Fuzhou dialect

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Fuzhou dialect
福州話; Hók-ciŭ-uâ / 平話; Bàng-uâ
Native to People's Republic of China (Fuzhou and its surrounding counties); Republic of China (Matsu Islands); Malaysia (Sibu, Miri, Sarikei, Bintulu, Yong Peng, Sitiawan and Ayer Tawar); Indonesia;Thailand (Chandi Town, Nabon, Lamae and Mab Ammarit); Singapore; and some Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and the West, particularly in the Chinatowns of New York City.
Ethnicity Fuzhounese (Han Chinese)
Native speakers
< 10 million  (date missing)[citation needed]
Chinese characters and Foochow Romanized
Official status
Official language in
none; one of the statutory languages for public transport announcements in the Matsu Islands, Republic of China [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog fuzh1239[1]
{{{mapalt}}}
Foochowese in Fujian Province, regions where the standard form is spoken are deep blue.
1: Fuzhou City Proper, 2: Minhou, 3: Fuqing, 4: Lianjiang, 5: Pingnan
6: Luoyuan, 7: Gutian, 8: Minqing, 9: Changle, 10: Yongtai, 11: Pingtan
12: Regions in Fuding, 13: Regions in Xiapu, 14: Regions in Ningde
15: Regions in Nanping, 16: Regions in Youxi
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
Fuzhou dialect
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese

Fuzhou dialect (福州話, Foochow Romanized: About this sound Hók-ciŭ-uâ ), also known as Foochow dialect, Hoochew, Fuzhounese, or Fuzhouhua, is considered the standard dialect of Min Dong, which is a branch of Min Chinese mainly spoken in the eastern part of Fujian Province. Native speakers also call it Bàng-uâ (平話), meaning the language spoken in everyday life. In Singapore and Malaysia, the language is known as Hokchiu in Min Nan, Hujiu which is the Min Dong pronunciation of Fuzhou.

Like any other Han Chinese dialects e.g. Cantonese, Hokkien, TeoChew, Hakka, Hainanese etc., spoken widely in China and overseas' Chinese globally, the Fuzhou dialect is basically spoken based on the Chinese characters i.e. word by word and had evolved for over thousands of years. In fact, the Fuzhou dialect is much similar to the 'Min-Nan' dialect which in other word, is the Hokkien dialect. It is no wonder that the Fuzhou city is in fact just located next to the city of Xiamen, which consists of the Hokkien speaking community in the Fujian Province. Centered in Fuzhou City, the Fuzhou dialect covers eleven cities and counties: Fuzhou (福州), Pingnan (屏南), Gutian (古田), Luoyuan (羅源), Minqing (閩清), Lianjiang (連江, Matsu included), Minhou (閩侯), Changle (長樂), Yongtai (永泰), Fuqing (福清) and Pingtan (平潭). Fuzhou dialect is also the second local language in northern and middle Fujian cities and counties, like Nanping (南平), Shaowu (邵武), Shunchang (順昌), Sanming (三明) and Youxi (尤溪).

Fuzhou dialect is also widely spoken in some regions abroad, especially in Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. The city of Sibu in Malaysia is called "New Fuzhou" due to the influx of immigrants there in the late 19th century and early 1900s. Similarly, quite a significantly number of Foochow people had emigrated to Singapore, Taiwan, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada over the decades.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The authoritative Foochow rime book Qī Lín Bāyīn

After the Qin Dynasty conquered the Minyue (Chinese: 閩越) people of southeast China in 110 BC, Han Chinese people began settling what is now the Fujian Province. The aboriginal Minyue people - a branch of Baiyue (Chinese: 百越; literally: "The Hundred Yue") people who inhabited most of southern China - were gradually assimilated into Chinese culture.[2] The Old Chinese language brought by the mass influx of Han immigrants from Northern area, along with the influences of local languages, became the early prototypes in which Fuzhou dialect and other Min Chinese languages emerged from.[3]

The famous book Qī Lín Bāyīn (戚林八音, Foochow Romanized: Chék Lìng Báik-ĭng), which was compiled in the 17th century, is the first and the most full-scale rime book that provides a systematic guide to character reading for people speaking or learning the Fuzhou dialect. It once served to standardize the language and is still widely quoted as an authoritative reference book in modern academic research in Min Chinese phonology.

Studies by Western missionaries[edit]

Dictionary of the Foochow dialect, 3rd Edition, published in 1929

In 1842, Fuzhou was open to Westerners as a treaty port after the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing. But due to the language barrier, however, the first Christian missionary base in this city did not take place without difficulties. In order to convert Fuzhou people, those missionaries found it very necessary to make a careful study of the Fuzhou dialect. Their most notable works are listed below:[4]

Studies by Japanese scholars[edit]

Japanese-Chinese Translation: Fuzhou Dialect, published in Taipei, 1940. Foochow kana is used to represent Fooochow pronunciation.

During the Second World War, some Japanese scholars became passionate about studying Fuzhou dialect, believing that it could be beneficial to the rule of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. One of their most famous works was the Japanese-Chinese Translation: Fuzhou Dialect (日華對譯: 福州語) published in 1940 in Taipei, in which katakana was used to represent Fuzhou pronunciation.

Status quo[edit]

Pupils in Gulou Experimental Elementary School (鼓樓實驗小學) in Fuzhou are learning the Foochow nursery rhyme Cĭng-cēu-giāng (真鳥囝)

By the end of the Qing Dynasty, Fuzhou society had been largely monolingual. But for decades the Chinese government has discouraged the use of the colloquial in school education and in media, so the number of Mandarin speakers has been greatly boosted. Recent reports indicate that less than 50% of young people in Fuzhou are able to speak the language.[5]

In Mainland China, the Fuzhou dialect has been officially listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage[6] and promotion work is being systematically carried out to preserve its use. In Matsu, currently controlled by the Republic of China located in Taiwan, the teaching of Fuzhou dialect has been successfully introduced into elementary schools.

Phonology[edit]

This section is about Standard Fuzhou dialect only. See Regional variations for a discussion of other dialects.

Like all Chinese languages, the Fuzhou dialect is a tonal language, and has extensive sandhi rules in the initials, rimes, and tones. These complicated rules make Fuzhou dialect one of the most difficult Chinese languages.[7]

Tones[edit]

There are seven original tones in Fuzhou dialect, compared with the eight tones of Middle Chinese:

Name Tone contour Description Example
Dark-level (Ĭng-bìng 陰平) ˥ high level
Rising tone (Siōng-siăng 上聲) ˧ middle level
Dark-departing (Ĭng-ké̤ṳ 陰去) ˨˩˧ low falling and rising
Dark-entering (Ĭng-ĭk 陰入) ˨˦ middle rising stopped
Light-level (Iòng-bìng 陽平) ˥˧ high falling
Light-departing (Iòng-ké̤ṳ 陽去) ˨˦˨ middle rising and falling
Light-entering (Iòng-ĭk 陽入) ˥ high level stopped

The sample characters are taken from the Qī Lín Bāyīn.

In Qī Lín Bāyīn, the Fuzhou dialect is described as having eight tones, which explains how the book got its title (Bāyīn means "eight tones"). That name, however, is somewhat misleading, because Ĭng-siōng (陰上) and Iòng-siōng (陽上) are identical in tone contour; therefore, only seven tones exist.

Ĭng-ĭk and Iòng-ĭk (or so-called entering tone) characters end with either velar stop [k] or a glottal stop [ʔ]. However, they are both now realized as a glottal stop, though the two phonemes maintain distinct sandhi behavior in connected speech.

Besides those seven tones listed above, two new tonal values, "˨˩" (Buáng-ĭng-ké̤ṳ, 半陰去) and ˧˥ (Buáng-iòng-ké̤ṳ, 半陽去) occur in connected speech (see Tonal sandhi below).

Tonal sandhi[edit]

The rules of tonal sandhi (連讀變調) in Fuzhou dialect are complicated, even compared with those of other Chinese dialects. When two or more than two characters combine into a word, the tonal value of the last character remains stable but those of its preceding characters change in most cases (regressive assimilation). For example, "", "" and "" are characters of Iòng-ĭk (陽入) with the same tonal value ˥, and are pronounced [tuʔ˥], [liʔ˥], and [niʔ˥], respectively. When combined together as the phrase "獨立日" (Independence Day), "" changes its tonal value to ˨˩, and "" changes its to ˧, therefore the pronunciation as a whole is [tuʔ˨˩ liʔ˧ niʔ˥].

The two-character tonal sandhi rules are shown in the table below (the rows give the first character's original citation tone, while the columns give the citation tone of the second character):

Ĭng-bìng (陰平 ˥)

Iòng-bìng (陽平 ˥˧)
Iòng-ĭk (陽入 ˥)

Shǎngshēng (上聲 ˧)

Ĭng-ké̤ṳ (陰去 ˨˩˧)
Iòng-ké̤ṳ (陽去 ˨˦˨)
Ĭng-ĭk (陰入 ˨˦)

Ĭng-bìng (陰平 ˥)
Ĭng-ké̤ṳ (陰去 ˨˩˧)
Iòng-ké̤ṳ (陽去 ˨˦˨)
Ĭng-ĭk-ék (陰入乙 ˨˦)

˥
˥
˥˧
˥˧

Iòng-bìng (陽平 ˥˧)
Iòng-ĭk (陽入 ˥)

˥
˧
˧
˨˩

Siōng-siăng (上聲 ˧)
Ĭng-ĭk-gák (陰入甲 ˨˦)

˨˩
˨˩
˧˥
˥

Ĭng-ĭk-gák (陰入甲) are Ĭng-ĭk (陰入) characters ending with /k/ and Ĭng-ĭk-ék (陰入乙) are those with /ʔ/.[8] Both are usually realized as the glottal stop by most modern speakers of the Fuzhou dialect, but the distinction is made both in the above tone sandhi behavior and in initial assimilation.

However, the tonal sandhi rules of more than two characters display further complexities.

Initials[edit]

There are seventeen initials in all:

Bilabial Alveolar Palato-
alveolar
Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ () /n/ () /ŋ/ ()
Plosive aspiration /pʰ/ () /tʰ/ () /kʰ/ ()
plain /p/ () /t/ () /k/ () /ʔ/ ()
Fricative /β/ /s/ () /ʒ/ /h/ ()
Affricate aspiration /tsʰ/ ()
plain /ts/ ()
Lateral /l/ ()

The Chinese characters in the brackets are also sample characters from Qī Lín Bāyīn.

Most Chinese linguists argue that Fuzhou dialect should be described as possessing a null onset. In fact, any syllable that has a null onset begins with a glottal stop [ʔ].

Some speakers find it difficult to distinguish between the initials /n/ and /l/.

No labiodental phonemes, such as /f/ or /v/, exist in Fuzhou dialect, which is one of the most conspicuous characteristics shared by all branches in the Min Family.

[β] and [ʒ] exist only in connected speech (see Initial assimilation below).

Initial assimilation[edit]

In Fuzhou dialect, there are various kinds of initial assimilation (聲母類化), all of which are progressive. When two or more than two syllables combine into a word, the initial of the first syllable stays unchanged while those of the following syllables, in most cases, change to match its preceding phoneme, i.e., the coda of its preceding syllable. As with the rime changes, initial assimilation is not as mandatory as tone sandhi in connected speech, and its presence and absence may indicate different parts of speech, different meanings of a single word, or different relationships between groups of words syntactically.[9]

The Coda of the Former Syllable The Initial Assimilation of the Latter Syllable
Null coda or /-ʔ/
  • /p/ and /pʰ/ change to [β];
  • /t/, /tʰ/ and /s/ change to [l];
  • /k/, /kʰ/ and /h/ change to null initial (without [ʔ]);
  • /ts/ and /tsʰ/ change to /ʒ/;
  • /m/, /n/, /ŋ/ and the null initial remain unchanged.
/-ŋ/
  • /p/ and /pʰ/ change to [m];
  • /t/, /tʰ/ /s/ and /l/ change to [n];
  • /k/, /kʰ/, /h/ and the null initial change to [ŋ];
  • /ts/ and /tsʰ/ change to [ʒ];
  • /m/, /n/ and /ŋ/ remain unchanged.
/-k/ All initials remain unchanged.

Rimes[edit]

Chart of vowels used in Fuzhou dialect

The table below shows the eleven vowel phonemes of Fuzhou dialect.

front back
unrounded rounded
Close /i/ /y/ /u/
Close-mid /e/ /ø/ /o/
Open-mid /ɛ/ /œ/ /ɔ/
Open /a/ /ɑ/

In Fuzhou dialect codas /-m/, /-n/, and /-ŋ/ have all merged as /-ŋ/; and /-p/, /-t/, /-k/ have all merged as /-ʔ/. Eleven vowel phonemes, together with the codas /-ŋ/ and /-ʔ/, are organized into forty-six rimes.

Simple Vowels /a, ɑ/ (蝦, 罷) /ɛ, a/ (街, 細) /œ, ɔ/ (驢, 告) /o, ɔ/ (哥, 抱) /i, ɛi/ (喜, 氣) /u, ou/ (苦, 怒) /y, øy/ (豬, 箸)
Compound Vowels /ia, iɑ/ (寫, 夜) /ie, iɛ/ (雞, 毅) /iu, ieu/ (秋, 笑) /ua, uɑ/ (花, 話) /uo, uɔ/ (科, 課) /yo, yɔ/ (橋, 銳) /ai, ɑi/ (紙, 再) /au, ɑu/ (郊, 校) /ɛu, ɑu/ (溝, 構) /øy, ɔy/ (催, 罪) /uai, uɑi/ (我, 怪) /ui, uoi/ (杯, 歲)
Nasal Coda /-ŋ/ /aŋ, ɑŋ/ (三, 汗) /iŋ, ɛiŋ/ (人, 任) /uŋ, ouŋ/ (春, 鳳) /yŋ, øyŋ/ (銀, 頌) /iaŋ, iɑŋ/ (驚, 命) /ieŋ, iɛŋ/ (天, 見) /uaŋ, uɑŋ/ (歡, 換) /uoŋ, uɔŋ/ (王, 象) /yoŋ, yɔŋ/ (鄉, 樣) /eiŋ, ɑiŋ/ (恒, 硬) /ouŋ, ɔuŋ/ (湯, 寸) /øyŋ, ɔyŋ/ (桶, 洞)
Glottal Coda /-ʔ/ /aʔ, ɑʔ/ (盒, 鴨) /øʔ, œʔ/ (扔, 嗝) /eʔ, ɛʔ/ (漬, 咩) /oʔ, ɔʔ/ (樂, 閣) /iʔ, ɛiʔ/ (力, 乙) /uʔ, ouʔ/ (勿, 福) /yʔ, øyʔ/ (肉, 竹) /iaʔ, iɑʔ/ (擲, 察) /ieʔ, iɛʔ/ (熱, 鐵) /uaʔ, uɑʔ/ (活, 法) /uoʔ, uɔʔ/ (月, 郭) /yoʔ, yɔʔ/ (藥, 弱) /eiʔ, ɑiʔ/ (賊, 黑) /ouʔ, ɔuʔ/ (學, 骨) /øyʔ, ɔyʔ/ (讀, 角)

As has been mentioned above, there are theoretically two different entering tonal codas in Fuzhou dialect: /-k/ and /-ʔ/. But for most Fuzhou dialect speakers, those two codas are only distinguishable when in the tonal sandhi or initial assimilation.

Close/Open rimes[edit]

All rimes come in pairs in the above table: the one to the left represents a close rime (緊韻), while the other represents an open rime (鬆韻). The close/open rimes are closely related with the tones. As single characters, the tones of Ĭng-bìng (陰平), Siōng-siăng (上聲), Iòng-bìng (陽平) and Iòng-ĭk (陽入) have close rimes while Ĭng-ké̤ṳ (陰去), Ĭng-ĭk (陰入) and Iòng-ké̤ṳ (陽去) have the open rimes. In connected speech, an open rime shifts to its close counterpart in the tonal sandhi.

For instance, "" (hók) is a Ĭng-ĭk character and is pronounced [houʔ˨˦] and "" (ciŭ) a Ĭng-bìng character with the pronunciation of [tsiu˥]. When these two characters combine into the word "福州" (Hók-ciŭ, Fuzhou), "" changes its tonal value from ˨˦ to ˨˩ and, simultaneously, shifts its rime from [-ouʔ] to [-uʔ], so the phrase is pronounced [huʔ˨˩ tsiu˥]. While in the word "中國" [tyŋ˥˧ kuɔʔ˨˦] (Dṳ̆ng-guók, China), "" is a Ĭng-bìng character and therefore its close rime never changes, though it does change its tonal value from ˥ to ˥˧ in the tonal sandhi.

As with initial assimilation, the closing of open rimes in connected speech is not as compulsory than tone sandhi. It has been described as "a sort of switch that flips on and off to indicate different things", so its presence or absence can indicate different meanings or different syntactic functions.[9]

The phenomenon of close/open rimes is nearly unique to the Fuzhou dialect and this feature makes it especially intricate and hardly intelligible even to other Min languages. A similar phenomenon occurs in Mandarin (Beijing dialect), where the triphthongs /wei/ and /jou/ are raised to /wi/ and /ju/ in the first two tones[citation needed] (and are always so spelled in the latter fashion in all four tones in the Pinyin transcription).

Other phonological features[edit]

Neutral tone[edit]

The neutral tone is attested in the Fuzhou dialect, as well as being found in the Min Nan group and in Mandarin dialects including Beijing-based Standard Mandarin. It is commonly found in some modal particles, aspect markers, and some question-forming negative particles that come after units made up of one tone sandhi domain, and in some adverbs, aspect markers, conjunctions etc. that come before such units. These two types, the post-nucleus and the pre-nucleus neutral tone, exhibit different tone sandhi behavior. Disyllabic neutral tone words are also attested, as are some inter-nuclei neutral tones, mainly connected to the use of 蜀 siŏh /suoʔ˥/ in verbal reduplication.[10]

Vocabulary[edit]

Most words in Fuzhou dialect have cognates in other Chinese languages, so a non-Fuzhou speaker would find it much easier to understand Fuzhou dialect written in Chinese characters than spoken in conversation. However, false friends do exist: for example, "莫細膩" (mŏ̤h sá̤-nê) means "don't be too polite" or "make yourself at home", "我對手汝洗碗" (nguāi dó̤i-chiū nṳ̄ sā̤ uāng) means "I help you wash dishes", "伊共伊老媽嚟冤家" (ĭ gâe̤ng ĭ lâu-mā lā̤ uŏng-gă) means "he and his wife are quarreling (with each other)", etc. Mere knowledge of Mandarin vocabulary does not help one catch the meaning of these sentences.

The majority of Fuzhou dialect vocabulary dates back to more than 1,200 years ago. Some daily-used words are even preserved as they were in the Tang Dynasty, which can be illustrated by a poem of a famous Chinese poet Gu Kuang (顧況).[11] In his poem Jiǎn (), Gu Kuang explicitly noted:

囝,音蹇。閩俗呼子為囝,父為郎罷。
" is pronounced as . In Fujian vernacular son is called , and father 郎罷."

In Fuzhou dialect, "" (giāng) and "郎罷" (nòng-mâ) are still in use today, without even the slightest change.

Words from Ancient Chinese[edit]

Quite a few words from Ancient Chinese have retained the original meanings for thousands of years, while their counterparts in Mandarin Chinese have either fallen out of daily use or varied to different meanings.

This table shows some Fuzhou dialect words from Classical Chinese, as contrasted to Mandarin Chinese:

Meaning Fuzhou dialect Foochow Romanized Mandarin Pinyin
eye 目睭/目珠 mĕ̤k-ciŭ [møyʔ˥ tsiu˥] 眼睛 yǎnjīng
you nṳ̄ [ny˧]
chopstick dê̤ṳ [tøy˨˦˨] 筷子 kuàizi
to chase dṳ̆k [tyʔ˥] zhuī
to look, to watch 覷/覰/䁦 ché̤ṳ [tsʰøy˨˩˧] 1 kàn
wet nóng [nouŋ˨˩˧] shī
black ŭ [u˥] hēi
to feed huáng [huɑŋ˨˩˧] ² yǎng
1 "" (káng) is also used as the verb "to look" in Fuzhou dialect.
2 "" (iōng) in Fuzhou dialect means "give birth to (a child)".

And this table shows some words that are both used in Fuzhou dialect and Mandarin Chinese, while the meanings in Mandarin Chinese have altered:

Word Foochow Romanized Meaning in Classical Chinese and Fuzhou dialect Pinyin Meaning in Mandarin
cāu [tsau˧] to flee zǒu to walk
sá̤ [sɑ˨˩˧] tiny, small, young thin, slender
tŏng [tʰouŋ˥] hot water tāng soup
suók/siók [suɔʔ˨˦] to explain, to clarify shuō to speak, to talk
gèng [keiŋ˥˧] tall, high xuán to hang, to suspend (v.)
chói [tsʰui˨˩˧] mouth huì beak

Words from Minyue language[edit]

Some daily used words, shared by all Min languages, came from the ancient Minyue language. Such as follows:

Word Foochow Romanized Min Nan / Taiwanese POJ Meaning
kă ([kʰa˥]) kha ([kʰa˥]) foot and leg
giāng [kiaŋ˧] kiáⁿ ([kiã˥˩]) son, child, whelp, a small amount
káung [kʰɑuŋ˧] khùn [kʰun˨˩] to sleep
骿 piăng [pʰiaŋ˥] phiaⁿ [pʰiã˥] back, dorsum
nè̤ng [nøyŋ˥˧] lâng [laŋ˨˦] human
chuó/chió [tsʰuɔ˥˧] chhù [tsʰu˨˩] home, house
tài [tʰai˥˧] thâi [tʰai˨˦] to kill, to slaughter

Literary and colloquial readings[edit]

The literary and colloquial readings (文白異讀) is a feature commonly found in all Chinese dialects throughout China. The literary readings (文讀) are mainly used in formal phrases and written language, while the colloquial ones (白讀) are basically used in vulgar phrases and spoken language.

This table displays some widely used characters in Fuzhou dialect which have both literary and colloquial readings:

Character Literary reading Phrase Meaning Colloquial reading Phrase Meaning
hèng [heiŋ˥˧] 行李 hèng-lī luggage giàng [kiaŋ˥˧] 行墿 giàng-duô to walk
sĕng [seiŋ˥] 生態 sĕng-tái zoology, ecology săng [saŋ˥] 生囝 săng-giāng childbearing
gŏng [kouŋ˥] 江蘇 Gŏng-sŭ Jiangsu gĕ̤ng [køyŋ˥] 閩江 Mìng-gĕ̤ng Min River
báik [pɑiʔ˨˦] 百科 báik-kuŏ encyclopedical báh [pɑʔ˨˦] 百姓 báh-sáng common people
[hi˥] 飛機 hĭ-gĭ aeroplane buŏi [pui˥] 飛鳥 buŏi-cēu flying birds
hàng [haŋ˥˧] 寒食 Hàng-sĭk Cold Food Festival gàng [kaŋ˥˧] 天寒 tiĕng gàng cold, freezing
[hɑ˨˦˨] 大廈 dâi-hâ mansion â [ɑ˨˦˨] 廈門 Â-muòng Amoy (Xiamen)

Loan words from English[edit]

The First Opium War, also known as the First Anglo-Chinese War, was ended in 1842 with the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing, which forced the Qing government to open Fuzhou to all British traders and missionaries. Since then, quite a number of churches and Western-style schools have been established. Consequently, some English words came into Fuzhou dialect, but without fixed written forms in Chinese characters. The most frequently used words are listed below:[12]

  • kŏk, [kʰouʔ˥], noun, meaning "an article of dress", is from the word "coat";
  • nă̤h, [nɛʔ˥], noun, meaning "a meshwork barrier in tennis or badminton", is from the word "net";
  • pèng, [pʰeiŋ˥˧], noun, meaning "oil paint", is from the word "paint";
  • pĕng-giāng, [pʰeiŋ˥˧ ŋiaŋ˧], noun, meaning "a small sum of money", is from the word "penny";
  • tă̤h, [tʰɛʔ˥], noun, meaning "money", is from the word "take";
  • sò̤, [so˥˧], verb, meaning "to shoot (a basket)", is from the word "shoot";
  • ă-gì, [a˥ ki˥˧], verb, meaning "to pause (usually a game)", is from the word "again".
  • Mā-lăk-gă, [ma˨˩ laʔ˥ ka˥], meaning "Southeastern Asian (esp. Singapore and Malaysia)", is from the word "Malacca".

Grammar[edit]

Examples[edit]

Some common phrases in Fuzhou dialect:

Writing system[edit]

Chinese characters[edit]

Foochow Bible in Chinese Characters, published by China Bible House in 1940.

Most of the characters of Fuzhou dialect stem from Ancient Chinese and can therefore be written in Chinese characters. Many books published in Qing Dynasty have been written in this traditional way, such as the famous Mǐndū Biéjì (閩都別記, Foochow Romanized: Mìng-dŭ Biék-gé). However, Chinese characters as the writing system for Fuzhou dialect do have many shortcomings.

Firstly, a great number of characters are unique to Fuzhou dialect, so that they can only be written in informal ways. For instance, the character "mâ̤", a negative word, has no common form. Some write it as "" or "", both of which share with it an identical pronunciation but has a totally irrelevant meaning; and others prefer to use a newly created character combining "" and "", but this character is not included in most fonts.

Secondly, Fuzhou dialect has been excluded from the educational system for many decades. As a result, many if not all take for granted that Fuzhou dialect does not have a formal writing system and when they have to write it, they tend to misuse characters with a similar Mandarin Chinese enunciation. For example, "會使 (â̤ sāi)", meaning "okay", are frequently written as "阿塞" because they are uttered almost in the same way.

Foochow Romanized[edit]

Bible in Foochow Romanized, published by British and Foreign Bible Society in 1908.
Main article: Foochow Romanized

Foochow Romanized, also known as Bàng-uâ-cê (平話字, BUC for short) or Hók-ciŭ-uâ Lò̤-mā-cê (福州話羅馬字), is a romanized orthography for Fuzhou dialect adopted in the middle of 19th century by American and English missionaries. It had varied at different times, and became standardized several decades later. Foochow Romanized was mainly used inside of Church circles, and was taught in some Mission Schools in Fuzhou.[13]

Mǐnqiāng Kuàizì[edit]

Main article: Mǐnqiāng Kuàizì

Mǐnqiāng Kuàizì (閩腔快字, Foochow Romanized: Mìng-kiŏng Kuái-cê), literally meaning "Fujian Colloquial Fast Characters", is a Qieyin System (切音系統) for Fuzhou dialect designed by Chinese scholar and calligrapher Li Jiesan (力捷三) in 1896.

Literary and art forms[edit]

Main articles: Min Opera and Fuzhou Pinghua

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Fuzhou dialect". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  2. ^ In Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, it is recorded that after the fall of Minyue, Emperor Wu of Han emptied its territory by ordering an exodus of the entire Minyue population to the area between the Yangtze and Huai River (武帝時,閩越反,滅之,徙其人於江淮閒,盡虛其地。).
  3. ^ Li Rulong, Liang Yuzhang: Fuzhou Dialect Records, 2001, ISBN 7-80597-361-X
  4. ^ Li, Zhuqing: A study of the "Qī Lín Bāyīn", University of Washington, 1993
  5. ^ Survey by Fuzhou Evening Paper Showing Less Than Half of Fuzhou Youth Able to Speak Fuzhou Dialect (Chinese)
  6. ^ Fuzhou Dialect Protected as Intangible Cultural Heritage (Chinese)
  7. ^ Yuan Jiahua: Summary of Chinese Dialects, 2nd Edition, 2003, ISBN 978-7-80126-474-9
  8. ^ Nguāi Muōng Gōng Nṳ̄ Muōng Tiăng (我罔講汝罔聽), post of March 17th, 2006, retrieved December 26th, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Li Zhuping: Fuzhou Phonology and Grammar, Dunwoody Press (2002), page 6.
  10. ^ Li Zhuping: Fuzhou Phonology and Grammar, Dunwoody Press (2002), page 106.
  11. ^ Zhao Rihe: Fuzhou Dialect Rhyme Dictionary, 1998, MRXN-1998-0465
  12. ^ Chen Zeping: Loan Words in Fuzhou dialect, Fujian Normal University, 1994
  13. ^ 福州女校三鼎甲 (Chinese)

Further reading[edit]

Books and other sources[edit]

  • Chen, Leo and Norman, Jerry: An Introduction to the Foochow Dialect, San Francisco State Coll., CA, 1965.
  • Chen, Leo: Foochow-English, English-Foochow glossary, San Francisco, Calif. : Asian Language Publication, c1969. [4]
  • Donohue, Cathryn: Fuzhou tonal acoustics and tonology, Münich: Lincom Europa (2013).
  • Li Zhuqing: Fuzhou-English Dictionary, Dunwoody Press (1998).
  • Li Zhuqing: Fuzhou Phonology and Grammar, Dunwoody Press (2002).

External links[edit]