Useless (youngwilliam) wrote,

The Chicken Talking to the Duck

So on a random whim, I got to wondering about Mandarin vs Cantonese while at work. A little poking around seems to indicate that if one were to learn conversational "Chinese", one would probably want to go with Mandarin if one were planning to visit China, while Cantonese would be preferred if one were to visit their local Chinatown (...or the area around Hong Kong...)

But what they don't say is "why". Is it a matter of Cantonese previously being the standard, but recently falling out of vogue (thus explaining why the folks still in China would be speaking "Chinese 2.0" Mandarin, but those who ditched the homeland would be speaking "Chinese 1.0" Cantonese)? Did the Brits decide (while running Hong Kong) that Cantonese was better, thus pressuring emigrants to use Cantonese abroad? Is Cantonese the language of the lower class (thus the folks who couldn't make it in China and hit the New World to make their fortune brought Cantonese with them)? Is Cantonese the language of the upper class (thus the folks who could afford to easily globetrot brought Cantonese with them)?
Tags: etymology
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