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Guanzhong dialect (Chinese: 关中话/關中話; pinyin: Guānzhōng huà), is a dialect of Zhongyuan Mandarin spoken in Shaanxi's Guanzhong region, including the prefecture-level city of Xi'an. Since people from Xi'an are considered the prototypical Guanzhong speakers, Guanzhong dialect is sometimes referred to as Shaanxi hua 陕西话/陕西話 or Xi'an hua 西安话/西安話.
Guanzhong dialect is divided into Xifu dialect (Baoji, western Xianyang) and Dongfu dialect (Xi'an, Xianyang, Weinan, Tongchuan), which is the oldest language in China. During the Western Zhou Dynasty, the Guanzhong dialect was called "Yayan". The Book of Poetry records that "the Shang King was not elegant, but the elegant were free from Zhou." Guanzhong dialect was once the official language of the four dynasties of Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang. The unification pattern of Han Dynasty and the great integration of nationalities promoted Xi'an dialect to influence dialects all over the country, and reached its peak in Tang Dynasty.
In general, Guanzhong dialect is classified into two sub-dialects: Xifu Dialect 西府话/西府話 'Dialect of the western prefectures', which is spoken in the west of Xi'an, in Baoji of Shaanxi Province; Tianshui, Qingyang, Pingliang, Longnan of Gansu Province; and south of Guyuan of Ningxia Province, and Dongfu Dialect 东府话/東府話 'Dialect of the eastern prefectures', spoken in Xi'an, Weinan, Tongchuan, Xianyang and Shangluo of Shaanxi Province.
Due to the prevalence of Standard Mandarin in urban areas such as Xi'an, the younger generations prefer Mandarin or Shaanxi Mandarin, which is essentially Mandarin with the tone changes typical of the Guanzhong Dialect. Due to the lexical and grammatical similarities between the Northern Mandarin dialects, attrition of these dialects is more serious. Authorities have moved in to document the local dialects to preserve them.
- Kurparska 2010, pp. 66, 139, 165.
- Kurparska, Maria (2010) , Chinese Language(s) : A Look Through the Prism of The Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects, Berlin; New York: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 9783110219142, OCLC 733240264, retrieved 20 November 2014