Chinese, Yue


A language of China

Alternate Names
Cantonese, Gwong Dung Waa, Yue, Yueh, Yuet Yue, Yueyu

52,000,000 in China (1984). Population total all countries: 62,221,560.


Mainly Guangdong, except Hakka-speaking areas northeast, and Min Nan-speaking areas east. and in east Guangxi provinces. Other areas: Hainan and Hunan provinces.

Language Maps
Language Status

2 (Provincial). De facto provincial language in Guangdong Province. Language of recognized nationality: Han.


Bobai, Cangwu, Gaolei (Gaoyang), Guangzhou, Guinan, Ping, Qinlian, Siyi (Hoisan, Schleiyip, Seiyap, Taishan, Toisan), Tengxian, Yangjiang, Zhongshan. The Guangzhou variety considered the standard. A member of macrolanguage Chinese [zho].


SVO; prepositions; genitives, relatives, articles, adjectives, numerals before noun heads; tonal.

Language Use

Second only to Mandarin [cmn] in use. All domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Though many Yue speakers can understand Mandarin [cmn], many have difficulty speaking it. Used as L2 by Biao [byk], Chadong [cdy], E [eee], Min Nan Chinese [nan], Vietnamese [vie], Yang Zhuang [zyg], Yongnan Zhuang [zyn], Zuojiang Zhuang [zzj].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 91% (2000 census, Han nationality). Speakers are highly literate in Chinese. Taught in primary and secondary schools. Fully developed. Bible: 1894–1981.

Braille script [Brai], used in Hong Kong. Han script, Simplified variant [Hans]. Han script, Traditional variant [Hant], official usage in Hong Kong and Macau, also used elsewhere. Latin script [Latn], used since mid-19th century.

Other Comments

Many members of other nationalities in Guangxi, Guangdong and Hainan also speak Yue dialects.

Also spoken in:

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