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Location of Zhongshan within China
The Longdu dialect is the most widespread dialect of the Zhongshan Min (Chungsan Min) language division within Southern Min Chinese. Native Speakers originated from towns of Dachong (Taichung) and Shaxi, Guangdong (Saakai) (formerly known as Longdu area) in Zhongshan (Chungsan) in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong. Despite its close proximity, Longdu is not very closely related to the surrounding dialects in the region, which belong to the Yue group. As such, Longdu forms a "dialect island" of Min speakers (two other Min enclaves exist in Zhongshan, Sanxiang and Nanlang). Its native speakers generally understand Cantonese, but not vice versa.
According to Søren Egerod, who published an extensive study of the dialect based on fieldwork conducted in 1949, the vocabulary consists of three layers:
- a pre-Tang colloquial layer, which seems to be related to the Fuzhou dialect,
- a Tang-period colloquial layer, which seems to be related to various Southern Min varieties, and
- a layer of literary readings based on the Shiqi dialect, the local Yue variety.
The Longdu dialect is a mother tongue of many Overseas Chinese and is slowly disappearing due to the emigration of people from the Longdu Area.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Longdu". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Egerod, Søren (1956). The Lungtu Dialect: A Descriptive and Historical Study of a South Chinese Idiom. E. Munksgaard. pp. 280–281.