Wenchang dialect

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Wenchang dialect
Native toSouthern China
RegionWenchang, Hainan
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguasphere79-AAA-kd > 79-AAA-kdb
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Wenchang dialect (simplified Chinese: 文昌话; traditional Chinese: 文昌話; pinyin: Wénchāng huà) is a dialect of Hainanese which is 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:[1]

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Stop / Affricate voiceless t ts k ʔ
voiced implosive ɓ ɗ
voiced b d g
Nasal m n ŋ
Fricative voiceless ɸ s 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.[2] The voiced stops /d/ and /g/ occur with only about ten words each.[3]

There are five vowels, /i/, /u/, /ɛ/, /ɔ/ and /a/.[4] The high vowels /i/ and /u/ may also occur as medials.[5]

The possible finals are:[6]

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

Wenchang dialect has six tones on isolated syllabes:[7]

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. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 66–70.
  2. ^ Woon (1979a), p. 70.
  3. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 69, 70.
  4. ^ Woon (1979a), p. 73.
  5. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 74–75.
  6. ^ Woon (1979a), pp. 71–75.
  7. ^ 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.