Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shenyang Mandarin

Shenyang Mandarin is a variant of Northeastern Mandarin used by people in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province and the largest city in Northeast China. It is very close to the official dialect but has some very distinctive words that the official language doesn't have. In the main, the Shenyang Dialect is very similar to the other Northeastern Dialects. Some people prefer to think of it as a strong accent rather than a different dialect. Because of its similarity to Standard Mandarin, pinyin can be used to represent the pronunciation.

However as schools in Shenyang teach Standard Mandarin, usage of the local language is dwindling. Many now see it as a sign of bad education and something to look down upon.

The most distinctive part of the Shenyang Dialect is the different pitch of the first tone. It is lower in pitch than Standard Mandarin and would be positioned at 2, rather than 5, on this chart. As a result it can sound a little like the third tone.

Like Beijing Dialect, the Shenyang Dialect also uses a lot of erhua .

Some of the words in Shenyang Dialect come from other languages like Manchurian. One example is the word 旮旯兒 , meaning corner.

Examples of words in the Northeastern Dialect :

Quzhou dialect

Quzhou Dialect is a dialect of the cluster of the Sinitic linguistic family, spoken in Quzhou.

As part of the southern branch of Wu, Quzhouhua is mutually unintelligible with those of the northern Wu branch such as Suzhouhua and . But it is not particularly close to other southern Wu dialects like Wenzhouhua and Manjiang.

Qingdao dialect

Qingdao dialect is the local dialect of the city of Qingdao, in China's Shandong Province.

Often characterized as requiring a "fat tongue", the Qingdao dialect often adds a "th" sound to 's "sh", "x", and "s". It also obliterates many Mandarin tones.

The basic, though not at all universal rule for converting Putonghua to the Qingdao dialect in the pinyin system is that a Mandarin 1 tone will become a Qingdao 3, 2 becomes a 4, 3 becomes 1 and 4 remains four. Qingdao dialect's 1 tone also has a drawl to it.

There are other, somewhat random phonetic changes from Mandarin to the Qingdao dialect. It is probably most helpful for foreigners to know these:

*"gá ?la" , the excellent local spicy clam dish, known in Mandarin as "gé ?li"

*"hā pì jiū" , drink beer

*"bài dào ?dao" , meaning "no need to say more", but better understood to mean "shut up". Literally translated as "don't blather on".

Nearly all Qingdao natives can understand Mandarin, but they will often respond in the Qingdao dialect without realizing they are doing so. The Qingdao dialect is not necessarily standardized throughout Qingdao. Different neighbourhoods, from Zhanshan to Xinjiazhuang to Maidao, will have their own variations.

Northeastern Mandarin

Northeastern Mandarin or Northeast China Dialect is a variety of , known as ''Dongbeihua'' , literally "Northeast Speech/Language," or ''Dongbeiguanhua'' in Mandarin. Northeastern Mandarin is very similar to the Beijing dialect, upon which Standard Mandarin Chinese is based.

Geographical spread

The dialect is spoken by people in the Northeastern part of Mainland China; areas like Liaoning , Jilin, and Heilongjiang provinces. With over 100 million people living in the Northeastern part of China, the Northeastern Mandarin-speaking population is quite large. Like other Mandarin dialects, differences between Northeastern Mandarin and other forms arise from the wide geographical distribution and cultural diversity of northern China.


Northeastern Mandarin can be subdivided into regional sub-dialects named for major cities where there might be slight differences.

*Changchun dialect
*Harbin dialect
*Qiqihar dialect
*Shenyang dialect

Linguistic information

Usually, speakers of Northeastern Mandarin describe the variant that they are speaking as distinct from Standard Mandarin. However, linguists classify Northeastern Mandarin as a form of Mandarin Chinese in a broader sense. While the difference between Northeastern Mandarin and Beijing dialect are not so significant phonologically, Northeastern Mandarin contains many colloquialisms not found in Standard Mandarin.

Cultural and regional identity

Although not considered a language in academic circles, Mandarin variants like Northeastern Mandarin often contribute to a strong regional identity. Chinese speakers can usually recognize a Northeasterner by his or her accent .

Origins of the dialect

Northeastern Mandarin evolved from Han immigrants mainly from Shandong and Hebei provinces who settled Manchuria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but it also retains elements from native Tungusic languages, and and there are enough differences to give the dialect its own distinctive characteristics.

Luoyang dialect

The Luoyang Dialect is a dialect of Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in Luoyang and nearby parts of . Although it served as the prestige dialect of Chinese from the Warring States Period into the Ming Dynasty, it differs greatly from modern Standard Mandarin, which is based instead on the Beijing dialect.





*The Middle Chinese entering tone has a different distribution in the Luoyang Dialect than in Standard Mandarin.
*Tone contours are different from those in Standard Mandarin.
*The retroflex and alveolar fricatives are found in different distributions: retroflex fricatives are often fronted to alveolar fricatives.
*The distinction between and , lost in Standard Mandarin, is maintained.
*The retroflex series is less retroflexed than in Standard Mandarin and slightly more forward.
*The alveolo-palatal series is slightly more backward than in Standard Mandarin.
*Final and in Standard Mandarin are often reared to . For example, 学 is , and 角 is .
*Final in Standard Mandarin is pronounced as or in certain environments.
*Standard Mandarin final nasalizes the preceding vowel in the Luoyang Dialect.
*The -儿 suffix represents .

Kunming dialect

The Kunming dialect of is spoken by the inhabitants of Kunming and the surrounding areas of Yunnan province in Southwest China. The dialect is basically similar to Standard Mandarin, the major differences being the unique pronunciation of certain sounds and the development of unique phrases and terms. As with all dialects of Chinese, speakers of the Kunming dialect read standard Chinese characters, though the pronunciation of words can, in some cases, be markedly different. For example the Chinese word 什么 is pronounced ''nǎn-yàng'' in vernacular Kunming dialect. In some cases entirely unique phrases are used, which may or may not have equivalent written characters. To say "I don't know" in Standard Mandarin is 不知道 but in Kunming dialect is the completely different phrase ''rèn bù dé''. Another example would be ''hai-zi'' meaning shoes in the Kunming dialect, whereas in Standard Mandarin ''hai-zi'' means child and ''xie zi'' is the phrase for shoes.

Jilu Mandarin

Jilu Mandarin is a spoken in the provinces of Hebei and Shandong. Despite these areas being quite near Beijing, Jilu sounds quite different from Beijing dialect, which is the basis for Standard Mandarin, the standard Chinese spoken language.

Regional variations

*Baoding dialect 保定話
*Jinan dialect 濟南話
*Shijiazhuang dialect 石家莊話
*Tianjin dialect 天津話

Jiaoliao Mandarin

Jiaoliao Mandarin is a dialect of Mandarin Chinese spoken on the , from Qingdao to Yantai, and Peninsulas, from Dalian to Dandong, in northeast China.

Harbin dialect

The Harbin dialect refers to the variety of Mandarin Chinese spoken in and around the city of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province.


Harbin dialect is phonologically close to the Standard Mandarin language, but the dialect itself carries with it strong cultural and regional connotations. Notably, the speakers of Harbin dialect, or more generally Northeastern Mandarin, will be perceived, stereotypically, to be courageous, boisterous, more prone to physical confrontations, and being truthful about one's feelings.


The vocabulary of Harbin Dialect is different from Standard Mandarin for two reasons. One of the sources of the distinct lexical features of the Harbin dialect is the area's colonial Russian influence. The Russian colonial period started in the 1900s, which marked the start of the influx of large amounts of Russian vocabulary, especially neologisms created in Europe and Russia that had never existed in Mandarin. The second source of lexical difference, which is common to all Northeastern Mandarin dialects, is the influence of the area's Manchurian heritage and ancestry. For exact details about the distinctive traits of Northeastern Mandarin please refer to Northeastern Mandarin.

Guanzhong dialect

Guanzhong dialect, or ''Guanzhong hua'' 关中话, is a dialect of Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in Shaanxi Guanzhong, including the city of Xi'an. Since people from Xi'an are considered the prototypical Guanzhong speakers, Guanzhong dialect is sometimes referred to as ''Shaanxi hua'' 陕西话 or ''Xi'an hua'' 西安话. However, the dialects spoken in northern and southern Shaanxi differ substantially from Guanzhong dialect.

Guanzhong is being assimilated by Standard Mandarin, but still retains much grammar and pronunciation of Classical Chinese.


Danzhouhua 儋州話 / 儋州话 is an unclassified in the area of Danzhou on the island of Hainan.

Dalian dialect

Dalian dialect is the dialect of spoken on the Liaodong Peninsula, including the city of Dalian and parts of Dandong and Yingkou. Dalian dialect shares many similarities with the dialect spoken on Shandong Peninsula across Strait; hence the name Jiao Liao Mandarin . Dalian dialect is notable among Chinese dialects for loanwords from and , reflecting its history of foreign occupation .

Weihai dialect

Weihai dialect is a dialect of spoken in and around the city of Weihai, in eastern Shandong province.

Sze Yup

Sze Yup, Sze Yap, Seiyap or Si Yi are the four counties of Xinhui, Taishan, Kaiping and Enping in the Pearl River Delta, in southern Guangdong Province, China. Today these are four of the five county-level cities of the administered from the city of Jiangmen .

The area gave rise to the of Cantonese. Although Sze Yup and Standard Cantonese are both dialects of , they are mutually unintelligible. Therefore Sze Yup emigrants have kept their identity, even among other Cantonese emigrants.

In the 19th century, many people from Sze Yup emigrated to Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Australasia, North America and South America. The Punti-Hakka Clan Wars also erupted in these counties during this time.

Zhongyuan Mandarin

Zhongyuan Mandarin is a dialect of Mandarin Chinese spoken in the central part of Shaanxi, Henan, and southern part of Shandong.

Zhongyuan Mandarin is considered the origin of Standard Mandarin, as the , China's dominant ethnic group, have lived in this area since the Zhou Dynasty.


*Henan dialect

Xiang Chinese

Xiāng , also known as Hunan, Hunanese , or Hsiang is a spoken mainly in the Hunan province, but also in a few other provinces such as Sichuan and Guangxi. It is a group of languages of immense interest to Chinese and because some of its languages still exhibit the three-way distinction of Middle Chinese obstruents, preserving the s, s and s as in the modern . However, it is surrounded by in the north, west and south, thus exhibits heavy Mandarin influences. New Xiang, which has lost the voiced obstruents, is to a certain extent intelligible to speakers of Southwestern Mandarin.

One of the most well-known native speakers of the Xiang language was Mao Zedong, a native of Xiangtan, who was not fluent in Mandarin.


Xiāng is one of the families, which in turn forms part of the larger Sino-Tibetan language family. Despite being a distinct language family, the Xiang languages at large are close to the Wu languages because of the voiced obstruents and to Mandarin because of the grammatical and lexical influence it has on the Xiang languages, notably the new Xiang languages, which is reminiscent of a similar linguistic situation of the Hangzhou dialect.

Geographic distribution

Xiang is spoken by over 36 million people in China, primarily in the central and southwestern parts of the Hunan province, over 20 counties in Sichuan, the 4 counties of Quánzhōu , Guànyáng , Zīyuán and Xīngān in northern Guangxi and parts of Guangdong. Apart from being surrounded by Mandarin speaking areas in the north, west and south, Xiang also borders Gan in the eastern part of Hunan and Jiangxi. Geographically, Xiang is also in contact with the and languages in the northwest.


As mentioned above, linguists distinguish two sub-families within the Xiang family, namely the Old and New Xiang languages. Old Xiang, aside from having preserved the Middle Chinese obstruents, is also spoken in the southern regions and New Xiang in the north, therefore more heavily influenced by than the Old Xiang languages.

According to Bao & Chen , three main dialect groups have been identified, amongst other unclassified dialects:

* Chángyì sub-group including 32 cities and counties
** , , Xiāngtán city , Xiāngtán , Zhūzhōu city , Zhūzhōu , Píngjiāng , Liúyáng , Níngxiāng , Wàngchéng , Xiāngyīn , Yìyáng city , Yìyáng , Táojiāng , Yuánjiāng , Mìluó , Yuèyáng city , Yuèyáng , Nánxiàn , ?nxiāng , ?nhuà , Héngyáng , Héngyángyáng , Héngnán , Héngdōng , Héngshān , Shàodōng , Xīnshào , Qiányáng , Hóngjiāng city , Huìtóng , Suíníng

* Lóushào sub-group including 21 cities and counties
**Hunan province: Lóudǐ city , Xiāngxiāng , Shuāngfēng , Liányuán , Lěngshuǐjiāng city , Xīnhuà , ?nhuà , Shàoyáng city , Shàoyáng , Dòngkǒu , Lōnghuí , Wǔgāng , Qídōng , Qíyáng , Chéngbù , Xīnníng and Máyáng .
**Guangxi province : Quánzhōu , Guànyáng , Zīyuán and Xīng'ān

* Jíxù subgroup including 8 cities and counties
**Jíshǒu , Bǎojìng , Huāyuán , Gǔzhàng , Lúqī , Chénxī, Xùpǔ , Yuánlíng

Wuxi dialect

Wuxi dialect is a dialect of Wu, one of the subdivisions of Chinese spoken language. It is spoken in the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu province of China.

It has many similarities with the Shanghainese and Suzhou dialect, being comprehensible between the speakers. It is not at all mutually intelligible with Mandarin, China's official language.


Wutun, or Wutunhua , is a -- mixed language spoken by about 2,000 people of a branch of the nationality in the eastern part of the Qinghai province in the west of China.