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Decline of Hakka in Southern China Shows Bigger Problems Ahead

At Damon Huang’s family home in Shakou, a small town in southern China, it’s not uncommon to hear three varieties of Chinese spoken throughout the day.  There’s Hakka, the language of his ancestors; Cantonese, the dominant regional dialect of Guangdong Province; and Mandarin, the national variety that most foreigners recognize as “Chinese.” Each dialect serves a unique purpose in Huang’s life, spoken either at home, in school, or at work “I will use Mandarin in some formal...

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