Longyan dialect

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Longyan dialect
龙岩话 / 龍巖話
Lóngyánhuà / Liong11lã11guɛ334
Native toChina
RegionFujian Province
Native speakers
much less than the 840,000 residents of Xinluo District (2021)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3(lnx is proposed[2])
Glottologzhan1240  Zhangping-Longyan
Linguasphere79-AAA-jei /-jej
Hokkien Map.svg
Distribution of Min Nan dialects. Longyan Min is in yellow.

The Longyan dialect (simplified Chinese: 龙岩话; traditional Chinese: 龍巖話; pinyin: Lóngyánhuà), also known as Longyan Minnan (simplified Chinese: 龙岩闽南语; traditional Chinese: 龍巖閩南語; pinyin: Lóngyán Mǐnnányǔ) or Liong11lã11guɛ334, is a dialect of Hokkien spoken in the urban city area of Longyan (eastern Longyan) in the province of Fujian, China while Hakka is spoken in rural villages of Longyan (western part). The Longyan Min people had settled in the region from southern part of Fujian Province as early as the Tang dynasty period (618–907). Although Longyan Min has some Hakka influence to a limited extent by the peasant Hakka Chinese language due to close distance of rural village Hakka peasants of the region, Longyan Min is a close dialect of the Minnan language and has more number of tones than Hakka (eight as compared to six). The Longyan dialect has a high but limited intelligibility with Southern Min dialects such as HokkienTaiwanese. Today, Longyan Minnan is predominantly spoken in Longyan's urban district Xinluo District while Zhangzhou Minnan is spoken in Zhangping City excluding Chishui and Shuangyang towns where Longyan Minnan is spoken. Hakka on the other hand is spoken in the non-urban rest of the rural areas of Longyan prefecture: Changting County, Liancheng County, Shanghang County, Wuping County, and Yongding District.[3]

Branner suggests that the Xinluo and Zhangping dialects should be grouped with the Datian dialect as a coastal Min group separate from both Southern Min and Eastern Min.[4] However, he argues that the dialect of Wan'an township, in the northern part of Xinluo district, is a coastal Min variety separate from all of these.[5]


The Longyan dialect has 14 initials, 65 rimes, and 8 tones.


p, , m, b, , t, , n, l, ts, tsʰ, s, k, , ŋ, h.


l, i, u, iu, ui

a, ia, ua, iua, o, io, ei, ie

ue, ɛ, , , ai, uai, au, iau

m, im, am, iam, iep, ap, iap

in, un, an, ian, uan

it, at, iat, uat, uot, ŋ

, iaŋ, uaŋ, , ioŋ, ak, iak, uak, ok, iok

ĩ, ũ, ũi, ã, , , iuã, iãt, õ, , ɛ̃, iɛ̃, uɛ̃, ãi, ãu, iãu.


No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Tones dark level
light level
dark rising
light rising
dark departing
light departing
dark entering
light entering
Tone contour ˧˧˦ (334) ˩ (11) ˨˩ (21) ˥˨ (52) ˨˩˧ (213) ˥ (55) ˥ (5) ˧˨ (32)
Example Hanzi

Tone sandhi[edit]

The Longyan dialect has extremely extensive tone sandhi rules: in an utterance, only the last syllable pronounced is not affected by the rules.

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

dark level, 334 light level, 11 dark rising, 21 light rising, 52 dark departing, 213 light departing, 55 dark entering, 5 light entering, 32
dark level, 334 remain unchanged
light level, 11 remain unchanged
dark rising, 21
remain unchanged
dark departing, 213 remain unchanged
light rising, 52 light level, 11
dark departing, 213
dark rising, 21
remain unchanged dark rising, 21
light departing, 55
dark level, 334
remain unchanged dark level, 334
dark entering, 5
dark level, 334
remain unchanged dark level, 334
light entering, 32 dark rising, 21


  1. ^ "Reclassifying ISO 639-3 [nan]: An Empirical Approach to Mutual Intelligibility and Ethnolinguistic Distinctions" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-09-19.
  2. ^ "Change Request Documentation: 2021-045". 31 August 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  3. ^ Wurm, Stephen Adolphe; Li, Rong; Baumann, Theo; Lee, Mei W. (1987). Language Atlas of China. Longman. ISBN 978-962-359-085-3.
  4. ^ Branner, David Prager (1999). "The Classification of Longyan" (PDF). In Simmons, Richard VanNess (ed.). Issues in Chinese Dialect Description and Classification. Journal of Chinese Linguistics monograph series. Vol. 15. pp. 36–83. p. 78.
  5. ^ Branner, David Prager (2000). Problems in Comparative Chinese Dialectology — the Classification of Miin and Hakka (PDF). Trends in Linguistics series. Vol. 123. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-015831-1.

Further reading[edit]