Cantonese people like to watch Cantonese opera. First of all, they should know the characteristics of Cantonese opera, which is performed in Cantonese. The origin of Cantonese Opera lies in Waijiang opera, which is not Guangdong’s own drama. More importantly, Cantonese is not the original language of the primitive aborigines, but the ancient language of the Xia Dynasty in the Yellow River Basin. Today, this language is no longer popular in the Yellow River Basin and has become a lost language. Instead, Guangdong retains this ancient language, and Cantonese has become a living fossil of Chinese.
Chinese is the language of Chinese, but Cantonese is not the language of Cantonese. This may sound a little ridiculous, but it’s true.
Cantonese, commonly known as Cantonese, is called Cantonese in English. It is called vernacular by the local people, and it should be called “Guangdong dialect” after rectification. It is a dialect with more complicated language phenomena, more ancient phonetic features and words, and less internal differences among the seven major Chinese dialects. It is distributed in most parts of Guangdong and Southeast Guangxi, and is represented by Guangzhou dialect.
The birthplace of Cantonese
According to the textual research of Mr. Xing gongfan and others, as early as the Longshan culture period, that is, the Yao and Shun periods, a “Xia Yuhua” movement centered on the Central Plains, expanded around in space and into later generations in time took place in the Yellow River Basin; To the Western Zhou Dynasty, and then formed a “Ya Yan” (see “Sino Tibetan language family research and Chinese Archaeology”) with the dialect of Qin and Jin, the birthplace of Xia language, as the standard pronunciation.
At that time, all tribes and nations formed an alliance to jointly choose leaders and govern the world. After the alliance, commodity exchange, division of labor and cooperation were carried out, and the economic scale was expanded. The living space boundary between tribes was solved, and the problems of jointly resisting natural disasters were solved, such as jointly developing water conservancy, controlling floods, improving living environment on a large scale, rapidly improving productivity, and developing a splendid Xia civilization. In common labor, we need a common language to communicate. The reason why the Yellow River Basin has become the center of civilization has a great relationship with the “Xia Yuhua” movement. It is for this reason that although the major dialects of Chinese today are very different, they can always be found to have some origin with the Yellow River Basin.
As one of the seven major dialects of Chinese, Cantonese is like this. Although it absorbs some factors from ancient Baiyue language, it has a closer origin with ancient Chinese on the whole. Some pronunciation and vocabulary have been lost in Central Plains Chinese today, but they are well preserved in Cantonese. For example, the entering vowel in ancient Chinese no longer exists in today’s Central Plains Chinese, but it is completely preserved in Cantonese.
Named after “Guangdong”, it is not a native product
Some people think that Cantonese comes from the ancient Lingnan “Baiyue” language, which is not true. Cantonese does preserve some elements of the ancient Lingnan “Baiyue” language, but its main source is the ancient Mandarin in the Central Plains – “Yayan”.
Yayan is based on the primitive Chinese language used by the Chinese tribal alliance headed by the Yellow Emperor. In the Zhou Dynasty, it developed into the national common language in the Central Plains. During the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, the dialects of various feudal states were different, and elegant words were used in official exchanges, scholars’ lectures, and sacrificial activities. Confucius once said, “the refined words of Confucius, poetry and calligraphy are all refined words.” The Qin Dynasty conquered the land of “Baiyue” and recruited the fugitives of the former six countries, as well as their redundant sons-in-law and Jia people to Lingnan as “reclamation soldiers”. These soldiers “come from all over the world”, and they must use elegant words to communicate with each other. However, due to the fact that the soldiers of the land reclamation alone, their language was only used in the villages, and did not spread throughout the Lingnan region.
Before the Qin Dynasty, Guangdong was called Nanman. This is the place where Baiyue people live. “Baiyue” is a Chinese transliteration, and it is also written as “Baiyue”, which is the self proclaimed name of the ancient southern aborigines. Baiyue also knows Baiyue, so Cantonese is also called Cantonese.
The word formation method of Baiyue is that the general name comes first and the proper name comes later, which means “Yue (Yue) people”. “Bai” means people. The more it is a clan name, the more people, or Cantonese. Vietnamese nonsense Baiyue is the ancient name of the Vietnamese nationality. The south of the Yangtze River has been the territory of Vietnam since ancient times, which can be said to be ridiculous. Baiyue and Baiyue are both transliteration. It’s the same thing. Baiyue lived in China 3000 years ago. Vietnam is only a small vassal. According to the logic of Baiyue’s inheritance, isn’t Vietnam now also the territory of Guangdong?
From this word, we can see that the communicative language of Cantonese at that time was “Baiyue language”, which was very different from that of Central Plains Chinese. However, it is difficult to verify what the “Baiyue language” looks like. The only “fossils” are non Chinese factors preserved in some place names, such as “six” in “six constructions”, “six greetings”, “six thanks” and “six chants” refers to “mountain rush”, “that” in “Nawu”, “Nahuo” and “Nalu” refers to “field”, “Luo Jing”, “Luo long” and “Luo Sha” refers to “mountain”, etc. It is worth noting that the word formation method of these place names is also the general name first and the proper name second; At the same time, the meaning of the common name is completely unknown to people living there today, that is, the non Chinese factors in these place names are no longer used in today’s local Cantonese, which just proves that today’s Cantonese has no inheritance relationship with ancient Baiyue.
It can be seen that although Cantonese is named after “Yue”, it is not evolved from the language of ancient “Yue people”, not from the “native products” of ancient Guangdong, but from other places, brought by Han immigrants. This Han nationality is the Han nationality of the Qin Dynasty, mainly the old nobles of Jin, Zhao, Yan and Wei and their subordinate soldiers.
Han people moved southward to spread “elegant words”
The first large-scale southward migration of Han people in the Central Plains in history occurred when Qin unified China. In 223 BC, 600000 troops of the state of Qin attacked and destroyed the state of Chu, and stationed them in the five mountains in southern Hunan to prepare for the southern expedition to Baiyue. In 218 BC, the “West Ou state” in the middle of the Xijiang River began to fight against Qin, and the first emperor of Qin sent 500000 troops to conquer. Shi Lu was also sent to dig a Lingqu in Haiyang mountain to connect the Xiang River with the Li River to ensure military transportation. Lingqu became the first main passage for the Han people in the Central Plains to enter Lingnan. In 214 BC, the West Ou state was exterminated, and the war came to an end. Qin “sent all kinds of people to arrest the dead, the redundant son-in-law, and the Jia people to take Luliang land for Guilin, Xiangjun, and Nanhai, so as to be suitable for garrison.” (records of the historian. The chronicle of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty) Xu Guangzhu: “half a million people guard the five mountains.” (Jijie) these 500000 people are the first batch of Han immigrants.
During the Qin Shihuang period, Lingnan counties were sparsely populated. Up to the Eastern Han Dynasty, there were only 90000 people in Nanhai county (Guangdong Pearl River Delta). Therefore, the move of 500000 people is enough to change the situation that Lingnan Vietnamese “dominate the world”. Some scholars questioned that it was impossible to move so many immigrants at once. However, we know that immigration is an important measure to consolidate the political power after the Qin Dynasty destroyed the six countries. It is immigration by stages and in batches. Since the first emperor of Qin could move 120000 wealthy families to Xianyang and Bashu, and a large number of sinners in the mainland to Hetao and Gansu, it is entirely possible to move a large number of Han people in the Central Plains to Lingnan. Although not necessarily as much as 500000, it must be quite a lot. The reason why Qin Shihuang made the great migration was mainly to eradicate the local forces of the six countries, separate the clansmen from their hometown, cross assemble, migrate to the southern barbarian land to guard the border, which was uprooted. He could not form a threat near the capital of Qin, and had his dream of restoring the country, so the rule of Qin Dynasty was much stronger. These immigrants could not have come from the Chu state adjacent to Lingnan, but mostly from the Central Plains or northern countries. Because they moved into Lingnan in batches, after arriving in Lingnan, they missed their hometown and nostalgic accent in the past, and especially tenaciously adhered to the original cultural customs and languages, so they became the earliest disseminators of “elegant words” in Lingnan.