chapter  8
37 Pages

Cantonese Culture

WithChan Sin-wai

This chapter explores the Cantonese culture through its dialect, mainly through its folk sayings. Cantonese dialect, to begin with, has to be studied from the perspective of the Chinese language. Cantonese culture, as is the case with many other cultures, is best shown in the folk sayings, which reflect to a great extent the life philosophy of the Cantonese people. Cantonese culture is studied through folk sayings from two major perspectives: topics relating to the body and topics unrelated to the body. One of the most important functions of a human brain is thinking, which generates confusion, decisions, determination, imagination, strategies, and actions such as cunningness and madness. Cantonese idioms are usually four-character expressions whose meanings are more than the sum of the parts. The major sources of idioms are allusions, literary quotations, and folk sayings.