Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
James Campbell

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by James Campbell » Sun Jun 30, 2002 7:17 am

Maybe I should add some tone charts for several more languages for your reference. I don't have the Vietnamese tone contours handy right now, so I write in the names instead:

They are numbered as: 1 (55), 2 (35), 3 (214), 4 (51). There have been some merges from 2A to 3A for obstruents (such as the character 上 originally read shang3 but now shang4, for which you'll find no such merge in Cantonese or some other languages)

Wu (Shanghai)
Tone 2A has merged with 3A, so 3A has been written in its place. Tones 1B and 2B have merged with 3B, so 3B has written in their places.

Min Nan (Taipei)
Numbered as: 1 (44), 2 (53), 3 (21), 4 (32), 5 (24), 7 (33), 8 (44)

Hakka (海陸)
Merge in 2B with A1.

Yue (Guangzhou)
......I.....II...III..IV (upper / lower)

Yue (Toisan)
......I....II...III..IV (upper/lower)

Vietnamese (Hanoi)

James Campbell
Sum Won

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Sum Won » Mon Jul 01, 2002 12:57 am

Thanks for all that information. I have to admit, after seeing your two posts, I feel intimidated. However, I'm still confused at certain things in your posts; I think I understand the number sequences you use, but the letters that follow the numbers, are they hexadecimal?
Also, about the NanNing PingHua, I'm still not sure if it's what everyone knows as "GuangXi Cantonese". So I was wondering where "PingHua" is being spoken, in the GuangDong-GuangXi areas? For starters, my dad's side of the family doesn't speak GuangFu. My parents switched to it for the sake of comformity with the rest of the Cantonese-speaking world, hence, that is what I speak. However, I notice that my grandma and uncles all speak this so-called "GuangXi Cantonese". Our "ancestral home" lies on the border between GuangXi and GuangDong (Don't ask me which city, that's all my dad knows --He was born in a different country). The following differences are what I've noticed between GuangFu and "GuangXi Cantonese":

ui -> /i/
ei -> /i/
ue (German U with two dots on top) -> /i/
The "lithp" you mentioned is somewhat present also. However, it's not exactly a Th with the old folks. If you try making a standard S sound, you'll notice the air travels through the tip of your tongue, outward. With the "GuangXi Cantonese" my relatives speak, the sound travels through the side of their tongues, between both sides of the teeth and tongue.

This however, isn't the same case I hear in younger kids in America, who come from the region. They actually speak S's with a Th sound.

So is this "NanNing PingHua" the same as my "GuangXi Cantonese"? Is it actually spoken in the Western areas of GuangDong too?
James Campbell

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by James Campbell » Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:47 am

For clearing up, there's no hexadecimal! It's just the coordinate in the chart:

1A = Yin Ping
1B = Yang Ping
2A = Yin Shang
2B = Yang Shang
3A = Yin Qu
3B = Yang Qu
4A = Yin Ru
4B = Yang Ru



Normally in my research I use either the names Ping ~ Ru or I ~ IV, but for the sake of brevity in the chart I use 1-4 in place of I~IV. I didn't mean to confuse you.

But I was just worried if by using 1-4 for the tone categories, these could actually be confused with tone contours. In fact, I assume you know how to read the tone contours in the charts with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Normally they are written with 2-3 digits, except tones with short, occlusive endings (ie the Ru tones) where they are written with only 1 digit.

For example, Mandarin's Yin Ping (1st tone) is 55, a high level tone. And it's Shang tone (3rd tone) is 214, a low dipping then rising.

This notation has been used for decades now. I believe it was Chao Yuan Ren who first developed it.

James Campbell

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by James Campbell » Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:52 am

I'll have to check on the onsets in Nanning and I'll have to check on your Guangxi and get back to you. But this is not an area that I'm very familiar with. I know much more about S. Min and Wu off the top of my head.

When I said lisp, I didn't intend that people are actually pronouncing words as in English with a 'th' but more of a 't' (more of a dull, shorter sounding lisp). I'm actually surprised to hear that Americans would be pronouncing Chinese with a 'th'. It's not a sound that I've come across in any Chinese language or dialect. Until now: American Cantonese Dialect (新派)!
Sum Won

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Sum Won » Mon Jul 01, 2002 3:58 am

Sorry for the mishap James, and "Thankyou!" for the clarification.

Now for the general audience out there:

Can anyone give me anymore information on other "Yue" dialects? Such as their colloquial words and phrases or different pronounciations?

For example:
Instead of the standard "Ma Faan" (bothersome), why do Hong Kong people use the word "Oh Goh"?

Or how about, why GuangXi-Cantonese tend to see "Jo Si" for "earlier" or "just now", when in GuangFu and Hong Kong, they use "ngaam ngaam" or "ngaam wa"?
And while we're on that, how did "ngaam" come about?

There are also other questions I have that deal with cuss words, but I guess we'll leave it in this thread ... =600&t=600
Sum Won

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Sum Won » Thu Jul 18, 2002 8:30 pm

In response to Yue's recent comments:

You know what? I actually agree with Thomas, Terence, and ppk on the historical facts, that the original inhabitants in the area weren't VietNamese --this is too weird, I actually agree with them! On the matter of interpretration, that's a different issue.... =)
As Thomas noted, the distinctions of races made during the times of the Han and before then, might not have been so accurate. Read here: ... tents.html

It mainly concentrates on the Zhuang race, but I think it should clear things up for Yue.

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by yue » Thu Jul 18, 2002 10:25 pm

sum won, when u talk about the Zhuang race, do u mean the black Zhuang or the white Zhuang?

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Xiang » Fri Jul 19, 2002 6:36 pm

I dunno about the Tin7 thing for Min Nan. I'm a teochew we pronouce 'Zheng' as 'Tay'....
James Campbell

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by James Campbell » Sun Jul 21, 2002 7:29 pm


So-called 'teochew' _is_ Min Nan--go look at our MinNan forum.

In your 'teochew' Chaoshan dialect of MinNan, 鄭 is supposedly pronounced teng35. If you don't pronounce it like this, or not sure of the phonetic spelling, perhaps you're not really a Chaoshan MinNan speaker.

Then again, I notice you're writing from Singapore where things are a little mixed up linguistically.
Sum Won

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Sum Won » Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:37 pm

One common thing I've noticed throughout this thread, and other threads, that have went against mainstream Chinese thoughts, is the fact that the sources quoted, were followed thoroughly. Of course they should be followed, but I'm afraid as to why they're followed so closely like a religious book? I admit, I may not have all the facts, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm wrong, just as any other scientist who hypothesizes, can necessarily be 100% correct.
"Science thrives on the eccentric thinkers, who shed the shells and constrictions of the old, with the tools they make."
Sure, a certain type of acceptance has to come, in order to make your own hypothesis, but that's just about what everyone has been doing --accepting, without making much of their OWN hypothesis.

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Quentin » Sat Nov 16, 2002 1:55 pm

To Sum Won
Well, to clarify whether or not VietNam written in Chinese (by the VietNamese) the same or not, for those who haven't figured out Terence's answer to his own question, it is. For reminders, VietNam was also conquered by the Chinese for a few millenias. Even now, if you read in earlier posts, many VietNamese surnames can be translated in Chinese. It wasn't until the Portuguese dictionary for the VietNamese language (which was made for Europeans), which introduced any Romanization to their writing system. Even the VietNamese (Kinh) in China, don't use this system (I'm not sure if they [the Kinh] still retain their pronounciations to the Chinese words, and how their VietNamese dialect is to Northern VietNamese).

Sorry Sum Won, I don't mean to be rude but do you really know what KINH actually mean? :-D
Dylan Sung

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Dylan Sung » Sat Nov 16, 2002 5:25 pm

Kinh is 京.


Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by WeEWeW » Sun Nov 17, 2002 4:50 am

Just to say hi!

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by Quentin » Wed Nov 20, 2002 2:05 am

To Dylan Sung
Kinh is 京.


What I mean is do you know why viets called themself Kinh? it nothing to do with race and vietnamese never use the term Kinh when they distiguishing between themselve and Chinese.

Re: Cantonese originally not Chinese???

Post by ppk » Wed Nov 20, 2002 3:25 am

kinh is among the 50+ minority races in vietnam, same thing in china. the kinh u memtioned might not apply to all vietnamese. anyway, overseas chinese usually called themselves 'tang people' instead of 'chinese'. that doesnt mean that they are the true descendants from tang dynasty.