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|Updated||December 27, 2012|
Yue Radios app. Yue is a primary branch of Chinese spoken in southern China.
The issue of whether Yue is a language in its own right or a dialect of a single Chinese language depends on conceptions of what a language is. Like the other branches of Chinese, Yue is considered a dialect for ethnic, political, and cultural reasons, but it is also considered a distinct language because of linguistic reasons. Spoken Cantonese is mutually unintelligible with other varieties of Chinese, though intelligible to a certain degree in its written form.
The areas of China with the highest concentration of speakers are the provinces of Guangdong and (eastern) Guangxi and the regions of Hong Kong and Macau. There are also substantial Cantonese- and Taishanese-speaking minorities overseas in Southeast Asia, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
The prototypical use of the name “Cantonese” in English is for the Guangzhou (Canton) dialect of Yue, but it is commonly used for Yue as a whole. To avoid confusion, academic texts may call the primary branch of Chinese Yue, following the Mandarin pinyin spelling, and either restrict “Cantonese” to its common usage as the dialect of Guangzhou, or avoid the term “Cantonese” altogether and distinguish Yue from Canton or Guangzhou dialect.
In Chinese, people of Hong Kong, of Macau, and Cantonese immigrants abroad[clarification needed] usually call the Yue language Gwóngdùng wá [kʷɔ̌ːŋ tʊ́ŋ wǎː] (廣東話) “speech of Guangdong”. People of Guangdong and Guangxi do not use that term, but rather Yuht Yúh [jỳt jy̬ː] (粵語) “Yue language”. They also use baahk wá [pàːk wǎː] (白話) on its own to refer to the Guangzhou dialect. It is also used to refer to Yue dialects in Guangxi, as for example in an expression like “南宁白话”, which means the baak waa of Nanning.
commonly known as Cantonese