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Hakka in the new millennium
Although I want to put this discussion to a rest. But I am getting even
<<Thereofre, don't expect your ancestor to speak hakka in Jin Dynasty.
Languages change and evolve, and at that time
neither Hakka nor Cantonese existed.>>
Of course we can expect the Jin people to speak some tongue close to
what we call Hakka today. That is why Tang poems rhyme better in Hakka
than Mandarin. That is why there is a Zhongzhou Yun and a Guang yun.
Hakka tongue can be maintained for all these years because
Hakka-speaking people are adamant about keeping the tongue. And that I
believe is the reason you propose to speak Hakka. If Hakka dialect did
not exist in Jin, I don't know what they were speaking. I believe
Cantonese as a spoken language also existed in Jin or before. These
dialects did not drop from the sky after 1700 AD. They have gone through
many changes absorbing vocabulary from other regions and even foreign
tongues. But they did have a basis for evolution.
The Hakka-speaking population diminishes in time for a good reason.
Migration seems to be a tradition for Hakkas through out the ages. As
more Hakka moved out from the original habitat, they adopt other
language or dialects of the new settlement. Hakkas only increase by
other people marrying into their village or having more children.
Unfortunately, Hakka regions are always poor and do not attract new
comers. Compare to Hong Kong and Shanghai which are dominated by
Cantonese and Wu speaking people, the influx of people kept increasing
the proportion. The 3% Hakka should have been a lot higher in ancient
time. The mandatory use of Mandarin as an official tongue has worked for
hundreds of years to reduce Hakka speaking. For the same reason, the 3rd
generation Shanghaiese in Hong Kong
may not speak any Shanghaiese at all and they might even think of
themselves as Cantonese. Many Cantonese speaking people ARE in fact
Hakka in origin. That includes myself. Do NOT call Cantonese
chauvinists. It only deepens the misunderstanding.
<<Nationaility is a modern concept and it seems that most of you have
natural science background, therefore you always discuss on trivial
topics which I considered taken for granted. But if you are still
unclear of these concepts, it is almost impossible for me to carry on
logical discussions. I
recommend some of you to read some basic concepts on anthroppology and
nationality (folk) and identity formation.>>
Nationality is a very ancient concept, not a modern one. It began with
the formation of the first tribal community. That is the basic concept
of anthropology. BTW, Anthropology IS a SCIENCE and we better treat it
that way. Nothing should be taken for granted.
I do agree with you that the Kehu recorded in Tai Ping Huan Yu Ji may
not be referrring to Kejia(Hakka) speaking people ALONE, but it could
also include Hakka people.
The confusion has been on how to define Hakka people. My definition
would include all those who identify themselves as Hakka, whether they
can speak Hakka or not. With this deifnition, the Hakka community can
accomodate all those 3rd, 4th generation Hakka Chinese living overseas.
So that they can be proud to be part of this community. In paraphrase,
Chinese-speaking Jews in Shanghai and Henan have all the rights to call
themselves Jews, even they don't speak a word of Yiddish or Hebrew, or
only have 1/64 blood. On the other hand, for all those Xianbei, Xiongnu
who were integrated with Han, they have also the right to call
themselves Han and Chinese, just like Man Yi Yong Di all called
themselves Han. I am willing to give up the title of a Hakka for the
title of a Chinese any time, as it is more representative and more
The borderline between a Hakka and a nonHakka will become more vague
everyday. I would rather see no distinction at all, except that there
is still this Hakka dialect that makes the difference and worth
preserving for us to understand the ancient literature.
My purpose of having this website is to unite all (Hakka or non Hakka)
with interest in Hakka/Chinese culture, history, language. It is my
last intention to create any conflict among ourselves. I would like to
hear from you your reasons for keeping the Hakka language going and what
we need to do in the new Millennium for Hakka. That would be a more
meaningful topic for discussion.