This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Written Cantonese" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Written Cantonese
Script type
Time period
1910s (or earlier) to present
LanguagesYue Chinese
Related scripts
Sister systems
Written Hokkien
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

Written Cantonese is the most complete written form of a Chinese language after that for Mandarin Chinese and Classical Chinese. Written Chinese was originally developed for Classical Chinese,[citation needed] and was the main literary language of China until the 19th century. Written vernacular Chinese first appeared in the 17th century, and a written form of Mandarin became standard throughout China in the early 20th century.[1] Cantonese is a common language in places like Hong Kong and Macau. While the Mandarin form can to some extent be read and spoken word for word in other Chinese varieties, its intelligibility to non-Mandarin speakers is poor to incomprehensible because of differences in idioms, grammar and usage. Modern Cantonese speakers have therefore developed new characters for words that do not exist and have retained others that have been lost in standard Chinese.

With the advent of the computer and standardization of character sets specifically for Cantonese, many printed materials in predominantly Cantonese-speaking areas of the world are written to cater to their population with these written Cantonese characters.

Written Cantonese on the packaging of Hong Kong beverage brand Vitasoy

History

Early history

Before the 20th century, the standard written language of China was Classical Chinese, with a grammar and vocabulary based on the Old Chinese of the Spring and Autumn period, of the 8th to the 5th century BCE.[2] While this written standard remained essentially static for over two thousand years, the actual spoken language diverged ever further. The formation of Yue Chinese occurring among the Han population in the Pearl River Delta across many centuries, with the main linguistic influences being the Middle Chinese of the tenth century CE, corresponding to the end of the Tang dynasty, and that of the thirteenth century CE or late Song dynasty, as well as the Tai-Kadai substrate and some influence from pre-Tang Sinitic varieties.[3]

The first Cantonese writings belong to a literary form specific to Canton, called mukjyusyu (木魚書, Jyutping: muk6 jyu4 syu1, Hanyu Pinyin: mùyúshū, literally 'wooden fish book'), that supposedly has its roots in Buddhist chants accompanied by wooden fish. Mukjyu texts were popular light reading, their primary audience were women, as female (and overall) literacy was unusually high in that region.[4] The mukjyus were intended to be sung, similar to other genres such as naamyam, although without musical instruments.[5]

The earliest known mukjyusyu work with elements of written Cantonese, Faazin Gei (花箋記, Jyutping: Faa1zin1 Gei3, Hanyu Pinyin: Huājiān Jì, literally "The Flowery Paper"), was composed by an unknown author during the late Ming dynasty; its oldest extant edition is dated to 1713.[5][4] The Faazin Gei is an example of the "scholar and beauty" genre popular at the time, with its story set in Suzhou. Its text, while still being close to Literary Chinese, contains a lot of specific Cantonese wording and even Cantonese vernacular characters, especially in the dialogue sentences, but also in the narrative text. Other such renowned early works include Ji-Hofaa Si (二荷花史, Jyutping: Ji6 Ho4faa1 Si2, "The Two Lotus Flowers") and Gamso-Jyunjoeng Saanwusin Gei (金鎖鴛鴦珊瑚扇記, Jyutping: Gam1so2 Jyun1joeng1 Saan1wu4sin3 Gei3, "Coral Fan and Golden-lock Mandarin-ducks Pendant").[5]

The naamyam (南音; Jyutping: naam4 jam1, Hanyu Pinyin: nányīn, literally "southern songs"), a genre of song that flourished from the late Ming dynasty and frequently sung in Canton's brothels with accompanying string instruments, possessed language that was generally very literary, with only occasional instances of colloquial Cantonese words. The purpose of such inclusions is debated; they were likely added purely for rhythmic purposes. An example of such practice is Haaktou Cauhan (客途秋恨, Jyutping: Haak3tou4 Cau1han6, "The Traveler's Autumn Regrets") written in the first decade of 1800s, which is considered one of the most outstanding examples of the naamyam genre.[5]

Written Cantonese vocabulary was used much more extensively in the lungzau (龍舟, Jyutping: lung4zau1, "Dragon boat") songs, performed mainly by beggars on the streets. These songs were considered the least prestigious genre and were rarely published, and then only after careful editing to make them less vernacular in style.[5]

An important landmark in the history of written Cantonese was the publication of Jyut-au (粵謳, Jyutping: jyut6au1, Hanyu Pinyin: yuè'ōu, literally: "Cantonese love songs") by Zhao Ziyong (招子庸, Jyutping: Ziu1 Zi2jung4, Hanyu Pinyin: Zhāo Zǐyōng) in 1828, marking the beginning of an extremely popular genre. Being an educated juren, Zhao Ziyong earned some prestige and respect for the previously rejected "heavy" vernacular literature.[5]

Modern times

In the early 20th century, Chinese reformers like Hu Shih saw the need for language reform and championed the development of a vernacular that allowed modern Chinese to write the language the same way they speak. The vernacular language movement took hold, and the written language was standardized as vernacular Chinese. Mandarin was chosen as the basis for the new standard.

The standardization and adoption of written Mandarin preempted the development and standardization of vernaculars based on other varieties of Chinese. No matter which dialect one spoke, they still wrote in standardized Mandarin for everyday writing. However, Cantonese is unique amongst the non-Mandarin varieties in having a widely used written form. Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong used to be a British colony isolated from mainland China before 1997, so most HK citizens do not speak Mandarin. Written Cantonese has developed as a means of informal communication. Still, Cantonese speakers must use standard written Chinese, or even literary Chinese, in most formal written communications, since written Cantonese may be unintelligible to speakers of other varieties of Chinese.

Written Cantonese advertising banner in Mainland China

By the 1920s, with the rise of fully written libretti (Chinese: 劇本; pinyin: jùběn; Jyutping: kek6 bun2) for Cantonese opera, a well-recognised system had arisen for the use of written Cantonese. The theatrical art form became popularised further through the 1950s with the post-war Hong Kong film industry, during which one third of all cinema production was devoted to Cantonese opera.[4] With the consistent use of on-screen subtitles, the film-going audiences regularly encountered written Cantonese at the cinema, as well as on the backs of phonograph records and later audiocassette and CD cases.[4]

Historically, written Cantonese has been used in Hong Kong for legal proceedings in order to write down the exact spoken testimony of a witness, instead of paraphrasing spoken Cantonese into standard written Chinese. However, its popularity and usage has been rising in the last two decades, the late Wong Jim being one of the pioneers of its use as an effective written language. Written Cantonese has become quite popular in certain tabloids, online chat rooms, instant messaging, and even social networking websites; this would be even more evident since the rise of localism in Hong Kong from the 2010s, where the articles written by those localist media are written in Cantonese. Although most foreign movies and TV shows are subtitled in Standard Chinese, some, such as The Simpsons, are subtitled using written Cantonese. Newspapers have the news section written in Standard Chinese, but they may have editorials or columns that contain Cantonese discourses, and Cantonese characters are increasing in popularity on advertisements and billboards.

It has been stated that written Cantonese remains limited outside Hong Kong, including other Cantonese-speaking areas in Guangdong Province.[5] However, colloquial Cantonese advertisements are sometimes seen in Guangdong, suggesting that written Cantonese is widely understood and is regarded favourably, at least in some contexts. Attitudes toward written Cantonese in Guangzhou have been found to be in general positive, though this was limited to the informal and casual domains of life, where the social value of written Cantonese as a marker of cultural solidarity is highest.[6]

Some sources will use only colloquial Cantonese forms, resulting in text similar to natural speech. However, it is more common to use a mixture of colloquial forms and standard Chinese forms, some of which are alien to natural speech. Thus the resulting "hybrid" text lies on a continuum between two norms: standard Chinese and colloquial Cantonese as spoken. It has been found that female gender and a middle class-income are demographic factors that promote a clear separation between standard written Chinese and written Cantonese. On the other hand, men, and both blue-collar workers and college-educated high-income demographics, are factors that tend towards a convergence to standard written Chinese.[6]

Cantonese characters

Early sources

A good source for well documented written Cantonese words can be found in the scripts for Cantonese opera. Readings in Cantonese colloquial: being selections from books in the Cantonese vernacular with free and literal translations of the Chinese character and romanized spelling (1894) by James Dyer Ball has a bibliography of printed works available in Cantonese characters in the last decade of the nineteenth century. A few libraries have collections of so-called "wooden fish books" written in Cantonese characters. Facsimiles and plot precis of a few of these have been published in Wolfram Eberhard's Cantonese Ballads. See also Cantonese love-songs, translated with introduction and notes by Cecil Clementi (1904) or a newer translation of these by Peter T. Morris in Cantonese love songs : an English translation of Jiu Ji-yung's Cantonese songs of the early 19th century (1992). Cantonese character versions of the Bible, Pilgrims Progress, and Peep of Day, as well as simple catechisms, were published by mission presses. The special Cantonese characters used in all of these were not standardized and show wide variation.

Characters today

Written Cantonese contains many characters not used in standard written Chinese in order to transcribe words not present in the standard lexicon, and for some words from Old Chinese when their original forms have been forgotten. Despite attempts by the government of Hong Kong in the 1990s to standardize this character set, culminating in the release of the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS) for use in electronic communication, there is still significant disagreement about which characters are correct in written Cantonese, as many of the Cantonese words existed as descendants of Old Chinese words, but are being replaced by some new invented Cantonese words.

Vocabulary

General estimates of vocabulary differences between Cantonese and Mandarin range from 30 to 50 percent.[citation needed] Donald B. Snow, the author of Cantonese as Written Language: The Growth of a Written Chinese Vernacular, wrote that "It is difficult to quantify precisely how different" the two vocabularies are.[5] Snow wrote that the different vocabulary systems are the main difference between written Mandarin and written Cantonese.[5] Ouyang Shan made a corpus-based estimate concluding that one third of the lexical items used in regular Cantonese speech do not exist in Mandarin, but that between the formal registers the differences were smaller. He analyzed a radio news broadcast and concluded that of its lexical items, 10.6% were distinctly Cantonese.[5] Here are examples of differing lexical items in a sentence:

Written Cantonese and standard written Chinese equivalents with corresponding Jyutping romanization
Gloss Written Cantonese Standard Written Chinese
is hai6 si6 (Mandarin: shì)
not m4 bat1 (Mandarin: bù)
they/them 佢哋 keoi5-dei6 他們 taa1-mun4 (Mandarin: tāmen)
(possessive marker) ge3 dik1 (Mandarin: de)
Is it theirs? 係唔係佢哋嘅?

hai6-m4-hai6 keoi5-dei6 ge3?

是不是他們的?

Si6-bat1-si6 taa1-mun4 dik1?
(Mandarin: Shì bùshì tāmen de?)

The two Chinese sentences are grammatically identical, using an A-not-A question to ask "Is it theirs?" (referring to an aforementioned object). Though the characters correspond 1:1, the actual glyphs used are all different.

Cognates

There are certain words that share a common root with standard written Chinese words. However, because they have diverged in pronunciation, tone, and/or meaning, they are often written using a different character. One example is the doublet loi4 (standard) and lei4 (Cantonese), meaning "to come." Both share the same meaning and usage, but because the colloquial pronunciation differs from the literary pronunciation, they are represented using two different characters. Some people argue that representing the colloquial pronunciation with a different (and often extremely complex) character is superfluous, and would encourage using the same character for both forms since they are cognates (see Derived characters below).

Native words

Some Cantonese words have no equivalents in Mandarin, though equivalents may exist in classical or other varieties of Chinese. Cantonese writers have from time to time reinvented or borrowed a new character if they are not aware of the original one. For example, some suggest that the common word leng3, meaning pretty in Cantonese but also looking into the mirror in Mandarin, is in fact the character ling3.[7]

Today those characters can mainly be found in ancient rime dictionaries such as Guangyun. Some scholars have made some "archaeological" efforts to find out what the "original characters" are. Often, however, these efforts are of little use to the modern Cantonese writer, since the characters so discovered are not available in the standard character sets provided to computer users, and many have fallen out of usage.

In Southeast Asia, Cantonese people may adopt local Malay words into their daily speech, such as using the term 鐳 leoi1 to mean money rather than 錢 cin2, which would be used in Hong Kong.

Particles

Further information: Cantonese grammar

Cantonese particles may be added to the end of a sentence or suffixed to verbs to indicate aspect. There are many such particles; here are a few.

Loanwords

Some Cantonese loanwords are written in existing Chinese characters.

Examples
Written Cantonese[9] Jyutping Cantonese pronunciation English word English Pronunciation Written Mandarin
巴士 baa1 si2 /paː˥ɕiː˧˥/ bus /bʌs/ 公車 (Taiwan)
公共汽車、公交车 (Mainland China)
的士 dik1 si2 /tɪk˥ɕiː˧˥/ taxi /ˈtæksi/ 計程車 (Taiwan)
出租車 (Mainland China)
德士 (Singapore/Malaysia)
多士 do1 si6 /tɔ˥ːɕi˨ː/ toast /ˈtɘʊst/ 吐司
朱古力 zyu1 gu1 lik1 /tɕyː˥kuː˥lɪk˥/ chocolate /ˈtʃɒklɪt/ 巧克力
三文治 saam1 man4 zi6 /saːm˥mɐn˨˩tɕiː˨/ sandwich /ˈsænwɪdʒ/ 三明治
士多 si6 do1 /ɕiː˨tɔː˥/ store /stɔː/ 商店
士巴拿 si6 baa1 naa2 /ɕiː˨paː˥naː˧˥/ spanner (wrench) /ˈspæn.ə(ɹ)/ 扳手
士多啤梨 si6 do1 be1 lei2 /ɕiː˨tɔː˥pɛː˥lei˧˥/ strawberry /ˈstrɔːbəri/ 草莓
啤梨 be1 lei2 /pɛː˥lei˧˥/ pear /peər/ 梨子
沙士 saa1 si6 /saː˥ɕiː˨/ SARS /sɑːz/ 嚴重急性呼吸道症候群
非典 (Mainland China)
拜拜 baai1 baai3 /paːi˥paːi˧/ bye bye /ˈbaɪbaɪ/ 再見
BB bi4 bi1 /piː˨˩piː˥/ baby /ˈbeɪbi/ 嬰兒
菲林 fei1 lam2 /fei˥lɐm˧˥/ film /fɪlm/ 膠卷
菲屎 fei1 si2 /fei˥ɕiː˧˥/ face (reputation) /feɪs/ 面子
三文魚 saam1 man4 jyu4 /saːm˥mɐn˨˩jyː˨˩/ salmon /ˈsæmən/ 鮭魚
沙律 saa1 leot6 /sa˥ːlɵ˨t̚/ salad /ˈsæləd/ 沙拉
taai1 /tʰa˥ːi/ 1. tire
2. tie
1. /ˈtaɪ̯ə/
2. /taɪ/
1. 輪胎
2. 領帶
褒呔 bou1 taai1 /po˥utʰa˥ːi/ bowtie /bəʊˈtaɪ/ 蝴蝶型領結
fei1 /fei˥/ fee (ticket) /fiː/
bo1 /pɔ˥ː/ ball /bɔːl/
哈囉 haa1 lou3 /ha˥ːlou˧/ hello /həˈləʊ/ 哈囉
迷你 mai4 nei2 [mɐi˩.nei˧˥] mini /ˈmɪni/
摩登 mo1 dang1 /mɔː˥tɐŋ˥/ modern /ˈmɒdən/ 時尚、現代
肥佬 fei4 lou2 [fei˩lou˧˥] fail /feɪl/ 不合格
咖啡 gaa3 fe1 /kaː˧fɛː˥/ coffee /ˈkɒfi/ 咖啡
OK ou1 kei1 /ʔou˥kʰei˥/ okay /ˌəʊˈkeɪ/ 可以
kaak1 /kʰaːk̚˥/ card /kɑːd/
啤牌 pe1 paai2 /pʰɛː˥ pʰaːi˧˥/ poker /ˈpəʊkə/ 樸克
gei1 /kei˥/ gay /ɡeɪ/ 同性戀
(蛋)撻 (daan6) taat1 (/taːn˨/) /tʰaːt̚˥/ (egg) tart /tɑːt/ (蛋)塔
可樂 ho2 lok6 /hɔ˧˥ː.lɔːk̚˨/ cola /ˈkəʊ.lə/ 可樂
檸檬 ning4 mung1 [neŋ˩meŋ˥] lemon /ˈlɛmən/ 檸檬
扑成 buk1 sing4 [pok̚˥.seŋ˩] boxing /ˈbɒksɪŋ/ 拳擊
刁時 diu1 si2 [tiːu˥.siː˧˥] deuce (before the final game of tennis) 平分
干邑 gon1 jap1 [kɔːn˥.jɐp̚˥] cognac 法國白蘭地酒
沙展 saa1 zin2 [saː˥.tsiːn˧˥] sergeant 警長
士碌架 si3 luk1 gaa2 [siː˧lok̚˥.kaː˧˥] snooker 彩色檯球
士撻(打) si3 taat1 (daa2) [siː˧.tʰaːt̚˥ taː˧˥] starter 啟輝器
士啤 si3 be1 [siː˧.pɛː˥] spare 後備,備用
士啤呔 si3 be1 taai1 [siː˧.pɛː˥ tʰaːi˥] spare tire 備用輪胎
Often used to describe people with waist and abdomen fat
士的 si3 dik1 [siː˧.tek̚˥] stick 手杖,拐杖
士多房 si3 do1 fong4 [siː˧.tɔː˥ fɔːŋ˩] storeroom 貯藏室
山埃 saan1 aai1 [saːn˥ ʔaːi˥] cyanide 氰化物
叉(電) caa1 (din3) [tsʰaː˥.tiːn˧] (to) charge 充電
六式碼 luk3 sik1 maa2 [lok̚˧.sek̚˥ maː˧˥] Six Sigma 六西格瑪
天拿水 tin1 naa4 seoi2 [tʰiːn˥naː˩ sɵy˧˥] (paint) thinner 稀釋劑,溶劑
比高 bei2 gou1 [pei˧˥kou˥] bagel 過水麵包圈 (Mainland China)

貝果 (Taiwan)

比堅尼 bei2 gin1 nei4 [pei˧˥kiːn˥nei˩] bikini 比基尼泳裝
巴士德消毒 baa1 si1 dak1 siu1 duk6 /paː˥.si˥ tɐk̚˥.siːu˥.tʊk̚˨/ pasteurized 用巴氏法消毒過的
巴打 baa1 daa2 [paː˥.taː˧˥] brother 兄弟
巴黎帽 baa1 lai4 mou2 [paː˥lɐi˩mou˧˥] beret 貝雷帽
巴仙 baa1 sin1 / pat6 sen1 [paː˥siːn˥] / /pʰɐt̚˨.sɛːn˥/ percent 百分之

趴(Taiwan)

古龍水 gu2 lung4 seoi2 [kuː˧˥.loŋ˩ sɵy˧˥] cologne 科隆香水 (Mainland China)
布冧 bou3 lam1 [pou˧lɐm˥] plum 洋李,李子,梅
布甸 bou3 din1 [pou˧.tiːn˥] pudding 布丁
打令 daa1 ling2 [taː˥.leŋ˧˥] darling 心愛的人
打比(打吡) daa2 bei2 [taː˧˥.pei˧˥] derby 德比賽馬
kaa1 [kʰaː˥] car (火車)車廂
卡式機 kaa1 sik1 gei1 [kʰaː˥.sek̚˥ kei˥] cassette 盒式錄音機
卡士 kaa1 si2 [kʰaː˥.siː˧˥] 1. cast
2. class
1. 演員陣容
2. 檔次,等級;上品,高檔,有品味
卡通 kaa1 tung1 [kʰaː˥.tʰoŋ˥] cartoon 動畫片,漫畫
卡巴 kaa1 baa1 [kʰaː˥.paː˥] kebab 烤腌肉串
甲巴甸 gaap3 baa1 din1 [kaːp̚˧.paː˥.tiːn˥] gabardine 華達呢
le1 [lɛː˥] level 級,級別
叻㗎 lek1 gaa4 [lɛːk̚˥.kaː˩] lacquer 清漆
sin1 [siːn˥] cent
他菲亞酒 taa1 fei1 aa3 zau2 [tʰaː˥.fei˥ ʔaː˧.tsɐu˧˥] tafia 塔非亞酒
冬甩 dung1 lat1 [toŋ˥.lɐt̚˥] doughnut 炸麵餅圈 (Mainland China)
奶昔 naai2 sik1 [naːi˧˥.sek̚˥] milkshake 牛奶冰淇淋
安士 on1 si2 [ʔɔːn˥siː˧˥] ounce 盎司,英兩,啢
安哥 on1 go1 /ʔɛːn˥.kʰɔ˥/ encore 再來一個,再演奏(Song)一次

Cantonese character formation

Cantonese characters, as with regular Chinese characters, are formed in one of several ways:

Borrowings

Some characters already exist in standard Chinese, but are simply reborrowed into Cantonese with new meanings. Most of these tend to be archaic or rarely used characters. An example is the character 子, which means "child". The Cantonese word for child is represented by 仔(jai), which has the original meaning of "young animal".

Compound formation

The majority of characters used in Standard Chinese are phono-semantic compounds - characters formed by placing two radicals, one hinting as its meaning and one hinting its pronunciation. Written Cantonese continues this practice via putting the 'mouth' radical () next to a character pronounced similarly that indicates its pronunciation. As an example, the character uses the mouth radical with a , which means 'down', but the meaning has no relation to the meaning of . (An exception is , which is not pronounced like (yèuhng, sheep) but was chosen to represent the sound sheep make.) The characters which are commonly used in Cantonese writing include:

Character Jyutping Notes Standard Chinese equivalent
gaa3 function word
haa5 function word
aak1 v. cheat, hoax
gam2 function word like this, e.g., 噉就死喇 這樣
gam3 function word like this, e.g., 咁大件 這麼
zo2 function word indicates past tense
me1 function word, also a contraction of 乜嘢
saai3 function word indicates completion, e.g., 搬嗮 moved all, finished moving ,
dei6 function word, indicates plural form of a pronoun
ni1 / nei1 adv. this, these
m4 adv. not, no, cannot; originally a function word
ngaam1 / aam1[10] adv. just, nearly
adv. correct, suitable
di1 genitive, similar to 's but pluralizing i.e., 呢個 this → 呢啲 these, 快點 = 快啲 = "hurry!" , ,
juk1 v. to move
hai2 prep. at, in, during (time), at, in (place)
go2 adv. that, those
ge3 genitive, similar to 's; sometimes function word ,
mak1 n. mark, trademark; transliteration of "mark"
laak3 function word
laa3 function word
je5 n. thing, stuff 東西, 事物
saai1 v. to waste 浪費
lei4 / lai4 v. to come; sometimes function word
gau6 function word a piece of
lo1 / lo3 function word
tau2 v. to rest
haam3 v. to cry
mai5 / mai6 v. not be, contraction of 唔係 m4 hai6, used following 係 in yes–no questions; also other uses ,
aa1 final particle expressing consent and denial, liveliness and irritation, etc.

There is evidence that the mouth radical in such characters can, over time, be replaced by a different one. For instance, (lām, "bud"), written with the determinative ("cover"), is instead written in older dictionaries as , with the mouth radical.

Derived characters

Further information: Chinese character classification § Derived characters

Other common characters are unique to Cantonese or are different from their Mandarin usage, including: 乜, 冇, 仔, 佢, 佬, 俾, 靚 etc. The characters which are commonly used in Cantonese writing include:

The words represented by these characters are sometimes cognates with pre-existing Chinese words. However, their colloquial Cantonese pronunciations have diverged from formal Cantonese pronunciations. For example, ("without") is normally pronounced mou4 in literature. In spoken Cantonese, mou5 has the same usage, meaning, and pronunciation as , except for tone. represents the spoken Cantonese form of the word "without", while represents the word used in Classical Chinese and Mandarin. However, is still used in some instances in spoken Cantonese, such as 無論如何 ("no matter what happens"). Another example is the doublet 來/嚟, which means "come". loi4 is used in literature; lei4 is the spoken Cantonese form.

Workarounds

Though most Cantonese words can be found in the current encoding system, input workarounds are commonly used both by those unfamiliar with them, and by those whose input methods do not allow for easy input (similar to how some Russian speakers might write in the Latin script if their computing device lacks the ability to input Cyrillic). Some Cantonese writers use simple romanization (e.g., use D as 啲), symbols (add a Latin letter "o" in front of another Chinese character; e.g., 㗎 is defined in Unicode but will not display if not installed on the device in use, hence the proxy o架 is often used), homophones (e.g., use 果 as 嗰), and Chinese characters which have different meanings in Mandarin (e.g., 乜, 係, 俾; etc.) For example,

Character 喇, 嘢。
Substitution o係 la, D 野。
Gloss you being there good (final particle), thousand pray don't mess with he/she (genitive particle) things/stuff.
Translation You'd better stay there, and under no circumstances mess with his/her stuff.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Mair, Victor. "How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language".
  2. ^ Vogelsang, Kai (2021). Introduction to Classical Chinese. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-883497-7.
  3. ^ de Sousa, Hilário (2022). "The Expansion of Cantonese Over the Last Two Centuries". The Palgrave Handbook of Chinese Language Studies: 1–32. doi:10.1007/978-981-13-6844-8_35-2. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Chan, Marjorie K. M. (18 June 2022). "Vernacular Written Cantonese in the Twentieth Century: The Role of Cantonese Opera in Its Growth and Spread". Studies in Colloquial Chinese and Its History: 36–58. doi:10.5790/hongkong/9789888754090.003.0003. Retrieved 4 April 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Snow, Donald (2004). Cantonese as Written Language: The Growth of a Written Chinese Vernacular. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-962-209-709-4.
  6. ^ a b Yan, Jing (February 2012). "Writing Cantonese As Everyday Lifestyle In Guangzhou (Canton City)". Chinese Under Globalization: 171–202. doi:10.1142/9789814350709_0009. Retrieved 8 December 2023.
  7. ^ cantonese.org.cn
  8. ^ ctcfl.ox.ac.uk
  9. ^ A list compiled by lbsun
  10. ^ Wikipedia:粵語本字表 - 維基百科,自由嘅百科全書
  11. ^ Zhifu Yu. 粵講粵過癮[100601][細路]. Foshan TV. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 3 September 2013.

Further reading