|上海話 / 上海话, Zaonhegho|
上海閒話 / 上海闲话, Zaonhe-ghegho
滬語 / 沪语, Wu nyu
|Pronunciation||[zɑ̃̀hɛ́ ɦɛ̀ɦò] , [ɦùɲỳ]|
|Region||City of Shanghai and surrounding Yangtze River Delta|
|10–14 million (2013)|
| Shanghainese |
|Literal meaning||Shanghai language|
| Shanghainese |
|Literal meaning||Shanghai speech|
| Shanghainese |
|Literal meaning||Hu (Shanghai) language|
Shanghainese, also known as the Shanghai dialect, Hu language or Hu dialect, is a variety of Wu Chinese spoken in the central districts of the City of Shanghai and its surrounding areas. It is classified as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Shanghainese, like other Wu variants, is mutually unintelligible with other varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin.
Shanghainese belongs to the Taihu Wu subgroup and contains vocabulary and expressions from the entire Taihu Wu area of southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang. With nearly 14 million speakers, Shanghainese is also the largest single form of Wu Chinese. It serves as the lingua franca of the entire Yangtze River Delta region.
Shanghainese is rich in vowels [i y ɪ ʏ e ø ɛ ə ɐ a ɑ ɔ ɤ o ʊ u] (twelve of which are phonemic) and in consonants. Like other Taihu Wu dialects, Shanghainese has voiced initials [b d ɡ ɦ z v dʑ ʑ]: neither Cantonese nor Mandarin has voiced initial stops or affricates. The Shanghainese tonal system is also significantly different from other Chinese varieties, sharing more similarities with the Japanese pitch accent, with two level tonal contrasts (high and low), whereas Cantonese and Mandarin are typical of contour tonal languages.
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Shanghai did not become a regional center of commerce until it was opened to foreign investment during the late Qing dynasty. Consequently, languages and dialects spoken around Shanghai had long been subordinate to those spoken around Jiaxing and later Suzhounese. In the late 19th century, most vocabulary of the Shanghai area had been a hybrid between Southern Jiangsu and Ningbonese.Since the 1850s, owing to the growth of Shanghai's economy, Shanghainese has become one of the fastest-developing languages of the Wu Chinese subgroup, undergoing rapid changes and quickly replacing Suzhounese as the prestige dialect of the Yangtze River Delta region. It underwent sustained growth that reached a hiatus in the 1930s during the Republican era, when migrants arrived in Shanghai and immersed themselves in the local tongue.
After 1949, the government imposed Mandarin (Putonghua) as the official language of the whole nation of China. The dominance and influence of Shanghainese began to wane slightly. Since Chinese economic reform began in 1978, especially, Shanghai became home to a great number of migrants from all over the country. Due to the national prominence of Mandarin, learning Shanghainese was no longer necessary for migrants, because those educated after the 1950s could generally communicate in Mandarin. However, Shanghainese remained a vital part of the city's culture and retained its prestige status within the local population. In the 1990s, it was still common for local radio and television broadcasts to be in Shanghainese. In 1995, the TV series Sinful Debt featured extensive Shanghainese dialogue; when it was broadcast outside Shanghai (mainly in adjacent Wu-speaking provinces) Mandarin subtitles were added. The Shanghainese TV series Lao Niang Jiu (Old Uncle) was broadcast from 1995 to 2007and was popular among Shanghainese residents. Shanghainese programming has since slowly declined amid regionalist/localist accusations.
From 1992 onward, Shanghainese use was discouraged in schools, and many children native to Shanghai can no longer speak Shanghainese.In addition, Shanghai's emergence as a cosmopolitan global city consolidated the status of Mandarin as the standard language of business and services, at the expense of the local language.
Since 2005, new movements have emerged to protect Shanghainese from fading away. At municipal legislative discussions in 2005, former Shanghai opera actress Ma Lili moved to "protect" the language, stating that she was one of the few remaining Shanghai opera actresses who still retained authentic classic Shanghainese pronunciation in their performances. Shanghai's former party boss Chen Liangyu, a native Shanghainese himself, reportedly supported her proposal.There have been talks of re-integrating Shanghainese into pre-kindergarten education, because many children are unable to speak any Shanghainese. A citywide program was introduced by the city government's language committee in 2006 to record native speakers of different Shanghainese varieties for archival purposes and, by 2010, many Shanghainese-language programs were running.
The Shanghai government has begun to reverse its course and seek fluent speakers of authentic Shanghainese, but only two out of thirteen recruitment stations have found Traditional Shanghainese speakers; the rest of the 14 million people of Shanghai speak modern Shanghainese,[ clarification needed ] and it has been predicted that local variants will be wiped out. Professor Qian Nairong is working on efforts to save the language. In response to criticism, Qian reminds people that Shanghainese was once fashionable, saying, "the popularization of Mandarin doesn't equal the ban of dialects. It doesn't make Mandarin a more civilized language either. Promoting dialects is not a narrow-minded localism, as it has been labeled by some netizens". The singer and composer Eheart Chen sings many of his songs in Shanghainese instead of Mandarin to preserve the language.
Since 2006, the Modern Baby Kindergarten in Shanghai has prohibited all of its students from speaking anything but Shanghainese on Fridays to preserve the language amongst younger speakers.In 2011, Professor Qian said that the sole remaining speakers of real Shanghainese are a group of Shanghainese peoples over the age of 60 and native citizens who have little outside contact, and he strongly urges that Shanghainese be taught in the regular school system from kindergarten all the way to elementary, saying it is the only way to save Shanghainese, and that attempts to introduce it in university courses and operas are not enough.
Fourteen native Shanghainese speakers had audio recordings made of their Shanghainese on May 31, 2011. They were selected based on accent purity, way of pronunciation and other factors.
By a certain date a new television program airing in Shanghainese was created.
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Shanghainese is part of the larger Wu Chinese of Chinese languages. It is not mutually intelligible with any dialects of Mandarin Chinese, or Cantonese, Southern Min (such as Hokkien-Taiwanese), and any other Chinese languages outside Wu. Modern Shanghainese, however, has been heavily influenced by standard Chinese. That makes the Shanghainese spoken by young people in the city different, sometimes significantly, from that spoken by the older population. Also, the practice of inserting Mandarin or both into Shanghainese conversations is very common, at least for young people.[ citation needed ] Like most subdivisions of Chinese, it is easier for a local speaker to understand Mandarin than it is for a Mandarin speaker to understand the local language.
Shanghainese is somewhat similar to the speech of neighboring cities of Changshu, Jiaxing and Suzhou, categorized into Su-Hu-Jia dialect subgroup (苏沪嘉小片) of Wu Chinese by linguists. People mingling between those areas do not need to code-switch to Mandarin when they speak to each other. However, there are noticeable tonal and phonological changes, which do not impede intelligibility. As the dialect continuum of Wu continues to further distances, however, significant changes occur in phonology and lexicon to the point that it is no longer possible to converse intelligibly. Most Shanghainese speakers find that by Wuxi, differences become significant and that the Wuxi dialect would take weeks to months for a Shanghainese-speaker to learn fully. Similarly, Hangzhou dialect is understood by most Shanghainese-speakers, but it is considered "rougher" and does not have as much glide and flow in comparison. The language evolved in and around Taizhou, Zhejiang, where it becomes difficult for a Shanghainese speaker to comprehend. Wenzhounese, spoken in the southernmost part of Zhejiang province, is considered part of the Wu group but mutually unintelligible with Shanghainese.
Following conventions of Chinese syllable structure, Shanghainese syllables can be divided into initials and finals. The initial occupies the first part of the syllable. The final occupies the second part of the syllable and can be divided further into an optional medial and an obligatory rime (sometimes spelled rhyme). Tone is also a feature of the syllable in Shanghainese. 6–16 Syllabic tone, which is typical to the other Sinitic languages, has largely become verbal tone in Shanghainese.[ citation needed ]:
Shanghainese has a set of tenuis, voiceless aspirated and voiced plosives and affricates, as well as a set of voiceless and voiced fricatives. Alveolo-palatal initials are also present in Shanghainese.
Voiced stops are phonetically voiceless with slack voice phonation in stressed, word initial position.This phonation (often referred to as murmur) also occurs in zero onset syllables, syllables beginning with fricatives, and syllables beginning with sonorants. These consonants are true voiced in intervocalic position.
The table below lists the vowel nuclei of Shanghainese
The following chart lists all possible finals (medial + nucleus + coda) in Shanghainese represented in IPA. 11:
|o||o[ contradictory ]|
The transcriptions used above are broad and the following points are of note when pertaining to actual pronunciation:
The Middle Chinese [-ŋ] rimes are retained, while [-n] and [-m] are either retained or have disappeared in Shanghainese. Middle Chinese [-p -t -k] rimes have become glottal stops, [-ʔ].
Shanghainese has five phonetically distinguishable tones for single syllables said in isolation. These tones are illustrated below in Chao tone names. In terms of Middle Chinese tone designations, the yin tone category has three tones (yinshang and yinqu tones have merged into one tone), while the yang category has two tones (the yangping, yangshang, and yangqu have merged into one tone). 17:
|Ping (平)||Shang (上)||Qu (去)||Ru (入)|
|Yin (阴)||52 (T1)||34 (T2)||44ʔ (T4)|
|Yang (阳)||14 (T3)||24ʔ (T5)|
The conditioning factors which led to the yin–yang split still exist in Shanghainese, as they do in other Wu dialects: yang tones are only found with voiced initials [b d ɡ z v dʑ ʑ m n ɲ ŋ l ɦ], while the yin tones are only found with voiceless initials.[ citation needed ]
The ru tones are abrupt, and describe those rimes which end in a glottal stop /ʔ/. That is, both the yin–yang distinction and the ru tones are allophonic (dependent on syllabic structure). Shanghainese has only a two-way phonemic tone contrast, falling vs rising, and then only in open syllables with voiceless initials.
Tone sandhi is a process whereby adjacent tones undergo dramatic alteration in connected speech. Similar to other Northern Wu dialects, Shanghainese is characterized by two forms of tone sandhi: a word tone sandhi and a phrasal tone sandhi.
Word tone sandhi in Shanghainese can be described as left-prominent and is characterized by a dominance of the first syllable over the contour of the entire tone domain. As a result, the underlying tones of syllables other than the leftmost syllable, have no effect on the tone contour of the domain. The pattern is generally described as tone spreading (T1-4) or tone shifting (T5, except for 4- and 5-syllable compounds, which can undergo spreading or shifting). The table below illustrates possible tone combinations.
|Tone||One syllable||Two syllables||Three syllables||Four syllables||Five syllables|
|T1||52||55 22||55 44 22||55 44 33 22||55 44 33 33 22|
|T2||34||33 44||33 44 22||33 44 33 22||33 44 33 33 22|
|T3||14||11 44||11 44 11||11 44 33 11||11 44 33 22 11|
|T4||44||33 44||33 44 22||33 44 33 22||33 44 33 22 22|
|T5||24||11 24||11 11 24||11 22 22 24|
22 44 33 11
|11 11 11 11 24|
22 44 33 22 11
As an example, in isolation, the two syllables of the word for China are pronounced with T1 and T4: /tsʊŋ˥˨/ and /kwəʔ˦/. However, when pronounced in combination, T1 from /tsʊŋ/ spreads over the compound resulting in the following pattern /tsʊŋ˥kwəʔ˨/. Similarly, the syllables in a common expression for foolish have the following underlying phonemic and tonal representations: /zəʔ˨˦/ (T5), /sɛ˥˨/ (T1), and /ti˧˦/ (T2). However, the syllables in combination exhibit the T5 shifting pattern where the first-syllable T5 shifts to the last syllable in the domain: /zəʔ˩sɛ˩ti˨˦/. :38–46
Phrasal tone sandhi in Shanghainese can be described as right-prominent and is characterized by a right syllable retaining its underlying tone and a left syllable receiving a mid-level tone based on the underlying tone's register. The table below indicates possible left syllable tones in right-prominent compounds. 46–47:
|Tone||Underlying Tone||Neutralized Tone|
For instance, when combined, /ma˩˦/ ("buy") and /tɕjɤ˧˦/ ("wine") become /ma˧tɕjɤ˧˦/ ("buy wine").
Sometimes meaning can change based on whether left-prominent or right-prominent sandhi is used. For example, /tsʰɔ˧˦/ ("fry") and /mi˩˦/ ("noodle") when pronounced /tsʰɔ˧mi˦/ (i.e., with left-prominent sandhi) means "fried noodles". When pronounced /tsʰɔ˦mi˩˦/ (i.e., with right-prominent sandhi), it means "to fry noodles". :35
Note: Chinese characters for Shanghainese are not standardized and are provided for reference only. IPA transcription is for the Middle Period of modern Shanghainese (中派上海话), pronunciation of those between 20 and 60 years old.
|Translation||IPA[ missing tone ]||Chinese character Transliteration|
|Shanghainese (language)||[zɑ̃̀hɛ́ ɦɛ̀ɦò]||上海闲话 or 上海言话（上海閒話 or 上海言話）|
|we or I||[ɐʔ.la]||阿（拉）|
|he/she||[ɦi]||渠（佢, 伊, 其）|
|you (plural)||[na]||倷 (modern Mandarin-based approximation: 㑚)|
|thank you||[ʑja.ja.nʊŋ] or [ʑja.ʑja.nʊŋ]||谢谢侬（謝謝儂）|
|but, however||[dɛ.z̩], [dɛ.z̩.ni]||但是, 但是呢|
|that one||[ɛ.tsa], [i.tsa]||埃只, 伊只（埃隻, 伊隻）|
|there||[ɛ.ta], [i.ta]||埃𡍲, 伊𡍲|
|over there||[ɛ.mi.ta], [i.mi.ta]||埃面𡍲, 伊面𡍲|
|to exist, here, present||[lɐʔ.hɛ]||徕許, 勒許|
|what time is it?||[ɦi.zɛ tɕi.ti tsʊŋ]||现在几点钟？（現在幾點鐘?）|
|where||[ɦa.li.ta], [sa.di.fɑ̃]||何里𡍲（何裏𡍲）, 啥地方|
|who||[sa.ɲɪɲ] or [ɦa.li.ɦwe]||啥人, 何里位|
|how||[na.nən], [na.nən.ka]||哪能 （哪恁）, 哪能介 （哪恁介）|
|no||[m̩], [vəʔ.z̩], [m̩.məʔ], [vjɔ]||呒, 勿是, 呒没, 覅（嘸, 勿是, 嘸沒, 覅）|
|telephone number||[di.ɦo ɦɔ.dɤ]||电话号头（電話號頭）|
|Come to our house and play.||[tɔ ɐʔ.la ʊʔ.li.ɕjɑ̃ lɛ bəʔ.ɕjɐ̃]||到阿拉屋里向来孛相（白相）！（到阿拉屋裏向來孛相!）|
|Where's the restroom?||[da.sɤ.kɛ ləʔ.ləʔ ɦa.li.ta]||汏手间勒勒何里𡍲?（汏手間勒勒何裏𡍲?）|
|Have you eaten dinner?||[ɦja.vɛ tɕʰɪʔ.ku.ləʔ va]||夜饭吃过了𠲎?（夜飯喫過了𠲎?）|
|I don't know||[ŋu vəʔ.ɕjɔ.təʔ]||我勿晓得.（我勿曉得.）|
|Do you speak English?||[nʊŋ ɪɲ.vən kɑ̃.təʔ.lɛ va]||侬英文讲得来𠲎?（儂英文講得來𠲎?）|
|I adore you||[ŋu ɛ.mu nʊŋ]||我爱慕侬.（我愛慕儂!）|
|I like you a lot||[ŋu lɔ hwø.ɕi nʊŋ əʔ]||我老欢喜侬个！（我老歡喜儂个）|
|How are you?||[nʊŋ hɔ va]||侬好𠲎？（儂好𠲎？）|
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Like all Sinitic languages, Shanghainese is an isolating languagethat lacks marking for tense, person, case, number or gender. Similarly, there is no distinction for tense or person in verbs, with word order and particles generally expressing these grammatical characteristics. There are, however, three important derivational processes in Shanghainese.
Although formal inflection is very rare in all varieties of Chinese, there does exist in Shanghainese a morpho-phonological tone sandhithat Zhu (2006) identifies as a form of inflection since it forms new words out of pre-existing phrases. This type of inflection is a distinguishing characteristic of all Northern Wu dialects.
Affixation, generally (but not always) taking the form of suffixes, occurs rather frequently in Shanghainese, enough so that this feature contrasts even with other Wu varieties,although the line between suffix and particle is somewhat nebulous. Most affixation applies to adjectives. In the example below, the suffix -deusir changes an adjective into a noun.
Words can be reduplicated in order to express various differences in meaning. Nouns, for example, can be reduplicated to express collective or diminutive forms;adjectives so as to intensify or emphasize the associated description; and verbs in order to soften the degree of action. Below is an example of noun reduplication resulting in semantic alteration.
Word compounding is also very common in Shanghainese, a fact observed as far back as Edkins (1868),and is the most productive method of creating new words. Many recent borrowings in Shanghainese originating from European languages are di- or polysyllabic.
Shanghainese adheres generally to SVO word order.The placement of objects in Wu dialects is somewhat variable, with Southern Wu varieties positioning the direct object before the indirect object, and Northern varieties (especially in the speech of younger people) favoring the indirect object before the direct object. Owing to Mandarin influence, Shanghainese usually follows the latter model.
Older speakers of Shanghainese tend to place adverbs after the verb, but younger people, again under heavy influence from Mandarin, favor pre-verbal placement of adverbs.
The third person singular pronoun xii (he/she/it) or the derived phrase xii ka (“he says”) can appear at the end of a sentence. This construction, which appears to be unique to Shanghainese,is commonly employed to project the speaker’s differing expectation relative to the content of the phrase.
Except for the limited derivational processes described above, Shanghainese nouns are isolating. There is no inflection for case or number, nor is there any overt gender marking.Although Shanghainese does lack overt grammatical number, the plural marker -la, when suffixed to a human denoting noun, can indicate a collective meaning.
There are no articles in Shanghainese,and thus, no marking for definiteness or indefiniteness of nouns. Certain determiners (a demonstrative pronoun or numeral classifier, for instance) can imply definite or indefinite qualities, as can word order. A noun absent any sort of determiner in the subject position is definite, whereas it is indefinite in the object position.
Shanghainese boasts numerous classifiers (also sometimes known as “counters” or “measure words”). Most classifiers in Shanghainese are used with nouns, although a small number are used with verbs.Some classifiers are based on standard measurements or containers. Classifiers can be paired with a preceding determiner (often a numeral) to form a compound that further specifies the meaning of the noun it modifies.
Classifiers can be reduplicated to mean “all” or “every,” as in:
Shanghainese verbs are analytic and as such do not undergo any sort of conjugation to express tense or person.However, the language does have a richly developed aspect system, expressed using various particles.
Some disagreement exists as to how many formal aspect categories exist in Shanghainese,and a variety of different particles can express the same aspect, with individual usage often reflecting generational divisions. Some linguists identify as few as four or six, and others up to twelve specific aspects. Zhu (2006) identifies six relatively uncontroversial aspects in Shanghainese.
Progressive aspect expresses a continuous action. It is indicated by the particles laq, laqlaq or laqhae, which occur pre-verbally.
The resultative aspect expresses the result of an action which was begun before a specifically referenced timeframe, and is also indicated by laq, laqlaq or laqhae, except that these occur post-verbally.
Perfective aspect can be marked by leq, tsir, hao or lae. Notably, tsir is regarded as an old-fashioned usage.
Zhu (2006) identifies a future aspect, indicated by the particle iao.
Qian (1997) identifies a separate immediate future aspect, marked post-verbally by khua.
Experiential aspect expresses the completion of an action before a specifically referenced timeframe, marked post-verbally by the particle ku.
The durative aspect is marked post-verbally by xochii, and expresses a continuous action.
In some cases, it is possible to combine two aspect markers into a larger verb phrase.
There is no overt marking for mood in Shanghainese, and Zhu (2006) goes so far as to suggest that the concept of grammatical mood does not exist in the language.There are, however, several modal auxiliaries (many of which have multiple variants) that collectively express concepts of desire, conditionality, potentiality and ability.
|“can”||nen / nenkeu / hao|
|“be able”||ue / ueteq|
|“willing to”||zjinngjioe / ngjioe’ii|
|“want to”||sjiang / hao|
Shen (2016) argues for the existence of a type of passive voice in Shanghainese, governed by the particle be. This construction is superficially similar to by-phrases in English, and only transitive verbs can occur in this form of passive.
Personal pronouns in Shanghainese do not distinguish gender or case.Owing to its isolating grammatical structure, Shanghainese is not a pro-drop language.
There is some degree of flexibility concerning pronoun usage in Shanghainese. Older varieties of Shanghainese featured a different 1st person singular, ngunjii or njii,and newer varieties feature a variant of the 2nd person plural as aqlaq. While Zhu (2006) asserts that there is no inclusive 1st person plural pronoun, Hashimoto (1971) disagrees, identifying aqlaq as being inclusive. There are generational and geographical distinctions in the usage of plural pronoun forms, as well as differences of pronunciation in the 1st person singular.
Reflexive pronouns are formed by the addition of the particle zirka,as in:
Possessive pronouns are formed via the pronominal suffix -xeq.
Most native Shanghainese adjectives are monosyllabic.Like other parts of speech in this isolating Wu dialect, adjectives do not change to indicate number, gender or case. Adjectives can take semantic prefixes, which themselves can be reduplicated or repositioned as suffixes according to a complex system of derivation, in order to express degree of comparison or other changes in meaning. Thus:
The particle va is used to transform ordinary declarative statements into yes/no questions. This is the most common way of forming questions in Shanghainese.
Nouns and verbs can be negated by the particle mmeq, whereas in most cases only nouns can be negated by veqziror just veq.
Chinese characters are used to write Shanghainese. Romanization of Shanghainese was first developed by Protestant English and American Christian missionaries in the 19th century, including Joseph Edkins.Usage of this romanization system was mainly confined to translated Bibles for use by native Shanghainese, or English-Shanghainese dictionaries, some of which also contained characters, for foreign missionaries to learn Shanghainese. A system of phonetic symbols similar to Chinese characters called "New Phonetic Character" were also developed by in the 19th century by American missionary Tarleton Perry Crawford.
Shanghainese is sometimes written informally using homophones: "lemon" (níngméng), written 檸檬 in Standard Chinese, may be written 人 門 (person-door; rénmén in standard pinyin) in Shanghainese; and "yellow" (黄; huáng) may be written 王 (meaning king; and wáng in standard pinyin) rather than the standard character 黃 for yellow. These are not homophones in Mandarin, but are homophones in Shanghainese. There are also some homophones in Mandarin which are not homophonic in Shanghainese, e.g. 做, 作 and 坐, all zuò in Standard Mandarin.
Protestant missionaries in the 1800s created the Shanghainese Phonetic Symbols to write Shanghainese phonetically. The symbols are a syllabary similar to the Japanese Kana system. The system has not been used and is only seen in a few historical books.
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Jin is a group of Chinese dialects or languages spoken by roughly 63 million people in northern China. Its geographical distribution covers most of Shanxi province except for the lower Fen River valley, much of central Inner Mongolia and adjoining areas in Hebei, Henan, and Shaanxi provinces. The status of Jin is disputed among linguists; some prefer to classify it as a dialect of Mandarin, but others set it apart as a closely related, but separate sister-language to Mandarin.
The Beijing dialect, also known as Pekingese, is the prestige dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China. It is the phonological basis of Standard Chinese, the official language in the People's Republic of China and Republic of China and one of the official languages in Singapore. Despite the similarity to Standard Chinese, it is characterized by some "iconic" differences, including the addition of a final rhotic -r / 儿 to some words. Between the Yuan and Qing, the Ming dynasty also introduced southern dialectal influences into the dialect.
Teochew is a dialect of Chaoshan Min, a Southern Min language, that is spoken by the Teochew people in the Chaoshan region of eastern Guangdong and by their diaspora around the world. It is sometimes referred to as Chiuchow, its Cantonese rendering, due to the English romanisation by colonial officials and explorers. It is closely related to some dialects of Hokkien, as it shares some cognates and phonology with Hokkien, although the two are not largely mutually intelligible.
General Chinese is a diaphonemic orthography invented by Yuen Ren Chao to represent the pronunciations of all major varieties of Chinese simultaneously. It is "the most complete genuine Chinese diasystem yet published". It can also be used for the Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese pronunciations of Chinese characters, and challenges the claim that Chinese characters are required for interdialectal communication in written Chinese.
The Fuzhou dialect, also Foochow, Hokchew or Hok-chiu, is the prestige variety of the Eastern Min branch of Min Chinese spoken mainly in the Mindong region of Eastern Fujian Province. Like many other varieties of Chinese, the Fuzhou dialect is dominated by monosyllabic morphemes that carry lexical tones, and has a mainly analytic syntax. While the Eastern Min branch it belongs to is relatively closer to Southern Min or Hokkien than to other Sinitic branches such as Mandarin, Wu Chinese or Hakka, they are still not mutually intelligible.
Wenzhounese, also known as Oujiang, Tong Au or Auish, is the language spoken in Wenzhou, the southern prefecture of Zhejiang, China. Nicknamed the "Devil's Language" for its complexity and difficulty, it is the most divergent division of Wu Chinese, with little to no mutual intelligibility with other Wu dialects or any other variety of Chinese. It features noticeable elements in common with Min Chinese, which is spoken to the south in Fujian. Oujiang is sometimes used as the broader term, and Wenzhou for Wenzhounese proper in a narrow sense.
Romanization of Chinese is the use of the Latin alphabet to write Chinese. Chinese uses a logographic script and its characters do not represent phonemes directly. There have been many systems using Roman characters to represent Chinese throughout history. Linguist Daniel Kane recalls, "It used to be said that sinologists had to be like musicians, who might compose in one key and readily transcribe into other keys." The dominant international standard for Putonghua since about 1982 has been Hanyu Pinyin. Other well-known systems include Wade–Giles (Mandarin) and Yale Romanization.
Hokkien or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min language originating from the Minnan region in the south-eastern part of Fujian Province in Southeastern China and spoken widely there. It is also spoken widely in Taiwan, where it is usually known as Taiwanese or Holo, and by the Chinese diaspora in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia and by other overseas Chinese all over the world.
Changzhou dialect, sometimes called Changzhounese, is a dialect of Wu, a Sino-Tibetan language family, and belongs to the Taihu dialect group. It is spoken in the city of Changzhou and surrounding areas in Jiangsu province of China. It has many similarities with the Shanghainese and Suzhou dialect. It is not at all mutually intelligible with Mandarin, China's official language. It is much more closely related to the neighboring Wuxi dialect with which it is mostly mutually intelligible.
This article summarizes the phonology of Standard Chinese.
Non-Mandarin speakers take their own shortcuts, such as 王 (Shanghai) wang "king" for 黃 wang "yellow" (pronounced Huáng in Mandarin) or 人門 (Shanghai) ningmeng (lit.) "person" and "door" for 檸檬 ningmeng "lemon," not to mention hundreds of unique forms and usages devised popularly that have no application to Mandarin at all. There is nothing new about this phenomenon. For at least two millennia, there have been two orthographies in China: the one formally sanctioned by lexicographers and the state, and a popular tradition used informally by people in their everyday lives.()
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