Hangzhou dialect (, ''Rhangzei Rhwa'') is spoken in the city of Hangzhou and its immediate suburbs, but excluding areas further away from Hangzhou such as Xiāoshān (蕭山) and Yúháng (余杭) (both originally county-level cities and now the districts within Hangzhou City). The number of speakers of the Hangzhou dialect has been estimated to be about 1.2 to 1.5 million. It is a dialect of Wu, one of the Chinese varieties. The Hangzhou dialect is of immense interest to Chinese historical phonologists and dialectologists because phonologically, it exhibits extensive similarities with the other Wu dialects; however, grammatically and lexically, it shows many Mandarin tendencies.


Hangzhou dialect is classified under the Wu Chinese, although some western linguists claim Hangzhou is a Mandarin Chinese language. Richard VanNess Simmons, a professor of Chinese at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, claims that the Hangzhou dialect, rather than being Wu as it was classified by Yuen Ren Chao, is a Mandarin variant closely related to Jianghuai Mandarin. Hangzhou dialect is still classified under Wu. Chao had developed a "Common Wu Syllabary" for the Wu dialects. Simmons claimed that had Chao compared Hangzhou dialect to the Wu syllabary and Jianghuai Mandarin, he would have found more similarities to Jianghuai. Jianghuai Mandarin shares an "old literary layer" as a stratum with southern languages like Min Nan, Hakka, Gan and Hangzhou dialects, which it does not share with Northern Mandarin. Sino-Vietnamese also shares some of these characteristics. The stratum in Min Nan specifically consist of Zeng group and Geng group's "n" and "t" finals when an "i" initial is present. John H. McWhorter claimed that the Hangzhou was categorized as a Wu dialect because seven tones are present in Hangzhou, which is significantly more than the typical number of tones found in northern Mandarin dialects, which is four.

Geographic distribution

It stretches from ''yuhang xiasha'' in east to the Qiangtang River in south. A growing number of Hangzhounese speakers is emerging overseas in New York City, United States. Hangzhou dialect is mainly spoken in the urban area in Hangzhou, including the urban area of Gongshu district, Shangcheng district, Xiacheng district, the urban area of Jianggan district, the urban area and 7 villages of Xihu district, and part of Binjiang district.




Syllabic continuants:
The Hangzhou dialect has a rare "apical glide" which can precede vowels in finals. As with Shanghainese, the Middle Chinese entering tone characters, which ended in , now end in a glottal stop in the Hangzhou dialect, while Middle Chinese nasal endings have now merged as generic nasal finals or dropped nasalization altogether.


The Hangzhou tonal system is similar to that of the Suzhou dialect, in that some words with ''shàng'' tone in Middle Chinese have merged with the ''yīn qù'' tone. Since the tone split dating from Middle Chinese still depends on the voicing of the initial consonant, these constitute just three phonemic tones: ''pin, shang,'' and ''qu.'' ''(Ru'' syllables are phonemically toneless.)


Time ::''gemore''(箇卯)-- now ::''deimore''(头卯)-- just now ::''yalidei''(夜里头)-- at night ::''rizong''(日中)-- at noon ::''relidei''(日里头)-- in the day ::''zaogedei''(早间头)-- in the morning ::''yadaobian''(夜到边)-- in the evening Expression of person, categorized by generation ::agong(阿公)-- mother's father ::abo(阿婆)-- mother's mother ::diadia(爷爷)-- father's father ::nene(奶奶)-- father's mother ::popo(婆婆)-- grandfather's sister ::xiaodiadia(小爷爷)-- grandfather's sister's husband ::aba(阿爸)/baba(爸爸)-- papa ::muma(姆妈)/mama(妈妈)-- mom :bobo(伯伯)-- father's brother ::damuma(大姆妈)-- wife of father's oldest brother ::xiaoboubou(小伯伯)-- father's younger brother ::senniang(婶娘)-- wife of father's little brother ::ayi(阿姨)/gugu(姑姑)-- father's sister :guvu(姑夫)-- father's sister's husband ::niangjiu(娘舅)/ajiu(阿舅)/jiujiu(舅舅)-- mother's brother ::jiumu(舅妈)-- wife of mother's brother ::zangren(丈人)-- wife's father ::zangmuniang(丈母娘)-- wife's mother ::yiniang(姨娘)-- mother's sister ::ganyi(干姨)-- mother's sister's husband ::agou(阿哥)-- elder brother ::adi(阿弟)-- little brother ::ajie(阿姐)-- elder sister ::amei(阿妹)-- little sister ::biaogou/biaodi(表哥/表弟)-- male older/younger cousin who does not share surname ::biaojie/biaomei(表姐/表妹)-- female older/younger cousin who does not share surname ::danggou/dangdi(堂哥/堂弟)-- male older/younger cousin who shares the same surname ::dangjie/dangmei(堂姐/堂妹)-- female older/younger cousin who shares the same surname :::xiaoya'er(小伢儿)-- child


The most important event to impact on Hangzhou's dialect was its establishment as Lin'an, the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty. When the Northern Song Dynasty was conquered by the Jin Dynasty in 1127, large numbers of northern refugees fled to what is now Hangzhou, speaking predominantly Mandarin of the Henan variety. Within 30 years, contemporary accounts record that immigrants outnumbered natives in Hangzhou. This resulted in Mandarin influences in the pronunciation, lexicon and grammar of the Hangzhou dialect. Further influence by Mandarin occurred after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. The local Manchu garrisons were dissolved, adding significant numbers of Beijing dialect Mandarin speakers to the population. Because of the frequent commerce and intercourse between Hangzhou and Shaoxing, the Hangzhou dialect is also influenced by the Shaoxing dialect. In recent years, with the standardization of Mandarin, the vitality of Hangzhou dialect is decreasing. As Kandrysawtz concluded, Hangzhou dialect is spoken in less places and by less people, especially the younger generation. Some people also hold the attitude that Hangzhou dialect is not appropriate in official occasions.

See also

*Wu Chinese **Shanghainese **Suzhounese **Ningbonese *List of varieties of Chinese *


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External links

Wu Association
{{DEFAULTSORT:Hangzhou Dialect Category:Wu Chinese Category:Culture in Hangzhou