Cantonese, or Standard Cantonese, is a language that originated in the vicinity of Canton (i.e. Guangzhou) in southern China, and is often regarded as the prestige dialect of Yue Chinese.
In mainland China, it is a lingua franca in Canton Province and some neighbouring areas, such as the eastern part of Guangxi Province. Outside mainland China, it is spoken by the majority population of Hong Kong and Macau in everyday life. It is also spoken by overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, the United States, Canada, Peru, Cuba, Panama, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as part of Europe, and is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect in many of these communities.
While the term "Cantonese" refers narrowly to the prestige dialect described in this article, it is often used in a broader sense for the entire Yue branch of Chinese, including related dialects such as Taishanese.
The Cantonese language is also viewed as part of the cultural identity for the native speakers across large swathes of southern China, Hong Kong and Macau. Although Cantonese shares much vocabulary with Mandarin Chinese, the two languages are not mutually intelligible largely because of pronunciation and grammatical differences. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of the verb, sometimes differs between the two languages. The use of vocabulary in Cantonese also tends to have more historic roots.