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B.C.’s Cantonese speakers fight to preserve language amid uncertainty in Hong Kong

Posted on: September 14, 2023

By Vancouver Sun |

You wouldn’t know that Cantonese is under threat, judging from the food court of the Parker Place shopping mall in Richmond, the most ethnically Chinese city in the world outside Asia.

All around, tables of diners young and old meet to “chui sui” — literally, to “blow water,” or gossip — in the language that originated in southern China and Hong Kong.

Charles Chan, who immigrated to B.C. from Hong Kong 40 years ago, said he raised his children to speak Cantonese at home.

“You better let your children learn Cantonese to help them be more competitive in the job market,” said Chan as he waited for his wife to buy dumplings. He said he was confident about the language’s future.

But some Metro Vancouver Cantonese speakers say its fate is uncertain in its homeland, and overseas communities play a vital role in its preservation.

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