Hakka (language)

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客家 语

Spoken in

China , Indonesia , Malaysia , Singapore , Taiwan , East Timor
speaker about 34 million
Language codes
ISO 639 -1

zh (Chinese languages)

ISO 639 -2 ( B ) chi (Chinese languages) ( T ) zho (Chinese languages)
ISO 639-3

hak, zho (macro language, Chinese languages)

Geographical distribution of the Chinese languages

The Hakka ( Chinese  客家 語  /  客家 语 , Pinyin Kèjiāyǔ , Hakka Hak-kâ-ngî , short: 客 語  /  客 语 , Kèyǔ , coll. Mostly: 客家 話  /  客家 话 , Kèjiāhuà ) is one of the Chinese languages and is in China referred to as a dialect. It is mainly spoken by members of the Hakka . Worldwide there are over thirty million speakers in the PRC , Taiwan and among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia .

Status in Taiwan

Distribution of the Hakka language in Taiwan after the 2010 census

In the Republic of China in Taiwan, the Hakka culture and language has long been marginalized and received little attention. This gradually changed after democratization in the early 1990s. On June 14, 2001, the Hakka Executive Yuan (客家 委員會) Committee was established in Taiwan . The council was tasked with advising the government on Hakka matters and promoting Hakka culture and language. In the following years, institutions for the study of Hakka culture and language were established at several Taiwanese universities, for example at the Central National University (NCU) in Taoyuan , in 2004 at the Chiao Tung National University (NCTU) in Hsinchu and in 2006 at the United National University (NUU) in Miaoli . All three universities were located in areas with a high Hakka population. In 2012 the Hakka Commission was reorganized into the Hakka Affairs Council . According to Council surveys, 4.53 million Hakka lived in the Republic of China in 2016, or about 19.3% of the population. Most of them live in Taoyuan , Hsinchu ( city and county ), Miaoli , Kaohsiung , Pingtung , Hualien and Taitung . In 69 parishes (townships, rural parishes, and boroughs), the Hakka population made up more than a third. Under the Hakka Affairs Act (客家 基本法) of January 27, 2010, Hakka is an official language in these communities. On June 16, 2017, the Taiwanese government under President Tsai Ing-wen (who herself comes from a Hakka family) introduced a bill that would make Hakka an official national language of Taiwan. On December 29, 2017, the Legislative Yuan , Taiwan's Parliament, passed a supplementary law that would make communities with at least a third Hakka population "Hakka Culture Developing Areas" by the Hakka Affairs Council. Communities with more than 50 percent Hakka population should develop Hakka as the preferred language of administration and communication. The knowledge of the Hakka language should be promoted among the civil servants and the government should establish a center for the research and development of the Hakka language. Hakka politicians from various political parties ( DPP , KMT ) welcomed the law.

Hakka people have made important contributions to Taiwan's culture, politics, and society. Since the democratization after 1990, there have been three Hakka presidents - Lee Teng-hui (1988–2001), Ma Ying-jeou (2008–2016) and Tsai Ing-wen (since 2016). The founder of the Chinese Republic, Sun Yat Sen , also had Hakka ancestors.

Taiwan: Hakka speakers in percent in 2010
area percent
Hsinchu County 56.0
Miaoli county 52.4
Taoyuan County 17.1
Pingtung County 12.0
Hsinchu 11.1
Hualien County 10.8
Taitung County 5.4
Matsu Islands 3.9
Taichung 3.5
Taipei 3.5
Nantou county 3.2
Kaohsiung 3.0
New Taipei 2.4
Kinmen 1.7
Yunlin County 1.6
Keelung 0.9
Chiayi County 0.8
Yilan County 0.6
Tainan 0.5
Penghu County 0.5
Chiayi 0.4
Changhua County 0.3

Systematics and linguistics

Similar to Cantonese , Hakka receives the original plosives -p, -t, -k and thus forms a contrast to standard Chinese , which has lost them.


  • Mataro J. Hashimoto: The Hakka Dialect. A linguistic study of Its Phonology, Syntax and Lexicon. University Press, Cambridge 1973, ISBN 0-521-20037-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Reviving the Hakka Way of Life. Taiwan Today, April 1, 2013, accessed December 2, 2017 .
  2. Introduction. Hakka Affairs Council, accessed December 2, 2017 .
  3. ^ Hakka Basic Act. Hakka Affairs Council, January 27, 2010, accessed December 2, 2017 .
  4. Juvina Lai: Hakka new official language of Taiwan. Taiwan News, June 16, 2017, accessed December 2, 2017 .
  5. Cheng Hung-ta, Jake Chung: Hakka made an official language. Taipei Times, December 30, 2017, accessed March 31, 2018 .
  6. Jermyn Chow: Taiwan sowing the seeds of Hakka revival. The Straits Times, August 5, 2017, accessed December 2, 2017 .
  7. 表 106 歲 以上 本 國籍 常住 人口 在家 使用 語言 情形 ("Language used at home by residents over 6 years old"). (PDF) Taiwan Statistics Office, accessed April 29, 2018 (Chinese).