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(Problems on Hakka)
I think it is time for me to react to the questions concerning about my
1. For Mr. Fong's "Misconceptions about dialects", I think I don't have to
answer. Just refer to any book on "Introductory Linguistics". If you can't
find a good one, use the one I am teaching undergrads:
V. Fromkin and R. Rodman (1998) An Introduction to Language, 6th ed.
Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
Read the whole book if you have time, or just read Chapter 11. The whole
book is quite interesting and do the excercise if you want to learn more. I
have the answer book too (not for sale, only for teachers).
2. For Mr/Ms Dixie, I asked around in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and found that
most Min speakers do not name themselves Tangren. A Chaozhou speakers told
me that his father (70 years old now) came across this term only when he
came to Hong Kong. I now assume this concept in Singapore or Malaysia was
spread by Hakka and Cantonese speakers to other dialect groups.
3. My research is now focussing on Language change and shift in Southern
China, and I would like to share my findings with anyone of you. To sum up:
both Hakka and Modern Cantonese (and aslso most dialects in Jiangxi) are
the descendants of a common tongue coming from the northern central plain.
Old dialects in Guangdong have been displaced and creolized by this strong
dialect and are only found in the remoted areas like hilly regions in
Northern Guangdong. They are now referred to "Tuhua" (Farmer's tongue).
Therefore, if we use the concept of Luo Xianglin, that people arriving
Guangdong after the Tang Dyansty are Hakka, then almost ALL modern
Cantonese speakers can fit this criteria. Remember that Luo did not
investigate into the roots of the Cantonese, probably because he assume
that they are "barbarians".
But of course NO Cantonese speakers like this label, because it is the
label they give to the "barbarians" who intruded into their territories in
the past three centuries. For us, Cantonese speakers are also "natives"
aand not as "pure" Chinese as Hakka. In our understanding, "Hakka" is the
synonym of "Chosen people". A difference in the interpretation of the totem
split two linguistically related groups into two.