Hakka is a variety of Chinese spoken in south eastern China, parts
of Taiwan and in the New Territories of Hong Kong. There are also significant
communities of Hakka speakers in such countries as the USA, French Guiana,
Mauritius and the UK. The total number of Hakka speakers is roughly 40 million.
The name of the language, 客家话 [客家話] -
(hak7ga1wa3 or kèjiāhuà
in Mandarin) means 'guest language'.
The Hakka people have a long history of migration. Hakka history states that
their ancestors originated from Shāndōng (山东)
or Shānxī (山西) provinces in northern China.
They began their first wave of migration between the 4th and 9th centuries,
traveling from Hénán (河南) and the adjoining northern
provinces into Ānhuī (安徽) and its vicinity.
A second wave of migration took place between the 9th and 12th centuries,
when the Hakka migrated along the mountains and foothills of eastern
Jiāngxī (江西) into south Jiāngxī and inland
A final wave of migration took place between the 12th and 17th centuries,
as Hakka moved into northeast Guăngdōng (广东) province.
The Cantonese of Guăngdōng saw the Hakka as poor,
uneducated and uncultured. The Hakka considered the Cantonese
greedy, unrefined southerners.