Wenchang dialect

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Native toSouthern China
RegionWenchang, Hainan
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguasphere79-AAA-kd > 79-AAA-kdb
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The Wenchang dialect (simplified Chinese: 文昌话; traditional Chinese: 文昌話; pinyin: Wénchānghuà) is a dialect of Hainanese spoken in Wenchang, a county-level city in the northeast of Hainan, an island province in southern China.

It is considered the prestige form of Hainanese, and is used by the provincial broadcasting media.


The initials of the Wenchang dialect are as follows:[4]

Wenchang dialect initials
Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop / Affricate voiceless t k ʔ
voiced implosive ɓ ɗ
voiced b d g
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative voiceless ɸ s ɕ h
voiced (w) (j) ɦ
Lateral l

The semivowels [w] and [j] are in complementary distribution with [ɦ], and may be treated as allophones of the same phoneme.[5] The voiced stops /d/ and /g/ occur with only about ten words each.[6]

There are five vowels, /i/, /u/, /ɛ/, /ɔ/ and /a/.[7] The high vowels /i/ and /u/ may also occur as medials.[8]

The possible finals are:[9]

Wenchang dialect finals
Vocalic codas Nasal codas Stop codas
a 阿 ai 爱 au 后 am 暗 an 安 aŋ 红 ap 盒 at 达 ak 北
ɛ 下 ei 事 eiŋ 英 eik 益
i 皮 iu 手 in 新 ip 邑 it 必
ia 写 iau 妖 iam 念 iɛn 联 iaŋ 谁 iap 狭 iɛt 捏 iak 菊
iɔ 笑 iom 心 iɔŋ 用 iop 涩 iɔk 育
ɔ 歌 ɔi 鞋 ou 侯 ɔm 栾 ɔn 春 ɔŋ 公 ɔp 合 ɔt 黜 ɔk 乐
u 有 ui 气 un 轮 ut 脫
ua 娃 uai 快 uan 湾 uaŋ 广 uat 挖 uak 廓
ue 话
m̩ 毋 ŋ̍ 嗯

The Wenchang dialect has six tones on isolated syllabes:[10]

Wenchang dialect tones
Middle Chinese tone
level (píng 平) rising (shàng 上) departing ( 去) entering ( 入)
upper (yīn 阴) 44 21ʔ 11 51ʔ
lower (yáng 阳) 33 42ʔ


  1. ^ Min is believed to have split from Old Chinese, rather than Middle Chinese like other varieties of Chinese.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ Mei, Tsu-lin (1970), "Tones and prosody in Middle Chinese and the origin of the rising tone", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 30: 86–110, doi:10.2307/2718766, JSTOR 2718766
  2. ^ Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (1984), Middle Chinese: A study in Historical Phonology, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-7748-0192-8
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2023-07-10). "Glottolog 4.8 - Min". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. doi:10.5281/zenodo.7398962. Archived from the original on 2023-10-13. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  4. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 66–70.
  5. ^ Woon (1979a), p. 70.
  6. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 69, 70.
  7. ^ Woon (1979a), p. 73.
  8. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 74–75.
  9. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 71–75.
  10. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 75–81.


  • Woon, Wee-Lee (1979a), "A synchronic phonology of Hainan dialect: Part I", Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 7 (1): 65–100, JSTOR 23753034.
  • Woon, Wee-Lee (1979b), "A synchronic phonology of Hainan dialect: Part II", Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 7 (2): 268–302, JSTOR 23752923.