Learn Hakka Chinese

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About Hakka Chinese

Hakka is one of the major dialect groups of Chinese principally spoken by the Hakka people from which it gets its name. Hakka (客家) means ‘guest people’, a name given in the 13th century to the Hakka Chinese, also called the Hakka Han, after their ancestors migrated from north to south east China. Hakka Chinese speakers now live all over the globe and, although they often speak different varieties of Hakka in different regions, these varieties are generally mutually intelligible. uTalk has recorded the Hakka dialect spoken in Meizhou which is widely considered a standard version.

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Fun facts — Chinese (Hakka)

  • The language is believed to be a very old form of Chinese because some ancient Chinese poems rhyme when read in Hakka but don’t when read in Mandarin.
  • There is a Hakka saying, "有陽光的地方就有華人,有華人的地方就有客家人", which means “wherever there is sunshine, there are Chinese; wherever there are Chinese, there are Hakka”.
  • Hakka is a tonal language and is written using Chinese characters.
  • The Hakka regions of China are famous for their ‘tulou’ (土楼), round earthen buildings which were originally built more than 300 years ago to defend against bandits.
  • A Hakka proverb – 入莊問俗,入港隨灣 – says “when you enter a village, you must ask their custom, when you enter a port, you must follow its bay”.
  • Hakka is not generally mutually intelligible with Mandarin, has only a small degree of mutual intelligibility with Cantonese and a much lesser degree of mutual intelligibility with Hokkien.

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