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Southwestern Mandarin (), also known as Upper Yangtze Mandarin (), is a
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
language spoken in much of
Southwest China Southwest China () is a region in the south of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most ...

Southwest China
, including in
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
,
Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kun ...

Yunnan
,
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese dialects, Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Romanization, alternately romanized as Chungking, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality in southwest China. ...

Chongqing
,
Guizhou Guizhou (; alternately Kweichow) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational enti ...

Guizhou
, most parts of
Hubei Hubei (; ; Hupeh) is a landlocked of the , and is part of the region. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of . The provincial capital, , serves as a major transportation hub and the political ...

Hubei
, the northwestern part of
Hunan Hunan (, ; ) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdi ...

Hunan
, the northern part of
Guangxi Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, uni ...

Guangxi
and some southern parts of
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Shensi) is a landlocked of the . Officially part of , it borders the province-level divisions of (NE, E), (E), (SE), (S), (SW), (W), (NW) and (N). Shaanxi covers an area of over with about 37 million people, the 16 ...

Shaanxi
and
Gansu Gansu (, ; alternately romanized as Kansu) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnatio ...

Gansu
. Southwest Mandarin is about 50%
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
with
Standard Chinese Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca among the speakers of various Mandarin and other varieties of C ...
. Southwestern Mandarin is spoken by roughly 260 million people. If considered a language distinct from central Mandarin, it would have the eighth-most native speakers in the world, behind Mandarin itself,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Hindi Hindi (Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (''Nāgarī'', ),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida . ''May Śiv ...

Hindi
,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...

Portuguese
,
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
and
Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Bengali alphabet, the wr ...
.


Overview

Modern Southwestern Mandarin was formed by the waves of immigrants brought to the regions during the
Ming The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an eth ...

Ming
and
Qing Dynasties The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last History of China#Imperial China, imperial Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by th ...
. Because of the comparatively recent move, such dialects show more similarity to modern Standard Mandarin than to other
varieties of Chinese Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, w ...
like
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research un ...

Cantonese
or
Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucr ...
. For example, like most Southern Chinese dialects, Southwestern Mandarin does not possess the
retroflex consonant A retroflex, apico-domal, or cacuminal () consonant is a coronal consonant Coronal may refer to: * a nuptial crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasu ...
s (zh, ch, sh, r) of Standard Mandarin, but most varieties of it also fail to retain the
checked tone A checked tone, commonly known by the Chinese calque In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. ...
that all southern dialects have. The
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
-
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese dialects, Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Romanization, alternately romanized as Chungking, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality in southwest China. ...

Chongqing
and Hubei dialects are believed to reflect aspects of the Mandarin ''lingua franca'' that was spoken during the Ming. However, some scholars believe its origins may be more similar to
Lower Yangtze Mandarin Lower Yangtze Mandarin () is one of the most divergent and least mutually-intelligible of the Mandarin languages, as it neighbours the Wu, Hui, and Gan groups of Sinitic languages. It is also known as Jiang–Huai Mandarin (), named after th ...
. Though part of the Mandarin group, Southwestern Mandarin has many striking and pronounced differences with Standard Mandarin such that until 1955, it was generally categorized alongside Cantonese and
Wu Chinese Wu (Chinese character: , , Mandarin: ) is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages spoken primarily in Shanghai Shanghai (, , Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ) is one of the four ...
as a branch of Chinese varieties. Southwestern Mandarin is commonly spoken in
Kokang Kokang ( my, ကိုးကန့်; ) is a region in Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English ...

Kokang
district in Northern
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
, where the population is largely
Kokang Kokang ( my, ကိုးကန့်; ) is a region in Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English ...
. Southwestern Mandarin is also one of two official languages of the
Wa State Wa State ( Wa: ''Meung Vax''; ; my, ဝပြည်နယ်) is an autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational adminis ...
, an unrecognized autonomous state within
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
, alongside the
Wa language Wa (Va) is an Austroasiatic language The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family of Mainland Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and southern China. There ar ...
. Because Wa has no written form, Chinese is the official working language of the Wa State government. Some of its speakers, known as the
Chin Haw The Chin Haw or Chin Ho (; th, จีนฮ่อ, ), also known locally as Yunnanese ( th, จีนยูนนาน), are Chinese people who migrated to Thailand via Myanmar or Laos. Most of them were originally from Yunnan Yunnan () is ...
, live in Thailand. It is also spoken in parts of
Northern Vietnam Northern Vietnam ( vi, Bắc Bộ) is one of three geographical regions within Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spell ...
. Ethnic minorities in Vietnam's
Lào Cai Province Lào Cai () is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's t ...
used to speak Southwestern Mandarin to each other when their languages were not mutually intelligible. Southwestern Mandarin is also used between different ethnic minorities in Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi.


Phonology


Tones

Most Southwestern Mandarin dialects have, like Standard Mandarin, retained only four of the eight tones of
Late Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese language, Chinese recorded in the ''Qieyun'', a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded ...
. However, the entering tone has completely merged with the light-level tone in most Southwestern dialects, but in Standard Mandarin, it is seemingly randomly dispersed among the remaining tones.


Syllables

Southwestern Mandarin dialects do not possess the retroflex consonants of Standard Mandarin but share most other Mandarin phonological features. Most dialects have lost the distinction between the
nasal consonant In phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize in phonetics—study the physical ...
and the
lateral consonant A lateral is a consonant In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pron ...
and the nasal finals and . For example, the sounds "la" and "na" are generally indistinguishable, and the same is true for the sounds "fen" and "feng". Some varieties also lack a distinction between the and the glottal .


Subdivisions

Southwestern Mandarin was classified into twelve dialect groups in the ''
Language Atlas of China The ''Language Atlas of China'' (), published in two parts in 1987 and 1989, maps the distribution of both the varieties of Chinese Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety Algebraic varieties are the centr ...
'': * Cheng–Yu 成渝:
Chengdu Chengdu (, ; simplified Chinese Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representa ...

Chengdu
and
Chongqing Chongqing ( ; ; Sichuanese dialects, Sichuanese pronunciation: , Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Romanization, alternately romanized as Chungking, is a Direct-administered municipalities of China, municipality in southwest China. ...

Chongqing
* Dianxi 滇西 (western Yunnan): Yao–Li 姚里 and Bao–Lu 保潞 clusters * Qianbei 黔北 (northern Guizhou) * Kun–Gui 昆貴:
Kunming Kunming (; ), also known as Yunnan-Fu, is the capital and largest city of Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximate ...
and
Guiyang Guiyang (; ; Mandarin pronunciation: ) is the capital of Guizhou province of the China, People's Republic of China. It is located in the center of the province, situated on the east of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau, and on the north bank of the ...

Guiyang
* Guan–Chi 灌赤 (central Sichuan from Guan County to the
Chishui River Chishui River () is a major tributary of the upper Yangtze. Its name literally means "red water river" because it shows reddish color in lower stream due to a large sediment concentration. With the source in Yunnan, Yunnan Province, it forms part ...
and part of northern Yunnan): Minjiang 岷江, Ren–Fu 仁富, Ya–Mian 雅棉, and Li–Chuan 丽川 clusters * Ebei 鄂北 (northern Hubei) * Wu–Tian 武天:
Wuhan Wuhan (, ; ; ) is the capital of Hubei Province Hubei (; ; Postal romanization, alternately Hupeh) is a landlocked provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, and is part of the Central China region. The name ...

Wuhan
and
Tianmen Tianmen () is a sub-prefecture-level city (sometimes considered a county-level city A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is ...
(Hubei) * Cen–Jiang 岑江 (eastern Guizhou) * Qiannan 黔南 (southern Guizhou) * Xiangnan 湘南 (southern Hunan):
Yongzhou Yongzhou, formerly known as Lingling, is a prefecture-level city in the south of Hunan province, People's Republic of China, located on the southern bank of the Xiang River, which is formed by the confluence of the Xiao River, Xiao and Xiang Ri ...

Yongzhou
and
Chenzhou Chenzhou () is a prefecture-level city located in the south of Hunan province, China, bordering the provinces of Jiangxi to the east and Guangdong to the south. Its administrative area covers , 9.2% of the provincial area, and its total populatio ...

Chenzhou
* Gui–Liu 桂柳 (northern Guangxi):
Guilin Guilin (Standard Zhuang: ''Gveilinz''; postal map romanization, alternatively romanization of Chinese, romanized as Kweilin) is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of China's Guangxi, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It is situated on th ...

Guilin
and
Liuzhou Liuzhou (; , IPA Pronunciation:) is a prefecture-level city in north-central Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China. The prefecture's population was 3,758,700 in 2010, including 1,436,599 in the built-up area made of 4 urban ...

Liuzhou
* Chang–He 常鹤:
Changde Changde ( ) is a prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of Ch ...

Changde
and
Zhangjiajie Zhangjiajie (), also known in Tujia language The Tujia language (Northern Tujia: Bifzivsar, ; Southern Tujia: Mongrzzirhof, ; ) is a language spoken natively by the Tujia people in Hunan, Hunan Province, China. It is unclassified within the Sino ...

Zhangjiajie
(northwestern Hunan) and
Hefeng County Hefeng County () is a county on the upper reaches of the Loushui River in the southwestern part of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, bordering Hunan province to the south. It is under the administration of the Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonom ...
(southwestern Hubei)


See also

*
Sichuanese dialects Sichuanese or Szechwanese (; Sichuanese Pinyin: ''Si4cuan1hua4''; ), also called Sichuanese/Szechwanese Mandarin () is a branch of Southwestern Mandarin spoken mainly in Sichuan and Chongqing, which was part of Sichuan Province until 1997, an ...


References

{{Chinese_language Sichuanese Mandarin Chinese Languages of Thailand Languages of Vietnam
Languages of Myanmar {{Languages of Asia (category) Languages by country, Myanmar Languages of Asia by country, Myanmar Burmese culture Languages of Southeast Asia, Myanmar ...
Languages of Laos