Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Is it worth it to learn Cantonese or is it a dying language?


China_Checker
 Share

Recommended Posts

I just moved to the mainland from Hong Kong six months ago and am now learning Mandarin which in makes me think in many ways, I should not have even started to learn Cantonese. More and more people in HK are learning Mandarin. Is there any reason I should continue studying Cantonese or will it be a dead language in a few more years? I would appreciate the feedback from people who have learned both Cantonese and Mandarin. Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

I don't think that there's any chance of Cantonese dying in our lifetimes. It is and will remain an important language.

I do expect that Mandarin will become even more important than it is now, though.

You are the only one who knows whether there are reasons for you to study Cantonese. What were your reasons for starting to learn Cantonese and have they changed?

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends on who you want to talk to. If you're going to spend most of your time on the mainland, it's probably more useful to learn Mandarin than Cantonese. If you're going to be in Hong Kong, Cantonese might be more useful. It's unlikely to die off in our lifetime, but I think its usage will become somewhat narrower.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some people still learn latin, so why not?

The Roman Catholic clergy?

Lawyers and scientists?

There's no incentive for priests, lawyers or scientists to learn Cantonese?

Once Hong Kong becomes just another Chinese city, Cantonese is doomed.

Kobo.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also think that overseas Chinese are usually Cantonese speakers.

 

There are very large communities of Cantonese speakers in many big cities around the world,

 

This will probably continue for many years to come.

 

I can't see it dying out for good long time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Is there any reason I should continue studying Cantonese or will it be a dead language in a few more years?

Or there is a reason to study Cantonese is up to you. As many already said it will  almost certainly deminish in importance. There is a general tendency for smaller (ok cantonese is not that small) languages to die out due to increased mobility and communication and improved education. Basicly it's just impractical to change language every few kilometers. For cantonese there is the large migration of mandarin speakers and politics added to the mix. Politics may very well also be a reason for a future revival of Cantonese. E.g. if China gets divided in independent states.

 

Cantonese won't die overnight, it will take at least a couple of generations. Even if from now on no-one would learn it it would take 100 years or so before all the speakers  and with it the language has died.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Renzhe is right, think about your reasons for learning a language.

Make a list writing down the reasons why you would like to learn Mandarin and Cantonese, and select whichever is more important to you today in the present, don't think about the past or the future, but what are your needs right now.

It's true, many people in China study Mandarin since they might speak a regional dialect; however, if you are living in Hong Kong, people WILL feel more comfortable speaking their mother language, in this case, Cantonese.

 

Cantonese is useful in Hong Kong, Macau, the Guangdong province in China, and I think all the China-towns around the globe (I recommend you visit your local China-towns if you objective is to socialize since you'll hear a lot of languages)

 

Nowadays, I see more students from China and Taiwan at American universities; therefore, Mandarin can be useful. Also, in my city I hear a lot of Mandarin and Vietnamese at the China-towns, that's why I want to learn both languages at a conversational level; whereas, some people want to learn a language for job opportunities.

 

Whatever your reasons are for learning a language, make sure they are your legitimate decisions. Don't follow trends or language myths.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just fyi that Cantonese is a dialect and not a language since it still uses Chinese characters but just different pronunciation.

 

It is definitely not a dying 'language' since it's still spoken in most of GuangDong Province, Macau, Malaysia and Singapore. So adding another 'language' into your arsenal is not a bad thing so why the hell not? I say go for it.

 


P.S. I might be a little bias since I do speak Cantonese..  :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

True.. But a lot can be said with other dialects in many other countries.. Like Moravian and Silesian dialects in Czech Republic.. Or Kyushu Japanese that is only spoken in the southern part of Japan..  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...