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Cantonese Language Facts

If you’re thinking about learning Cantonese it’s always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. Here, Cactus Language offers up our most interesting Cantonese language facts:

  • Cantonese
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5 Interesting Cantonese Language Facts

1. Cantonese is part of the Sino-Tibetan languages

Cantonese evolved from Middle Chinese, and became the main language of Canton, South China.

2. Cantonese is spoken by an estimated 100 million people worldwide

Cantonese is mainly spoken in Hong Kong, Macau and other parts of Southern China, and there are substantial Cantonese-speaking minorities across Southeast Asia. Cantonese is also the dominant form of Chinese spoken by the Chinese diaspora in Europe, North America and Australia.

3. Cantonese is the main language in most Chinatowns across the world

While Mandarin is the dominant form of Chinese spoken in mainland China, it is originally a dialect from Northern China which was elevated as a main language to unify the country. The Chinese living in the UK and North America are more likely to speak Cantonese than Mandarin, as the majority of them come from Southern China.

4. Cantonese is generally considered as having six different tones

Tones are used to differentiate words in the Cantonese language.

5. Written and spoken Cantonese are different

Written Cantonese is very similar to Standard Chinese and Mandarin.

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