Siyi Yue

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Seiyap, Sze Yup
Native to The Sze Yup region of Guangdong province, People's Republic of China; Sze Yup Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and the Americas.
Region Sze Yup
Native speakers
3.9 million (2010)[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-6 siiy
Glottolog siyi1236[1]
Yue Dialects.png
Siyi is the yellow area on the coast.
Siyi Yue
Chinese 四邑方言
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese 四邑話

Siyi (Seiyap/Sze Yup; Chinese: 四邑方言; pinyin: Sìyì fāngyán; Jyutping: sei3 jap1 fong1 jin4) is a coastal branch of Yue Chinese spoken mainly in Guangdong province, but is also used in overseas Chinese communities. Within the province, it is mainly spoken in the region administered by the prefecture-level city of Jiangmen, but pockets exist outside of Jiangmen, including the Doumen and Jinwan districts in Zhuhai, Guzhen in Zhongshan and Jun'an in Foshan. Taishanese, which was one of the most important Chinese dialects in Chinese American communities, can be considered to be a representative dialect.


The name "Seiyap" (Chinese: 四邑; pinyin: Sìyì; Cantonese Yale: sei yāp; literally: "Four Counties") refers to the historical four counties of Jiangmen prefecture: Xinhui, Taishan, Enping and Kaiping.

Since a fifth county, Heshan, was added to the prefecture in 1983, this region is referred to as the "Five Counties" (Chinese: 五邑; pinyin: Wǔyì; Cantonese Yale: nǵh yāp) in the province; but for historical reasons, the term "Seiyap" is still used amongst the overseas Chinese communities.

It has also been called Delta Cantonese.[2]

Geographic distribution

The Siyi dialect is mainly distributed along the catchment area of the Tan river (潭江), as well as part of the region west of the main stream of the Xi river, near to the confluence of the two rivers. Most of the region in which Siyi is spoken is administered by the prefecture-level city of Jiangmen, including the Jiangmen city districts of Jianghai, Pengjiang and Xinhui, as well as the county-level cities of Taishan, Kaiping, Enping and the southeastern part of Heshan, but the dialect is also spoken in parts of Zhuhai, the town of Guzhen in Zhongshan and the town of Jun'an in Foshan. In terms of geographic extremes, Siyi is spoken furthest north in Yayao (雅瑶), Heshan; furthest south in Xiachuan (下川), Taishan; furthest east in Hongqi (红旗), Zhuhai; and furthest west in Naji (那吉), Enping. The total geographic area of the region is approximately 9000 square kilometers and the total number of speakers is estimated at about 3.9 million in 2010.


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Siyi". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Luk, Bernard H. K. "The Chinese Communities of Toronto: Their Languages and Mass Media." In: The Chinese in Ontario. Polyphony: The Bulletin of the Multicultural History Society of Ontario. Volume 15, 2000. Start p. 46. CITED: p. 47 (Archive).