Talk:Hakka Chinese

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

All right. I apologize, but:

  1. 'hua != Chinese' as much as 'hua != language'; and
  2. 'Hakka Chinese' may also refer to, say, Chinese citizens who are Hakka.

I propose moving the linguistic article to something like (I prefer) Hakka language, Hakka (tongue), Hakka (linguistics), or Hakka dialect. --Kaihsu Tai 21:32, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

If Taiyu is Taiwanese language, Kejia-hua should be Hakka language. --Menchi 21:37, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Yu is the direct translation for language (so as explained to me, it is appropriate). In contrast, hua refers only to the spoken language. I wont object to moving it to Hakka dialect.

What about all the other spoken variations of Chinese? --Jiang 21:49, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

(I find phrases like 'spoken variations of Chinese', 'Taiyu', and 'Kejia-hua' objectionable -- they should be clearly 'the Chinese/Sinitic languages', 'Hō-ló-oē', and 'Hakka' -- but that's just me.) I would move them to unqualified titles like 'Min' (or 'Ban') and 'Yue' (or 'Yuet') if no possibility of ambiguity arises; otherwise I can accept 'Min dialect' or 'Fujian dialects'. Why should we be Mandarin-centric and POV? --Kaihsu Tai 22:07, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Is 'Hō-ló-oē' in the same Chinese characters as Taiyu? What standard are we using here? If not XXXX Chinese, then what? XXX dialect? XXX (followed by nothing)? --Jiang

(I will avoid the first question, for brevity and the love of harmony.) Jiang -- let's agree on 'XXXX' (yes, followed by nothing) when no ambiguity is possible, and 'XXXX dialect' (or, if you wish, some variation of 'XXXX Chinese dialect') when ambiguity may arise. --Kaihsu Tai 23:10, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

How are these not "spoken variations of Chinese"? Since when has Mandarin become spoken Chinese? --Jiang 22:35, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The thing is that, Jiang, there is no Chinese tongue (now I use this word to avoid the 'language or dialect?' mess) -- but there are Chinese tongues. To elaborate: Mandarin is not spoken Chinese. Written Mandarin is spoken Mandarin, written down -- remember the whole thing about Wusi (05-04), colloquialism etc? Then: Literary (ancient) Chinese (wenyan) can be written and then read out loud, but never spoken. (Try speaking it to someone.) Exhortation: Read some DeFrancis & Co. I have tried to include them in References here and there. --Kaihsu Tai 23:10, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)
My point is...i dont see the offense in labelling something "a dialect of Chinese" since Chinese cannot be limited to a single spoken dialect. --Jiang

Should we allow standardization supersede the common names? Since an ambiguity exists for Mandarin, will we keep it at Mandarin Chinese or move it to Mandarin dialect. The latter phrase is rarely used. --Jiang 23:25, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Hakka (linguistics) and Mandarin (linguistics) work. They sound better than Hakka (tongue). --Menchi 23:30, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)
Let's do that then. Jiang? --Kaihsu Tai 08:18, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Using parenthesis makes disambiguating necessary. Will this be too much trouble?

Let's copy this discussion to Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (Chinese) and wait a couple days. People may not be aware of this discussion. --Jiang 08:23, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

There has been considerable confusion over the use of the term dialect. According to the way I was taught (and I think most people on the listserv would agree), a dialect is what happens when a linguistic community splits (e.g., English speakers move to Australia and North America) and then the resultant groups diverge in pronunciation. However, the pronunciation changes are of a consistent nature and once you see how a few words change you can pretty much predict how all the other words will be pronounced. So if an American moves to Australia s/he may be totally unable to understand some or even most things that people say for several weeks or longer, but s/he will eventually be able to figure it all out and adapt to the systematic changes in pronunciation. The differences between Yun2 Nan2 hua4 and Bei3 Jing1 hua4 are like that.

In cases of different languages, the changes have gone so far that there is no longer a systematic relationship between most words in the two languages. The differences between Min3 Nan2 yu3 and pu3 tong1 hua4 are like that.

The "Chinese language" is like "romance languages" (all the languages that trace back to Latin). In my understanding, the appropriate term for the mutually incomprehensible languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Wu2 yu3...) would be "regional languages", or, if the context didn't make it clear, "regional Chinese languages". The term "dialects" should be reserved for the differences between, e.g., pu3 tong1 hua4 and Si4 Chuan1 hua4.

Using a tree structure would be a good way to show what fang1 yan2 are closely related and what ones are remote. All of the languages of the pu3 tong1 hua4 qu1 would go on one main branch, Fu2 Jian4 hua4 and Tai2 Wan1 hua4 would go on another branch. I'm guessing that Ke4 Jia1 hua4 as spoken on Taiwan and on the mainland may have more than one versions, and they would all go on a main branch. I suspect that the Ke4 Jia1 hua4 branch would be closer to the pu3 tong1 hua4 branch than Min3 Nan2 yu3 would.

Patrick0Moran 01:51, 11 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The dialect/language thing is mostly a political, not linguistic distinction. While many of the Chinese dialects are not mutually intelligible, they're called dialects in the interest of promoting Chinese unity. Similarly, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are largely comprehensible to speakers of any of those languages, but they're called 'languages' because Norway, Denmark and Sweden are separate countries who have an interest in having their speech be a language of its own. I think it was Uriel Weinreich who said "A language is a dialect with an army and a navy."

That said, I don't see anything wrong with using 'dialects' in Wikipedia -- common usage is our god, right? Moreover, I fail to see the need to impose some artificial consisntency on this whole thing -- like having all the dialect names in Mandarin or somesuch. The language most people speak south of Kaohsiung is commonly known as "Taiwanese", and the guest-families language is usually called "Hakka" (though this doesn't really match the pronunciation in Hakka or Mandarin). Anyway, while I think the articles should refer to Hakka, Taiwanese, etc. as dialects, the titles should still use _(linguistics)

In addition, according to the Hanyu Fangyan Gaiyao, there are four Mandarin dialects. However, the Putonghua, while based on the Mandarin dialect of the northern provinces ("the common language of China, based on the northern dialects, with the Peking phonological system as its norm of pronunication." -- National Language Reform Meeting) is not really a dialect (nor known as one), sort of like Standard Arabic, I suppose.

--Xiaopo 19:26, 26 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Should we call whales fish? Even if most people in the world did it? We have a problem in English with everyone calling any insect a bug, even though that name is supposedly reserved for sap-sucking insects with soda straws for mouthparts.

I think that common usage should not be a "god." To do so means that what is right and what is wrong doesn't count any more. The only thing that counts is what the majority of people would like to believe or have been told to believe. There is entirely too much of "my invisible friend is more powerful than your invisible friend" contention going on in the world today for me to accede to fostering that kind of thinking anywhere.

Just in terms of simple educational objectives, the average reader could use whatever landmarks and roadsigns we can provide to help him/her keep in mind the fact that a person from Si4 Chuan1 and a person from Bei3 Jing1 (each speaking the language they were brought up speaking) can understand each other, whereas a person whose native tongue is the vernacular of Bei3 Jing1 cannot understand a person whose vernacular is Taiwanese.

I am not so sure that a person from Sichuan (with its myriad of local dialects) and a person from Beijing could understand each other's tongue. It is well documented that Deng Xiaoping's (Hakka, Sichuan) spoken words were very difficult to understand by top-level Putonghua/English interpreters, and that he needed his daughter to interpret his words into Putonghua first before interpreters could render them into English. Indeed Putonghua and the local Beijing speech are different enough for a Putonghua speaker (including those from Beijing) with no knowledge of local Beijing speech not to understand the local Beijing speech. (talk) 11:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Of course since all these groups now say "hi", we could call them all English. ;-)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

On the way to become a feature[edit]

This article has the potential to become a feature. There are still missing non-Moiyen dialects, more sociolinguistics, etc.... A model may be Taiwanese (linguistics). -- Kaihsu 16:45, 2004 Feb 23 (UTC)

SIL Ethnologue tag[edit]

I'm changing it from CHN to the more specific HAK, which is what this article is all about. A-giau 22:53, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Other Chinese pronunciations[edit]

Can we add more examples of Chinese pronunciations (Mandarin and Cantonese primarily)? Does anyone else think this would benefit the page? Any expansion of the linguistic derivation section would be much appreciated as well. Thanks --Dpr 18:49, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Palatised initials[edit]

Originally When the initials z c s ([ʦ ʦʰ s]) and ng ([ŋ]) is followed by a palatised medial, they become j q x ([ʨ ʨʰ ɕ]) and ngi ([ɲ]) respectively. This became changed to When the initials ([ŋ]) is followed by a palatised medial, they become ([ɲ]) respectively. The sentence itself is grammatically incorrect in itself. However, the real point is that the difference between the set of initials [ʦ ʦʰ s] and [ʨ ʨʰ ɕ] is the point of articulation, where the latter under the influence of palatisation is moved forward to form apical consonants. In this case, it ought to be restored but the romanised elements of the original sentence should be omitted.

When the initials [ʦ ʦʰ s] and [ŋ] is followed by a palatised medial, they become [ʨ ʨʰ ɕ] and [ɲ] respectively. Dylanwhs 00:20, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Hakka v[edit]

The Hakka v or correctly [ʋ] which is also coded as [ʋ decimal 651 ] is a labial dental approximant, not a labial dental fricative [v]. Thanks Garzo for reverting the change. Dylanwhs 15:07, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


If Hakka really is a unique language by its own right (and not merely a Chinese dialect), then I do not understand why no one has yet requested for a Hakka wiki to come into existence.

Please be careful about what you ask for. There is no standard Hakka language, but a group of dialects with one, Meixian dialect held as the paradigm example. My dialect of Hakka differs in some respects to Meixian, both phonologically and in terms of vocabulary. In anycase, do you think Hakka cannot be a unique language before Wikipedia? Dylanwhs 15:11, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Besides, the Hakka Romanised script existed as early as 1860 with the completion and publishing of the New Testament Hakka bible. -- Phillip J, 04:14 Thursday 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Still doens't mean that we need a Hakka wikipedia, especially when a Chinese wikipedia already exists. I do note however, that a Cantonese and Minnanhua wikipedia exists, but even so, I personally think that it is unnecessary. Dylanwhs 15:11, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

A Romanized Hakka Test Wikipedia has been created. Now is your opportunity to show that Hakka really is a unique language. --Phillip J 04:11, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Hakka ɿ is not the same as ɪ[edit]

The usual treatment in Chinese books dealing with Hakka phonology renders the apical i as ɿ. The vowel ɪ is lower and less apical than ɿ. Dylanwhs 20:47, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Political Comment is off topic[edit]

Most of the Hakka people living in the north of Taiwan are supporters of Kuomintang, while the Hakka people who live in the south of Taiwan are supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party.

This is off topic in a discussion about linguistics. Dylanwhs 18:33, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

R consonant[edit]

"Lexemes corresponding with characters 人 and 日, among others, are pronounced with a ng consonant in Hakka (人:ngin, 日:ngit), while being pronounced with an r consonant in many Chinese languages, including Mandarin"

Is there any other example of a Chinese language in which these words start with an "r"? I thought "r" was almost unique to Mandarin. In Cantonese these words start with "y". (人:yan4, 日:yat6) 20:23, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
That part was added by DPR (26 Sep 2006) [[1]]. The whole Derivation paragraph needs to be re-written. Dylanwhs 19:01, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Changes 27 Jan 2007[edit]

Having read through the changes made since my last edit, the following are mistakes, which I am now correcting.

With regard to the population given of 34 million, davidpbrown sources his figures from the 1996 Ethnologue database.


Hakka is mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese, Minnan and most of the significant spoken variants of the Chinese language.


Hakka is

not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese, Minnan and most of the significant spoken variants of the Chinese language.

I have inserted 'not' back in again, because 'mutually intelligible' does not mean 'does not understand each other'. When one says X is not mutually intelligible with Y and Z, it means that X is different to Y and Z to the point where whatever X says, Y and Z may not understand, and vice versa.

Lexemes corresponding with characters 人 and 日, among others, are pronounced with a ng consonant in Hakka (人:ngin, 日:ngit), while being pronounced with an r consonant in Mandarin

Change to: ... in Hakka (人:ngin, 日:ngit), and have a corresponding reading in Mandarin as an initial r- consonant.

I've reverted the change in

我 [ŋai11] me/I (Mand. 我)


𠊎 [ŋai11] me/I (Mand. 我)

because 我 has the pronunciation [ŋɔ33] in Hakka, and 𠊎 occurs in Unicode and in Hanyu Dacidian, as the dialectal character used for Hakka. Dylanwhs 10:09, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Update: If you can't see the character 𠊎, it is either (1.) you don't have the font, (2.) using a browser which doesn't support Unicode Extension B characters, (3.) Using Internet Explorer. If you have the appropriate font I suggest Mozilla Firefox which does a better job than IE. Dylanwhs 10:13, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

This Article Needs Hakka Dialect Audio Samples[edit]

This article needs some audio samples of different Hakka dialects from Guangdong and Taiwan. I would be happy to hear some samples of Hakka speeches from Meixian,Guangdong and Taiwan. Sonic99 03:23, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


the tones listed in the inventory don't match the vocab (i.e. Shang). Are these different dialects, or just different transcription conventions? kwami (talk) 08:52, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

One small matter that I'm guessing is a simple error - yin ping (陰平) must be a low tone, and yang ping (陽平) must be high; I say this with no authority and no knowledge of Hakka (which is why I haven't corrected the article) but only from general knowledge of yin & yang, and because it would seem more consistent with the pair of tones, 5 and 6. Lukebulger (talk) 07:37, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

The tone inventory have been sourced from published sources. For the Meixian dialect of Hakka, (and the majority of six tone Hakka dialects) the Yang Ping tone have a lower pitch than the Yin Ping tone. Saying Yin equates to a higher tone and Yang equates to a lower tone is unhelpful, since there are dialects (and not necessarily only restricted to Hakka) that exhibit pitch contours contrary to the "high/low = yin/yang" theory. Dylanwhs (talk) 16:51, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Hakka dialects are unintelligible with each other[edit]

The Guangdong Hakka dialect is not mutually intelligible with the Fujian Hakka dialect. The two Hakkas can't understand each other. What is the point of keeping a Hakka dialect when the Hakkas can't even understand each other. Hakka is only a minority language. Sonic99 (talk) 01:50, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

What do mean, Hakka is a minority language? (talk) 03:13, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Hakka dialects are different from each other. Not many Chinese can speak Hakka in the world therefore it is a minority language. Most Guangdong Hakkas can speak Cantonese because of the intelligibility between Cantonese and Moi-yen Hakka. I think it is very easy for a Guangdong Hakka to pick up the Cantonese language than Teochew and Mandarin. Sonic99 (talk) 03:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

No Moiyen standard romanisation.[edit]

I have removed or reverted to a previous posting by User hailing from There is no standard romanisation used for the indication of tones for any Hakka dialect, or use of -h to indicate a ru tone. The inclusion of those marks can be constituted a violation of the No Original Research or WP:NOR policy. Hakka dictionaries which have romanised text and employ diacritics do not all agree on any one standard, since there is no standard. Tones can be indicated as numbers (often seen in Mainland Chinese publications), or diacritics (see in Taiwanese publications). However, the use of -h in indicating the Ru tone is superflous as Moiyen/Meixian Hakka syllables of the Ru type only end in -p, -t or -k. 22:25, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

Move of Hakka (linguistics) to Hakka Chinese[edit]

Hakka Chinese could refer not only to a group of people with a linguistic background, but also to the language itself. It would have been better, IMO, to have entitled the new name Hakka Chinese Language instead, given that 'Chinese' in itself is loaded with different interpretations such as the writing system, a spoken family of languages, and a rather large ethnic group. You should really have consulted on the talk page first before making the move unilaterally.

A copy of this will be pasted in the Hakka (linguistics)/Talk:Hakka_Chinese talk page. Dylanwhs (talk) 00:17, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

The (linguistics) tag was just ridiculous. I'm sure there are other titles which would be appropriate, and don't really care which one we choose, as long as we're consistent with other articles. However, the problem with "Hakka language" is that many Chinese deny that it's a language; likewise, "Hakka dialect" is problematic because it's more than a dialect. But calling it "Hakka (linguistics)", as if Hakka were a technical term, makes about as much sense as calling British English "British (linguistics)". I placed a 'see also' here and on the Hakka pages, which should cover the language-ethnicity ambiguity.
In English, when someone is more specific than just saying s.o. speaks Chinese, they will typically say they speak "Hakka Chinese", just as you hear the phrases "Mandarin Chinese" and "Wu Chinese". These are all therefore appropriate titles for the language articles, and any ambiguity can be covered with a disambiguation page or 'see also' links, just as we do with every other phrase that has more than one meaning. kwami (talk) 00:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
The linguistics refered to the article's content, that is, an inventory of its sounds, description of its tone, and notes about its vocabulary. It was appropriate. Dylanwhs (talk) 00:38, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
The "(linguistics)" tag is used for disambiguating technical meanings of words like "tone" or "register". Hakka as the name of a language is not a technical concept, it's the common English meaning of the word. True, it has two basic meanings, the language and the people, just as "French" and "Catalan" do. But nowhere else do we treat basic language articles as linguistic concepts: We don't have "French (linguistics)", "Catalan (linguistics)", etc. for any other language family. Chinese isn't bizarre, that it requires a different format than all the other languages in the world. It's a perfectly ordinary dialect cluster, just like hundreds of others, and just like hundreds of other cases, there's a disconnect between ethnic identity and mutual intelligibility. In none of those other cases do we label the lects as technical terms. With German, for example, we have "South Franconian German", "Austrian German", etc. It doesn't bother anyone that "Austrian German" also means an ethnic German from Austria, just as it didn't bother anyone that the Hakka article only covered the people when the word "Hakka" also means the language. Normally, we'd have "Hakka people" vs. "Hakka language", but in the case of Chinese, you get POV problems trying to claim these are languages. "Hakka" vs. "Hakka Chinese" isn't perfect, but it's parallel with "Mandarin Chinese", "Wu Chinese", etc., where we don't have the same ethnic dimension. Any suggestions for a normal English title that captures the subject better? (Maybe "Hakka Chinese people"?) kwami (talk) 01:15, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Now that it's returned back to its original consensus title, I move that all new alterations to its name be classified as vandalism. Dylanwhs (talk) 05:50, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

You can 'move' all you like. Edits aren't vandalism because you don't like them, but because they're vandalism. kwami (talk) 08:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Okay, after five days discussion, the general consensus was to replace the "(linguistics)" tag with "Chinese" for all primary branches of Chinese except Cantonese. (Debate specific to Cantonese might appear on that talk page.) However, if there's a preferred synonym for Hakka that doesn't use the words "language" or "dialect", that would probably meet the naming conventions as well. Or we could make the Hakka page a disambiguation page for the people and the language. kwami (talk) 06:21, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I really don't understand why you guys went this far to change a simple name. IMO Hakka Chinese fits much much better and can connect with other Chinese subdivision languages (yes it's that simple!). Other wise it's so messy...we need more organization. I'm also proposing Cantonese page to change into Yue Chinese (Cantonese) or Cantonese (Yue Chinese). More organization, we all Chinese :) --LLTimes (talk) 23:04, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Followup, since I recently got grief on my talk page for this title: Sources which don't call it "Hakka dialect" or "Hakka language" generally just call it "Hakka", and leave it to context to dab. That's by far the most common usage. "Hakka Chinese" does refer predominantly to the people. However, there are sources besides Ethnologue which use the phrase for the lect as well:

McBride-Chang (2003) Reading development in Chinese children
Brown & Ogilvie (2008) Concise encyclopedia of languages of the world
Greenberg (1978) Universals of human language
Finegan (2007) Language: its structure and use
Char & Char / Hawaii Chinese History Center (1983) Chinese historic sites and pioneer families of the island of Hawaii
National Science Council (Republic of China, 2003) NSC Review.

kwami (talk) 09:28, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Script : Hanzi[edit]

The recent edits by Count Dooku of Serenno, and subsequent reverts by Ryulong and السلام عليكم not only in this article but several others stems from basic ignorance about what the written script for Chinese dialects such as Hakka, Shanghainese amongst others really is. It is hanzi or Chinese characters. The inclusion of Kaishu, Semi-cursive script, Grass script in the box for 'script' is silly, for main reason that these are stylistic representations of hanzi. That is, to take a western example, the use of joined up alphabetic letters or block capitals, gothic, italic, bold, Arial font faces, are to the roman alphabet what semi-cursive, kaishu etc, are to Chinese hanzi. Written Chinese can be written in the different stylistic forms, but the underlying character is the hanzi. Ryulong was correct in removing the addition by Count Dooku because of this point. السلام عليكم revert is wrong. Dylanwhs (talk) 22:39, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually, the script for many is the Latin alphabet. Is Hakka ever written in Chinese characters? I'm only aware of Classical Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hokkien being written hanzi. kwami (talk) 22:45, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
If you've ever perused the Ethnologue site, you'll see that there are versions of the bible, written in Hakka in hanzi script, ipso facto, yes, Hakka has been written in Chinese characters. There is a whole body of missionary publications that exists, primers, dictionaries and the like, but for the majority, out of print. Dylanwhs (talk) 08:10, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't see anything except Roman. kwami (talk) 08:22, 20 October 2008 (UTC) second sentence "Tho lau Song Ti thung chhai..." : this is a Hakka construction, 'lau' means 'with'. This is passage shows the translation of the first few lines of John chapter 1. I don't particularly like the translation in which the traditional Chinese concept of 道 is bastardised in translation into 'The Word' of God. Dylanwhs (talk) 21:37, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Cool. Thanks. kwami (talk) 22:07, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Vocabulary edits 28 Oct 2008[edit]

In my recent edit, please note that tone sandhi is incorporated into the vocabulary items. This means that from looking at the original tone contours or the tone letters that kwamikagami has later added, it isn't immediately apparent. Only a comparison of the sandi change charts will show you which syllables have changed. Dylanwhs (talk) 09:39, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Need Written Hakka Sentences in the Article[edit]

Can somebody please put some vernacular Hakka sentences with the similar Cantonese sentences and the Mandarin sentences in the article? Sonic99 (talk) 03:56, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Early history[edit]

In the early history section it is stated that the forebears of the Hakka people were from Henan and Shaanxi. If this were the case then are any of the Hakka forebears still found in Henan and Shaanxi? Surely it can't be that every single forebear of the Hakka people had left Henan and Shaanxi,lock, stock and barrel. If the descendants of the ancestors of the Hakkas are still in Henan and Shaanxi, then surely they are not called Hakkas themselves, as they have never left the place, so what are those people called, and how do their spoken tongues differ from or have similarities with the Hakka people's tongues? Is there any reputable research on this matter? (talk) 11:40, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

See Lo Hsianglin's work about Hakka migration and genealogies. Mantaro Hashimoto's seminal work on "The Hakka Dialect" includes maps of migrations derived from Lo's work. The tendency towards grabbing a label based on one's language is a recent phenomenon. In the past, people refered to themselves as hailing from such and such a province, county, or town or even by the name of the government they were ruled by. Thus, Han, and Tang which survive in everyday Chinese parlence in many divers linguistical groupings.
Hakka as a language shows regular sound changes in the pronunciation of characters compared to the Middle Chinese sound system. In fact nearly all Chinese dialects show their own set of characteristic regular sound changes. Dialects of Chinese languages like Wu, Mandarin, Yue, Hakka, etc are grouped together because they can demonstrate relationships of this kind with MC that are characteristic of the languages themselves, as well as having key words, syntax, and grammar that is peculiar to them. For instance, most Hakka dialects have the pronoune I as 'ngai', and they also have a regular MC to modern Hakka phonological relationship where voiced plosives become unvoiced aspirated plosives. Even though Gan and Hakka have been thought to be linked because the two share this common feature of devoicing, other factors set the two apart. It requires some indepth phonological as well as linguistic knowledge to demonstrate the relationships.
As for reputable research on Hakka, Branner, Sagart are two names which have works published on Hakka linguistics. Dylanwhs (talk) 23:55, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi Dylan, thanks for the above. I think as a rule the Hakkas in South China simply refer to themselves as Hakka, and by that I mean every single person of Hakka heritage. I have not come across Hakka who say that well, my ancestors were from Shaanxi, so I am really a Shaanxi person. If the Hakka ancestors really came from Shaanxi, etc, then why is that link lost, when the article on Hakka people say that the Hakkas have kept a long record of where they were from and where they have been? I can understand that the Qing government may have repopulated parts of the south-east with 'outsiders', and so they were given the name Hakka, but why would the inland provinces such as Henan and Sichuan also have people called Hakkas, who are thought to be of the same ancestry as the Hakkas of the East Coast? If the Hakkas came from Henan, then why are they also called Hakka in Henan, or are the Hakkas of Henan a different people from the Hakka of the eastern provinces, but given the same name? As for the Hakka language, if the Hakka people of the east were from say Shaanxi, then surely it would be easy to identify a tongue in Shaanxi that is a relative to the Hakka language of the east,, rather like the Latin languages of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and so on. Can you tell us whether something like that has bewen discovered? I mean the Hakkas in Shaanxi are also called Hakkas, why would that be if they were natives of the areas? Or could we expect the history and languages of the people or peoples we now call Hakka to be a lot more complicated than that given in the articles here in Wiki? (talk) 03:34, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Sichuan Hakka are late arrivals in that province, mainly due to fleeing the Qing after the collapse of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. As for the Shaanxi and interior province connection, this stems from linguists (Luo Guoyao, Li Rulong etc) who say that the feature of MC voiced intials become devoiced and aspirated intials in some dialects found in Shaanxi and Shanxi must therefore derive from a common ancestral language.
However, that would not mean that such areas should identify themselves as Hakka. Hakka is have more than one meaning, a linguistic or language grouping related meaning, and a socio-ethnic one which incorporated customs and traditions of the people.
The French example is flawed, because Gaulish (a celtic language) was spoken in France before the Romans invaded and died out in the 6th century AD. Though the people are definitely decended from the Celts, they aren't speaking Gaulic today. One's decent and the language of our ancestors aren't necessarily intertwined, since it is easy to loose a language because there is a loss of transmission between several generations with intermediate bilingualism occuring and later a choice of taking up a more prestigous local language, or if the language was forced upon the population by the conquerors, as in the case of French.
If you are an English speaker, and you decide to move Spain and liked it so much you wanted to stay and have your family there, your children would probably be bilingual. Whether they decide to pass English on is uncertain. Your grandchildren may only grow up speaking Spanish. And after a few generations, if you didn't have no records made about your ancestors or your family, then who would know about the English speaking ancestor? Then again, would people of the town you grew up in know where you'd gone after several generations and care? This is the scenario you put to me. If your home province was Shaanxi, and your children moved away southwards and their descendants moved also through and lived in Jiangsu, Fujian and Guangxi, over the course of a millenia and a half, would those people in Shaanxi remember you or know of your offspring and descendants? Would they identify with your social grouping? It would be unlikely.
Other linguists (like Norman) say that Hakka is decended from old southern Chinese as opposed to old northern Chinese. Evidence comes through the vocabulary, but as with any language, linguistic borrowings occur. The article if it mentions a Henan, or Shaanxi connection is because of Lo's argument through genealogies. But even genealogies can be less than truthful. However, Lo's argument is bolstered through the phonology argument mentioned above. Whatever the case, we should separate the notion of Hakka as a linguistic notion and Hakka as a socio-ethnic concern. What this article outlines is the linguistics, and language could have moved from one geographical area carried by its speakers to another. It is quite possible that the areas where these speakers once hailed from are completely deserted only to be repopulated by speakers from another language, or as sister language. Dylanwhs (talk) 23:21, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi Dylan. I quite like your last sentence. Your example of French and Gaulic does not really apply here, because from what you say the modern French population is not speaking the Gaulic of their genetic ancestor but had adopted Latin and changed it into French in the process. The Hakkas (everywhere) on the other hand have retained their languages and as such remain, for example in Guangdong, a different people from the Guangdong Yue (commonly known as Cantonese). In other words, the Hakkas did not adopt the language of their new found neighbours, even over several generations. Sure, the Hakka language(s) may have changed over the course of time, but they have not changed into their neighbours' language, or at least not according to linguists' classifications. For example Guangdong Hakka Languages are not regarded as a Cantonese language, but a Hakka language. I, for example, understand perfectly the Hakka you call 'Sha Tou Kok Hakka' on your website and HK Cantonese. Armed with this ability I still do not understand Moiyen Hakka or Toisan Cantonese.

Could it be that the people known as Hakka across Sichuan, Henan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian, etc were not once the same people (linguistically speaking) they are purported to be, but really groups of people from today's central and north central China who even before they left were speaking several different tongues of the same or similar Chinese language sub-families, and which they retained when they went their separate ways to the other parts of China? (talk) 01:54, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Having just read a recent paper by Sagart, I have to say that I cannot agree with everything he wrote. First of all, Middle Chinese is a theoretical language. It may or may not have existed. Indeed if it had existed it was very unlikely to have been the unique universal spoken or vernacular language in all of Han China of its time. Secondly, he has not quoted or carried out any studies of the mutation rate of pronunciation of words of any language, let alone the Chinese languages, nor has he studied the value of mutual intellegibility between the Hakka sub-dialects in comparison to distances of isolation. Given the various Hakka languages in Guangdong can be shown to have been isolated from each other for about 400 years, with some of the regionlets being different but still mutually intelligible, whilst others are not mutually intellegible, the fidelity rate or the fidelity to the spoken languages of 400 years ago must be quite high. Vocabulary may of course be borrowed across the Chinese spoken languages, but the borrowed words are pronounced in the style of the borrower. Take for example the HK Cantonese word 'Hum-bang-lan' meaning everything, itself probably borrowed from Pidgin English. It appears in Hakka in the Shenzhen region, but it is pronounced the Hakka way. All this point to the conclusion that when the various Hakka communities were established in Guangdong and other southern provinces, their spoken forms were already different from each other. Of course the study by linguists is interesting, but in none of the studies have a fluent speaker of a Hakka language from Guangdong been asked to learn a suspected Hakka dialect in say Shaanxi to the point of fluency, and note down his experience and opinions. (talk) 14:53, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

On the topic of Sichuan Hakka, there are dialects of Sichuan which come from Wuhua in Guangdong. I've been reliably informed that Wuhua Hakka tones are very similar to the ones given for one of the dialects in Norman's Chinese, in the section on Hakka dialects. So some of those speakers would most likely have come from the south east to settle in Sichuan. As for Sagart's article - is that the one about Hakka-Gan relationships? I think it is likely that Old Hakka could have been from around the Ganzhou region. It would explain the common features of voiced initial characters becoming devoiced and aspirated, for instance. However, Sagart only gives a handful of examples. He relies also on a recent book about Hakka descent published on the mainland that I don't have access to, so can't make a judgement on.

My wife's family speak a different Hakka to mine, they're from north Guangdong whilst mine is as you say from southern coastal Guangdong. The vowels are different, the tones are different, and even the vocabulary differ in places. Over the years, I've grown to understand most of what they speak. Sometimes even if you speak one dialect, it does not automatically mean you'll understand a related dialect. Exposure is the only way you can become accustomed to it. Mentally, you have to make the correlations first before being able to have a fairly good measure of understanding or intelligibility. Not all correlations work, but can be used as a rule of thumb. For instance I say [hi55] for to go, but the wife says [ɕi42], which to my ears sounds like [si31] to die. It may be why hi55 in Hakka is a euphenism for dying, I don't know. Anyway, the difference in sounds (in this case the initial) can make a complete stranger take offence at what she said, even though she didn't mean it to be offensive...

Hambalang comes from the Mongol times, or rather the last two syllables, balang (see,75642,75841 ) where user ez quotes from Lo Wood Wai (CUHK) and Tam Fee Yin (CUHK), Interesting Cantonese Colloquial Expressions (1996), p58. It would seem that the phrasing survives from a time when it was popular, pre-Ming dynasty, or Yuan/Mongol times.

WRT MC, Qieyun has a preface telling you that it isn't one spoken dialect, but a hash of two traditions, from southern Jinling and northern Yexia. Anyhow, my knowledge of such things is limited, as I'm just a layreader too. Dylanwhs (talk) 00:16, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Edit 17 December 2008[edit]

There is a pronunciation difference between Taiwanese Hakka dialect and Guangdong Hakka dialect. was removed by User:Sonic99 and said user inserted The Moi-yen Hakka dialect shares minimal intelligibility with Cantonese. .

I have reverted the article to an earlier version for two main reasons

  • that it was unclear why the user had removed the sentence
  • the mutual intelligibility issue of Hakka with other Chinese languages has already been made clear further up the page and therefore, it is duplication.

If you have questions or comment wrt the revert, please leave a message. Dylanwhs (talk) 13:21, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

I wrote There is a pronunciation difference between Taiwanese Hakka dialect and Guangdong Hakka dialect in the article. That's my statement! Moi-yen Hakka is not so different from Cantonese. Some Cantonese dialect speakers use the pronoun, I as "Ngai". Sonic99 (talk) 00:35, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I have heard that Toisan/Hoisan, a Yue dialect, uses "ngoi". I consider Cantonese as the language spoken in Guangzhou, and similar to the Hong Kong cantonese dialect. If you're taking about some Yue dialects like Toishan, then yes, it does sound similar to ngai.

What you're saying is similar to stating that English chocolate, French chocolat and German Schokolade. provides examples of a 'minimal intelligibility' between French, a Romance language and English, a Germanic language. It doesn't really say much about the languages concerned.
Moiyen Hakka has some major differences in vocabulary to Cantonese. [sɔj muk] 睡目, [fɐn kau] 𥃹覺 ({目川} 覺), [ʂuei tsjau] 睡覺 all mean to sleep in Hakka, Cantonese and Mandarin respectively. [pʰɪn kuɔ] and [pʰɪŋ kʷɔ], [pʰɪŋ kuɔ] all mean apple, and similar enough. In fact, most Chinese dialects share a common vocabulary. But does that mean we ought to list each and every dialect which has a minimal intelligibility? Dylanwhs (talk) 23:55, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
BTW, if you removed the statement that you originally wrote, do you now think there isn't a pronunciation difference between Taiwanese Hakka and Guangdong Hakka now? Pronunciation not only refers to the syllables of sounds, but also to the syllable+tone too. There is a tone difference between Taiwanese Hakka varieties of the Hoiliuk and Siyen Hakka is there not? From 彭德修's pronouncing dictionary there is the [au] and [o] differences, as well as some words like piong 放. Moreover, if you agree with me, why didn't you provide more evidence of the similarity or dissimilarities that you originally alluded to? --Dylanwhs (talk) 00:07, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Dylanwhs, I didn't provide evidence to prove the difference between Taiwanese Hakka and Guangdong Hakka. I don't have any evidence so I deleted it. Hakka is closer to Cantonese than Mandarin and Teochew. Why do Moi-yen Hakka say their numbers that sound like Cantonese!? Some Cantonese dialect speakers such as the Jiujiang of Nanhai speakers use "ngai" as a pronoun.
Cantonese people and Guangdong Hakka have been living and doing business together for centuries that they don't realize they have so much in common. Don't think native Cantonese speakers can't understand Moi-yen Hakka. Some can understand Moi-yen Hakka, but just can't speak it. Sonic99 (talk) 02:56, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that long term familiarity enables understanding even though you speak the other's language. However, that is due to a learning process that enables persona A to understand person B. For instance Cantonese (C.) short a /ɐ/ occasionally maps onto Hakka (H.) /a/ and also /i/, C. 殺[sɐt] to kill, is [sat] in Hakka, however, in another tone the /ɐ/ sound as in C. 一 [jɐt] is H. [jit]. There is no way a person who has no familiarity with the other language would have known this. Hence, what you talk about is familiarity through longterm close personal listening and subconcious learning. Dylanwhs (talk) 23:06, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Dylanwhs, I don't mean to say that Cantonese people have to know all the Hakka words, but enough to get the gist of it. Despite the slight difference in tones, Moi-yen Hakka is close to Cantonese and they are almost mutually intelligible. Now, can you please put some vernacular Hakka sentences in the article? Sonic99 (talk) 02:04, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

I've included three everyday sentences in Hakka. I do not provide any Chinese characters because you wanted something to compare other forms of spoken Chinese to, so an IPA transcription would suffice with its English translation. An analysis of the structure of the sentences will probably come later, but I'm rather busy. Dylanwhs (talk) 19:11, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Dylanwhs, you should provide Chinese characters for your Hakka sentence examples. Not many people can read the IPA transcription, so please provide spelling of the sounds in romanization system. Information should be made simple for layreaders. Sonic99 (talk) 02:13, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I disagree. If I provided Chinese characters then the reader would just skip the transcription altogether defeating the whole object of what your wanted originally, a demonstration of speech being intelligible, albeit transcribed in phonetic letters. Since in speech you don't rely on the crutch of written Chinese, why should you rely on a crutch for transcribed sounds? You also don't think much of the reader's ability of learning IPA. If they're interested in spoken language and are willing to trawl through the ipa above, then the ipa below would not be a challenge. We can't serve everything up on a silver spoon, that'd suggest a lazy reader and defeats the notion of enquiry. Dylanwhs (talk) 08:38, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
What is the IPA transcription called? Anybody knows? (talk) 16:39, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Hanzi for the Sentence examples now corrected. I've correct other wikipedians' hanzi transcription of the Hakka sentences that I originally placed in the article. Above, I said that I was against the idea of including the hanzi. My feelings have not changed. The hanzi which appeared were wrong so I have corrected them for the sake of keeping the article correct. Dylanwhs (talk) 17:08, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Internet video[edit]

I have watched a few youtube video, and the 古汉语 sounds like 客家話. I will add more youtube links here, and hope that the Hakka language would be able to reconnect with 古汉语 again. Arilang talk 12:08, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

月下獨酌 ~ 李白
ȵiat₅ ha₅₃ tʰuk₅ ʦɔk₃ ~ li₃₁ pak₃
fa₃₃ kan₃₃ jit₃ fu₁₁ ʦiu₃₁
tʰuk₅ ʦɔk₃ ʋu₁₁ ɕiɔŋ₃₃ ʦʰin₃₃
ki₃₃ pui₃₃ jɛu₅₃ min₁₁ ȵiat₅
tui₅₃ jaŋ₃₁ saŋ₁₁ sam₃₃ ȵin₁₁
ȵiat₅ ki₅₃ put₃ kai₅₃ jim₃₁
jaŋ₃₁ tʰu₁₁ ʦʰui₁₁ ŋɔ₃₃ sin₃₃
ʦʰiam₅₃ pʰan₃₃ ȵiat₅ ʦiɔŋ₃₃ jaŋ₃₁
haŋ₁₁ lɔk₅ ɕi₃₃ kʰip₃ ʦʰun₃₃
ŋɔ₃₃ kɔ₃₃ ȵiat₅ pʰai₁₁ fui₁₁
ŋɔ₃₃ mu₃₁ jaŋ₃₁ laŋ₁₁ lɔn₅₃
ɕiaŋ₃₁ si₁₁ tʰuŋ₁₁ kau₃₃ fɔn₃₃
ʦui₅₃ hɛu₅₃ kɔk₃ fun₃₃ san₃₁
juŋ₃₃ kiat₃ ʋu₁₁ ʦʰin₁₁ jiu₁₁
ɕiɔŋ₃₃ kʰi₁₁ mɛu₃₁ jun₁₁ hɔn₅₃
Dylanwhs (talk) 23:30, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
静夜思 ~ 李白
ʦʰin₅₃ ja₅₃ sɿ₃₃ ~ li₃₁ pak₃
ʦʰɔŋ₁₁ ʦʰiɛn₁₁ min₁₁ ȵiat₅ kuɔŋ₃₃
ȵi₁₁ si₅₃ tʰi₅₃ sɔŋ₅₃ sɔŋ₃₃
ki₃₃ tʰɛu₁₁ mɔŋ₅₃ min₁₁ ȵiat₅
tai₃₃ tʰɛu₁₁ sɿ₃₃ ku₃₁ hiɔŋ₃₃
Dylanwhs (talk) 23:43, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

For discussion and translation[edit]


客家话继承了较多古汉语的特性,如完整的入声韵尾 [-p]、[-t]、[-k] 。一般认为,客家话和後期中古汉语唐宋二代為準)之间的承襲关系较为明显。用客家话朗诵中古汉语的作品,如唐诗、宋词,韵律方面比官話、普通话要吻合得多。

Hakka preserves more Old Chinese traits,having a full compliment of Ru Tone/Entering Tone endings [-p]、[-t]、[-k]. Some say Hakka and late Middle Chinese(the sound system of the Tang-Song eras /Tang and Song Dynasties]] as the standard court language)have close similiarities。Using Hakka to read Middle Chinese works of poetry,for instance Tang Shi, Song Ci,the rhyming prosedy compared to Mandarin (Putonghua) is considerably better.

粵語同樣保留有中古漢語的入聲 IPA [-p]、[-t]、[-k] 。比較起來,則是客家話比粵語更趨古老、更接近中古漢語。試以聲母為例,疑母 IPA [ŋ-](/ng-/) 字在官話完全消失,客家話保留了疑母字,最明顯例子是「魚」,普通話或粵無論語都丟失疑母 [ŋ-] 而讀 /yu/ (IPA [jy]),但是客家話仍然讀 [ŋu]。在粵語則因為不分疑母和喻母、難以判斷是否古音。又如非母 [f-] 在唐末之前並未出現,即所謂「古無輕唇音」,客家話大部分有 [f-] 音,為數甚多。個別例外如「飯」,無論粵語或普通話同讀 [fan],但客家話則讀 [pʰan],可見客家話仍然保留了少量「古無輕唇音」的狀態,芳母 [pʰ-] 仍極少分化出非母 [f-]。

Yue dialects also preserve the Middle Chinese Ru tone endings IPA [-p]、[-t]、[-k]. However in comparison, Hakka dialects are more conservative than Yue dialects, and better match Middle Chinese sounds. For instance consider the Middle Chinese 疑 IPA [ŋ-](/ng-/) initial, it has been completely in Mandarin, Hakka still preserves the 疑 initial readings. As an illustration of this, the character 「魚」(fish) the Middle Chinese ng- initial does not survive in Mandarin or Yue dialects, and is pronounced in each as /yu/ (IPA [jy]), however, in Hakka, it is pronounced [ŋu]. In Yue because there is no distinction in the Middle Chinese 疑 and 喻 initial character readings, it is hard to ascertain which MC initial the modern reading derives from. Also, the 非 intial [f-] this initial had not appeared yet at the end of the Tang, and often refered to as 「古無輕唇音」"there were no labial dentals in Old Chinese", although on the whole Hakka has mostly [f-] initial readings. There are instances such as 「飯」 (cooked rice) which is pronounced [fan] in Yue and Putonghua, however in Hakka, it can be read [pʰan] which illustrates that Hakka has preserved a small number of readings that follows the rule that there were no labiodentals in language of the ancients, so 芳 [pʰ] initial are few, as most have become [f-] initials in the modern Hakka language..


「吠」字:客家話 [pʰui],日本吳音 [bai],日本漢音 [hai],閩南語汕頭話 [hui],閩東語福州話 [hie],吳語的溫州話及上海話為 [vi],粵語廣州話 [fai],北京話、南京話及蘭州話 [fei]。[1]

「吠」character:Hakka [pʰui],Japanese Go-on [bai],Japanese Kan-on [hai],Shantou dialect of Minnan [hui],Fuzhou dialect of MinDong [hie],Wenzhou dialect and Shanghainese Wu為 [vi],YueCantonese [fai],Beijing dialect、Nanjing dialect and Lanzhou dialect [fei]。[2]
「肥」character:Hakka [pʰui],Japanese Go-on [bi],Japanese Kan-on [hi],Shantou and Fuzhou dialects [pui],Literary pronunciation of Shanghainese Wu [vi],Colloquial [bi],Yue Cantonese [fei],Beijing dialect、Nanjing dialect and Lanzhou dialect [fei]。[3]
Please correct my translation on a separate line if it doesn't seem right. There are several things I disagree with, the most major point being the time when the labiodentals first appeared. Scholars have placed this at around the middle of the Tang dynasty, I agree with them. The reading for 「飯」as [ pʰan ] / [ pʰɔn ] may be limited to the HoiLiuk dialects of Hakka. For the character 「魚」(fish), most Hakka dialects pronounce it as [ ŋ ], though my wife's dialect it is pronounced as [ ŋju ] and so preserves the Third Deng palatisation that is found in Middle Chinese.
In comparison to Yue, Hakka preserves the Third Deng palatal segment better than Cantonese. However, most if not all modern Chinese languages cannot differentiate the Fourth Deng. For that, one needs to see Korean and Vietnamese pronunciation of Chinese characters. Dylanwhs (talk) 00:42, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Relationship between Hakka & Gan Languages[edit]

Studies of languages cannot be made in isolation, and any discussion of the origins of the Hakka languages cannot be meaningful without reference to the excellent work done by the French scholar Laurent Sagart, who has completed a thesis on the relationship between Hakka & Gan. Here is the abstract -

Dialect Variations in Chinese, 129-153 Papers from the Third International Conference on Sinology, Linguistics Section 2002-4-001-002-000034-2 Gan, Hakka and the Formation of Chinese Dialects* Laurent Sagart Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

The author argues that Hakka and southern Gan are sister dialects, as they share several innovations not found elsewhere; that they arose out of the Chinese dialect spoken in central Jiangxi in Song times, a stratified dialect which included a non-Chinese substratum, probably Miao-Yao; an archaic layer; and a more recent layer with an important Late Middle Chinese component. It is claimed that the linguistic boundary between southern Gan and Hakka arose secondarily due to the effect of an old administrative and geographical boundary. It is also argued that Hakka devoicing took place in the south, when Hakka was in contact with the Miao-Yao language She, and that the old dialect of the city of Ganzhou may have played an important role in the formation of Hakka.

Full Text : — Preceding unsigned comment added by WayneYLeigh (talkcontribs) 09:43, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

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  1. ^ 高本漢 B. Karlgen著,趙元任、羅常培、李方桂譯:《中國音韻學研究》(北京:商務印書館,1940,1994,2003),頁586。
  2. ^ 高本漢 B. Karlgen著,趙元任、羅常培、李方桂譯:《中國音韻學研究》(北京:商務印書館,1940,1994,2003),頁586。
  3. ^ 高本漢 B. Karlgen著,趙元任、羅常培、李方桂譯:《中國音韻學研究》,頁565。