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Language Overview: Cantonese is the predominant dialect of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is also the only variety of Chinese other than Standard Mandarin to be used in official contexts. Because of their use by non-Mandarin-speaking Yue speakers overseas, the Cantonese and Taishanese dialects are some of the primary forms of Chinese that Westerners come into contact with.
Regions Spoken: Cantonese is a variety of the Chinese language spoken in and around the city of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) in Southern China, by the majority population of Hong Kong and Macau, and as a lingua franca of Guangdong province, eastern Guangxi province, and some neighbouring areas. It is spoken by overseas Chinese communities in Canada, the United States and Australia, as well as throughout Europe and Southeast Asia, being the most widely spoken dialect and a lingua franca in many of these communities.
Dialects: Cantonese is the predominant dialect of Chinese spoken in Hong Kong.
Brief History: For the last 150 years, Guangdong Province has been the place of origin of most Chinese emigrants to western countries; one coastal county, Taishan, alone may have been the home to more than 60% of Chinese immigrants to the US before 1965. As a result, Yue dialects such as Siyi and Cantonese (with a heavy Hong Kong influence) have been the major Yue dialects spoken abroad, particularly in the United States.
Cantonese is spoken by approximately 65 million people in the southern China provinces, Hong Kong and Macau as well as other South East Asian countries like Singapore and in the other large Chinese communities around the world.
Cantonese is one of the five major languages in China and is the principal language in Chinese communities abroad owing to the fact that most Chinese immigrants came from Hong Kong.
Cantonese is the language predominantly used for business around Southeast Asia. It is a Chinese language that is quite different from Mandarin, the language spoken by most Chinese, especially in the north.