Yue (粤语 / yuhtyúh)

Yue is a variety of Chinese spoken mainly in Guangdong (廣東), Guangxi (廣西), Hong Kong (香港) and Macau (澳門). There are also substantial Yue-speaking communities overseas in Southeast Asia, Canada, Australia, the UK and USA.

Yue is also known as Cantonese, which can refer to the Yue varieties of Chinese as a whole, or to Cantonese (廣東話 gwóngdùngwá), the variety of Yue spoken in Guangzhou (Canton), Hong Kong and Macau. In Guangdong and Guanxi people generally call their language 粵語 (yuhtyúh) or 白話 (baahkwá), which refers specifically to the Guangzhou variety.

Yue pronunciation is thought to be closer to that of older forms of Chinese, particularly that of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), than Mandarin, as is some of its grammar. For example, many old poems that do rhyme when read with Yue pronunciation do not rhyme in Mandarin pronunciation. It is believed that officials and others who were exiled or migrated to southern China during the Tang Dynasty brought their variety of Chinese with them to Guangdong. Due to the southern region's relative remoteness and the lack of efficient communications and transport, the Tang variety survived relatively unchanged.

Varieties of Yue include:

  • Cantonese (廣東話), Guangfu (廣府話) or Yuehai (粵海話), which includes the language of Guangzhou and the surrounding areas of Zhongshan, Wuzhou, and Foshan, as well as Hong Kong and Macau
  • Si-yi (四邑話 seiyāpwá), which is spoken mainly in Guangdong. One subvariety of Seiyap, Taishanese (台山話), was the main variety spoken in Chinese communities in the USA before about 1970.
  • Gao–Yang (高陽話 gōuyèuhngwá), spoken in Yangjiang (阳江 [陽江])
  • Wu–Hua (吳化話 ng̀hfaawá), spoken mainly in western Guangdong
  • Gou–Lou (勾漏話 ngāulauhwá), spoken in western Guangdong and eastern Guangxi - includes the dialect of Yulin (玉林), Guangxi
  • Yong–Xun (邕潯話 jūngchàhmwá), spoken mainly in Guangxi and its capital Nanning (南宁 [南寧])
  • Qin–Lian (欽廉話 yāmlìhmwá), spoken in southern Guangxi - includes the Beihai (北海) dialect
  • Danzhou (儋州話 dāamjāuwá), which includes the dialect of Changjiang (昌江)
  • Haihua (海話 hóiwá), spoken in Lianjiang (廉江)

Recommended books

Books about Chinese characters and calligraphy
Cantonese learning materials

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Information about Yue
http://zh-yue.wikipedia.org/wiki/粵語 (in Cantonese)
http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/粤语 (in Standard Chinese)

Sinitic (Chinese) languages

Dungan, Cantonese, Fuzhounese, Gan, Hakka, Mandarin, Puxian, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Teochew, Wenzhounese, Xiang