History of Gan Chinese

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Gan is mainly descended from Old Gan and Middle Gan.

Old Gan[edit]

Old Gan (上古贛語, Song-gu Gon-ngi) or Proto-Gan (原始贛語, Ngien-si Gon-ngi) corresponds to Gan from the beginning of the Qin dynasty to the latter part of the Han dynasty.[1] It is a typically creole language which was influenced by Chinese language (華夏語), Baiyue, Chu, and Wu languages.[citation needed]

At the year of 221 BC, the General Tu Sui (屠睢) was sent to the south of China in order to conquer the territory of Baiyue. 500,000 soldiers then settled down at Yugan, Nankang and 3 other places, which formed the initial Chinese population in Jiangxi. In 202 BC, Yuzhang Prefecture (豫章郡) was set up by the Han dynasty and since then the local population increased rapidly.

Late Old Gan[edit]

Late Old Gan (中古贛語, Zung-gu Gon-ngi) corresponds to Gan spoken from 3rd to 6th century. It was largely sinicized by new settlers from the Central Plain.

Some scholars consider late Old Gan, together with Hakka language and Tongtai dialect of Jianghuai Mandarin as the once lingua franca of the Southern Dynasties.[2]

However, late Old Gan still kept a distinguishable difference from the official language. History of Southern Dynasties records that "Hu Xiezhi (胡諧之) of Nanchang, the Emperor wants to bestow a noble marriage on him. He sends several persons of the Palace in order to teach his children the [official] language. Two years later, the Emperor asks him if the language has been standardized in his family, and Hu answers that his family hasn't acquired the official language while those imperial envoys have already been Ganized."[3]

Middle Gan[edit]

Middle Gan (中世贛語, Zung-si Gon-ngi) corresponds to Gan spoken from the Tang dynasty to the Song dynasty (6th to 13th centuries}. The last time of large-scale settlement in Jiangxi by people from the Central Plain took place due to the An Lushan Rebellion and Gan also became stabilized since the period.

Research on the rhyming system of Jiangxi poets of this period is made in order to study the linguistic form of Middle Gan. Scholars have found that modern Gan languages still keep many linguistic characteristics of this historical layer.[4][5] For example:[clarification needed]

Late Middle Gan[edit]

Late Middle Gan (近世贛語, Qin-si Gon-ngi) is a stage of Gan used during the Yuan dynasty and the Ming dynasty (13th to 17th centuries). Some linguistic characteristics of late Middle Gan are:[6][7]

Early Modern Gan[edit]

Early Modern Gan (近代贛語, Qin-tai Gon-ngi) indicates the historical layer of Gan since the Qing dynasty (from the 17th century) and till the beginning of modern times.

The textbook Lei Zi Meng Qiu (類字蒙求) published in the middle of 19th century is used to know about the linguistic form of Nanchang dialect, and scholars find out the language stays almost the same as before. For example, the nasal ending [-m] merged into [-n],[clarification needed] and 7 tones were used.

Westerners also began to study Gan language during this period. British diplomatic official Edward Harper Parker was the first westerner who recorded the Gan language. He noticed his friend Wen-yuan of Fuzhou merged muddy consonants with aspirate consonants.

Bibles in some Gan dialects were also published at this time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wan Bo (萬波), Research on Gan's consonants (贛語聲母的歷史層次研究).
  2. ^ Lu Guoyao (魯國堯), On Gan-Hakka and the Tongtai dialect derived from lingua franca of Southern Dynasties (客、贛、通泰方言源於南朝通語說), 2003, ISBN 7-5343-5499-4, pages 123-135
  3. ^ Nanshi, volume 37 of Biographies and Collective Biographies (列傳)
  4. ^ Du Aiying (杜愛英), On the rhyming system of Jiangxi poets of Song dynasty (宋代江西詩人用韻研究)
  5. ^ Liu Lunxin (劉綸鑫), On the history of Gan-Hakka (客贛方言史簡論)
  6. ^ DING Bangxin, 1987
  7. ^ FURUYA Akihiro , 1992

Further reading[edit]

  • Chen Changyi (陳昌儀), Summary of Gan's dialects (贛方言概要)
  • Li Jun (李軍) and Chen Changfang (陳昌芳), Characteristics of the rhyming, tonal system of Nanchang dialect of the middle 19th century (19世紀中葉南昌話韻母與聲調系統的特點)
  • Li Shali (李莎莉), On the rhyming system of Jiangxi poets of Ming dynasty (明代江西詩人用韻研究)
  • Liu Lunxin (劉綸鑫), On the history of Gan-Hakka (客贛方言史簡論)
  • Laurent Sagart, Les dialectes Gan
  • Shao Baiming (邵百鳴) and Ge Lili (葛力力), The formation of Gan's dialects (略論贛方言的形成)
  • Tian Yezheng (田業政), On the rhyming system of Jiangxi poets of Yuan dynasty (元代江西詩人古體詩用韻研究)
  • You Rujie (游汝傑), 西洋傳教士漢語方言學著作書目考述