Teachers worldwide work to save Cantonese as China promotes Mandarin

Home » Teachers worldwide work to save Cantonese as China promotes Mandarin
Teachers worldwide work to save Cantonese as China promotes Mandarin


Three decades ago, finding opportunities to learn Cantonese in San Francisco wasn’t hard. But today in the city that’s drawn Cantonese speakers from South China for over 150 years, there’s fear that political and social upheaval are diminishing a language that is a cultural touchstone.

The Chinese government’s push for wider use of Mandarin – already the national language, spoken by 1 billion people – along with the country’s changing migration patterns have contributed to an undeniable shift away from Cantonese. It’s a change that has reverberated from East to West.

From the United States to the United Kingdom and beyond, there’s worry among native and second-generation Cantonese speakers about preserving the language, spoken by some 85 million people worldwide. They fear their children can’t communicate with elderly relatives. Or worse, the Cantonese language and culture won’t survive another generation.

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