Tong-Tai Mandarin

Last updated
Tong-Tai Dialect
Region Jiangsu
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Tong–Tai (Chinese: 通泰), also known as Tai–Ru (Chinese: 泰如) is a group of Lower Yangtze Mandarin dialects spoken in the east-central part of Jiangsu province in the prefecture-level cities of Nantong (formerly Tongzhou) and Taizhou. The alternative name refers to the county-level city of Rugao within Nantong. This region includes the areas which are to the north of Yangtze River and to the east of Grand Canal. There are about 11.37 million speakers there (in 2004) and this region occupies about 15,000 square kilometers.

Lower Yangtze Mandarin Dialect of Mandarin

Lower Yangtze Mandarin is one of the most divergent and least mutually-intelligible groups of Mandarin dialects, as it neighbours the Wu, Hui, and Gan groups of varieties of Chinese. It is also known as Jiang–Huai Mandarin, named after the Yangtze (Jiang) and Huai Rivers. Lower Yangtze dialects are distinguished from most other Mandarin varieties by their retention of a final glottal stop in words that ended in a stop consonant in Middle Chinese.

Jiangsu Province of China

Jiangsu is an eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, technology, and tourism, with its capital in Nanjing. Jiangsu is the third smallest, but the fifth most populous and the most densely populated of the 23 provinces of the People's Republic of China. Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita of Chinese provinces and second-highest GDP of Chinese provinces, after Guangdong. Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through the southern part of the province.

Nantong Prefecture-level city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Nantong is a prefecture-level city in Jiangsu province, China. Located on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, near the river mouth. Nantong is a vital river port bordering Yancheng to the north, Taizhou to the west, Suzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai to the south across the river, and the East China Sea to the east. Its current population is 7,282,835 at the 2010 census, 1,994,708 of whom live in the built-up area made up of three urban districts.


This region can also be divided further into 3 districts: the west, the middle and the east. [1] The west part includes Taizhou, Jiangyan, west of Hai'an, west of Dongtai, Dafeng, Xinghua, east of Jiangdu. The middle part includes Rugao, Rudong, Taixing, east of Dongtai, east of Hai'an and southwest of Jingjiang. The east part includes downtown of Nantong and southwest of Tongzhou. These vernaculars are distinguished by the difference in consonants.

Dongtai County-level city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Dongtai is a coastal county-level city under the administration of Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China. It has a population of roughly 1,170,000 estimated for 2007. Out of the total population, about 260,000 live in the Dongtai urban core, others are distributed in the 23 suburban towns and rural regions. With some Yellow Sea coast, it borders the prefecture-level cities of Nantong to the south and Taizhou to the west, and is the southernmost county-level division of Yancheng.

Xinghua, Jiangsu County-level city in Jiangsu, China

Xinghua is a county-level city under the administration of Taizhou, Jiangsu province, China. It is located in the central part of Jiangsu Province. It borders the prefecture-level cities of Yancheng to the north and east and Yangzhou to the west.

Rugao County-level city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Rugao is a county-level city under the administration of Nantong, Jiangsu province, China, located in the Yangtze River Delta on the northern (left) bank of the river.

However these districts used to be the region of the Wu culture, so there are many features of Wu Chinese in these vernaculars, especially the vernacular in the middle part, known as middle Tong-Tai Dialect. It is closely bounded on the Changzhou part in the Wu region.

Wu (region)

Wu refers to a region in China whose core area is around Lake Tai in Jiangnan. The Wu region was historically part of the ancient Yang Province in southeastern China. The name "Wu" came from the names of several historical kingdoms based in that area.

Wu Chinese primary branch of Chinese spoken in eastern China

Wu is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages spoken primarily in Shanghai, Zhejiang province, the southern half of Jiangsu province and bordering areas.


The Nantong variety will be taken as representative.

Consonants of Nantong [2]
  Labial Alveolar Alveolo-
Velar Glottal
Nasal m   ŋ  
Plosive aspirated     
unaspirated p t, n   k ʔ 
Affricate aspirated  tsʰ tɕʰ   
unaspirated  ts   
Fricative f, v s ɕ ʑ ʃ x 
Lateral approximant w (labiovelar approximant) l j    


r-colored ɜ: ɜ˞

tongue position for [ø] is slightly higher than the standard [ø], but lower than [y]

[ɛ] is slightly lower than the standard [ɛ], sounds close to [æ]

[ʌ] is higher than the standard [ʌ],close to [ɜ]


Dark level 阴平21 Light level 阳平35

(Light)Rising 上声(阳上)55

Light departing 阳去213 Dark departing 阴去42

Light entering 阳入55ʔ Dark entering 阴入42ʔ


Rugao dialect

The Rugaohua dialect of Jianghuai does not follow the T3 sandhi rule which most other Mandarin dialects follow. Linguists speculate that changes to pitch countours over time also removed the original motivation for T3 sandhi in the Beijing dialect underlying modern Standard Mandarin (putonghua), but the sandhi was retained. [3]

When Chinese people were subjected to listening to various dialects such as Northern Mandarin (Yantai dialect), Standard Mandarin (Putonghua), and Jianghuai Mandarin (Rugao dialect of Jiangsu), "cross dialectal" differences appeared in their reactions. [4]

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Middle Tong-Tai Dialect, a branch of the Tong-Tai Dialect is mainly used in the districts including Rugao, Rudong, Taixing, east of Dongtai, east of Hai'an and southwest of Jinhai. Although it is divided into the category of Jianghuai Mandarin, interchange barrier still exists between it and other dialects of Jianghuai Mandarin like Yangzhou Dialect. The reason could be that these areas are closely bonded on the Wu region in history. For example, there are lots of marked bottom preservation of Wu Chinese in vernaculars of Rudong. So it can seem as a dialect based on Wu, but reformed by Jianghuai Mandarin later. Or as an interim zone between Wu and Jianghuai.

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  1. 泰州方音史与通泰方言史研究 [A] 鲁国尧 - 日本) アヅアアフリ力语计数研究, 1988 年 30 期
  3. Huang, Tsan (2001). "The Interplay of Perception and Phonology in Tone 3 Sandhi in Chinese Putonghua" (PDF). In Johnson, Keith; Hume, Elizabeth V. (eds.). Studies on the Interplay of Speech Perception and Phonology. Working papers in linguistics. 55. Ohio State University, Department of Linguistics. pp. 23–42. But it is not the case that all current Mandarin dialects preserve this sandhi rule. For example, it is no longer in my dialect, Rugaohua, a Jianghuai Mandarin dialect. page 26.
  4. University Microfilms, University Microfilms International (2005). Dissertation abstracts international: The humanities and social sciences. University Microfilms International. Retrieved 23 September 2011. Cross-dialectal as well as age differences were observed among Chinese listeners in Experiments BJ , RG and YT using natural speech stimuli from Putonghua, Rugao (a Jianghuai Mandarin dialect, Jiangsu Province) and Yantai (a Northern

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