Huizhou dialect

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Huizhou dialect
惠州话 / 惠州話
Native toChina
RegionHuizhou, Guangdong
Native speakers
110,000 (2002)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
hak-hui Huizhou
Glottologhuiz1243  Huizhou
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The Huizhou dialect (simplified Chinese: 惠州话; traditional Chinese: 惠州話; pinyin: Huìzhōuhuà) is a Chinese dialect spoken in and around Huicheng District, the traditional urban centre of Huizhou, Guangdong.[2] The locals also call the dialect Bendihua (simplified Chinese: 本地话; traditional Chinese: 本地話; pinyin: Běndìhuà; lit. 'local speech') and distinguish it from the dialect spoken in Meixian and Danshui, Huiyang, which they call Hakka (simplified Chinese: 客家话; traditional Chinese: 客家話; pinyin: Kèjiāhuà).[2][3]


The classification of the Huizhou dialect is disputed because it shows characteristics of both Yue and Hakka. Most scholars classify the Huizhou dialect as a dialect of Hakka, but some scholars, most notably Liu Shuxin, consider it to be a dialect of Yue.[2]

The first edition of the Language Atlas of China puts it into its own subgroup under Hakka known as the Huizhou subgroup (惠州片; Huìzhōu piàn).[4] In the second edition, it is still classified as a dialect of Hakka, but it is placed under the Mei–Hui cluster (梅惠小片; Méi-Huì xiǎopiàn) of the Yue–Tai subgroup (粤台片; 粵臺片; Yuè-Tái piàn).[5]

Liu Shuxin groups it together with other similar dialects spoken around the middle and upper reaches of the Dong River, including the Heyuan dialect, into the Hui–He branch (惠河系; Huì-Hé xì) of Yue.[6] Chang Song-hing and Zhuang Chusheng propose a similar grouping called the Hui–He subgroup (惠河片; Huì-Hé piàn), but they classify the group as Hakka.[7]



The Huizhou dialect has seven tones:[8]

Tone name dark level
(阴平 / 陰平)
light level
(阳平 / 陽平)
(上声 / 上聲)
dark departing
(阴去 / 陰去)
light departing
(阳去 / 陽去)
dark entering
(阴入 / 陰入)
light entering
(阳入 / 陽入)
Example / /
Tone letter ˧ (33)[A] ˨ (22)[B] ˧˥ (35) ˨˩˧ (213)[C] ˧˩ (31)[D] ˦˥ (45), ˥ (5) ˨˩ (21)[E]
  1. ^ Also recorded as ˦ (44)[9][10] or ˥ (55).[11]
  2. ^ Also recorded as ˩ (11)[12][10] or ˧ (33).[11]
  3. ^ Also recorded as ˩˧ (13).[11][12][9][10]
  4. ^ Also recorded as ˥˧ (53)[11] or ˨˩ (21).[12]
  5. ^ Also recorded as ˨ (2),[12][10] ˩ (1)[11] or ˧ (3).[9]

Other than these seven tones, ˥ (55) appears in some grammatical particles.[13]


Verbal aspect[edit]

The Huizhou dialect has several aspectual markers that attach to the verb as suffixes:[14][15][16]

Aspect Marker
Progressive / /kin˧˥/, / /ũn˧˥/
Continuous /tsʰy˧˩/
Perfective / /pʰau˧ ~ au˧ ~ ei˧/, /a˧/, /ei˥/
Experiential / /kɔ˨˩˧/


The Huizhou dialect has the following personal pronouns. The plural is formed by a tone change.[17]

Singular Plural
1st person /ŋɔi˨˩˧/ /ŋɔi˧˥/
2nd person /ni˨˩˧/ /ni˧˥/
3rd person /kʰy˨/ /kʰy˧˥/


The Huizhou dialect has many cognates with Yue and/or Hakka (cognates with Huizhou are shaded in blue):[18]

English Huizhou Guangzhou (Yue) Meixian (Hakka) Putonghua
fly (insect) 乌蝇 / 烏蠅 /ũ˧ zən˨/ 乌蝇 / 烏蠅 wu1 jing1 乌蝇 / 烏蠅 vu1 yin2 苍蝇 / 蒼蠅 cāngyíng
house /ək˦˥/ uk1 vug5 房子 fángzi
sleep 𰥛觉 / 瞓覺 /hun˨˩˧ kau˨˩˧/ 𰥛觉 / 瞓覺 fan3 gaau3 睡目 soi4 mug5 睡觉 / 睡覺 shuìjiào
see /tʰiɛ˧˥/ tai2 kon4 kàn
maize 包粟 /pau˧ sək˦˥/ 粟米 suk1 mai5 包粟 bau1 xiug5 玉米 yùmǐ
younger brother 老弟 /lau˧˥ tʰiɛ˨˩˧/ 细佬 / 細佬 sai3 lou2 老弟 lau3 tai1 弟弟 dìdi
water chestnut 马蹄 / 馬蹄 /ma˨˩˧ tʰiɛ˨/ 马蹄 / 馬蹄 maa5 tai2 荸荠 / 荸薺 bíqi
马荠 / 馬薺 /ma˨˩˧ tsʰi˨/ 马荠 / 馬薺 ma1 qi2
together 一齐 / 一齊 /ĩt˦˥ tsʰiɛ˨/ 一齐 / 一齊 jat1 cai4 一起 yīqǐ
一下 /ĩt˦˥ ha˧˩/ 一下 yid5 ha4


  1. ^ HZSHCQZ 2012, p. 113.
  2. ^ a b c Hou 2017, p. 159.
  3. ^ Huang 1987, p. 255.
  4. ^ Chinese Academy of Social Sciences & Australian Academy of the Humanities 1987, B15.
  5. ^ Xie & Huang 2012, p. 117.
  6. ^ Liu 2007, p. 189.
  7. ^ Chang & Zhuang 2008, p. 410.
  8. ^ Liu 1991, pp. 14–15.
  9. ^ a b c Hou 2008, p. 41.
  10. ^ a b c d Yan 2009, pp. 2–3.
  11. ^ a b c d e Huang 1987, p. 256.
  12. ^ a b c d Liu 2007, p. 41.
  13. ^ Liu 1991, p. 15.
  14. ^ Liu 1991, pp. 228–229.
  15. ^ Liu 1997, pp. 16–18.
  16. ^ Chen 2010.
  17. ^ Liu 1991, p. 227.
  18. ^ Liu 1991, p. 219–224.


  • Chang, Song-hing; Zhuang, Chusheng (2008). 廣東方言的地理格局與自然地理及歷史地理的關係 [Geographical Distribution of Guangdong Dialects: Their Linkage with Natural and Historical Geography] (PDF). Journal of Chinese Studies (in Chinese) (48): 407–422.
  • Chen, Shu-huan (2010). 惠州方言的完成体助词“抛”和“□[ei⁵⁵]” [Auxiliaries of Perfect Aspect Pao and [ei⁵⁵] in Huizhou Dialect]. Journal of Huizhou University (in Chinese). 30 (4): 8–14.
  • Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Australian Academy of the Humanities (1987). 中国语言地图集 [Language Atlas of China] (in Chinese). Hong Kong: Longman Group (Far East). ISBN 0-582-99903-0.
  • Hou, Xiaoying (2008). 东江中上游本地话研究 [A Study of Bendihua in the Middle and Upper Reaches of Dongjiang Basin] (PhD) (in Chinese). Xiamen University.
  • Hou, Xiaoying (2017). 惠州话:粤色客底的粤化客方言 [Huizhou Dialect: a Hakka Dialect Greatly Influenced by Yue Dialect]. Academic Research (in Chinese) (7): 159–169.
  • Huang, Xuezhen (1987). 惠州话的归属. Fangyan (in Chinese) (4): 255–263.
  • Liu, Ruoyun (1991). 惠州方言志 [Huizhou Dialect Gazetteer] (in Chinese). Guangzhou: Guangdong Science & Technology Press. ISBN 7-5359-0658-3.
  • Liu, Ruoyun (1997). 惠州方言的助词 [Particles in the Huizhou Dialect]. Sun Yatsen University Forum (in Chinese) (4): 15–22.
  • Liu, Shuxin (2007). 东江中上游土语群研究——粤语惠河系探考 [A Study of the Group of Vernaculars Spoken around the Middle and Upper Reaches of the Dong River—An Investigation of the Hui–He Branch of Yue] (in Chinese). Beijing: China Society Publishing House. ISBN 978-7-5087-1716-6.
  • Local Gazetteer Editorial Committee of Huicheng District, Huizhou City, ed. (2012). 惠州市惠城区志 [Gazetteer of Huicheng District, Huizhou City] (in Chinese). Guangzhou: Guangdong People's Publishing House. ISBN 978-7-218-08115-1.
  • Xie, Liuwen; Huang, Xuezhen (2012). B1—17 客家话. 中国语言地图集 [Language Atlas of China] (in Chinese). Vol. 汉语方言卷 (2nd ed.). Beijing: Commercial Press. pp. 116–124. ISBN 978-7-100-07054-6.
  • Yan, Xiuhong (2009). 河源惠州“本地话”语音概略(一) [A Summary of the Phonology of "Bendihua" in Heyuan and Huizhou] (PDF) (in Chinese). {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)