I refer to Clark Li's letter ("Should we preserve Cantonese, or protect children from 'vulgar relic'"? August 5).
He referred to Cantonese as being "a coarse, vulgar relic of China's feudal past".
Many Hong Kong citizens and mainlanders fail to realise that the Putonghua they hold in such high regard was actually a corrupted form of the Chinese language.
It originated from the dialect spoken in northern China, particularly in Beijing, during a time when barbaric tribes in the north, such as the Mongolians and Manchurians, distorted the pronunciation of many Chinese words.
They could not handle the intricate consonants and vowels of Chinese that were preserved mostly in Cantonese and the southern Min languages, which could trace their lineage all the way back to AD700, more than 1,300 years ago, whereas Putonghua is less than 300 years old.
It is evident when you recite poetry from the Tang dynasty that the rhyming of each phrase is perfect in Cantonese, and will be broken if you do it in Putonghua. Cantonese is often referred to as "Tang Hua" (language of the Tang people, meaning Tang dynasty, the apex of Chinese civilisation).
Many expressions in Cantonese could even be dated back to ancient texts like Records of the Grand Historian (around 109 to 91BC). It is a far cry from a "vulgar relic".
I hope people will do more linguistic research before judging the status of a language, in particular Cantonese.