Meixian dialect

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Meixian
梅縣話
Native to Southern China, Taiwan
Region Meixian
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog yuet1238[1]
Linguasphere 79-AAA-gam

Meixian dialect (Chinese: 梅縣話; Pha̍k-fa-sṳ: Mòi-yen-fa; IPA: mɔi jan fa), also known as Meizhou (梅州話), Moiyen, and Yue-Tai, is the prestige dialect of Hakka Chinese and the basis for the Hakka dialects in Taiwan. It is named after Mei County, Guangdong.

Phonology[edit]

Initials[edit]

There are two series of stops and affricates in Hakka, both voiceless: tenuis /p t ts k/ and aspirated /pʰ tʰ tsʰ kʰ/.

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/ ⟨m⟩ /n/ ⟨n⟩ [ɲ] ⟨ng(i)⟩* /ŋ/ ⟨ng⟩
Plosive tenuis /p/ ⟨b⟩ /t/ ⟨d⟩ [c] ⟨g(i)⟩* /k/ ⟨g⟩ (ʔ)
aspirated /pʰ/ ⟨p⟩ /tʰ/ ⟨t⟩ [cʰ] ⟨k(i)⟩* /kʰ/ ⟨k⟩
Affricate tenuis /ts/ ⟨z⟩
aspirated /tsʰ/ ⟨c⟩
Fricative /f/ ⟨f⟩ /s/ ⟨s⟩ [ç] ⟨h(i)⟩* /h/ ⟨h⟩
Approximant /ʋ/ ⟨v⟩ /l/ ⟨l⟩ /j/ ⟨y⟩    

* When the initials /k/ ⟨g⟩, /kʰ/ ⟨k⟩, /h/ ⟨h⟩, and /ŋ/ ⟨ng⟩ are followed by a palatal medial /j/ ⟨i⟩, they become [c] ⟨g(i)⟩, [cʰ] ⟨k(i)⟩, [ç] ⟨h(i)⟩, and [ɲ] ⟨ng(i)⟩, respectively.[2]

Finals[edit]

Moiyen Hakka has six vowels, [i e a ə o u], that are romanised as i, ê, a, e, o and u,[clarification needed] respectively.

Moreover, Hakka finals exhibit the final consonants found in Middle Chinese, namely [m, n, ŋ, p, t, k] which are romanised as m, n, ng, b, d, and g respectively in the official Moiyen romanisation.

Finals of Meixian dialect[3]
nucleus medial coda
-∅ -i -u -m -n -p -t -k
-a- ∅- a ai au am an ap at ak
i- ia iai iau iam ian iaŋ iap iat iak
u- ua uai     uan uaŋ   uat uak
-e- ∅- e   eu em en   ep et  
i- ie       ien     iet  
u-         uen     uet  
-i- ∅- i   iu im in   ip it  
-o- ∅- o oi     on   ot ok
i- io       ion ioŋ     iok
u- uo       uon uoŋ     uok
-u- ∅- u ui     un   ut uk
i-   iui     iun iuŋ   iut iuk
-ə- ∅- ɹ̩     əm ən   əp ət  
Syllabics   ŋ̩

Tone[edit]

Moiyen has four tones, which are reduced to two in a checked syllable. The Middle Chinese fully voiced initial syllables became aspirated voiceless initial syllable in Hakka. Before that happened, the four Middle Chinese 'tones', ping, shang, qu, ru, underwent a voicing split in the case of ping and ru, giving the dialect six tones in traditional accounts.

Moiyen tones
Tone number Tone name Hanzi Tone letters number English
1 yin ping 陰平 ˦ 44 high
2 yang ping 陽平 ˩ 11 low
3 shang ˧˩ 31 low falling
4 qu ˥˧ 53 high falling
5 yin ru 陰入 ˩ 1 low checked
6 yang ru 陽入 ˥ 5 high checked

These so-called yin-yang tonal splittings developed mainly as a consequence of the type of initial a Chinese syllable had during the Middle Chinese stage in the development of Chinese, with voiceless initial syllables [p- t- k-] tending to become of the yin type, and the voiced initial syllables [b- d- ɡ-] developing into the yang type. In modern Moiyen Hakka however, part of the Yin Ping tone characters have sonorant initials [m n ŋ l] originally from the Middle Chinese Shang tone syllables and fully voiced Middle Chinese Qu tone characters, so the voiced/voiceless distinction should be taken only as a rule of thumb.

Hakka tone contours differs more as one moves away from Moiyen. For example, the Yin Ping contour is ˧ (33) in Changting (長汀) and ˨˦ (24) in Sixian (四縣), Taiwan.

Entering tone

Hakka preserves all of the entering tones of Middle Chinese and it is split into two registers. Meixian has the following:

  • 陰入 [ ˩ ] a low pitched checked tone
  • 陽入 [ ˥ ] a high pitched checked tone

Middle Chinese entering tone syllables ending in [k] whose vowel clusters have become front high vowels like [i] and [ɛ] shifts to syllables with [t] finals in modern Hakka[4] as seen in the following table.

Character Guangyun Fanqie Middle Chinese
reconstruction[5]
Hakka Main meaning in English
之翼切 tɕĭək tsit˩ vocation, profession
林直切 lĭək lit˥ strength, power
乗力切 dʑʰĭək sit˥ eat, consume
所力切 ʃĭək sɛt˩ colour, hue
多則切 tək tɛt˩ virtue
苦得切 kʰək kʰɛt˩ carve, engrave, a moment
博墨切 pək pɛt˩ north
古或切 kuək kuɛt˩ country, state

Tone sandhi[edit]

For Moiyen Hakka, the yin ping and qu tone characters exhibit sandhi when the following character has a lower pitch. The pitch of the yin ping tone changes from ˦ (44) to ˧˥ (35) when sandhi occurs. Similarly, the qu tone changes from ˥˧ (53) to ˦ (55) under sandhi. These are shown in red in the following table.

Moiyen tone sandhi
+ ˦ Yin Ping + ˩ Yang Ping + ˧˩ Shang + ˥˧ Qu + ˩ʔ Yin Ru + ˥ʔ YangRu + Neutral
˦ Yin Ping + ˦.˦ ˧˥ ˧˥.˧˩ ˧˥.˥˧ ˧˥.˩ʔ ˦.˥ʔ ˧˥
˥˧ Qu + ˥˧.˦ ˥ ˥.˧˩ ˥.˥˧ ˥.˩ʔ ˥˧.˥ʔ ˥

The neutral tone occurs in some postfixes. It has a mid pitch.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Meixian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Zee, Eric; Lee, Wai-Sum (2008). "The articulatory characteristics of the palatals, palatalized velars and velars in Hakka Chinese" (PDF). Proceedings of the 8th International Seminar on Speech Production (ISSP2008): 113–116. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-05. 
  3. ^ Cheung, Yuk Man (2011). Vowels and tones in Mei Xian Hakka : an acoustic and perceptual study (Thesis). City University of Hong Kong. 
  4. ^ "Numerals - SE Asian Readings of Characters". dylansung.tripod.com. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "廣韻入聲卷第五". kanji-database.sourceforge.net. Archived from the original on 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018. 

Further reading[edit]