|Region||Zengcheng, Boluo County, Huidong County and Haifeng County in Guangdong|
The She language (Mandarin: 畲語 shēyǔ, Hakka 山客話 san ha ue [sáŋ xáʔ uə̄̀]), autonym Ho Ne (hɔ22 ne53) or Ho Nte, is an endangered Hmong–Mien language spoken by the She people. Most of the over 709,000 She people today speak Hakka Chinese. Those who retain their own language – approximately 1,200 individuals in Guangdong province – call themselves Ho Ne "mountain people" (Chinese: 活聶 huóniè).
She has been difficult to classify due to the heavy influence of Chinese on the language. Matisoff (2001), for example, left it unclassified within the Hmongic (Miao) languages, and some have considered that much to be doubtful, leaving it unclassified (and potentially a third branch) of the Hmong–Mien (Miao–Yao) languages. However, Mao & Li (2002) and Ratliff (2010) consider She to be most closely related to the Jiongnai language.
Relationship with Hakka
The She have strongly influenced, and been strongly influenced by, the Hakka Chinese, both in language and culture.
Relationship with Min Dong
The She people of Eastern Fujian speak a Min Dong–influenced variety of She.
- The first person singular 我 is pronounced as [ŋuai] (compare Fuzhou dialect nguāi).
- The word 囝 (a diminutive particle) is pronounced as [kiaŋ], just as giāng in Fuzhou dialect.
- They both share the same verbs.
Glottal stop is not distinct from zero (a vowel-initial syllable).
There are consonant mutation effects. For instance, pǐ + kiáu becomes pi̋’iáu, and kóu + tȁi becomes kóulȁi.
Vowels are /i e a ɔ ɤ u/. Finals are /j w n ŋ t k/, with /t k/ only in Hakka loans, though /ɤ/ is never followed by a final, and the only stops which follow the front vowels are /n t/.
There are six tones, reduced to two (high and low) in checked syllables (Hakka loans only). There is quite a lot of dialectical variability; two of the reported inventories (not necessarily in corresponding order) are:
[ ˥ ˦ ˧ ˨ ˨˩ ˧˥ ]: that is, /5 4 3 2 1 35/, or (on /a/), /a̋ á ā à ȁ ǎ/
[ ˥˧ ˦˨ ˧ ˨ ˧˩ ˧˥ ]: that is, /53 42 3 2 31 35/
Loanwords from Classical Chinese
Like Southern Chinese dialects, the She language has loanwords from Classical Chinese. 走 to run 行 to walk 烏 black 赤 red 寮 house 禾 rice (plant) 鑊 wok 奉 to give 其 he/she/it 着 to wear 睇 to look 戮 to kill 齧 to bite 使 to use
- She at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "She". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- 毛宗武, 李云兵 / Mao Zongwu, Li Yunbing. 2002. 炯奈语硏究 / Jiongnai yu yan jiu (A Study of Jiongnai). Beijing: 中央民族大学出版社 / Zhong yang min zu da xue chu ban she.
- Ratliff, Martha. 2010. Hmong–Mien language history. Canberra, Australia: Pacific Linguistics.
- Bruhn, Daniel. 2008. Minority Language Policy in China, with Observations on the She Ethnic Group
- Mao, Zongwu & Meng, Chaoji. 1986. She yu jian zhi (A Sketch of the She language). Beijing, China: Nationalities Press. (毛宗武, 蒙朝吉. 1986. 畬語簡志. 北京: 民族出版社)
- Ratliff, Martha. 1998. Ho Ne (She) is Hmongic: One final argument. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 21.2:97-109.
- You, Wenliang. 2002. She zu yu yan [The languages of the She people]. Fuzhou, China: Fujian People's Publishing House. (游文良. 2002. 畲族语言. 福州: 福建人民出版社)