Talk:Yue Chinese/Archive 5

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Has there ever been a discussion about choosing a predominant romanization scheme for Cantonese on Wikipedia? At the moment, Jyutping seems to be chosen more often than not but in many ways, it's unhelpful because it misleads the casual reader due to the use of j for /j/ and c for /tsʰ/ etc. For the uninitiated, wouldn't Yale be a better choice to have as a predominant system as y for /j/ and ch for /tsʰ/, j for /ts/ from an English POV corresponds more closely to the pronunciation? Akerbeltz (talk) 15:44, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't think there has been. Some editors insist on one, and some insist on the other. I agree that Yale is more intuitive, and AFAIK neither is in any way official. kwami (talk) 18:28, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Sadly no... there's a reason I have a 7 way conversion chart stuck on my pc... How did we end up with Pinyin being preferred over the Taiwanese system? Perhaps we could use whatever mechanism was used on Wikipedia to arrive at that convention. Akerbeltz (talk) 18:49, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Hm, I just read on the Standard Cantonese Pinyin page that its the (only) system accepted by the Education Bureau for romanization. Unfortunately, it suffers from the same /j/ problem. Used dz and ts for the initial affricates.
Ok let's summarize for starters:
The one's we can safely ignore I think are:
Of those, Lau and Yale are very similar, as are JP and SCP. Guangdong I'd personally put in the "ignore" category because it's just not a regular system and confuses the hell out of me every time I have to read it but (perhaps) that's just me. Akerbeltz (talk) 19:06, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Personally favour Jyutping because it's one-to-one and representable by ASCII plaintext. Of all romanisation systems that have these two characteristics, Jyutping would be the commonest one. --Deryck C. 23:24, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

The British and the Portuguese were wrong not promoting Romanization of the Cantonese language. Romanization would have meant a new language (Cantonese) of 70 million people.-- (talk) 00:47, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I personally tend towards Yale actually because every time I have put Jyutping in front of a Cantonese or English speaker the pronounce j as /dʒ/. It's no more 1-1 than Yale the way I see it by the way, as it uses digraphs like yu to represent /y/. Either way, I think some consensus is needed because reading through the page at the moment, Jyutping and Yale are happily mixed without indicating which is which. Akerbeltz (talk) 15:52, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

Please take a look at this[edit]

Please take a look at the following link.

In it is a picture of the Cantonese dictionary. Please note in the Chinese, Cantonese (the language) is called Guangzhouhua. It is not called Guangdonghua in China. Tongues that are not Guangzhouhua, such as Taishanhua (Taishanese) are not Cantonese. Of course people in Taishan may well call their speech the equivalent of Puntihua, but then everyone's speech is a Puntihua to the area where they live. Puntihua and Cantonese are not the same thing. (talk) 01:34, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

If you can demonstrate that, in English, "Cantonese" means only Guangzhouhua and not Yueyu, then we need to change the name of this article. However, the English translation of Chinese Guangzhouhua is not really relevant: the question is whether Taishanese is considered Cantonese in English, since the word "Cantonese" is an English word. kwami (talk) 06:55, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, if Taishanese is considered Cantonese 'in English', then it wouldn't be called Taishanese. Just a quick question Kwami, and I do not mean to be rude or personal, but do you actually know any of the the Chinese languages with any proficiency? (talk) 01:53, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
And yes I can demonstrate that in Englsih Cantonese means only Guangzhouhua. The only place foreigners were allowed to do business in Guangdong (Canton, the province) was in Guangzhou (Canton, the city). The lingua franca in Guangzhou was Guangzhouhua, or to the English, Cantonese. This is also the main language in the then British colony of Hong Kong, so Cantonese is synonymous with the major tongue of Hong Kong. Thus to the English Cantonese is only Guangzhouhua. There was nothing to suggest that the British did business in every single single tongue spoken in Guangdong (Canton, the province). (talk) 02:02, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I know (knew) some Mandarin, no Cantonese.
You haven't demonstrated anything. We all know the history. The question is what Yueyu is called in English. AFAIK, it is known both as "Yue" and as "Cantonese". By "demonstrate", I mean something like a quote from a RS stating that "Cantonese is the dialect of the Yue language spoken in and around Canton and Hong Kong", or "Taishanese is, like Cantonese, a Yue dialect", or some such, something that would demonstrate that the term excludes Taishanese. We all know that "Cantonese" means the dialect of Canton; the question is whether it may also mean Yueyu. In English, even the word "English" is ambiguous: it can mean 'of England', but Usonians and Australians speak "English", not "American" or "Australian". Similarly, "Cantonese" appears to often be used indiscriminately for either Guangzhouhua or Yueyu.
If you can demonstrate that "Cantonese" is synonymous with Guangzhouhua, that would make our naming task here much easier, so I really hope you are able to. kwami (talk) 06:15, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I have just demonstrated to you the official position in China, the home of all the Chinese languages. If you choose to pay attention to mavericks who know nothing of the Chinese languages, then it is up to you. Yueyu means the language/ languages of Yue. However from other cultural perspectives such as Yueju (Yue opera or Cantonese opera), only the language and pronunctiation of Guangzhouhua set in formal Chinese is ever used. I have not come across Cantonese opera in which Taishanese is used. So the only representative of Yueyu in the formal setting is Guangzhouhua spoken with a Guangzhou accent. Taishanese is therefore not Cantonese (Guangzhouhua), standard or non-standard. (talk) 15:31, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
That is completely illogical. You have not demonstrated any official position in China, and even if you had, China does not define the meanings of English words. The fact that Cantones opera is not sung in Taishanese is irrelevant: the BBC does not broadcast in "American", but that doesn't mean "American" is not English. And no, it is not "up to me": I'm not the dictator of Wikipedia to make decisions for everyone else. kwami (talk) 16:20, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Illogical? Which school of logic are you refering to? In the picture of the dictionary, the title in Chinese is clearly Standardard Guangzhouhua and not Standard Guangdonghua, and the English is Cantonese. Therefore by any argument of logic Standard Guangzhouhua = Cantonese and Cantonese = Standard Guangzhouhua. The BBC certainly broadcasts in 'American' or more correctly 'American English'. It also broadcasts in Arabic, French, and a whole host of other languages. However Standard British spoken English is the spoken English around the area of Oxford. English natives around every part of England also speak Englsih, just not Standard British English. Standard spoken Cantonese refers only to Guangzhouhua spoken with a Guangzhou accent. Guangzhouhua spoken with a Panyu or Guangxi accent is not standard Cantonese. (talk) 22:29, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

What exactly is the fuss? All this reconfirms is that Cantonese speakers disagree on what to call the language. HK people like myself mostly call it Gwongdungwa, people from the Mainland Gwongjauwa. And actually you're wrong. The title does not refer to Standard Cantonese (whatever you call it), it's a dictionary of "Cantonese (Gwongjauwa) with Standard Pronunciation". It's the same type of naming difference between, for example, the use of Guoyu and Putonghua. It doesn't solve the headache around what to call it in English. Akerbeltz (talk) 23:55, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

You moron, 'Guangzhouhua with Standard Pronunciation' is Standard Guangzhouhua (Cantonese). You'll get fussed too if you spoke Oxford English and some Geordie came along and said Geordie was Standard English. Why don't you go and convince the world Geordie is Standard English? Standard Cantonese is Guangzhouhua spoken with a Guangzhou accent. Hongkong Cantonese (as you hear on local HK TV and radio) has a Guangzhou accent. (talk) 21:32, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
A little civility wouldn't go amiss mate. The statement that HK Cantonese has a GJ accent is fairly meaningless. If I understand your statement right, you're arguing that GJ Cantonese is to be seen as the common goalpost according to which Cantonese dialects are judged. I'm not so sure. Historially at least, Cantonese speakers look towards HK for the standard; most overseas communities were HK Cantonese, it had the most vibrant Cantonese speaking media and culture scene (including use of spoken Cantonese in the education and gov't system). This situation may be changing, granted, but I'd be interested in reading some research. We cannot infer that kind of a thing from a disputed dictionary title. Akerbeltz (talk) 21:54,26 August 2009 (UTC)
Funny how people who call others 'morons' are generally those who have difficulty making themselves understood. kwami (talk)
I think that's because you have problems with English. (talk) 01:40, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
You want civility in return, then start to give some yourself. Where do you think the current spoken Cantonese in HK came from? From Guangzhou. Go and visit some old villages in HK and see whether their old folks' spoken tongues have the same accent as that in the city. HK's spoken GD'hua came from GZ, not the other way round. The reason why Cantonese speakers/ researchers look to HK for the standard is because the whole of Mainland China was closed for many years, and the pronunciation of HK City Cantonese is for all intent and purpose identical to that of GZ'hua. If by dialect you mean tongues that differ significantly only by their spoken accents, and so mutually intelligible, then the speech of Panyu and the GZ'hua of Guangxi are dialects, even though the Guangxi accent is very thick and heavy. Taishanese and Seyupese are not intelligible with GZ'hua, and so are not dialects of GZ'hua. However they are still types of GD'hua, as they are found in GD. (talk) 22:23, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
By that argument, Hakka is Guangdonghua. If so, that is certainly a term we should avoid in this article. kwami (talk)
There you go again. Do you have a problem with English? Hakka is a 'Guangdonghua', one of many. Why did you leave out the 'a'? (talk) 01:40, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

In HK, people do call their language GD'hua and not GZ'hua. There is nothing wrong with that as long as they understand that by GD'hua what they really mean is one type of GD'hua out of many. However, HK people tend to be rather arrogant and ignorant on matters of language, and seem to believe that the 'city' speech used there has the monopoly of being the one and only type of GD'hua. This was encouraged by the British as Guangzhou was called Canton, so under English grammer the language of Canton (Guangzhou) is Cantonese. When reverse translated, Cantonese became GD'hua, as Canton sounded closer to Guangdong than Guangzhou. This is a technical mistake, which should be addressed. Pre-1997 hand back to China, if you spoke with an accent HK people even pretended not to understand you, or to treat you like a peasant from the Mainland. So HK people now have to be educated to realise that what they have called GD'hua is incorrect and it should really be called by its true identity of GZ'hua. (talk) 22:07, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

I have not come across Taishanese people who call their language Yueyu. I have however come across Taishanese people who call their speech Punti (or the equivalent pronunciation in their speech). But then Punti is meaningless in reality, as everyone is a Punti in the area they claim to be from, for example a Beijinger is a Punti (Bendi) of Beijing. (talk) 22:31, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
But Taishanese is Yueyu. What they call it is irrelevant. In English, we call large bats "foxes", but that is irrelevant to their classification as bats. (Or wasn't that your point?) kwami (talk)
'In English, we... ' Kwami are you actually English? I mean you have an African name. The only bats that are called foxes are the 'Flying Foxes' and that is more of a nick name. FYI there are taxonomical reasons to believe that 'Flying Foxes' are not even bats. So you think it is acceptable to call someone else's language by a name they don't actually call it? For example is it OK for some Chinese guy to come over to Scotland and say to the Scots, 'Well, my friends, from now on we Chinese people will call your country Caledonia, and your language will hence be known in China as Caledonian?' I suppose the British do it all the time. For example they went over to Africa and said, well this bit of land will be called Rhodesia. Was it acceptable to the local Africans? (talk) 02:24, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Kwami your question, 'The question is what Yueyu is called in English. AFAIK, it is known both as "Yue" and as "Cantonese".' It is like asking what will 'Scouse' or 'Geordie' or 'Cockney' be called in Chinese? Under rules of English grammar, 'Yueyu' will be known as 'Yueyu' (in inverted commas). (talk) 22:39, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

First, that is not "grammar", so the "rules" of grammar are irrelevant. Second, what a thing is called in English depends on what people speaking English call it, nothing more. We can argue which of those names is the best for the purposes of this article, or if there is no word in English—or if for some reason it is objectionable, then we can use a foreign term in italics. Yueyu is called both "Yue" and "Cantonese" in English. We therefore have a choice between those two terms. I prefer "Yue", reserving "Cantonese" for Guangzhouhua; others here have preferred to use "Cantonese" for both. kwami (talk) 22:58, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Not grammar? I rest my case. (talk) 02:09, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm going to invest my time in other, more reasoned debates. Just one final point. GJ and HK Cantonese are not the same. HK Cantonese may ultimately be derived from a mix of mainland dialects but anyone who claimes they're exactly the same has a) never read a linguistic description of both and b) never listened to speakers from both. When I go to GJ, people do NOT sound exactly like HK people. Akerbeltz (talk) 23:26, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I have not said they are the same. I said for all intent and purpose the pronunciations are the same. All Chinese languages are tonal and a deviation in tone is easily detected by native speakers. FYI the true natives of GZ is now out-numbered by outsiders by a ratio of approximately 10:1, not to mention the speakers of non-Standard GZ'hua such as people from Panyu. So the chances are when you hear people speak in GZ they are more likely to sound non-Standard. If you visit England, the English you will hear is more likely to be non-Standard than Standard. Take for example the PM Gordon Brown or the Chancellor Alastair Darling, neither speak Standard English. By proportion, very few people in England speak BBC English (aka Standard English). In HK, the young generation's speech pattern is also changing. They like to slur their words, and drop initials such as 'ng'. However if you listen to TV and radio broadcasters in both HK and specifically GZ'hua broadcasts in GZ, you will hear that both are the same in pronunciation. Read a linguistic description? I am talking about the phonetics, and there is no better way to find out about the relevant phonetics than to use your ears, and to be able to speak the language like the natives. You can't judge a spoken language through the eyes, only through the ears. It is quite clear that it is you who have never listened to native GZ people or HK people, and just like to argue for the sake of argueing. (talk) 02:03, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, as you've hinted at earlier, if s.o. disagrees with you, they must be being perverse, because no-one could honestly believe anything other than what you believe. I was hoping that you might be a useful voice in favor of a more rational approach to nomenclature, but in order to do that, you first have to be reasonable. Oh well. kwami (talk) 04:12, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
What do you mean by perverse Kwami? You don't speak any versions of Cantonese. You can't tell or hear the differences between any of the spoken versions of Guangzhouhua, Standard or non-Standard. Indeed you don't have any practical ability in any of the Chinese languages, so is it not perverse of you to tell other people what Cantonese is or what Yue is, etc, etc? (talk) 10:19, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
That since Akerbeltz disagrees with you, he must be ignorant, and must never have listened to Cantonese, even though he's a native speaker. That's a pretty good example of "perverse". But even without that self-serving silliness, we go by published sources, not your personal opinion. "Cantonese" is what it's defined to be. So is Yue. It makes no difference whether I can hear the difference between HK and Canton, you do not get to define the English language for the rest of us. If, however, you could demonstrate that "Cantonese" means what you say it does, that would be a different story: but I'm not holding my breath. kwami (talk) 10:42, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
So you know Akerbeltz personally do you? You go by published sources do you? Is it some kind of religion with you? According to some published sources the Earth is only about 6000 years old. So where did I get to define or not define the English language for the rest of you? Do you dispute that in England, Standard spoken English is Oxford English? I didn't invent it, everybody knows and accepts that. As we say in English 'Don't believe everything you read in the papers.' Believe only in reality. (talk) 22:36, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
You might want to read WP:RS before you continue wasting our time. kwami (talk) 23:13, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Kwami, you are the one who is wasting everyone's time here. You have no knowledge of the subject matter of this article and do not know what you are talking about. You are upset simply because I have pointed out your obvious lack of knowledge. When you know as much as me on the subject, then by all means rejoin the discussion and make some useful contributions like I have done. (talk) 02:15, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
We've had Punti (本地) thrown into the discussion. Another common term is 白话. Could someone explain where 白话 fits into this?
Bathrobe (talk) 08:32, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
本地 just means "localism" or "local variant". Akerbeltz (talk) 09:11, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I know what 本地 means. My question is about 白話. The above discussion rages on about the use of terms like Guangzhouhua (廣州話) and Guangdonghua (廣東話), and yet the term I heard most when living in the south was 白話. From my understanding it means 'Cantonese', although I'm not sure if it's "Standard Cantonese" or "Yue dialects" -- I suspect the former. The point is that the argument over Guangzhouhua (廣州話) and Guangdonghua (廣東話) may be irrelevant if we find that there is another term for the language/dialect that is independent of Guangzhouhua (廣州話) / Guangdonghua (廣東話).
Bathrobe (talk) 11:54, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, sorry, I misunderstood your question. 白話 is language/dialect independent, it's used to distinguish the spoken vernacular from the written form. So you could refer to HK Cantonese as 白話 but equally to the Taibei variant of Taiwanese Minnan. It *may* be that the term is used more in the South colloquially that elsewhere but that's what its meaning is. Fortunately not one to worry about I think. Akerbeltz (talk) 13:01, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
If you read the article, it says "People of Guangdong and Guangxi do not use the term Gwongdung Waa, but call it Baak Waa (白話) "plain speech" or 粵語 "Yue language"." So Baak Waa (or Baihua) is a frequently used term (I heard it in Hainan, not a Cantonese-speaking area) that is not used indiscriminately for "spoken vernacular"; it is specifically used for Cantonese. The problem is that the term is listed both at "Cantonese" and "Standard Cantonese". I think it actually refers to the latter, but you can't tell from the two articles. (Later note: I think I remember being told by a person from Guangxi that they don't speak baihua. They speak something similar, but it's not baihua. In which case baihua may be a term used for "Standard Cantonese".
Bathrobe (talk) 14:50, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I know what the article says. Doesn't mean I necessarily agree with it or that it squares with my personal knowledge and experience 粵 is used by linguists (et al), 廣東/州話 by the vast majority of people with a reasonable understanding of the language in context. I have never come across 白話 as a linguistic term for any particular variety of Cantonese no heard it commonly used. Yes, I know that I'm not the measure of all things ;) it's just a different experience. I just haven't had time to tackle that particular point so far. The thing with Baak Waa is that when used by a Cantonese speaker, then yes, it does refer to Cantonese specifically in that context. But if, for the sake of argument, a Hakka speaker used Ped Fa, then it would refer to Hakka in that instance. This also squares with the meaning of Baak Waa given in Cantonese AND non-Cantonese dictionaries. Akerbeltz (talk) 17:08, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

"Baak Waa" simply means plain speech. This is from the Putonghua 'Bai Hua'. There was a student movement in the early part of the 20th century to promote 'Plain Speech' over 'Guan Hua/Yu' (Language of Officialdom) so that the masses could have more access to education. 'Baak Waa' was therefore just street Guangzhouhua (still spoken with a Guangzhou accent), whereas the 'Guan Yu' in Guangzhou would be the reading of official documents and literature (written in classical style Chinese) in Guangzhouhua (still with a Guangzhou accent). 'Baak Waa' has now taken on the meaning of Guangzhouhua whether with (the Standard) or without (non-Standard) a Guangzhou accent. (talk) 23:02, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

'a Hakka speaker used Ped Fa'. What language is 'Ped Fa'? It certainly is nothing like Hakkawa pronunciation of 'Baihua'. Are you trying to imitate Hong Kong Byet Zai? (talk) 23:41, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm aware of the "standard" meaning of 白话. That is why I was surprised to find it used as a synonym for "Cantonese" in Hainan. The article's mention of Baak Waa squares with my personal experience. When a Hainanese speaker asks you (in Mandarin) if you can speak baihua, they don't mean Hainanese, nor do they mean Mandarin; they mean "Cantonese". At any rate, has given an answer to my question ('Baak Waa' has now taken on the meaning of Guangzhouhua whether with (the Standard) or without (non-Standard) a Guangzhou accent.)
Bathrobe (talk) 00:29, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Standard Cantonese[edit]

There is a lot of confusion about what is meant by Standard Cantonese. Standard Cantonese (the English term) is Guangzhouhua spoken with a Guangzhou accent. Move over a few kilometers into Panyu, and you'll hear Guangzhouhua spoken with a distinct Panyu accent, which is not regarded as standard Guangzhouhua by the native people of Guangzhou. It is distinctly a 'peasant' speech, rather than a 'city' speech. On the other hand, the spoken Cantonese of British Hong Kong is very close to the Guangzhouhua of Guangzhou, and is again a 'city' speech. Move a bit further into Guangxi, there you can still hear Guangzhouhua, but its accent is so thick that it is nothing like the Guangzhouhua of Guangzhou. As for native Taishanwa, it is not Guangzhouhua at all. This is similar to the definition of standard British English, which is defined as the English speech spoken around the area of Oxford. English is still spoken all over England, and the local speech in these other parts of England is still English, just not standard English. (talk) 02:47, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

The same can be said of Indians in India educated in English. These Indians can speak perfectly good and grammatically correct English intelligible to all Englsih speakers around the world. However their accent makes the English they speak non-Standard. (talk) 03:16, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Yes, this ties in with your previous point. This article isn't really about Standard Cantonese; we're using that as shorthand for Guangzhouhua. If we move "Cantonese" to "Yue Chinese" (per Ethnologue naming conventions), then we can move this article to "Cantonese dialect", and maybe split off part of it to remain here. That would be my preference, but I've been voted down in the past. (BTW, I can find lots of sources speaking of "Cantonese and Taishanese dialects". However, I can find plenty of others that speak of the "Yue or Cantonese dialect".) kwami (talk) 06:26, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
I would recommend against using the word "dialect", which has a distorted and ambiguous meaning when applied to the Chinese context. --Deryck C. 23:26, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Per the Chinese naming conventions, "dialect" is acceptable when it is unambiguously a dialect. There are dozens of Chinese "dialect" articles—we just avoid the term for major branches like Mandarin or Yue. kwami (talk) 03:41, 8 September 2009 (UTC)


It looks like we have at least three editors here who object to the term "Cantonese" for describing Taishanese (among other things), and would prefer "Yue". What does everyone think? What should we call Cantonese proper + Taishanese + the rest of Yue? kwami (talk) 03:45, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Cantonic or Guangdongic; as per Germanic from the word German. (talk) 22:11, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
But we don't make up words on WP. kwami (talk) 23:44, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Then who made up the words Cantonese, Taishanese, Hakka(n)ese etc? At some point new adjectives from old word roots have to be derived and used to clarify muddled terminology. The human brain is flexible. (talk) 02:05, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Okay, it's been five days. Moving. kwami (talk) 05:20, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Wow, changing the wording of the article to "Yue", it's amazing how many times I can't, because the article isn't actually about Cantonese/Yue, but about Cantonese/Guangzhou dialect. This move, and forcing two distinct names for the two articles, will be good for working out much of the confusion. kwami (talk) 05:47, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
While I'm not qualified to call this move right or wrong, please take the time to visit WP:CDC (and perhaps review Wikipedia:Disambiguation#Links to disambiguated topics). The new disambiguation page at Cantonese has over 1800 incoming links, which is eight or nine times more than any other dab page on Wikipedia. If you have any suggestions on how to distinguish which links should point here, which should point at Standard Cantonese, and which should point at Taishanese, please comment there. Thanks in advance. Dekimasuよ! 09:23, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
This has long been a problem, due to the often intractable disputes as to where these articles should be. Many of those links remain from the last time it was a dab page; they were not all directed to the topic of Yue. Since it was moved, many unambiguous links have unfortunately been updated to the ambiguous title.
Actually, a huge number of the 1400 rd's are through the 'Chinese' template, which was a simple fix. There are 511 380 articles that actually link to 'Cantonese'. kwami (talk) 09:35, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I oppose this move per WP:COMMONSENSE. If everyone visiting this encyclopedia were linguists, then perhaps this move is warranted. But the truth is, we are trying to describe the name of something that is commonly known as Cantonese, not Yue Chinese. In fact, a search through academic papers makes it seem like even linguists frequently cannot agree on what can be classified as "Cantonese". As a result, this was a potentially controversial move. "Waiting for five days" is not proper procedure for moving a page like this. Therefore, the proper procedure should have been to ask for a greater range of opinions at WP:RM. Therefore I ask that the page be moved back to Cantonese until a greater consensus can be established. Colipon+(Talk) 14:19, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I would just make the observation that this move was already attempted a year ago, but didn't stick. Calling Cantonese 'Yue Chinese' appears to go against at least two of the criteria listed in WP:TITLE, namely 'Recognizable' and 'Easy to find', and I'm a Chinaman. Ohconfucius (talk) 14:55, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

I am personally neutral to the move, but look, given what happened the last time you moved the article, the "at least three editors" and 5-day wait without discussion is hardly enough, especially when you did not post a request at Wikipedia:Requested moves or any kind of note at WikiProjects where people might be interested at the move. Hong Qi Gong (Talk - Contribs) 16:12, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

This is one of those topics where we will never find a solution that makes everyone happy. Yue Chinese may sound a little linguistic textbook but it's accurate, neutral and allows for the subdialects of each Chinese language. Cantonese is just too spongy. I suggest we accept it as workable if not beautiful and concentrate on improving the articles. Akerbeltz (talk) 17:19, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The term "Yue" refers to a language subfamily that is one of the 7–9 (depending on whom you ask) Chinese 'languages', and of which Cantonese is the most well-known and 'standard' dialect. It's similar to the situation with Wu and Shanghainese. I'm not super-familiar with it all, but my intuition is that readers searching for "Cantonese" ought to get Standard Cantonese rather than Yue Chinese (or, if they get a dab page, Standard Cantonese should be the most prominent topic), as Yue is a classification that's mostly just of interest to linguists, ethnographers, typologists, etc., whereas Cantonese is an everyday term.
As for the renaming of this article...well, I haven't actually read the article so I don't feel qualified to comment on what its title should be. But a division between Yue and Cantonese is appropriate; it may be a matter of reshuffling, merging, and splitting content to make that division clearer than it is now. An article titled "Yue Chinese" should focus more on typological aspects and less on details, I would imagine. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 17:21, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Many of the links to 'Cantonese' are about the people or the cuisine, so I think a dab is a good idea. (This has always been a popular option.) But you're right that Canton dialect should be at the top of the list. kwami (talk) 20:52, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, the fact that improper procedures were taken with the move was not addressed. Secondly, I wish to challenge this notion that "Yue Chinese" is linguistically accurate. Cantonese is different from Wu in that there is an established name for it in English, and there is a common usage for it. Linguists rarely use "Shanghainese" to refer to Wu, but linguists often use the name "Cantonese" to refer to Yue Chinese, with all its dialects included, and I would say, judging by a search on Google Scholar, usage of the term "Cantonese" to refer to all of the Yue dialect immensely overshadows the very-bold assertion that "Yue Chinese" is a most accurate linguistic term for the language in English. I concede that in Chinese linguistic studies in the Chinese language, "Yue" is the term that is most commonly used, but to assert the same standard on the English wikipedia is completely impractical for those searching for general information on the topic.
Therefore, in light of Rjanag's suggestion at an overall re-organization of these articles, I suggest the article for "Cantonese" be restored and reflective of the common use of that term, and then another article for "Yue Chinese" created to discuss purely the topographical elements of the language group. Also, if that is not a satisfactory solution, we can move "Standard Cantonese" to "Cantonese (language)" for dab purposes. Again, I suggest we review the principles of WP:TITLE before making these bold moves. Colipon+(Talk) 22:01, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I also am not convinced of the "disambiguation" argument. "Cantonese" is overwhelmingly used to describe the language. The vast majority of users searching for this string are looking to find information on the language, not on the people, or the adjective. If we are going to set up a dab it should just say "Cantonese (language)" or "Cantonese language" per common usage. Colipon+(Talk) 22:09, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, 'Cantonese' is overwhelmingly used for language. But it is ambiguous as to whether it means Canton-ese or Yue. The fact that even the editors of this article were unable to keep it straight is reason enough to think that the title 'Cantonese' is unacceptably ambiguous. This is precisely the reason for having a dab page. If we're going to dab the language-dialect from the dialect-dialect, we might as well throw in the other uses of the word.
I agree that there are several things in this article that don't belong here, as part of the confusion between Canton-ese and Yue, and that should be moved to the narrower article. I don't think anyone would object if you started moving them.
I would support moving the narrower article. The title 'Standard Cantonese' could then be relegated to a section of it that specifically discusses standardization issues. However, 'Cantonese (language)' is not good, because that would more likely be interpreted as the language Yue than as the dialect Cantonese. 'Cantonese language' is even less appropriate, because that would specifically mean Yue, not Canton-ese, which isn't a language in anyone's definition. The phrase I've most commonly seen is 'Canton dialect'. That's clear and close enough to 'Cantonese' to be readily recognizable. As for your argument that people won't be able to find these things, of course they will: that's the role of a dab page.
When common usage is too ambiguous to be useful, that's when we go with technical terminology. That's true for common names of languages as well as of animals, plants, or any other thing that has a confusing common name. kwami (talk) 01:32, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I think the move is very haste and not carefully considered, and I suggest to undo this entire naming move. Yue Chinese maybe a known name in "academic linguistics", but is in no way well-known in English. Cantonese is by far the most well-known and established name for this. By changing the name, it will probably cause a tons of confusion to readers. "Yue Chinese" certainly isn't going to be recognizable to many English speakers.--Sevilledade (talk) 01:46, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

The problem is that we don't have one article but two. We can't use 'Cantonese' for both, that's the cause of all the confusion. What do you suggest we use to differentiate them?
English speakers aren't likely to recognize Telescopus either. But we use that name because 'cat snake' is unacceptably ambiguous. We have a similar problem here, and 'Yue' is the only solution I've seen. kwami (talk) 01:55, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
I think we are at the point where we need to make an unusual exception and call this page guangdong-hua and the Standard Cantonese page guangzhou-hua. And have cantonese be the disembig to both dialects and the people group. And yue be another disembig. Benjwong (talk) 02:58, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
You are making a series of assertions based on your own experiences with linguistics and trying to impose that standard here. I disagree that the term "Cantonese" is "unacceptably ambiguous", as you put it. I think the subject is rather clear. I understand you are contributing in good faith, but several editors have now expressed their feelings that the page was moved without properly seeking consensus. To insist on your own position without taking into account much opposition to the move is rather inappropriate conduct. Respectfully, please move the page back to where it was, and then we can go from there. Colipon+(Talk) 08:27, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
This isn't 'my own' experience with linguistics. We've had numerous complaints with every name we've chosen. Yes, there have been objections to the move, but also those who approve of it, and there were objections to where it was. 'Cantonese' is unacceptable to some, 'Yue' to others, 'Guangdonghua' to others, etc. For instance, the objection to our claim that Taishanese is Cantonese, which follows from calling Yue 'Cantonese'. There have also been numerous debates over which has primacy to be called 'Cantonese', Yue or Canton dialect, and over the years both have alternated at that name, with the resulting mess in the article links. The situation is not at all clear, as the confusion within this article and the interminable discussions attest. When the common lay name of a topic is not clear, we go with another, and when no lay term is clear, we go with technical terms. That's true across WP, in every field. Sometimes even that is not sufficient, and we go with foreign terms, as Benj just suggested, but that's not necessary here, as Yue and Canton dialect (or any of several other options for the latter) would appear to be sufficient; 'Yue' is the most common English term that is specific to this topic. Right now the naming fits the general conventions of both WP and our Chinese naming conventions; since we're not using the most common name due to ambiguity, we have that as a dab, so that anyone can find either article by typing 'Cantonese' into the search bar. We are not giving primacy to either, and both have names that leave the reader clear as to what the topic is. If many readers have never heard of Yue before, that's no different than numerous other articles, where a topic has no precise common name. If you have another suggestion that accomplishes this, I'm all ears. kwami (talk) 09:33, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

This is a totally stupid move. Ask any British people in the UK have they heard the language Cantonese, and they will say yes, they speak it at their local Chinese restaurant and in Hong Kong. Ask them the same question but use Yue (not that they know how to pronounce it)instead of Cantonese, and you will be met with a blank stare. Whoever changed it is a total ignorant fool with no sense of reality and a bully who has no knowledge of Chinese, who change things even when it has not been agreed with others. Change it back. (talk) 00:39, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

When the article was called Cantonese the content was about the Cantonese speeches. However it would seem that Kwami wanted it to be a 'linguisticky' article because he knows no Cantonese but thinks he knows something about linguistics theory. If Kwami wants an article to be about the linguistics of Cantonese, he is welcome to start an article called 'The linguistics of the Cantonese languages'. This article is about Cantonese not linguistics. Change back the title to what it should be. (talk) 01:12, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Wow 86, way to lower the level of discourse. Let's everyone please ignore this unconstructive trolling. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:29, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Before you accused something trolling, please read what he has said. I, as a Cantonese-speaking Chinese and Wikipedia user, I believe the title of article definitely need to reflect the content and reflect the common people understand of the word. You can do a random poll on the street to see how many people actually know the "Yue" and how many on "Cantonese". I object to use the "Yue" of such academic words - Wikipedia is sharing of knowledge - not your strict definition of knowledge - common knowledge. -- (talk) 04:02, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
And how many of them know the difference between Yue and Canton-ese? What would they answer if you asked them which had the more legitimate claim to the use of the name "Cantonese"? If Taishanese should be classified as a dialect of "Cantonese"? Would you still get a clear preference? It would seem that many Taishanese don't like it. Besides, this is an encyclopedia, not the opinion nor the level of knowledge of the average man on the street. kwami (talk) 06:02, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
And Kwami, what the hell do you know about Yue and Cantonese? You should leave people who know the subject to do this article. Since you seem to have so much time to mess around, go and edit your native African languages instead of ruining this article. (talk) 02:17, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

一年前kwami濫用管理員職權擅自移動Cantonese為他個人所喜好的標題 Yue Chinese,招來一片強烈反對之聲,被絕大多多數人否定,迫於大眾壓力最終又移動回Cantonese作為標題。今天這種行為又再一次表演,跟上次remove一樣,不准別人undo。如此執著,如此專制!作為母語為粵語的人,跟其他粵語母語者一樣,我們絕對不能接受粵語英文名改為荒唐的“Yue Chinese”。強烈譴責你固執、不當的行為!--Newzebras (talk) 04:08, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

如果Cantonese作為消除歧義頁,表示語言的 Cantonese 應當回複至原來的標題(加 linguistic 標籤),或以 Cantonese language 作為文章的標題。Yue Chinese 是完全不能接受的,這個奇怪的名字也不是粵語最為常見的英文名稱。英文裡面指稱粵語的 common name 是 Cantonese。Yue Chinese,一般人根本不知道是什麼鬼玩意。--Newzebras (talk) 05:37, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

But preferences for language terms when speaking Cantonese are irrelevant to the choices made when speaking English. Also, you're saying we should defer to the preferences of Canton-ese speakers, but ignore Taishanese speakers who object to the claim that Taishanese is a dialect of Cantonese. kwami (talk) 06:05, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
粵語之於標準粵語(廣州話),是包含與被包含關係。廣州話是粵語的代表音,這是它的聲望決定的。在英文裡面說到 Cantonese 這種語言,大多數人會馬上聯想到標準粵語(即廣州或香港粵語),這是很自然的現象,因為大多數人接觸到的粵語是標準粵語。這如同提到 Chinese 或者 Mandarin 時大部分西方人會馬上認為指的是標準漢語(Standard Mandarin)一樣。Cantonese language 指粵語整體,當要特別強調標準標準粵語的時候,叫 Standard Cantonese。闡述後者的文章已經存在。因此刻意把Cantonese廣義和狹義的義項對立,完全是吃飽了撐著沒事幹。
台山話是粵語內部的一個方言,這是學術界公認的。毫無疑問,台山話是Cantonese的方言,不是Standard Cantonese的次方言。“台山話使用者認為台山話不是粵語方言”顯然是你的想當然。本人接觸台山人無數,幾乎所有台山人都認為台山話是白話(eq. Cantonese)的一種。沒有調查就沒有發言權。做語言學研究要深入民間調查,不能想當然。--Newzebras (talk) 07:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
我在talk page裡面收到Rjanag的消息,要求我用英文發言。不過,我知道,關注粵語的人多數會中文。並且,語言自由是基本人權,不管在什麼版本的維基百科。所以決定暫時不予理會。--Newzebras (talk) 07:06, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, of course it's your right. But by ignoring it, your POV will in turn be ignored by most of us. (Though I am quite sympathetic about the difficulty of presenting a convincing argument in a foreign language!) Moreover, by arguing that this naming issue is the concern of Cantonese people, you are saying that native English speakers should defer to the judgements and preferences of Cantonese speakers. This goes against our naming conventions, which are concerned with what things are called in English. The only exceptions, AFAIK, are cases where a name is racist, libelous, or otherwise damaging, which is not the case here.
I mean, take a look at Muhammad, with nary a 'Peace Be Upon Him', something almost unthinkable in Arabic. But this isn't Arabic WP, and we aren't going to word an article to please Muslims when it is not targeted specifically to Muslims. Cantonese people might not like the term 'Yue', but that's no more relevant than Muslims not liking the name 'Muhammad' unadorned: this article is not written for the Cantonese, but for English speakers in general. kwami (talk) 07:42, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Right, this article is written for English speakers, so, what's the common name of Cantonese in English? It's Cantonese, not your favourite Yue Chinese. As an administrator of English Wikipedia, you should know that there is a basic policy of using the most common English language name. But you have been insisting on renaming all Chinese languages to xxx Chinese, regardless of wikipedia policy. This is quite ridiculous. --Newzebras (talk) 09:13, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I was thinking the same thing. But you haven't taken your logic to its natural conclusion: The most common word in English is not "Cantonese", but "Chinese". Therefore, by your argument, all varieties of Chinese should be merged under the single title "Chinese". The Chinese people and Chinese food should also be included under "Chinese". Then we could have subsections on 'people', 'language', and 'food'. This is the logical result of your premise.
Just as there is more than one thing called "Chinese" in English, which require something other than the most common name to differentiate them if they are to be separate articles, there are more than one thing called "Cantonese" in English, which likewise require something other than the most common name to differentiate them if they are to be separate articles. For argument's sake, let's assume that Canton dialect, which is the most common meaning of the term "Cantonese", is named "Cantonese", per WP:Common name. Which name would you then propose for this article? That is the issue at hand. kwami (talk) 09:47, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Correct me if I'm wrong but I had always been under the impression that the Common Name guideline should be applied in preference but not exclusively when the Common Name leads to ambiguity/unclarity? Which I assumed was what we have here. The way I see it the problem plays out as follows, we have (taking Putonghua as an example):
Level 1 - Family Chinese languages
Level 2 - Language - Mandarin Chinese (the official, state sanctioned form)
Level 3 - Superdialects of Language - Beijing, Jilu, Jianghuai, Zhongyuan etc
Level 4 - Subdialects of Language - Harbin, Shenyang, Guanzhong etc
Now turning to Cantonese:
Level 1 - Family Chinese languages (same as above)
Level 2 - in question
Level 3 - Superdialects of Language - Zhongshan, Guangzhou, Sanyi, Luoguang etc
Level 4 - Subdialects of Language - areas smaller than under 3 e.g. Hong Kong Island, Shenzhen...
So we're arguing about Level 2 (since we sadly don't have a state sanctioned form) and where the word Cantonese fits in there. The problem with the word Cantonese is, that its common meaning in English straddles all from Level 2 to Level 4, because for the most part, English speakers don't make finer distinctions between these. So using "Cantonese" for Level 2 would be using a Common Name but it would be highly ambiguous and lead to problems with names articles that deal individually with Level 2 or Level 3 and 4 varieties. The other suggestions we've have also don't sit tightly on Level 2, the way I see it, only a name based on the linguistic term Yue fits that level accurately. But if someone can suggest something that sits ONLY on that level, I'm all ears.
The questions about whether Taishanese then should sit under Level 3 or Level 2 is a totally different discussion which we don't have to settle here right now. Akerbeltz (talk) 10:12, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
That pretty well sums it up. More specifically, "Cantonese" is etymologically the language of Canton, which in English means the city, not the province. That is, its central meaning is Level 3, Canton dialect. Level 2 is an extension of that, since we don't have common dab'ing terms in English. There are many cases where a language is named after one of its dialects, and generally a new term is coined to make the distinction. I would also welcome another English term that would make this distinction, but personally don't know of any. kwami (talk) 10:29, 16 September 2009 (UTC)


Both sides have some points, but I think the crux is this: as Colipon and kwami have both been saying in different ways, the term "Cantonese" has become rather generalized and used to refer to several different things. At its most restricted, it refers to the dialect of Yue that is spoken in Guangzhou (Canton). At its least, it is often used to refer to the whole Yue family (for example, Cheng, Lisa L.-S.; Sybesma, Rint (2005). "Classifiers in four varieties of Chinese". In Guglielmo Cinque, Richard S. Kayne. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Syntax. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195136500.  Invalid |nopp=pages (help), in their discussion of four Chinese language families, call them "Mandarin", "Wu", "Min" and "Cantonese"--not Yue). I think these observations about the multiple referents of this term (even linguists use it in different ways) are converging to one conclusion: disambiguation. So why not

Would a compromise like this work out? rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 01:29, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm not clear on why we'd want two dab pages. If we have redirects, we can always have the first line of the article be 'Term X redirects here. For meaning Y, see article Z'. Then it wouldn't matter where 'Cantonese language' redirects. kwami (talk) 02:35, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
So, for example, having "Cantonese language" redirect to "Standard Cantonese", with a dablink saying "for the language family sometimes called Cantonese, see Yue Chinese"? rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 03:20, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Either way, I agree with your comment above that it's important to have titles that clearly define the article subject, rather than titles that are "recognizable". Whether we go with dab pages or hatnotes, the readers will be able to type in "Cantonese" and eventually find what they are looking for—but the pages that they do find, whether they be "Standard Cantonese" or "Yue" or whatever, should have clear titles that reflect what the article is actually about. Just calling some article "Cantonese language" and saying that's that will only contribute to the confusion and ambiguity. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 04:12, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that title currently links to Yue, but it doesn't really matter (unless the articles that link to that name intended the other). As for clear names, we have a similar problem with 'Standard Cantonese', which is really more about Canton dialect and only tangentially about standardization. (Vd. recent argument about defining that article as the Canton accent of Canton dialect, when we don't have a Canton dialect article--I suppose we could split it.) kwami (talk) 04:40, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
No no no. You made a basic mistake. Cantonese eq. Yue. Yue is just a Mandarin-pronunciation-based transliteration for Cantonese. Cantonese is a language which includes several dialects such as Goulou (Ngaulau 勾漏粵語), Siyi (Szyap 四邑粵語), Guangfu (廣府粵語), etc. Guangzhou-Hong Kong dialect has been widely accepted as standard Cantonese just because of it's prestige. All these dialects are Cantonese. We do not use Yue because it's not a common English name at all. It is just a Mandarin pronoucitasion transliteration for Cantonese that has the same meaning of Cantonese.--Newzebras (talk) 08:18, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
The origin of the word is irrelevant. "Yue" is used in plenty of English sources, such as Ethnologue. "Cantonese" can also mean Guangfu; it is arguably better used for Guangfu (the dialect of Canton) than for Yueyu. This seems to be the heart of your argument: "Yue" is the Mandarin pronunciation, and therefore cannot be used for Cantonese. But "Cantonese" itself is the (what, Latin?) pronunciation, as is "Chinese"; by your argument, we cannot use those terms either. You've made this argument many times, but it's no more valid now than it was the first time. The names need to be decided based on English usage and on clarity, not on what you personally do or do not like due to their connotations in another language. kwami (talk) 08:53, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
While I am appreciative that Rjanag has attempted to come up with a compromise for the issue, I am not at all convinced that this is necessary. As Rjanag has pointed out, there are definite precedents of linguists using "Cantonese" to refer to the whole of what we now define as "Yue Chinese". For example, Xiaoheng Zheng from Hong Kong Polytechnic University writes, There are seven major Chinese dialects: the Northern Dialect (with Mandarin as its standard version), Cantonese, Wu, Min, Hakka, Xiang and Gan (Yuan, 1989), that for the most part are mutually unintelligible. I personally believe in this case, it is fine to move this page back to "Cantonese", and then have "Standard Cantonese" stay at where it's at.
What I am alarmed about is User:Kwami's more-or-less unilateral changes to all Chinese language-related articles and his subsequent intolerance of opposing views. Even more alarming is his administrator's status. When he attempted this move a year ago he was met with a barrage of opposition and was forced to move the page back to where it was. Now he has unilaterally taken on this move again, citing that he had waited for "five days". As an administrator he should be fairly knowledgeable that something like this should be at least brought to WP:RM to gather community consensus.
As far as I am concerned, because there is no doubt that User:Kwami did not go through the proper procedures to move this page in the first place, the first productive thing that we can do is to actually move the page back to "Cantonese", and then any subsequent discussions should take place there. If we then decide that the move to another name is appropriate, we can do so then. Single-handedly moving a page that is sure to cause controversy, and then unwilling to budge in his position on the issue despite severe opposition, it is reasonable to say that this is to some degree an abuse of his administrator's rights. While I have no doubt that said user has made many constructive edits across wikispace, I do not feel that his imposition of standards on all Chinese-language related articles has been appropriate. This includes his moves of all Chinese languages to "X Chinese", his move of Taiwanese to "Taiwanese Minnan", as well as his move of "Wenzhou dialect" to "Wenzhou Chinese". Colipon+(Talk) 10:44, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not that worried. Something had to be done and moving it flushed out any violent objections. Of which, I must say, there are far fewer than I expected. So for me it kind of falls under Be Bold Akerbeltz (talk) 12:00, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Being bold does not mean "waiting for five days" and attempting a move that has previously failed. Besides which, WP:BRD means that if a bold move was inappropriate, it can be reverted and then discussed. But when the "bold" part is a move, it cannot be undone by someone who is not an administrator. Thus the BRD model fails here, and we are only left with BD. Colipon+(Talk) 12:05, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

The act, moving title from "Cantonese (linguistics)" to "Yue Chinese", did not respect to the consensus of Wikipedians. It'd better to revert it back to original title "Cantonese (linguistics)" before new consensus is made.

Cantonese is the well-known name of the group of languages. The use of "Yue Chinese" is very limited to a particular group of people. Even those fluent speakers of both Cantonese and English never used this term to refer to Cantonese. It is a very bad idea to refer something with a name virtually nobody knows, especially when there is a very well-known name. It is not the way Wikipedia should go.

Words in languages are inherently ambiguous. It does not make sense to rename something because there is some ambiguity. Wikipedia provides a guideline to resolve ambiguity. Moreover, even the term "Yue Chinese" is ambiguous by nature and causes more confusion. Chinese can refer language, people, culture or property. Yue can refer any Chinese character pronounced "yue". For example, it might refer to 越 near Shanghai, or in Kwangtung or in Vietnam. It is a very confused term, especially it is not widely known. Here, why should we replace a well-known name (Cantonese) with something largely unheard (Yue Chinese)? I urge moving the title back to Cantonese.

HenryLi (Talk) 12:59, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Henry, can you explain to me why the name "Cantonese" should be used for Yue rather than for Canton-ese? That's the crux of the problem. It appears that even editors of this article have been mislead into thinking it was about Canton-ese, IMO very possibly because we call it "Cantonese" rather than a less ambiguous name. kwami (talk) 20:16, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
The homophone argument is downright silly. I challenge you to find a single English source where Yue Chinese does not refer to 粵. Please also see the thread above (this is getting confusing...) about why Cantonese does NOT work. Just because something is common does not make it appropriate in ALL settings. These things are guidelines, not laws. Akerbeltz (talk) 13:18, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Obviously this argument is getting nowhere, why don't we just do a special voting discussion (similar to the ones we have for deleting an article) to decide on whether we should Keep or Change the name? Tavatar (talk) 19:53, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Another one? They never seem to get us anywhere. Simply on that basis I was glad someone did something... Akerbeltz (talk) 20:27, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
Somebody did something back in December... Anyways, I think Colipon had a valid point in that the issue should have been debated in a forum more widely visited than this talk page. In addition to posting to WP:RM, an entry drawing editors attention should of course have been made at WP:HK if not WP:CHINA. Then there's the issue of kwami's use of his admin status here. I do not doubt his good faith or his great passion for the subject. He must have known that the subject was polemic, following his abortive page move back in December. He should have not only done the above. Rather than ask somebody to execute it, as he sould have done, his unilateral and WP:BOLD action appears to have been in breach of WP:UNINVOLVED, and may lead to such good faith being brought into question. Ohconfucius (talk) 06:36, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Crux of dispute[edit]

Here is what I believe is at the centre of the dispute, and please correct me or add to it if you believe my explanation is insufficient. Kwami claims that "Yue Chinese" is the "proper name" for what is commonly known as "Cantonese", and then asserts that calling the page "Cantonese" causes confusion amongst readers who may mistakenly think that Taishanese is also Cantonese. Others above have raised the point that readers may get confused with "Standard Cantonese", which is also commonly referred to as "Cantonese", and this in turn necessitates a dab page because Cantonese can refer to the whole of Yue or just the Canton dialect.

These are all good points and I consider them more or less valid. But they do not stand up to the vast amount of academic literature and overwhelming popular usage of the word 'Cantonese' to describe 'Yue' as a whole. For example, myself and several other users above have shown that most academics in fact treat all of "Yue" as "Cantonese" in English, and it is a special exception to other Chinese groups such as "Min" and "Gan", who do not have similarly established English names. Kwami mentions that ethnologue does indeed classify Cantonese as "Yue", but has not been able to show that the same treatment is given amongst the vast majority of linguists studying the subject. Then there is popular usage - which undoubtedly favours "Cantonese" over "Yue", and I don't think further elaboration is needed here.

This classification calls Kejia "Hakka", Guanhua "Mandarin", and Yue "Cantonese".

The reason we do not call Cantonese "Yue Chinese" is the same reason we do not call the Hakka language "Kejia Chinese", the same reason we do not call Mandarin "Beifang Chinese" or "Guan Chinese". Articles about languages are by nature confusing (Norwegian's two standardized forms, disputes about Serbo-Croatian, "Taiwanese", Persian/Farsi etc.) but that does not mean a strictly esoteric and pedantic standard must be implemented across all linguistic fields on Wikipedia. Instead of trying to impose certain standards on article names to ensure they're proper, perhaps the greater issue is how we can explain to the average reader what Cantonese is in the article body. The question we ask here is, does re-naming the article "Yue Chinese" in fact lessen the confusion amongst average readers, or does it actually add to it? (To see a good example of adequate measures to combat confusion, see how they've done it at Serbo-Croatian language, and that dispute is a lot more serious than this one).

In essence, if users want to keep the article at "Yue Chinese", they must prove that the majority of academic literature (and subsequently, popular usage) actually refers to Cantonese as "Yue Chinese". Without substantiated evidence along that front this move is entirely unjustifiable and even more so inappropriate.

That aside, users above also bring up concerns about the article conflicting with several WP:TITLE guidelines, improper procedures for the move from 'Cantonese' to 'Yue Chinese' by User:kwami, and earlier moves of the article which had already failed. Recognizing that there are some valid points on why the page should be at "Yue Chinese", there is a host of more valid points on why it should remain at "Cantonese". Therefore allow me to suggest, regardless of where we go from here, moving the article back to "Cantonese", and then streamlining the content of the article, is the best place to start. --Colipon+(Talk) 22:57, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Whoa, kwami never said (to my knowledge) that Cantonese is properly known as Yue. The argument here is (if you would be so kind to read my Level analysis 2 sections above) what to call the over-regional language without being ambiguous.
Secondly, you are wrong about what the literature calls this. Distinguishing popular books (such as textbooks and phrasebooks) from linguistic literature, most of my English language books either refer to it as Yue or make reference to it:
  • Robert Ramsey's (The Chinese Languages) chapter on Cantonese is entitled Yue (Cantonese)
  • DeFrancis (The Chinese Language) splits Chinese into Putonghua (Mandarin), Wu, Yue, Xiang, Hakka, Gan, Southern Min, Northern Min
  • Mathhews & Yip, although calling their book Cantonese (Routledge 1994) state Cantonese is the most widely known and influential variety of Chinese other than Mandarin. It belongs to the Yue group of dialects
I could probably find more but it's late. Akerbeltz (talk) 00:05, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Another one of Kwami's central arguments is that "Canton-ese" etymologically refers to Canton dialect. This is a terribly false assumption. He tried to make an erroneous comparison to Shanghainese. In reality, Cantonese is used much more commonly as an adjective for all of Guangdong province (Cantonese cuisine, Cantonese people, etc.), that's where that argument falls apart.
As for your level-2 and level-4, I actually address that issue above, just not explicitly. Cantonese is a common term for both the language group and the prestige dialect. The solution, then, is not to introduce an uncommon name and then impose that as a standard, but rather to have "Cantonese" for level-2 on one hand for all Guandong/Yue dialects and "Standard Cantonese" for the Canton prestige dialect, and then clear up the confusion in the article body.

Also, if you read Bauer, Erbaug, Zhang, Wright, Liu et al. etc. etc., all refer to "Cantonese" as "Cantonese" and not "Yue" when listing it in reference to other Chinese branches (similar to this map on Wikipedia). I do realize that some linguists prefer "Yue" for consistency but this is by no means a universal standard nor even majority usage. Colipon+(Talk)

There are really 3 articles in existence on wiki. Canton dialect, Yue Chinese and Standard Cantonese. It is confusing. I never entirely agreed with "Yue Chinese". Assuming you must use Yue to distinguish it as the higher level one for encyclopedia reasons, I was ok with Cantonese Yue. Unfortunately that is about as made-up as Chinese Yue. The Canto speakers all agree that Yue 粵 is rare enough that is should be avoided. Benjwong (talk) 02:59, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
To make this more confusing, there's also Hong Kong Cantonese, which should be the standardized Cantonese for Hong Kong area, not the one known as Guangzhou Cantonese (Standard Cantonese). Tavatar (talk) 03:17, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Ok that is 4, not 3. What do you want to do/change? Benjwong (talk) 03:43, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
"Chinese" is confusing. "Yue" is confusing. "Yue Chinese" is chaotic. Yue Chinese causing more confusion. Yue is the pronuciation of over 100 Chinese characters in Putonghua, not to mention other languages. Many refers to some historical and geographic names like 粵 and 越. For example, Yue Opera (越劇) does not mean Cantonese opera but opera from Zhejiang. Chinese might refers to anything related to China, like languages, writings and people. It causes more problems rather than improving it. The worst is that only very few people can associate it with established and well-known Cantonese languages. — HenryLi (Talk) 05:31, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Then how about "Yue (Chinese dialect)"? It's true that most people would call this Cantonese, but simply making a straight common usage argument does not really address any of Kwami's concerns. For the same reason that we have an article called People's Republic of China, rather than simply calling it China, as nearly all English speakers commonly do, we need to balance the common name guideline with NPOV and accuracy.--Danaman5 (talk) 05:39, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
"Chinese dialect" is certainly not ok, as it's linguistically inaccurate. Culturally these various languages are often considered "dialects of Chinese", but linguistically they are almost universally treated as different Chinese languages. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:54, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I do not help either. There are many places named Yue with different languages and dialects that are mutually unintelligible in China. For example, it might be 粵語 or 越語. Why should we rename to something that causing more confusion? More, Cantonese is the historically well-established name with uncountable publications both in casual and academic. It is absolutely not wise to replace a familiar term with something not widely used.— HenryLi (Talk) 07:48, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

I feel like if we are going to leave this at Yue Chinese, we need to rewrite the article to explain some of the controversies and questions that Kwami is concerned about, such as with Taishanese. Right now, these issues are not explored very well, and it breeds confusion.--Danaman5 (talk) 05:24, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

We can easily do the same if this article were at "Cantonese" - and that would be a great deal less confusing for average readers. Colipon+(Talk) 07:59, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
@Colipon: it looks like Akerbeltz beat me to this, but yes...while there certainly are examples of scholars using the term "Cantonese" for the language family, there are also examples of people using "Yue"; just because I cited one example doesn't mean it's an overwhelming majority (I certainly haven't done the kind of meta-analysis that would be necessary to back up a claim like that). Ramsey's The Languages of China, for one, uses Yue (although that book has issues of its own :P ). And as for what we call Mandarin...actually, there are English books and articles out there that call it Putonghua, although they are certainly not the majority (and nowadays they are rare indeed, I think it's mostly an older usage). rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 06:54, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I fully recognize that some scholars call it Yue, but many also call it Cantonese. I would argue the majority actually call it Cantonese, and I cited several references that do so above. In fact, even the scholars that call it Yue often must clarify in parenthesis that they are actually talking about Cantonese. This brings us to the very real issues of practicality. How many readers looking for the language spoken in Guangdong will look for "Yue Chinese", and how many for "Cantonese"?? Colipon+(Talk) 07:59, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
Some scholars like to reinvent the wheel and coin new words. Here they coins the word Yue for the well-established term Cantonese. Should you know Cantonese well, you must know that the native speakers never refer their languages as Yue but Yuet (粵) or Kwangtung (廣東). The small t of Yuet is very important characteristics distinguish herself from northern languages, namely entering tone. The newly coined name "yue" does NOT come from Cantonese herself. Why should we use a newly coined word instead of established? Does the title change help readers to understand what Cantonese is? or on the contrary make the article more obscure? — HenryLi (Talk) 08:22, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

From WP:TITLE: Article names should be,

  1. Recognizable – Good article titles will convey to English speakers what the subject of the article is. This is often cited as the "Principle of Least Astonishment". Article names should be optimized for readers over editors, and for a general audience over specialists.
  2. Easy to find – Good article titles use the term by which readers are most likely to search for the article and to which editors will most naturally link from other articles. As part of this, the name chosen for an article, while in common use, should be neither vulgar nor pedantic; readers will not expect such names.

08:01, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

I feel there is some definite confusion here amongst editors of what the word "Cantonese" means. Cantonese was a term coined in the 18th/19th Century by traders as an adjective to the entire province of Guangdong. It is not, as Kwami implies, a word limited to Guangdong's capital - Guangzhou (Canton), although this may seem like it at first sight. Therefore, "Cantonese" is actually the English form of "Yue", as "Yue" in Chinese simply means "belonging to Guangdong". Therefore, Guangzhou's dialect is not "Cantonese", per se, but actually more properly termed "Guangzhou dialect". Colipon+(Talk) 08:54, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

The only way out of this then seems to me if we abandon the use of the word "standard" in the page names. Which doesn't make sense anyway in a language that is not state sanctioned and regulated. We could choose Cantonese language as the top level descriptor as long as we are consistent about calling everything else a dialect and avoid the word "standard", leaving us with Cantonese language (Level 2), Hong Kong dialect, Guangzhou dialect etc. Akerbeltz (talk) 09:12, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
@Colipon: "easy to find" should not be an issue, since there are going to be redirects and dab pages/links (indeed, there will have to be redirects and dab pages either way). The crux, I imagine, is the "recognizable" bit. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 15:25, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
  • This is all same mess after Kwami "unilateral move" caused controversies last year. Any admin who are deeply involved in content disputes should not use the tool until getting a clear consensus. I don't see any prior notification to the China Project either.--Caspian blue 15:49, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
What's wrong with 3 separate articles? We can have 1 super article covering the 3 separate articles, but that'll be 3 times as lengthy. (talk) 00:15, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
The problem isn't the number of articles. It's finding names for them. Akerbeltz (talk) 00:22, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm glad some agreement is materializing. I would suggest the following, in light of all discussion above:

  1. Chinese languages
  2. Cantonese for all Yue Chinese languages
  3. "Modern Cantonese" or "Spoken Cantonese" or "Standard Cantonese" for the current dominant form of Cantonese as spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou etc.
  4. Hong Kong Cantonese, Guangzhou dialect, Gaoyang dialect
  5. Even smaller divisions?

I think the most important issue actually is discussing the level 3 name. I agree "Standard Cantonese" is a bit awkward, but it may still be the best choice. Colipon+(Talk) 00:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Canton is Canton City only, not Guangdong. "Cantonese" is widely understood to mean "Canton-ese", which makes its use for Yue problematic. We already have had objections that Taishanese is not Cantonese, and much of the Cantonese (Yue) article was actually specifically about Canton-ese, suggesting that even our editors can't tell the difference half the time. Much of the literature speaks of "Taishanese and Cantonese", even if much of the rest uses Cantonese for all of Yue. I would therefore object to promoting either Yue or Canton dialect as simply "Cantonese".
"Modern Cantonese" for Canton-ese is unacceptable, as that implies that Taishanese is not modern, that Canton-ese is somehow more "modern" than its contemporaries. Would you accept "Modern Chinese" for Mandarin? How about "Modern Asian" for Asian business English?
"Spoken Cantonese" is completely off, since it's the basis of the written language, as well as implying that Taishanese is not spoken.
Gaoyang dialect is level 3 above, as a primary branch of Yue coordinate with Canton-ese.
kwami (talk) 08:38, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Please read what I have already said about those issues (only two or three comments above), especially your assertion that "Cantonese" refers to "Canton city" or "Guangzhou", which is a completely false premise that your argument relies upon. Colipon+(Talk) 08:48, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
And what is your evidence that it is a false premise? The OED, 2nd ed, defines "Cantonese" as,
A. adj. Of or pertaining to Canton or its inhabitants. B. n. a. An inhabitant of Canton. b. The dialect of Canton.
and "Canton" is defined as,
The name of the city in southern China
The OED is the greatest dictionary in English. Webster's International is considered the best US dictionary, and its 3rd edition defines "Cantonese" as,
1. adj: of or relating to Canton, China, its inhabitants, or their dialect. 2. n 1: a native or inhabitant of Canton, China. 2: the dialect of Chinese spoken in and around Canton.
"Canton" itself is identified as the city in S.E. China. Random House and AHD are similar. So yes, "Cantonese" means primarily "Canton-ese", not Guangdong-ese as you take it. It is secondarily extended to the latter. Of course, how far afield "in and around Canton" is supposed to be is completely vague, which is precisely our problem: "Cantonese" is largely ambiguous as to whether it refers to Yue or to Canton-ese (or even to Hakka, for that matter, if "in and around Canton" is interpreted broadly enough). Therefore, since common usage is ambiguous, we look to academic usage, and that is likewise ambiguous, with Taishanese sometimes a dialect of Cantonese, and sometimes both Taishanese and Cantonese dialects of Yue.
To some extent, the problem would seem to reflect the problem with the use of the word "dialect" in the case of Chinese. Cantonese is the "dialect" spoken in Canton. So, what is that "dialect"? If Chinese is a single language, and its branches are dialects, then Cantonese = Yue just as Shanghainese = Wu, Pekingese = Mandarin, and Fukienese = Min. However, if the branches of Chinese are languages which are themselves divided into dialects, then the "dialect" of Canton is Guangfuhua/Yuehai; one would expect the definition of "Cantonese" to reflect the same shift in conception as the shifts in Shanghainese, Pekingese, and Fukienese. Arguing over whether Cantonese is really Yue or really Guangfuhua is therefore like arguing over whether we should call Hakka "Hakka dialect" or "Hakka language"--an issue best avoided altogether. kwami (talk) 09:08, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, it is almost certainly the case that the articles in question need re-writing. Especially since we cannot say with certainty what the current prestige variety is. 20 Years ago that was HK Cantonese without any doubt but today, who knows. While I agree that the narrow etymological derivation of Cantonese is linked to Canton, I also agree that the term has undergone extension. "English" technically is derived from Angla- but by extension it also applies to varieties of the language spoken outside the original Anglaland. So, let's try and be constructive.

  1. Chinese languages
  2. Cantonese for all Yue Chinese languages (or how about Cantonese (Yue)?
  3. Modern Cantonese for the current dominant form of Cantonese as spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou etc. (not Spoken or Standard; the language can be written and there is no Standard).
  4. Hong Kong Cantonese, Guangzhou dialect, Gaoyang dialect
  5. Even smaller divisions

I could live with the above, especially Cantonese (Yue) for the top level. It would satisfy both camps. Ok, so it would deviate somewhat from the Hakka Chinese, Gan Chinese pattern but it IS an unusual case amongst the Chinese languages as people have pointed out. Akerbeltz (talk) 09:33, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes, "Cantonese (Yue)" would work, but we'd have to police the article to ensure that it uses the word Cantonese to mean Yue and not Canton-ese. Also, when we refer to this article from elsewhere, we'd often need to dab which "Cantonese" we're referring to: we wouldn't want to just say that Taishanese is a dialect of "Cantonese", for example, as that would seriously mislead a lot of people.
However, I still object to "Modern Cantonese". In which sense is it "modern"? How are the other dialects of Yue not modern? "Modern Cantonese" can only mean Cantonese (whether Yue or Yuehai) of the modern era, and would therefore include Taishanese and Gaoyang as much as Yuehai.
"Cantonese (Yue)" was suggested before and rejected. I don't remember the arguments. kwami (talk) 09:55, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think Modern Cantonese is objectionable - many coursebooks teaching the language use the term and it's very similar to naming conventions in other language e.g. Modern Irish, Modern French (usually referring to the standard/prestige variety; Modern French for example would to my knowledge not be used to refer to Loire Valley French). Slightly fuzzy perhaps but recognisable and convenient. Akerbeltz (talk) 10:10, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I like Akerbeltz' suggestion. I think the issue boiled down to what to call "Standard Cantonese", when there is really no "standard", and "Modern Cantonese" seems to solve this conveniently and without too much ambiguity. Sure, it is not a formalized, pedantic name that conforms to strict linguistic standards, but to the average wikipedia reader it is a very convenient choice. It is recognizable, easy to find, and concise. :-)

As for Cantonese (Yue), I would like to avoid it if possible, as it would then be unnecessary (we can provide a note at the top of the Cantonese page: This article is about the Cantonese (Yue) linguistic group, also known as Yue Chinese, for the commonly spoken prestige dialect, please see Modern Cantonese). How does that sound? Colipon+(Talk) 10:38, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I still object to using Cantonese for Yue when its primary meaning is Yuehai. Note for example the "International Conference on Cantonese and Other Yue Dialects". This wording is generally found when one wishes to ensure that the distinction is maintained. Yue is called Cantonese when the distinction is not important to maintain. Here we have separate articles and therefore need to maintain the distinction, and therefore can't rely on such an ambiguous word.
I don't think "modern" means "standard" in those cases. All are cases where people may also study the medieval language, or where a contrast is often made with earlier eras. For example, "At Cambridge he studied Modern French, Medieval French and Kikuyu", in English etymologies for phrases like par example, or the word petit becoming obsolete in English except where influence by "modern French", etc. The same kinds of things with modern Irish, modern Japanese, modern Swahili. That's also what I see with Cantonese: "development of tones from Ancient Chinese to modern Cantonese", etc. Bauer and Benedict too, in their Modern Cantonese phonology, use the phrase "modern Cantonese" in contrast with historical developments. Basically, the phrasing means "updated", in contrast to texts from 50–100 years ago, which are still widely used due to lack of more recent material (Cantonese, Swahili), or "not medieval/Classical" (French, Irish, Japanese), or after orthographic reforms (Swahili, Irish, Turkish, etc.), or after standardization or adoption by a government. In the case of Cantonese, several sibilants have conflated since the 19th century, but were still presented as distinct sounds in quite a few texts in wide circulation when Bauer & Benedict wrote their phonology. That is, it means nothing other than "present-day"; any connotation of standardization is due to the expectation that what one would study in the modern day is whichever register is currently most representative. One could certainly speak of "Modern Taishanese"; note that one still has to specify "Modern Standard Arabic", not just "Modern Arabic", and the same is true for "Modern Standard English" (as opposed to modern English dialects) and many other languages. kwami (talk) 10:47, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
That is true, but I don't see how this linguistic jargon needs to be strictly reflected and defined in the titles themselves. We can easily explain it in the article to avoid confusion. We are appealing to a readership before we appeal to specialist linguists, as per first principle of WP:TITLE. Colipon+(Talk) 10:54, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
"Jargon"? The word "modern" isn't jargon, linguistic or otherwise. What we have here is a proposal for WP to invent new jargon, in order to avoid a well-established linguistic term! "Modern" simply doesn't mean "standard" in anyone's lexicon. kwami (talk) 10:57, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I support Kwami's proposal. I am frankly puzzled by the counter-arguments. I can't see that readers looking up "Cantonese" are going to be disappointed to find an article dealing with Guangzhou-hua. Nor can I see those readers being disappointed to find Taishanese omitted from the article on "Cantonese".
People are saying here that the normal term for the whole group of dialects is "Cantonese". This implies that Taishanese is Cantonese. The people saying this presumably base it on common and popular usage, but I would be interested to know exactly whose "common and popular usage" refers to Taishanese as "Cantonese".
Colipon asks: This brings us to the very real issues of practicality. How many readers looking for the language spoken in Guangdong will look for "Yue Chinese", and how many for "Cantonese"?? Actually, the Yue dialects -- despite the naming, and we've had this geographical name/language name argument so many times before, one would think that it would not be raised again -- are not spoken only in Guangdong or Canton. An ordinary reader interested in the Cantonese language would come to precisely the right page if he/she was looking for information on the (standard) language spoken in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. If he/she was intellectually interested in the broader family of dialects related to Cantonese, found in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Macau and Hong Kong, he/she would click through to the more academically oriented article on the Yue dialects. This is as it should be. To look for information on the Cantonese language, only to be told that some dialect spoken in western Hainan is also "Cantonese", is really going to confuse people.
People are objecting that Yue is a linguists' term and shouldn't be used for a Wikipedia article title, which should adhere to "common usage". Given that so-called "common usage" is quite confused, and that Yue is widely used in technical articles of a linguistic nature, I fail to see that these objections hold water. "Cantonese" may be a familiar term, but that does not mean that we should use it as a name for articles on several different things. "Cantonese" for the Yue dialects is simply the use of a familiar term in a confusing way.
To draw a parallel, the word 'cat' is used for the 'domestic cat' and also for the 'big cats'. In Wikipedia, the name cat is used for the domestic cat. Despite the fact that it is a scientific usage and not familiar to most laymen, the title of the article about the cat family is not Cat (family), it is Felidae. The fact that "Felidae" isn't well known to laymen while "cat" is, is not a reason for renaming the Felidae article Cat (family). To insist on "cat" as the name of the Felidae article because "everyone knows the word 'cat' but most people don't know the name 'Felidae'" is false logic.
The insistence on using the term "Cantonese", as Kwami discovered, has led to constant confusion in the two articles. People have been editing the article on "Cantonese" as though it were "Standard Cantonese". This is far more confusing for the layman than using a linguists' term for the largely linguistic concept of Yue, and using an everyday term for the social/linguistic concept of Cantonese (Guangzhou-hua). Those who argue so vehemently for the use of "Cantonese" in a broad sense for all the Yue dialects could perhaps better spend their valuable time trying to fix the utter confusion in the two articles, for which their adamant stance is largely responsible, rather than arguing that the linguistic term "Yue" shouldn't appear in a Wikipedia article.
Bathrobe (talk) 14:13, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I was/am supporting Modern Cantonese precisely because it does not imply Standard. We're simply not in a position to judge whether Gwongjau Cantonese or HK Cantonese is the Prestige Variety, so we need a term that is capable of encompassing both. Can someone please give a little on their position, we're spending so much time arguing about the name, we could have written a small encyclopedia in the meantime. We're down to (plus one new compromise suggestion)

  • Level 2: Cantonese, Cantonese (Yue)
  • Level 3: Modern Cantonese, Cantonese (Yuehai)

The latter - Cantonese (Yuehai) (or with comma) - would also encompass Gwongjau, HK and Macau (being based on a rather neat geographical term), all the varieties which are likely contenders for Prestige Variant. To my mind it would work equally well as it avoids references to Spoken or suchlike. It would also allow us to use simply Cantonese as Level 2, I'm not bothered either way. Please respond in the spirit of compromise. Akerbeltz (talk) 23:00, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

I support "Cantonese" for level 2, and "Modern Cantonese" for level 3 Yuehai variety. Colipon+(Talk) 23:04, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Academics also say "Cantonese"[edit]

I want to shed some light on the assertion that "Yue" is the name that most academics refer to all Yue dialects, and "Cantonese" cannot be used in this context. Please see all of the following papers use "Cantonese" in place of "Yue":

  • Agnres He: Toward an Identity Theory of the Development of Chinese as a Heritage Language. ""Chinese" is an umbrella term that subsumes numerous dialects grouped under Wu, Xiang, Gan, Min, Cantonese, Hakka, and Mandarin. Many of these dialects are mutually incomprehensible."
  • Ping Chen, University of Queensland: Four Projected Functions of New Writing Systems for Chinese Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Fall, 1994), pp. 366-381. "the language known as Chinese is composed ... Mandarin, Wu, Hakka, Min, Gan, Xiang, and Cantonese..."
  • Rui-Jing Gan et al.: Journal of Human Genetics; Volume 53, Number 4 / April, 2008. "The language of Han Chinese is called Chinese or the Sinitic language, which is classified into ten major dialects: Mandarin, Jin, Cantonese (Yue), Wu ..."
  • Zhang Xiaoheng, HK Polytechnic University: Proceedings of the 36th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and 17th International Conference on Computational Linguistics - Volume 2. "There are seven major Chinese dialects: the Northern ... Mandarin as its standard version), Cantonese, Wu, Min ..."
  • Yang Jian, University of Seattle: Chinese borrowings in English; "Guahua is only one of the seven major linguistic varieties in Chinese. The other six are Wu, Xiang, Gan, Min, Hakka, and Cantonese, all found mainly in the southeast."
  • many others...

I recognize that some academics also classify Cantonese as "Yue" (in evidence offered by Kwami) but they usually do so with "Cantonese" in parenthesis thereafter. There is a large amount of evidence to suggest that many academics do in fact use Cantonese to classify the entire Yue family of dialects. I urge editors to consider this moving forward. In response to Bathrobe, the argument is hardly only about "common usage", it is about academic usage as well. Colipon+(Talk) 15:57, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

No one is denying this. The lead to the article on Yue dialects also gives the term "Cantonese". All the sources given by Colipon are broad-brush treatments -- a quick listing of dialect families without going into any detail -- and as you will notice, even some of Colipon's sources clarify by adding "Yue". We are looking here at how to title the article. The technical term "Yue" brings a clarity to the naming that is completely lacking in the familiar term "Cantonese". Yes, "Cantonese" is used in reference to the language family as a whole (as is "Yue"), but the use of "Cantonese" for several different articles is ambiguous and confusing, especially given that the situation itself is a rather confused one.
I would ask if the speakers of Danzhou-hua in Hainan describe their language as "Cantonese". Do Cantonese speakers characterise Danzhou-hua as "Cantonese"? To throw such a dialect into an article on Cantonese on the basis that English speakers will be disappointed not to find it there is nonsense. In this case, spreading the word "Cantonese" to cover as many dialects as possible is quite at odds with the more normal perception of Cantonese as a specific language (mainly Guangzhou-hua).
Bathrobe (talk) 23:03, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Bathrobe: The same can be said about Mandarin, really. There is a perception that "Mandarin" is also one specific language. There is no chance in hell people in Yunnan and Sichuan would tell you that what they speak is "Mandarin" but they are listed as so here on Wikipedia (and by linguistics academics) for linguistic classification purposes. Yunnan Mandarin is hardly mutually intelligible with Standard Mandarin. Similarly, academics also group Danzhouhua, Taishanese etc under 'Cantonese', Teochew under 'Min', even though none of those are mutually intelligible varieties. Mandarin also has some serious overlaps - Mandarin (level 2), Standard Mandarin (level 3), Beijing dialect (level 4), etc. It's all comparable, and it's worked out fine. Colipon+(Talk) 23:12, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Yueyu a language?[edit]

This paragraph runs counter to what we have been discussing:

"The issue of whether Yue should be regarded as a language in its own right or as a dialect of a Chinese language depends on conceptions of what a language is. Like the other primary branches of Chinese, Yue is considered to be a dialect of a single Chinese language for ethnic and cultural reasons, but is also considered a language in its own right because it is mutually unintelligible with other varieties of Chinese."

The question I would like to ask is, is Yue really a "language in its own right"? I am sure that Canton dialect or Standard Cantonese could be regarded as a language in its own right, but is it right to state that Yue is a language in its own right? The crux of the question is whether Yue can be regarded as a language. For an analagous example, the German-Dutch dialects across Germany and Holland are all a "single language" in this sense, and yet they are customarily divided into two separate languages, German and Dutch, because these are the two standard languages. In the case of Yue, who apart from academic linguists would regard "Yue" as a single language, rather than a bunch of dialects?

Bathrobe (talk) 14:56, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

This is a valid point. It is probably more accurate to describe that Cantonese/Yue is a group of dialects, some not mutually intelligible. Colipon+(Talk) 16:03, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
This is just a paragraph that belongs in the Standard Cantonese article (whatever we end up calling it), as it's clearly about that and not about the language family. Just another reason why we desperately need to clarify the distinction between these various articles and the scope of each. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 20:04, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Yue has been considered a language, with Cantonese as one of its dialects, so the paragraph is not inappropriate here, though perhaps it needs to be reworded. kwami (talk) 07:25, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Your words make no sense. Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese, small percentage considers it a language. Yue (粵) is a Chinese word for a region. Only YueYu mean the dialect/language. -- (talk) 16:15, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
Cantonese is not a dialect of Yue. Cantonese is Yue. Cantonese is the common name of the language, while Yue is just a alternative name and transliteration following Mandarin pronunciation. Cantonese sometimes may dirrectly be considered as Standard Cantonese, just as Mandarin or even "Chinese" may sometimes be directly considered as Standard Mandarin. But in fact Standard Cantonese is just a subset of Cantonese. Cantonese is not only Guangfu dialect. Other non-Guangfu Canontese speakers, like Ngaulau(Goulou 勾漏) dialect speakers, Seiyap(Siyi 四邑) dialect speakers all regard their vernaculars as dialects of Cantonese. And, nearly all of them accept Standard Cantonese as lingua franca. kwami always tries to make people confuse with these concepts, so as to sell his new concept of "Cantonese eq. Standard Cantonese (or Cantonese is only Guangfu dialect), Cantonese is a dialect of Yue Chinese, blablabla". --Newzebras (talk) 13:57, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
I know Kwami is our favourite whipping boy, but I suggest you check out the vehement comments of user at the talk page for Canton_dialect, starting at "Standard Cantonese". This user is adamant that the only language called "Cantonese" is Guangzhouhua. Taishanese, etc. are not Cantonese.
Bathrobe (talk) 14:10, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Kwami is our favourite whipping boy for very good reason. I wanted to do one lousy page a while back move involving deletion of a redirect at RfD, and was accused of trying to circumvent the system. I got made to jump through the hoops. However, to execute this rather polemic and complicated page move, not only did Kwami try to force his way after the December debacle, he did it by giving five days' effective notice to put up or shut up, then executed all the moves himself with admin powers. I reckon he should have known better that he was acting in the capacity of an involved admin. Ohconfucius (talk) 06:33, 25 September 2009 (UTC)
If Kwami were our favourite whipping boy, it is because he enjoys being a whipping boy. The things he write, such as in English we call a bat (the flying mammal) a fox. If you do not think the English/ European word 'Cantonese' originally meant Guangzhouhua, then please show us proof that when Europeans first used the word 'Cantonese' (the speech) they meant that it was anything other than a single speech they associated with Canton (the city), the only city port on which they could conduct their business with the Chinese. (talk) 00:17, 4 October 2009 (UTC)


The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was page not moved. @harej 14:08, 11 October 2009 (UTC)

Yue ChineseCantonese (linguistics) — There seems to be a running dispute about this article's name. Please get it sorted out. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 05:52, 19 September 2009 (UTC)


  • Oppose Cantonese (linguistics)Yue Chinese – because Cantonese is the WP:COMMONNAME76.66.196.139 (talk) 07:07, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
    • "Cantonese" is the common name of Canton-ese, not so much of Yue. And we can't use the same common name for two articles. kwami (talk) 07:23, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose There has already been a consensus that the '(linguistics)' tag should only be used for linguistics topics, not for language articles. All language articles with that tag were moved to other names last year, and have been stable. kwami (talk) 10:50, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Cantonese (linguistics)" is just a silly name, sorry. I don't care strongly about whether we call it Yue or Cantonese, but sticking "linguistics" on the end doesn't make sense. That disambiguator is for things like N400 (linguistics), Priming (linguistics), etc. rʨanaɢ talk/contribs 23:23, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.