Standard Cantonese

Standard Cantonese

Standard Cantonese is the standard variant of the Cantonese (Yuet) language. It is spoken natively in and around the cities of Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau in Southern China. Standard Cantonese is the de facto official language of Hong Kong and Macau, and a lingua franca of Guangdong province and some neighbouring areas. It is also spoken by many overseas Chinese of Guangdong, Hong Kong or Macau origin in Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, United States, Australia, Europe and elsewhere. Historically, Cantonese was the most common form of Chinese spoken by overseas Chinese communities in the Western world, although that situation has changed with the increasing importance of Mandarin in the Chinese-speaking world as well as immigration to the West from other countries as well as other parts of China.

In popular speech, Standard Cantonese is often known simply as "Cantonese", though in academic linguistics the name can also refer to the broader category to which it belongs, Cantonese language (zh-tsp|t=粵語|s=粤语|p=Yuèyǔ; Jyutping: Jyut6jyu5). Standard Cantonese is also known popularly as Guangdong speech (traditional: 廣東話; simplified: 广东话; pinyin: "Guǎngdōng huà"; Jyutping: "Gwong2dong1 wa2") or as the Canton Prefecture speech (traditional: 廣州話 or 廣府話; simplified: 广州话 or 广府话; pinyin: "Guǎngzhōu huà" or "Guángfǔ huà"; Jyutping: "Gwong2zau1 wa2" or "Gwong2fu2 wa2"). To its speakers in Mainland China, Standard Cantonese is called Plain Speech (Chinese: 白話; pinyin: "báihuà"; Jyutping: "baak6 wa2") meaning "vernacular Chinese." Outside of Mainland China, Standard Cantonese is called Guangdong speech.


Like any dialect, the phonology of Standard Cantonese varies among speakers. Unlike Standard Mandarin, there is no official agency to regulate Standard Cantonese. Below is the phonology accepted by most scholars and educators, the one usually heard on TV or radio in formal broadcast like news reports. Common variations are also described.

There are about 630 different extant combinations of syllable onsets (initial consonants) and syllable rimes (remainder of the syllable), not counting tones. Some of these, such as IPA|/ɛː˨/ and IPA|/ei˨/ (欸) , IPA|/pʊŋ˨/ (埲), IPA|/kʷɪŋ˥/ (扃) are not common any more; some such as IPA|/kʷɪk˥/ and IPA|/kʷʰɪk˥/ (隙), or IPA|/kʷaːŋ˧˥/ and IPA|/kɐŋ˧˥/ (梗) which has traditionally had two equally correct pronunciations are beginning to be pronounced with only one particular way uniformly by its speakers (and this usually happens because the "unused" pronunciation is almost unique to that word alone) thus making the "unused" sounds effectively disappear from the language; while some such as IPA|/kʷʰɔːk˧/ (擴), IPA|/pʰuːi˥/ (胚), IPA|/jɵy˥/ (錐), IPA|/kɛː˥/ (痂) have alternative nonstandard pronunciations which have become mainstream (as IPA|/kʷʰɔːŋ˧/, IPA|/puːi˥/, IPA|/tʃɵy˥/ and IPA|/kʰɛː˥/ respectively), again making some of the sounds disappear from the everyday use of the language; and yet others such as IPA|/faːk˧/ (謋), IPA|/fɐŋ˩/ (揈), IPA|/tɐp˥/ (耷) have become popularly (but erroneously) believed to be made-up/borrowed words to represent sounds in modern vernacular Cantonese when they have in fact been retaining those sounds before these vernacular usages became popular.

On the other hand, there are new words in Cantonese circulating in Hong Kong which use sounds which never appeared in Cantonese before, such as get1 (note: this is non standard usage as IPA|/ɛːt/ was never an accepted/valid final for sounds in Cantonese, though the final sound IPA|/ɛːt/ has appeared in vernacular Cantonese before this, IPA|/pʰɛːt˨/ - notably in describing the measure word of gooey or sticky substances such as mud, glue, chewing gum, etc.), the sound is borrowed from the English word "gag" to mean the act of amusing others by a (possibly practical) joke.


Initials (or onsets) are initial consonants of possible syllables. The following is the inventory for Standard Cantonese as represented in IPA::Syllabic nasals: IPA| [m̩] IPA| [ŋ̩]


Standard Cantonese has nine tones in six distinct tone contours.

Even though the aforementioned references observed the distinction, most of them also noted that the depalatalization phenomenon was already occurring at the time. Williams (1856) writes:

Cowles (1914) adds:

A vestige of this palatalization difference is sometimes reflected in the romanization scheme used to romanize Cantonese names in Hong Kong. For instance, many names will be spelled with "sh" even though the "sh" sound" (IPA|/ɕ/) is no longer used to pronounce the word. Examples include the surname (IPA|/sɛːk˨/), which is often romanized as "Shek", and the names of places like Sha Tin (沙田; IPA|/saː˥ tʰiːn˩/).

After the shift was complete, even though the alveolo-palatal sibilants were no longer distinguished, they still continue to occur in complementary distribution with the alveolar sibilants, making the two groups of sibilants allophones. Thus, most modern Cantonese speakers will pronounce the alveolar sibilants unless the following vowel is IPA|/iː/, IPA|/i/, or IPA|/y/, in which case the alveolo-palatal (or postalveolar) is pronounced. Canton romanization attempts to reflect this phenomenon in its romanization scheme, even though most current Cantonese romanization schemes don't.

The alveolo-palatal sibilants occur in complementary distribution with the retroflex sibilants in Mandarin as well, with the alveolo-palatal sibilants only occurring before IPA|/i/, or IPA|/y/. However, Mandarin also retains the medials, where IPA|/i/ and IPA|/y/ can occur, as can be seen in the examples above. Cantonese had lost its medials sometime ago in its history, reducing the ability for speakers to distinguish its sibilant initials.

Current shifts

In modern-day Hong Kong, many younger native speakers are unable to distinguish between certain phoneme pairs and merge one sound into another. Although that is often considered as substandard and is denounced as being "lazy sounds" (懶音), it is becoming more common and is influencing other Cantonese-speaking regions.


There are several major romanization schemes for Cantonese: Barnett-Chao, Meyer-Wempe, the Chinese government's Guangdong romanization, Yale and . While they do not differ greatly, Yale is the one most commonly seen in the west today. The Hong Kong linguist Sidney Lau modified the Yale system for his popular Cantonese-as-a-second-language course, so that is another system used today by contemporary Cantonese learners.

Early Western effort

Systematic efforts to develop an alphabetic representation of Cantonese pronunciation began with the arrival of Protestant missionaries in China early in the nineteenth century. Romanization was considered both a tool to help new missionaries learn the dialect 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 capitol city of China but made few efforts at romanizing other dialects.

Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary in China published a "Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect" (1828) with a rather unsystematic romanized pronunciation. 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, Ernest John 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. In order 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 was the prestige variety at the time -- Williams suggested that users learn and follow their teacher's pronunciation of his chart of Cantonese syllables. It was apparently Bridgman's innovation to mark the tones with an open circles (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 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 adaptation of his Gwoyeu romanization system which he used in his "Cantonese Primer." The front matter to this book contains a review and comparison of a number of the systems mentioned in this paragraph. The GR system was not widely used.

Cantonese research in Hong Kong

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 for Cantonese, S. L. Wong system, with many Chinese dictionaries published later in Hong Kong being based on this transcription system. Although Wong also derived a romanisation scheme, also known as S. L. Wong system, it is not widely used as his transcription scheme.

The one advocated by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) is called jyutping, which solves many of the inconsistencies and problems of the older, favored, and more familiar system of Yale Romanization, but departs considerably from it in a number of ways unfamiliar to Yale users. The phonetic values of letters are not quite familiar to whom had studied English. Some effort has been undertaken to promote jyutping, with some official supports, but it is too early to tell how successful it is.

Another popular scheme is Standard Cantonese Pinyin Schemes, which is the only romanization system accepted by Hong Kong Education and Manpower Bureau and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority. Books and studies for teachers and students in primary and secondary schools usually use this scheme. But there is quite a lot teachers and students using the transcription system of S. L. Wong.

However, learners may feel frustrated that most native Cantonese speakers, no matter how educated they are, really are not familiar with any romanization system. Apparently, there is no motive for local people to learn any of these systems. The romanization systems are not included in the education system either in Hong Kong or in Guangdong province. In practice, Hong Kong people follow a loose unnamed romanisation scheme used by the Hong Kong Government.

Written Cantonese

Cantonese is usually referred to as a spoken dialect, and not as a written dialect. Spoken vernacular Cantonese differs from modern written Chinese, which is essentially formal Standard Mandarin in written form. Written Chinese spoken word for word sounds overly formal and distant in Cantonese. As a result, the necessity of having a written script which matched the spoken form increased over time. This resulted in the creation of additional Chinese characters to complement the existing characters. Many of these represent phonological sounds not present in Mandarin. A good source for well documented Cantonese words can be found in drama and opera (大戲 daai hei) scripts. Written Cantonese is largely incomprehensible to non-Cantonese speakers because written Cantonese is based on spoken Cantonese which is different from Standard Mandarin in grammar and vocabulary.

"Readings in Cantonese colloquial: being selections from books in the Cantonese vernacular with free and literal translations of the Chinese character and romanized spelling" (1894) by James Dyer Ball has a bibliography of works available in Cantonese characters in the last decade of the nineteenth century. A few libraries have collections of so-called "wooden fish books" written in Cantonese character. Facsimiles and plot precis of a few of these have been published in Wolfram Eberhard's "Cantonese Ballads." See also "Cantonese love-songs, translated with introduction and notes by Cecil Clementi" (1904) or a newer translation of these Yue Ou in "Cantonese love songs : an English translation of Jiu Ji-yung's Cantonese songs of the early 19th century" (1992). Cantonese character versions of the Bible, Pilgrims Progress, and Peep of Day as well as simple catechisms were published by mission presses. The special Cantonese characters used in all these was not standardized and shows wide variation.

With the advent of the computer and standardization of character sets specifically for Cantonese, many printed materials in predominantly Cantonese speaking areas of the world are written to cater to their population with these written Cantonese characters. As a result, mainstream media such as newspapers and magazines have become progressively less conservative and more colloquial in their dissemination of ideas. Generally speaking, some of the older generation of Cantonese speakers regard this trend as a step "backwards" and away from tradition. This tension between the "old" and "new" is a reflection of a transition that is being undergone by the Cantonese speaking population.

Standard written Chinese is, in essence, written Standard Mandarin. When standard written Chinese is read aloud with Cantonese sound values, the result sounds stilted and unnatural because it is different from normal spoken Cantonese. Written Cantonese is spoken Cantonese written as it is actually spoken. Unusual for a regional (i.e., non-Mandarin) Chinese language, Cantonese has a written form, developed over the last few decades in Hong Kong, and includes many unique characters that are not found in standard written Chinese. Readers who understand standard written Chinese but do not know Cantonese often find written Cantonese hard to understand or even unintelligible as it is different from standard written Chinese in grammar and vocabulary. However, written Cantonese is commonly used informally among Cantonese speakers. Circumstances where written Cantonese is used include conversations through instant messaging services, letters, notes, entertainment magazines and entertainment sections of newspapers, and sometimes subtitles in Hong Kong movies, and advertisements. It rarely finds its way into the subtitles of Western movies or TV shows, though The Simpsons is a notable exception. Cantonese Opera scripts also use the Cantonese written vernacular.

Historically, written Cantonese has been used in Hong Kong for legal proceedings in order to write down the exact spoken testimony of a witness, instead of paraphrasing spoken Cantonese into standard written Chinese. Newspapers have also done likewise to capture more exact quotes. Its popularity and usage has been rising in the last two decades, the late Wong Jim being one of the pioneers of its use as an effective written language. Written colloquial Cantonese has become quite popular in certain tabloids, online chat rooms, and instant messaging. Some tabloids like Apple Daily write colloquial Cantonese; papers may contain editorials that contain Cantonese; and Cantonese-specific characters can be increasingly seen on advertisements and billboards. Written Cantonese remains limited outside of Hong Kong, even in other Cantonese-speaking areas such as Guangdong, where the use of colloquial writing is discouraged. Despite the relative popularity of written Cantonese in Hong Kong, some disdain it, believing that being too accustomed to write in such a way would affect a person's ability to use standard written Chinese in situations that demand it.

Forms of written Chinese in Hong Kong:

# Standard Written Chinese (traditional characters) used in Hong Kong SAR post-WWII Vernacular Reformation.
# pakwa _zh. 日常白話 Colloquial Written Cantonese - currently used in journals, advertisements, etc. in Hong Kong SAR, overseas Cantonese Chinese communities.
# Classical Cantonese Chinese - a reconstructed Neo-Classical written Chinese forms widely used in 1900s-90s Hong Kong in Cantonese opera lyrics, Cantonese Chinese poetic forms and especially in 80s cantopop.
# Classical Chinese known as wenyanwen - a written Chinese form in poems and writings from the dynastic periods.

For colloquial vernacular usage, written Cantonese incorporates an entire range of characters and particles specific to the Cantonese spoken form. This is commonly used in publicity and journalistic writing in Hong Kong and Hong Kong-influenced regions. It reads exactly as Modern Standard Spoken Cantonese.

For literary and artistic reasons (such as calligraphy), standard literary Chinese, the classical wenyanwan is used.

Records of legal documents in Hong Kong also use written Cantonese sometimes, in order to record exactly what a witness has said.

Colloquial Cantonese is rarely used in formal forms of writing; formal written communication is almost always in standard written Chinese, albeit still pronounced with Cantonese sound values. However, written colloquial Cantonese does exist; it is used mostly for transcription of speech in tabloids, in some broadsheets, for some subtitles, for personal diaries, and in other informal forms of communication such as Internet bulletin boards (BBS) or e-mails. It is not uncommon to see the front page of a Cantonese paper written in hanyu, while the entertainment sections are, at least partly, in Cantonese. The vernacular writing system has evolved over time from a process of modifying characters to express lexical and syntactic elements found in Cantonese but not the standard written language. In spite of their vernacular origin and informal use, these characters have become so common in Hong Kong that the Hong Kong Government has incorporated them into a special Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS), as the same as special characters used for proper nouns.

A problem for the student of Cantonese is the lack of a widely accepted, standardized transcription system. Another problem is with Chinese characters: Cantonese uses the same system of characters as standard written Chinese, but it often uses different words, which have to be written with different or new characters. An example of Cantonese using a different word and a different character to write it: the Mandarin word for "to be" is shì and is written as _zh. , but in Cantonese the word for "to be" is hai6 and _zh. 係 is used in written Cantonese ( _zh. is xì in Mandarin). In standard written Chinese _zh. 是 is normally used, though _zh. 係 can be found in classical literature and modern legal writing. In Hong Kong, _zh. 係 is often used in colloquial written Cantonese and therefore actively avoided and discouraged in formal writing; on the other hand, the use of _zh. 係 is relatively widespread in both mainland China and in Taiwan, in government publications and product descriptions, for example.

Many characters used in colloquial Cantonese writings are made up by putting a mouth radical ( _zh. ) on the left hand side of another more well known character to indicate that the character is read like the right hand side, but it is only used phonetically in the Cantonese context. The characters [ [] ] , _zh. 叻, _zh. 吓, _zh. 吔, _zh. 呃, _zh. 咁, _zh. 咗, _zh. 咩, _zh. 哂, _zh. 哋, _zh. 唔, _zh. 唥, _zh. 唧, _zh. 啱, _zh. 啲, _zh. 喐, _zh. 喥, _zh. 喺, _zh. 嗰, _zh. 嘅, _zh. 嘜, _zh. 嘞, _zh. 嘢, _zh. 嘥, _zh. 嚟, _zh. 嚡, _zh. 嚿, _zh. 囖 etc. are commonly used in Cantonese writing.

As not all Cantonese words can be found in current encoding system, or the users simply do not know how to enter such characters on the computer, in very informal speech, Cantonese tends to use extremely simple romanization (e.g. use D as _zh. 啲), symbols (add an English letter "o" in front of another Chinese character; e.g. _zh. 㗎 is defined in Unicode, but will not display in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, hence the proxy _zh. o架 is often used), homophones (e.g. use _zh. 果 as _zh. 嗰), and Chinese characters of different Mandarin meaning (e.g. _zh. , _zh. , _zh. etc.) to compose a message.

For example, " _zh. 你喺嗰喥好喇,千祈咪搞佢啲嘢。" is often written in easier form as " _zh. 你o係果度好喇,千祈咪搞佢D野。" (character-by-character, approximately "you, be, there (two characters), good, (final particle), thousand, pray, don't, mess, he/she, genitive particle, thing"; translation: "It's okay that you're staying there, but please don't mess with his/her stuff").

Other common characters are unique to Cantonese or deviated from their Standard Chinese usage; these include: _zh. , _zh. , _zh. , _zh. , _zh. , _zh. , _zh. , _zh. etc.

The words represented by these characters are sometimes cognates with pre-existing Chinese words. However, their colloquial Cantonese pronunciations have diverged from formal Cantonese pronunciations. For example, in formal written Chinese, _zh. (mou4) is the character used for "without". In spoken Cantonese, _zh. 冇 (mou5) has the same usage, meaning, and pronunciation as _zh. 無, differing only by tone. _zh. 冇 is actually a hollowed out writing of its antonym ( _zh. ). _zh. 冇 represents the spoken Cantonese form of the word "without", while _zh. 無 represents the word used in formal Chinese writing (pinyin: wú) . However, _zh. 無 is still used in some instances in spoken Chinese in both dialects, like _zh. ("no matter what"). A Cantonese-specific example is the doublet _zh. /, which means "to come". _zh. 來 (loi4) is used in formal writing; _zh. 嚟 (lei4) is the spoken Cantonese form.

Cultural role

China has numerous regional and local varieties of spoken Chinese, many of which are mutually unintelligible; most of these are rarely used or heard outside their native areas, and are not used in education, formal purposes, or in the media. Regional/local dialects (including Cantonese) in mainland China and Taiwan tend to be used primarily within their local region with other native speakers, with Standard Mandarin being used for official purposes, in the media, and as the language of education. Even though the majority of Cantonese speakers live in mainland China, due to the linguistic history of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as its use in many overseas Chinese communities, the use of Standard Cantonese has spread from Guangdong far out of proportion to its relatively small number of speakers in China.

As the majority of Hong Kong and Macau people and/or their ancestors emigrated from Guangdong before the widespread use of Standard Mandarin, Cantonese became the usual and only spoken variety of Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is the only Chinese variety to be used in official contexts other than Standard Mandarin, which is the official language of both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. Also because of its use by non-Mandarin speaking Cantonese speakers overseas, Cantonese is one of the primary forms of Chinese that many Westerners come into contact with.

Along with Mandarin and Taiwanese, Cantonese is also one of the few Chinese spoken varieties which has its own popular music (Cantopop). The prevalence of Hong Kong's popular culture has spurred some Chinese in other regions to learn CantoneseFact|date=March 2008. In Hong Kong, Cantonese is dominant in the domain of popular music, and many artists from Beijing and Taiwan have to learn Cantonese so that they can make Cantonese versions of their recordings especially for distribution in Hong Kong.Donald, Stephanie. Keane, Michael. Hong, Yin. [2002] (2002). Media in China: Consumption, Content and Crisis. Routledge Mass media policy. ISBN 0700716149. pg 113] Some singers including Faye Wong and Eric Moo, and singers from Taiwan, have been trained in Cantonese to add "Hong Kong-ness" to their performances.

The contrast is especially clear with other Chinese varieties, such as Wu. Wu has more speakers than Yue (the wider group under which Cantonese is located), it is spoken in an area that is approximately equally wealthy, and Shanghainese, one of the prestige dialects of Wu, is spoken in Shanghai, arguably the economic center of Mainland China. However, Shanghainese is not used in official contexts, Shanghainese does not have a form of popular music, and is virtually unknown in the West. This is because usage of Shanghainese is discouraged by the government, and is banned in schools. [cite web|url= |title=Cultural identity, conflicts with Putonghua, status, and bans |accessdate=2006-08-03 |] In addition, virtually all Shanghai people can speak Standard Mandarin and use Shanghainese only with other Shanghainese speakers. Therefore, Shanghainese is rarely used outside of the city. This applies to many local varieties of Chinese. Hong Kong people do not speak Standard Mandarin and continue to use Cantonese as the only spoken form of Chinese. However, spurred on by the success of Cantonese, some Wu speakers have begun to promote their mother tongue.


Life in Hong Kong is characterised by the blending of Asian (mainly south Chinese) and Western influences, as well as the status of the city as a major international business centre. Influences from this territory are widespread in foreign cultures. As a results, 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.

Cantonese versus Mandarin in Hong Kong and Singapore

The so-called "Battle between Cantonese and Mandarin" started in Hong Kong in the mid-1980s when a large number of non-Cantonese speaking mainland Chinese people started crossing the border into Hong Kong during Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms. At that time, Hong Kong and Macau were still British and Portuguese protectorates respectively, and Mandarin was not often heard in those territories. Today Mandarin is often taught as a second language in those areas, but is not used at all in daily life by anyone except immigrants from the non-Cantonese speaking parts of the mainland. Businesspeople from the mainland and the colonies who did not share a common language shared a mutual dislike and distrust of one another, and in magazines in China in the mid-1980s, they would publish polemics against the other's language - thus Cantonese became known on the mainland as "British Chinese" - and Mandarin became known as "流氓話 Lau Man Waa" - literally "outlaw speech" - in the colonies.

In Singapore the government has had a Speak Mandarin Campaign (SMC) which seeks to actively promote the use of Standard Mandarin Chinese instead of Chinese dialects, such as Hokkien (45% of the Chinese population), Teochew (22.5%), Cantonese (16%), Hakka (7%) and Hainanese. This was seen as a way of creating greater cohesion among the ethnic Chinese. In addition to positive promotion of Mandarin, the campaign also includes active attempts to dissuade people from using Chinese dialects. Most notably, the use of dialects in local broadcast media is banned, and access to foreign media in dialect is limited.Some believe that the Singaporean Government has gone too far in its endeavour. Some Taiwanese songs in some Taiwanese entertainment programmes have been singled out and censored. Japanese and Korean drama series are available in their original languages on TV to the viewers, but Hong Kong drama series on non-cable TV channels are always dubbed in Mandarin and broadcast in Singapore without their original Cantonese soundtrack. Some Cantonese speakers in Singapore feel the dubbing causes the series to sound very unnatural and lose much of its flavour.

An offshoot of SMC is the Pinyinisation of certain terms which originated from southern Chinese languages. For instance, dim sum is often known as "dianxin" in Singapore's English language media, though this is largely a matter of style, and most Singaporeans will refer to dim sum when speaking English. Another result of SMC is that most young Singaporeans from Cantonese speaking families are unable to understand or speak Cantonese. The situation is very different in nearby Malaysia, where even most non-Cantonese speaking Chinese can understand the dialect to a certain extent through exposure to the language.


ee also

*List of Chinese dialects

External links

* [ The Chinese University of Hong Kong Research Centre for Humanities Computing: "Chinese Character Database: With Word-formations Phonologically Disambiguated According to the Cantonese Dialect"]
* [ Research on Cantonese, HKU]
* [ Cantonese Tone Tool] Add tone marks to romanized Cantonese
* []
* []
* [ Basic Cantonese Glossary from Worldwide Language Institute]

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  • Cantonese cuisine — Chinese|pic=Cantonesecuisine.jpg|picsize=300px|picc Cantonese restaurant serving Cantonese cuisine|s=广东菜|t=廣東菜|p=Guǎngdōng cài|j=Gwong2 dong1 coi3 altname=Yue cuisine|c2=粵菜|p2=Yuè cài|j2=Jyut6 coi3|show Cantonese ( Yue ) cuisine comes from… …   Wikipedia

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