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I am sorry that my information of last posting wasw too
condensed to cause confusions. But you can also read my postings in the last
four years to clarify my views. besides, here are some short notes to help you
understand my poinmts.
Z: (1) Most Southern Chinese are mixbloods of
southbound immigrants and local
> folks from the "Central plain" who came
to the south in waves. Therefore at
> least the first three of the "five
migrations" are not unique to Hakka.
C: My thinking that we were really a mix of different people
matches yours. It's possible that my views were formed after reading all the
theories, including yours, and subconsciously decided that this explanation is
Z: (2) Different dialects formed in the South which
identified themselves with
> the county's/region's name only. Although the
Jiaying dialect could have a
> history of more than five hundred years, it
bore no name of "Hakka".
C: If the Jiaying dialect was not called Hakka, what was it
called ? You stated that other dialects "identified themselves with the
county's/region's name." Why not Jiaying, if Jiaying existed then as a
No. We usually did not identify ourtself with the province if
we do not go out of it, but with the county, say Moiyan means "Moi (plum)
county". Cantonese was called Baakwaa, or Gwongzauwaa (GUangzhou dialect), etc.
Jiaying belonged to Chowzhou in the Song Dynasty and was named as Chengxiang,
which developed into a prefecture in the Qing Dynasty called Jiayingzhou
(parallel to Guangzhou, Huizhou, Shaozhou, Chaozhou, etc. A prefecture has about
10 counties and they began to have a lingua franca (usually the tongue of the
prefecture capital) around 1600. Thus Meixian dialect became the standard tongue
of the prefecture before the massive emmigration of the people from the
prefecture. Prior to the immigration the people called their tongue either
Tanghua (Chinese) or Chengxianghua, but not HAKKA.
Interestingly also, Guangdong was established first in Song
dynasty but did not include the Leizhou area and the Hainan island at that
time. The whole Province was demolished and annexed into Jiangxi in
Yuan Dynasty, but resumed in Ming Dynasty to include even Leizhou, Hainan and
Southern Guangxi (Qinlian area). This persisted until 1959 when the part called
Qinlian was given to Guangxi, and in 1988 Hainan became a province. It was
only after 1970 when Cantonese was named "Guangdonghua" by Hong Kong people
because they believe that it is the tongue spoken by the whole provinvce.
However, this wrong concept was spread over to every corner of the world and
threatens the survial of other languages in the province.
Z: (3) The name Hakka as a group of people did not
appear until the 18th
> century, when farmers from Jiaying were invited by
the Qing Regime to
> cultivate the land near the estauries fo Pearl River
Delta. The Cantonese
> speakers call them Hakka (Guset families), and at
first they were
> coexisting peacefully.
C: This is confusing to me. Why would Jiaying people suddenly
now be called Hakka? Is it because the Cantonese did not
know that the newcomers came from Jiaying? Is there a map of the approximate
area where Jiaying was located and how big was the area?
Exactly. Just like the Turks arriving Germany in the 60's were
called Gastarbeiter (Guest workers). The Cantonese speakers, however, thought
that these new comers are not ethnic Chinese because they are not speaking their
Tanghua. They are not interested to find out what these new comers are and named
them Hakka, which can ambiguiously mean "new immigrants" or "Hak tribe". The
Jiaying speakers in return called the cantonese speaker "Sa lao, sa ma" in many
locations, meaning that they also consider Cantonese to be "She"(Snake)
Jiaying area varied in size from time to time. If we
considered the orignial Jiaying perfecture in the Qing dynasty, it was only a
small area with only six countieswith less than 10000 sq. km. But if we
consider the area to be a continuous area where the Jiaying dialect is spoken,
it can include today's Meizhou, Huizhou, Heyuan, Shaozhou and part of Qingyuan,
which is about 50 000 to 70000 sq km (about 1 1/2 to twice the size of Taiwan).
Z: (4) When more and more people arrived into PRD, the
locals felt threatened
> and the relationship between them worsened. A
Hakka-Punti war broke out
> around 1852 leading to the climax of
> (5) After the war, Hakka became a
name for a group of people who speak the
> Jiaying dialect and their
descendents distinguish themselves from Cantonese
> when they move
C: In (3) you said that the newcomers were already called
Hakka and that was before the Hakka-Punti war, but in (4) and (5) you said that
"After the war, Hakka became a name for a group of people". There seems to be a
No contradiction if Hakka was named by Cantonese first but
they did not accept this as their own name, just like we call Europeans
"Yangguizi", "Gwailou", "Fungmaugui", etc. But after the war, some Hakka
scholars try to explain the term Hakka in favor of a "pure Chinese", and later
spread it to the group and accept it as the name of the group. Most ironically,
those people in Meixian who have never been "guest" in the Cantonese area became
the "purest guest" because of this development.
Z: (6) There were still some misunderstanding between
the Hakka and Cantonese
> speakers in the 20th century, but both became
peaceful. Because of the
> better econmical development of cantonese
speaking regions, Hakka speakers
> are assimilating into them.
Unfortunately, even those Jiaying dialect
> speakers who did not migrated
into the cantonese speaking regions are
> following the suit and leads to
the problem of suicidal decline of Hakka.
C: I don't know what misunderstanding you are talking about.
If it's a question of discrimination, I find that to be true of all groups of
people and even within the same group. We have to work against the
discrimination within and without.
If you read Lupo Xianglin's book you can get the answers. In
early 20th Century, Cantonese still wanted to make use of articals
in books and journals to insult the Hakka, but they were fought back
resulting in the apology of the publishers. later, when Luo "proved" that Hakka
are "pure Chinese from the Central plain", Cantonese was even downgraded to
sub-barbarians. But the price was that Hakka have to give up their claim for
land in the Guangdong Province, which is unfair. Acrtually, both Cantonese and
hakka came around the end of the Song dyanasty about 800years ago. this was
written clearly in my clan-book (cugpu).
C: The fact that "Jiaying dialect speakers" migrate and
assimilate into the Cantonese speaking regions is no fault of the Cantonese.
They have migrated to English, French,and other language speaking regions too
and assimilated. If you say that even those who have not migrated are giving up
their "Jiaying dialect", why is it so? It's not that they don't have their own
region, so what's the excuse?
I agree. It is natural for any new comers to intergrate into a
mainstream society, and I wont blame Hakka giving up thier tongue overseas or in
the PRD. But giving up Hakka in pure hakka towns is now a trend and this is why
I urged to establish a conservation area for our language. Jiaying Province is
one of the most plausible solution, but maybe not the sole one. If we don't do
anyone to stem Cantonese from expanding eastwards, Hakka will not be heard as a
natural language in 200 years. You see Ireland also gave up Irish in the past
centuries and speak English now. It is now too late to mention any remedy for
Irish, but Hakka is still hopeful.
Z:(7) Should Hakka remain as a real group with a
language and culture or
> should it dissolve into an abstract concept for
a "tower of Babel"? Should
> Hakka dialect continue or should we speak
other languages? Although Hakka
> seems to be a united name, we are far
from united to work out a solution
> for our future.
C: I agree that "Hakka should remain as a real group with a
language and culture". But I don't think it's because we don't have a region,
whether it be a town, county or province.
The problem is more than that. We
can put our heads together and identify the true problem(s) for the decline of
the Hakka culture and dialect(s) and then provide the solution(s).
Yes, I agree in part. Ireland had even a country, but Irish is
still lost. Basque has no country, but the language is still there. It depends
on a lot of factors, one of them is the consciousness of the speakers. If a
speaker of a language is willing to give up his tongue, then a language dies
easily. Unfortunately, it is also the case of many Hakka people in China and
abroad. Jiaying province is only one choice, but without any conservation area,
the chance of survival of a "weak" language like Hakka is bleak in view of the
darwinistic competetion among languages even the government wants to help (as in
the case of Irish). There are a lot of things to do including the establishment
of TV and Radio stations and other supports. If we do nothing, then Hakka
does not have a chance.
Many friends opposed my idea of a province but they did not
give other suggestions to replace this idea. If it is not a politically neutral
"province", we may get more problems. Therefore I avoid an "autonomous
region". "Province" suggests more obedience to the central government but if
there is a better idea, I would like my idea be replaced. If we look back into
Chinese history, the boundaries of Guangdong Province was always dynamic and up
to now there is still no unique identity of a Guangdongren in the