Politics

Hong Kong as the epicenter of Cantonese

The dialectal density and diversity of Chinese is something that has escaped many people’s attention, since, contrary to widespread popular (mis)conceptions of Chinese as bidialectal (Mandarin vs Cantonese), it actually consists of hundreds of thousands of regional dialects that are distributed throughout the Chinese-speaking world.

In addition to the wide array of variation among the seven major dialect families – Mandarin, Yue (Cantonese), Hakka, Wu, Min, Xiang and Gan – there is a significant amount of micro-variation among the various sub-varieties of the same dialectal groups.

This has been noted for Cantonese, which, as mentioned before, is not only a major dialect spoken in the southeastern parts of China but also a heritage language in the West, with several generations of speakers in North America.



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