Sze Yup

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Sze Yup
Location of Siyi within Guangdong China.png
Sze Yup location in Guangdong
Chinese 四邑
Literal meaning four counties

The Sze Yup or Four Counties, also known as Siyi in Standard Mandarin or Sz Yip in Toishanese, refers to the four former counties of Xinhui (Sunwui), Taishan (Toisan), Kaiping (Hoiping) and Enping (Yanping) in the Pearl River Delta of southern Guangdong province, China.[1][2]


Xinhui is a city district and the other three are county-level cities, all four belong to Jiangmen prefecture administered from the city of Jiangmen. Since Heshan became governed by Jiangmen in 1983, Wuyi (Chinese: ; pinyin: Wǔyì; literally: "five counties", sometimes "Ng Yap"), which refers to all the five counties of Xinhui, Taishan, Kaiping, Enping and Heshan, has become an official title, and is widely accepted by the local residents today. However, among overseas Chinese, the name Siyi is still popular and frequently used.

It is said that over 100 famous people come from the Siyi or Wuyi region of Guangdong province, making the region famous for producing more entertainment stars than any other region in mainland China. As a result, the local government in Jiangmen which administers the Siyi or Wuyi cities of Taishan, Kaiping, Enping, Xinhui, and Heshan, decided to build a Stars Park called Jiangmen Star Park (江门星光园).


The area gave rise to the Siyi dialects, the most prominent of which is Taishanese (Toisanese/Hoisanese). Although Siyi and Cantonese both belong to the Yue branch of Chinese, Cantonese speakers cannot easily understand Siyi dialect.[3][4][5]


In the 19th century, many people from the Siyi emigrated to Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Australasia, North America and South America. Of the Chinese American population from that time until the 1950s, Siyinese were the vast majority, along with people from Sanyi and Zhongshan. In America, people from Siyi generally worked as laborers; Sanyi people worked as entrepreneurs; and Zhongshan people specialized in agriculture.[6] The Punti-Hakka Clan Wars also erupted in the Siyi counties during this time.[7] In 1851, two huiguans (native place associations) were established in San Francisco: the Siyi Huiguan and the Sanyi Huiguan.[8]


  1. ^ Chinese American Names: Tradition and Transition - Page 118 Emma Woo Louie - 2008 "These were the Sam Yup and Sze Yup dialects, which the author spelled as “Saam Yup” and “Sz Yip,” respectively. Sam Yup means “Three Districts dialect,” which is akin to standard Cantonese, and Sze Yup means “Four Districts dialect.”
  2. ^ Shanghai Girls - Page 8 Lisa See - 2010 "My first language was Sze Yup, the dialect spoken in the Four Districts in Kwangtung province, where our ancestral home is located...”
  3. ^ Szeto, Cecilia (2001), "Testing intelligibility among Sinitic dialects", in Allan, Keith; Henderson, John, Proceedings of ALS2k, the 2000 Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society (PDF), retrieved 5 Jan 2014 
  4. ^ Phonology of Cantonese - Page 192 Oi-kan Yue Hashimoto - 1972 "... affricates and aspirated stops into consonant clusters is for external comparative purposes, because the Cantonese aspirated stops correspond to /h/ and some of the Cantonese affricates correspond to stops in many Si-yi (Seiyap) dialects."
  5. ^ Language in the USA - Page 217 Charles A. Ferguson, Shirley Brice Heath, David Hwang - 1981 "Even the kind of Cantonese which the Chinese Americans speak causes difficulties, because most of them have come from the rural Seiyap districts southwest of Canton and speak dialects of that region rather than the Standard Cantonese of the city"
  6. ^ Hsia, Lisa (2007). "Asians and Asian Americans in the West". In Mancall, Peter; Johnson, Benjamin Heber. Making of the American West: People and Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. pp. 161–187. 
  7. ^ Punti-Hakka Clan Wars and Taishan County
  8. ^ Chi, Tsung (2005). East Asian Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 65. 

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