ng ng ng ŋ̩

Tones[edit]

Yale Cantonese
Cantonese
Pinyin Jyutping IPA Tone Contour[78]

ā, à 1 1 55, 53 ˥, ˥˧

á 2 2 35 ˧˥

a 3 3 33 ˧

àh 4 4 21, 11 ˨˩, ˩

áh 5 5 24, 13 ˩˧

āh 6 6 22 ˨

āk 7 1 5 ˥

ak 8 3 3 ˧

ahk 9 6 2 ˨

Loanwords[edit] Main article: Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Cantonese Life in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
is characterized by the blending of Asian (mainly south Chinese) and Western influences, as well as the status of the city as a major international business center. Influences from this territory are widespread in foreign cultures. As a result, many loanwords are created and exported to China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Some of the loanwords are even more popular than their Chinese counterparts. At the same time, some new words created are vividly borrowed by other languages as well. See also[edit]

Guangzhou
Guangzhou
portal Hong Kong
Hong Kong
portal Macau
Macau
portal Language portal

Cantonese
Cantonese
culture Cantonese
Cantonese
people Cantonese
Cantonese
slang Cantonese
Cantonese
grammar Cantonese
Cantonese
phonology

Jyutping Cantonese
Cantonese
Pinyin Romanization

Cantonese
Cantonese
profanity Yue Chinese List of varieties of Chinese List of English words of Cantonese
Cantonese
origin Comparison of Cantonese
Cantonese
and Mandarin

Notes[edit]

^ The second syllable na:3 may correspond to Tai morpheme for 'field'.

References[edit]

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Input". Play.google.com. Retrieved 29 January 2018 – via Google Play.  ^ "廣東話拼音 – Google 搜尋建議". Google.com.hk. Retrieved 29 January 2018.  ^ MATTHEWS, S.; YIP, V. Cantonese: A Comprehensive Grammar; London: Routledge, 1994

Works cited

Bauer, Robert S.; Benedict, Paul K. (1997), Modern Cantonese Phonology, Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3-11-014893-0.  Bauer, Robert S. (1996), "Identifying the Tai substratum in Cantonese" (PDF), Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Languages and Linguistics, Pan-Asiatic Linguistics V: 1 806- 1 844, Bangkok: Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development, Mahidol University at Salaya.  Coblin, W. South (2000), "A brief history of Mandarin", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 120 (4): 537–552, doi:10.2307/606615, JSTOR 606615.  Li, Qingxin (2006), Maritime Silk Road, trans. William W. Wang, China Intercontinental Press, ISBN 978-7-5085-0932-7.  Ramsey, S. Robert (1987), The Languages of China, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-01468-5.  Yue-Hashimoto, Anne Oi-Kan (1972), Studies in Yue Dialects 1: Phonology of Cantonese, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-08442-0.  Zhang, Bennan; Yang, Robin R. (2004), "Putonghua education and language policy in postcolonial Hong Kong", in Zhou, Minglang, Language policy in the People's Republic of China: theory and practice since 1949, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 143–161, ISBN 978-1-4020-8038-8. 

Further reading[edit]

Benoni, Lanctot (1867). Chinese and English phrase book : with the Chinese pronunciation indicated in English. San Francisco: A. Roman & Company. OCLC 41220764. OL 13999723M.  Bridgman, Elijah Coleman (1841). A Chinese Chrestomathy in the Canton Dialect. Macao: S. Wells Williams. OCLC 4614795. OL 6542029M.  Matthew, W. (1880). The book of a thousand words: translated, annotated and arranged so as to indicate the radical number and pronunciation (in Mandarin and Cantonese) of each character in the text. Stawell: Thomas Stubbs. OL 13996959M.  Morrison, Robert (1828). Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect: Chinese words and phrases. Macao: Steyn. OCLC 17203540.  Williams, Samuel Wells (1856). Tonic dictionary of the Chinese language in the Canton dialect. Canton: Chinese Repository. OCLC 6512080. OL 14002589M. 

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