台山话 / 台山話
Native toChina, overseas communities particularly in United States and Canada
Regionwestern and southern Guangdong, the Pearl River Delta; historic Chinese communities in California and New York City, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver
Native speakers
3+ million[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-6tisa
Traditional Chinese台山話
Simplified Chinese台山话

Taishanese, or in the Cantonese romanization Toishanese (simplified Chinese: 台山话; traditional Chinese: 台山話; Taishanese: [hɔi˨san˧wa˧˨˥]), is a dialect of Yue Chinese. The dialect is related to and is often referred to as Cantonese but has little mutual intelligibility with the latter. Taishanese is spoken in the southern part of Guangdong Province in China, particularly around the city-level county of Taishan located on the western fringe of the Pearl River Delta. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, a significant amount of Chinese emigration to North America originated from this four-counties area called Sze Yup, making Toishanese a dominant variety of the Chinese language spoken in Chinatowns in Canada and the United States. It was formerly the lingua franca of the overseas Chinese residing in the United States.[2]


The earliest linguistic studies refer to the dialect of Llin-nen or Xinning (simplified Chinese: 新宁; traditional Chinese: 新寧).[3] Xinning was renamed Taishan in 1914, and linguistic literature has since generally referred to the local dialect as the Taishan dialect, a term based on the pinyin romanization of Standard Mandarin Chinese pronunciation.[4][5][6][7][8][9] Alternative names have also been used. The term Toishan is a convention used by the United States Postal Service,[10] the Defense Language Institute[11] and the 2000 United States Census.[12] The terms Toishan, Toisan, and Toisaan are all based on Cantonese pronunciation and are also frequently found in linguistic and non-linguistic literature.[13][14][15][16] Hoisan is a term based on the local pronunciation, although it is generally not used in published literature.[17]

These terms have also been anglicized with the suffix -ese: Taishanese, Toishanese, and Toisanese. Of the previous three terms, Taishanese is most commonly used in academic literature, to about the same extent as the term Taishan dialect.[18][19] The term Hoisanese is rarely used in print literature, although it appears on the internet.[20][21]

Another term used is Sìyì (Sze Yup or Seiyap in Cantonese romanization; Chinese: 四邑; literally: "four counties"). Sìyì or Sze Yup refers to a previous administrative division in the Pearl River Delta consisting of the four counties of Taishan, Kaiping, Enping and Xinhui. In 1983, a fifth county (Heshan) was added to the Jiangmen prefecture; so whereas the term Sìyì has become an anachronism, the older term Sze Yup remains in current use in overseas Chinese communities where it is their ancestral home. The term Wuyi (Chinese: 五邑), literally "five counties", refers to the modern administrative region, but this term is not used to refer to Taishanese.

Other Languages
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Taishan
Nederlands: Taishanhua
吴语: 台山话
粵語: 台山話
中文: 台山話