|Native to||Southern China, Taiwan|
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.
There are two series of stops and affricates in Hakka, both voiceless: tenuis /p t ts k/ and aspirated /pʰ tʰ tsʰ kʰ/.
|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⟩|
|Fricative||/f/ ⟨f⟩||/s/ ⟨s⟩||[ç] ⟨h(i)⟩*||/h/ ⟨h⟩|
|Approximant||/ʋ/ ⟨v⟩||/l/ ⟨l⟩||/j/ ⟨y⟩|
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.
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.
|Tone number||Tone name||Hanzi||Tone letters||number||English|
|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.
- 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 as seen in the following table.
|Character||Guangyun Fanqie||Middle Chinese
|Hakka||Main meaning in English|
|刻||苦得切||kʰək||kʰɛt˩||carve, engrave, a moment|
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.
|+ ˦ 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.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Meixian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- 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.
- Cheung, Yuk Man (2011). Vowels and tones in Mei Xian Hakka : an acoustic and perceptual study (Thesis). City University of Hong Kong.