Shaoxing dialect

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The Shaoxing dialect (simplified Chinese: 绍兴话/绍兴方言; traditional Chinese: 紹興話/紹興方言; pinyin: Shàoxīnghuà/Shàoxīng fāngyán) is a Wu dialect spoken in the city of Shaoxing more specifically in the city center of Yuecheng and its surrounding areas. It is a representative Wu dialect with a tripartite distinction on voiced stop initials and a textbook register split with each of the four tonal categories of Middle Chinese being divided into upper and lower registers. Within Wu, it is classified as a Northern Wu dialect belonging to the Taihu division within which it is classified under the Linshao subdivision (臨紹小片/临绍小片).

It is the pronunciation of the Shaoxing dialect which is the standard to be used on the texts of Shaoxing opera. It is also the native language of Cai Yuanpei and Lu Xun whose Baihua was often peppered with phrases from his native dialect.

Distribution[edit]

The suburban areas to the north and east stretching from Dongpu (东浦) to Doumen (斗门) and north of Pingshui (平水) in the southern suburban areas are basically the same as that of the city center. Outside of these areas, people may still speak "Shaoxing dialect," but there are noticeable differences between these speech forms and those of the main urban area of Shaoxing.[1]

Research into the Shaoxing dialect[edit]

The Shaoxing dialect has received an unusually large amount of attention. Documented research for the dialect has existed since the Kangxi era in the Qing dynasty, when there were three main works dealing with the Shaoxing dialect.

In the modern era, Chao Yuen Ren documented four regions in Shaoxing in his Modern Wu Research (现代吴语研究). Besides Chao, the Shaoxing dialect has received the most attention from Chinese dialectologist Wang Futang (王福堂) whose 1959 Shaoxinghua jiyin (绍兴话记音) was the first full-length paper in the modern era dedicated wholly to the dialect. A concise grammar, phonology, and nearly 300 page word list of the dialect has been compiled by Yang Wei (杨葳) and Yang Jun (杨浚) in Shaoxing Fangyan (绍兴方言). There is also an English-language monograph The Phonology of Shaoxing Chinese by Zhang Jisheng and a handful of other works in Chinese.

The Shaoxing dialect is also mentioned in Zhejiang Fangyan Fenqu (浙江方言分区), Zhejiang Fangyanci (浙江方言词), and Shaoxingshi yanyu juan (绍兴市谚语卷). As with most locations in China, Shaoxing is also covered in the Linguistic Atlas of Chinese Dialects.

Phonological inventory[edit]

Initials[edit]

Initials of Shaoxing dialect.[2]
  Labial Dental/Alveolar Alveolo-Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ  
Plosive tenuis p t k
aspirated  
voiced b d ɡ  
Affricate tenuis ts
aspirated tsʰ tɕʰ  
voiced dz  
Fricative voiceless f s ɕ   h
voiced v z ʑ   ɦ
Lateral l

Finals[edit]

Finals of Shaoxing dialect[3]
Coda Open Nasalized Nasal Glottal stop
Medial j w j w j w j w
Nucleus u u                      
ɤ ɤ         əŋ     əʔ    
o o jo wo ɵ̃ jɵ̃ wɵ̃ joŋ woŋ joʔ woʔ
ɒ ɒ         ɒŋ jɒŋ wɒŋ      
a a ja wa ɛ̃ jɛ̃ wɛ̃ jaŋ waŋ jaʔ waʔ
e e je we jẽ           weʔ
i i           ɪŋ     ɪʔ    
y y                      
Syllabic continuants: [z̩] [m̩] [n̩] [ŋ̩] [l̩]

Citation tones[edit]

Citation Tones (Yang, 2000)[4]
Regiser Ping () Shang () Qu () Ru ()
Upper () 42 35 33 4
Lower () 21 13 22 2
Citation Tones (Tu Guoping, 2012)
Regiser Ping () Shang () Qu () Ru ()
Upper () 52 335 33 45
Lower () 231 113 11 23
Citation Tones (Huang et al., 2007)[5]
Regiser Ping () Shang () Qu () Ru ()
Upper () 41 55 44 5
Lower () 15 22 31 32

Syllable structure[edit]

Initials[edit]

Initial Example characters
[p] 奔彪宝闭
[pʰ] 抛普配批
[b/pʱ] 盆瓢抱毙
[m] 盟袜摸芒
[f] 风法幅放
[v/fʱ] 奉罚伏亡
[t] 斗吊蹲冻
[tʰ] 偷挑探痛
[d/tʱ] 豆掉潭动
[n] 闹诺挪纳
[l] 拦率蓝勒
[ts] 钻赞照醉
[tsʰ] 川灿操菜
[dz/tsʱ] 缠残赵垂
[s] 涩送爽酸
[z/sʱ] 十字嚷善
[tɕ] 将经机举
[tɕʰ] 腔青启躯
[dʑ/tɕʱ] 墙近旗具
[ɕ] 虚洗仙勋
[ʑ/ɕʱ] 如自贱像
[k] 鸽甲广哥
[kʰ] 渴掐筐科
[g/kʱ] 柜轧狂溃
[ŋ] 外呆饿岸
[h] 荒轰黑夯
[ɦ] 员养荣药
Zero initial ([j],

[w], or no initial)

衣乌挨汪

Rhymes[edit]

Rhyme Example characters
[z̩] 资纸自治
[i] 地替弟贰
[u] 补都附簿
[y] 吕靴需语
[a] 爸他楷挨
[ia] 夜爷斜鸦
[ua] 拐快槐哇
[e] 还眉贝台
[ue] 柜会亏威
[ɤ] 谋否走口
[iɤ] 秋酒流右
[ɒ] 报盗曹高
[iɒ] 飘吊捞妖
[o] 把多罗假
[io] 瘸厦肉加
[uo] 挂花话跨
[aŋ] 碰撑冷生
[iaŋ] 仰央抢粮
[uaŋ] 光梗横
[əŋ] 萌凳乘恒
[ɪŋ] 民亭津引
[ɒŋ] 胖汤窗抗
[iɒŋ] 亮降像象
[uɒŋ] 黄旺眶往
[oŋ] 红翁东奉
[ioŋ] 琼穷胸咏
[aʔ] 百折客赫
[iaʔ] 掠削约捏
[uaʔ] 豁掴划括
[eʔ] 泼物撒舌
[ueʔ] 凸虱脱捋
[əʔ] 德特刻值
[ɪʔ] 鳖匹叠悉
[oʔ] 博落摸诺
[ioʔ] 局蓄役穴
[uoʔ] 哭获惑国
[ɛ̃] 扮凡碳蓝
[iɛ̃] 鲇年念验
[uɛ̃] 贯甩弯环
[ẽ] 奔门吻参
[iẽ] 棉点甜盐
[ɵ̃] 算半盘满
[jɵ̃] 软悬娟冤
[uɵ̃] 碗缓欢管
[m̩] 姆(~妈
[n̩] 呒(~得去)
[ŋ̍] 午鱼五
[l̩]* 尔而饵儿
*Literary reading only.

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ 屠国平 (2012). 绍兴方言语音特征与越地语言文化. Beijing: 中国社会科学出版社. p. 1. 
  2. ^ Zhang (2006), pp. 24, 33, 35.
  3. ^ Zhang (2006), pp. 40–44, 61, 78, 99.
  4. ^ 杨葳 & 杨乃浚 (2000). 绍兴方言. Shangyu: 国际文化出版社. p. 4. 
  5. ^ 黄伯荣, 廖序东; et al. (2007). 现代汉语. Beijing: 高等教育出版社. p. 69. 

Works cited[edit]