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Cantonese in China
Study on Cantonese (Yue Chinese) in China
Oct, 2016



Cantonese (Yue Chinese) is a primary branch of the Chinese language comprising a number of dialects spoken in southern China mainly in the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau and overseas Chinese communities in Canada, the United States and Australia, as well as throughout Europe and Southeast Asia.

The English name "Cantonese" is sometimes taken to refer to the dialect of Guangzhou Yuehai (formerly known as Canton), Hong Kong and Macau, which has emerged as the prestige variety of Yue. It is a lingua franca (a third language, distinct from both persons' mother tongues) of Guangdong province, eastern Guangxi province, some neighboring areas and many of overseas Chinese communities.



Yue includes many regional dialects, some of which are only partially mutually intelligible. The Guangzhou dialect of Yuehai is the prestige dialect and social standard of Yue, and historically the word "Cantonese" has referred specifically to this dialect.

Yue is mutually unintelligible with other varieties of Chinese. Some linguists agree to some extent that Yue is closer to classical Chinese in its pronunciation and some grammar. Yue retains a flavor of archaic and ancient Chinese. If protected, it can be used as a fossil to help study ancient Chinese culture.

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