Wiktionary:About Chinese/Wenzhounese

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Wenzhounese is a variety of Wu Chinese, spoken by about 5 million people. It is native to Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang, China. Wenzhounese is one of the most divergent modern varieties of Chinese with more than a million speakers, and has been dubbed the "Devil's Tongue" for its unintelligibility, even with Wu dialects in adjacent areas. This page describes the dialect spoken in the urban area of Wenzhou, specifically in Lucheng District.

Initials and finals[edit]

WT Romanisation Wu-Chinese MiniDict Shen Voiced? IPA Examples
p p b no [p]
ph ph p no [pʰ]
b b bb yes [b]
m m m yes [mɦ]
'm 'm - no [ʔm]
f f f no [f]
v v v yes [v] (文)
t t d no [t]
th th t no [tʰ]
d d dd yes [d]
n n n yes [nɦ]
'n 'n - no [ʔn]
l l l yes [lɦ]
'l 'l - no [ʔl]
ts ts z no [t͡s]
tsh tsh c no [t͡sʰ]
dz dz zz yes [d͡z] (文)
s s s no [s]
z z ss yes [z]
j c j no [t͡ɕ]
q ch q no [t͡ɕʰ]
jj j jj yes [d͡ʑ]
ny ny ny yes [n̠ʲɦ]
'ny 'ny - no [ʔn̠ʲ]
x sh x no [ɕ]
y y y yes [j]
k k g no [k] (白)
kh kh k no [kʰ] (白)
g g gg yes [ɡ] (白)(白)
ng ng ng yes [ŋɦ]
'ng 'ng - no [ʔŋ]
h h h no [h]
gh gh hh yes [ɦ]
' ' - no [ʔ]
WT Romanisation Wu-Chinese MiniDict Shen IPA Examples Notes
r y ii [z̩]
i i i [i]
u u u [u]
y iu v [y]
a a a [a]
ia ia ia [ia] (文)
ua va ua [ua] seems to be 'v + a in Wu-Chinese
e ae ae [ɛ]
ie iae ie [iɛ]
uie viae uie [uiɛ] seems to be 'v + iae in Wu-Chinese
ae e ee [e]
eu eo e [ɜ] (文)
oe oe oe [ø]
uoo uao uo [uɔ]
yoo iuao uo [yɔ] (n)y + iuao → (n)yuao
o o o [o]
yo io vo [yo] (n)y + io → (n)yo
ae ai ai [ai]
iai iai iai [iai] (n)y + iai → (n)yai
uai vai uai [uai] (白) seems to be 'v + ai in Wu-Chinese
ei ei - [ei]
au au au [au]
iau iau iau [iau] (n)y + iau → (n)yau
ou ou eu [ɤu] (文)
iou iou ieeu? [ieu] (n)y + iou → (n)you
oey ov û [øy]
an an ang [aŋ] (白)
ian ian iang [iaŋ] (n)y + ian → (n)yan
uan van uang [uaŋ] (白) seems to be 'v + an in Wu-Chinese
en en eng [eŋ]
on on ong [oŋ]
yon ion vong [yoŋ] (n)y + ion → (n)yon
mm m m [m̩]
nn n n [n̩]
ngg ng ng [ŋ̍]

Tones[edit]

Tones for single syllables[edit]

There are eight tones organized into four groups of two tones. In each group, the voicing of the initial consonant determines the tone: voiceless consonants are dark and voiced consonants are light.

Tone number Tone name Tone value Example characters
1 dark level
陰平
˧˧ 33
light level
陽平
˧˩ 31 綿
2 dark rising
陰上
˦˥ʔ 45
light rising
陽上
˧˦ʔ 34 綿
3 dark departing
陰去
˦˨ 42
light departing
陽去
˩˩ 11 綿
4 dark entering
陰入
˧˩˧ 313
light entering
陽入
˨˩˨ 212 綿

Tone sandhi[edit]

Tone sandhi rules in the Wenzhou dialect are complex.

The table below shows the two-syllable tonal sandhi rules; the cells indicate the tone of the two syllables after tone sandhi. A is the dark tone and B is the light tone.

The table is mainly based on 《溫州方言詞典》. Differences in 《温州方言志》 from 《溫州方言詞典》 are noted in parentheses.

1st \ 2nd 1A
˧˧
1B
˧˩
2
˦˥ʔ, ˧˦ʔ
3A
˦˨
3B
˩˩
4
˧˩˧, ˨˩˨
1 ˩˩ ˧˧
11-33
˩˩ ˩˧
11-13
(11-12)
˥˧ʔ ˦˥ʔ
53-45
(43-34)
˩˧ ˥˧ʔ
13-53
(11-53)
˥˧ʔ ˩˧
53-13
(34-13)
2 ˦˨ ˧˧
42-33
˦˨ ˩
42-1
(42-21)
˦˨ ˩
42-1
(42-21)
˦˨ ˩˩
42-11
(43-11)
3A ˩˩ ˩˧
11-13
(11-12)
3B ˦˨ ˩
42-1
(42-21)
4 ˩ ˧˧
1-33
˩˩ ˩˧
11-13
(11-12)
˩ ˦˥ʔ
1-45
(1-34)
˩ ˦˨
1-42
˩ ˩˩
1-11
˩ ˩˧
1-13
(1-212)

Examples[edit]

Dark level first syllable[edit]
先生 - ɕi33-11 siɛ33 豬油 - tsei33-11 jiau31-13 瓜子 - ko33-53 tsẓ35 蝦米 - ho33-53 mei24-35
注意 - siɛ33-13 i43-53 公事 koŋ33-13 zz̩11-53 資格 - tsẓ33-53 ka313-13 桑葉 - suɔ33-53 ji212-13
Light level first syllable[edit]
棉花 - mi31-11 ho33 黃魚 ɦuɔ31-11 ŋøy31-13 鞋底 - ɦa31-53 tei35 朋友 - boŋ31-53 jiau24-35
長凳 - d͡ʑi31-13 taŋ42-53 和尚 - vu31-13 ji11-53 頭髮 - dɤu31-53 ho313-13 茶葉 - dzo31-53 ji212-13
Dark rising first syllable[edit]
點心 - ti35-42 saŋ33 水牛 - sz̩35-42 ŋau33-1 手錶 - ɕieu35-53 piɛ35 早稻 - t͡sə35-53 də24-35
小氣 - ɕiɛ35-42 t͡sʰ42-1 子彈 - t͡s35-42 da11 粉筆 - faŋ35-53 pi313-13 火藥 - fu35-53 jia212
Light rising first syllable[edit]


Dark falling first syllable[edit]


Light falling first syllable[edit]


Dark checked first syllable[edit]


Light checked first syllable[edit]
  • 月光 - ʔn̠ʲy212-1 kuɔ33

Resources[edit]

See also[edit]