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Thoughts on Cantonese?


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On 12/15/2021 at 9:25 PM, Insectosaurus said:

Cantonese is a language spoken by almost 100 million people. Did Hawaii even pass 100,000 inhabitants before colonisation? Like @PerpetualChangesaid, if it's dying, we're gone before that happens.

Languages can die extremely quickly; the number of native speakers does not matter if all of those speakers stop speaking the language all at once. Irish Gaelic and Hawaiian are both examples of languages that were extremely rapidly displaced.


A language of 2 million speakers could easily become critically endangered after only one generation. All it takes is for some set of circumstances to prevent (or heavily discourage) the parent generation from passing their language down to the next generation. 

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On 1/15/2022 at 12:44 AM, 黄有光 said:

There is value in preserving the culture of a region, and, beyond


That’s not mutually exclusive to my statement of societal needs changing. Although societal needs change, there is also value in recording and preserving culture. It’s much easier than previously to do so with modern recording equipment. 

Singapore is an example of repression of heritage culture. Now that they’re third or fourth generation immigrants, they are trying to track back and preserve what’s has been lost. I know there it was certainly more prestigious and ‘higher class’ to be fluent in English with heritage Chinese dialects being actively discouraged. 

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  • 2 months later...

So I finished Pimsleur Cantonese, I enjoyed it a lot and it's a shame that they offer only one level. Still, it was a great way to get a feel for the language (dialect) and become less intimidated by it. I've always been fascinated by Chinese dialects and it feels great to understand one of them now, even just a little. Wish there was a quality resource for my favorite one, the Fuzhou dialect (https://youtu.be/hw8vhGXvJX0?t=78).


I'll take a break from Cantonese now and start learning some Thai due to an upcoming trip. The grammar and "logic" of Thai is very similar to Sino-Tibetan languages, it even used to be classified as Sino-Tibetan before. I was delighted to find it has some common words with Cantonese, though not many. Anyway, it's going to be a real challenge this time.

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