Hakka is a language group of varieties of Chinese, spoken natively by the Hakka people throughout Southern China and Taiwan and throughout the diaspora areas of East Asia, Southeast Asia and in overseas Chinese communities around the world.
|Hak-kâ-va / Hak-kâ-fa|
|Native to||China, Taiwan|
|Region||Mainland China: Northeastern Guangdong, adjoining regions of Fujian, Jiangxi, Southern Hunan and the midwest of Sichuan|
Hong Kong: New Territories (older generations since younger Hakkas mostly speak Cantonese due to language shift and social assimilation)
|47.8 million (2007)|
|romanization, Latin (Pha̍k-fa-sṳ)|
Official language in
Taiwan (a statutory language for public transportation; government sponsor of Hakka-language television station)
|Hakka||hag5 ga1 fa4|
or hag5 ga1 va4
Due to its primary usage in scattered isolated regions where communication is limited to the local area, Hakka has developed numerous varieties or dialects, spoken in different provinces, such as Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Fujian, Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi and Guizhou, as well as in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Hakka is not mutually intelligible with Yue, Wu, Southern Min, Mandarin or other branches of Chinese, and itself contains a few mutually unintelligible varieties. It is most closely related to Gan and is sometimes classified as a variety of Gan, with a few northern Hakka varieties even being partially mutually intelligible with southern Gan. There is also a possibility that the similarities are just a result of shared areal features.
Taiwan (where Hakka is the native language of a significant minority of the island's residents) is a center for the study and preservation of the language. Pronunciation differences exist between the Taiwanese Hakka dialects and Mainland China's Hakka dialects; even in Taiwan, two major local varieties of Hakka exist.
The Meixian dialect (Moiyen) of northeast Guangdong in China has been taken as the "standard" dialect by the People's Republic of China. The Guangdong Provincial Education Department created an official romanization of Moiyen in 1960, one of four languages receiving this status in Guangdong.