HOME
TheInfoList



The Fuzhou dialect (, FR: ), also Foochow, Hokchew, Hok-chiu, or Fuzhounese, is the prestige variety of the Eastern Min branch of Min Chinese spoken mainly in the Mindong region of Eastern Fujian Province. Like many other
varieties of Chinese Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety Algebraic varieties are the central objects of study in algebraic geometry Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics, classically studying zero of a function ...
, the Fuzhou dialect is dominated by monosyllabic morphemes that carry lexical tones, and has a mainly analytic syntax. While the Eastern Min branch it belongs to is relatively closer to
Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Standard Chinese, Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chinese spoken in Fujian (especially the Minnan region), ...
or
Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Standard Chinese, Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), ...
than to other Sinitic branches such as Mandarin,
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 ...
or Hakka, they are still not mutually intelligible. Centered in Fuzhou City, the Fuzhou dialect covers 11 cities and counties:
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
City Proper, Pingnan, Gutian, Luoyuan, Minqing, Lianjiang County, Lianjiang, Minhou County, Minhou, Changle, Yongtai County, Yongtai, Fuqing, Pingtan County, Pingtan and Lienchiang County (Matsu Islands), Taiwan (ROC). It is also the second local language in many northern and middle Fujian cities and counties such as Nanping, Shaowu, Shunchang County, Shunchang, Sanming and Youxi County, Youxi. Fuzhou dialect is also widely spoken in some regions abroad, especially in Southeast Asia, Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. The Malaysian city of Sibu is called "New Fuzhou" due to the influx of immigrants there in the late 19th century and early 1900s. Many Fuzhou people have also emigrated to Japan, the Fuzhou Americans, United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in the decades since China's economic reform.


Name

In older works, the variety is called "Foochow dialect", based on the Chinese postal romanization of Fuzhou. In Chinese, it is sometimes called (; pinyin: ''Fúzhōuyǔ''). Native speakers also call it Bàng-uâ (), meaning "the everyday language." In Malaysia and Singapore, it is often called "Hokchiu" (), which is the pronunciation of
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
in the
Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Standard Chinese, Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chinese spoken in Fujian (especially the Minnan region), ...
Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Standard Chinese, Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), ...
language or "Huchiu" (), which is the pronunciation of
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
in the Eastern Min language of Fuzhou itself. Eastern Min and Southern Min are both spoken in the same Fujian Province, but the name Hokkien, while etymologically derived from the same characters as Fujian (), is used in Southeast Asia and the English press to refer specifically to Southern Min, which has a larger number of speakers both within Fujian and in the Chinese diaspora of Southeast Asia.


History


Formation

After the Qin dynasty, Qin Dynasty conquered the Minyue kingdom of Southeast China in 110 BC, Chinese people began settling what is now Fujian Province. The Old Chinese language brought by the mass influx of Chinese immigrants from the Central Plain (China), Chinese heartland, along with the influences of local languages, became the early Proto-Min language from which Eastern Min, Southern Min, and other Min languages arose. Within this Min branch of Chinese, Eastern Min and Southern Min both form part of a Coastal Min subgroup, and are thus closer to each other than to Inland Min groups such as Northern Min and Central Min. The famous book ''Qī Lín Bāyīn'', which was compiled in the 17th century, is the first and the most full-scale rime book that provides a systematic guide to character reading for people speaking or learning the Fuzhou dialect. It once served to standardize the language and is still widely quoted as an authoritative reference book in modern academic research in Min Chinese phonology.


Studies by Western missionaries

In 1842,
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
was open to Westerners as a treaty port after the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing. But due to the language barrier, however, the first Christian missionary base in this city did not take place without difficulties. In order to convert Fuzhou people, those missionaries found it very necessary to make a careful study of the Fuzhou dialect. Their most notable works are listed below: :* 1856, M. C. White: ''The Chinese language spoken at Fuh Chau'' :* 1870, R. S. Maclay & C. C. Baldwin: ''An alphabetic dictionary of the Chinese language in the Foochow dialect'' :* 1871, C. C. Baldwin: ''Manual of the Foochow dialect'' :* 1891, T. B. Adam: ''An English-Chinese Dictionary of the Foochow Dialect'' :* 1893, Charles Hartwell: ''Three Character Classic of Gospel in the Foochow Colloquial'' :* 1898, R. S. Maclay & C. C. Baldwin: ''An Alphabetic Dictionary of the Chinese Language of the Foochow Dialect'', 2nd edition :* 1905, T. B. Adam: ''An English-Chinese Dictionary of the Foochow Dialect'', 2nd edition] :* 1906, The Foochow translation of the complete Bible :* 1923, T. B. Adam & L. P. Peet: ''An English-Chinese dictionary of the Foochow dialect'', 2nd edition :* 1929, R. S. Maclay & C. C. Baldwin (revised and enlarged by S. H. Leger): ''Dictionary of the Foochow dialect''


Studies by Japanese scholars

During the Second World War, some Japanese scholars became passionate about studying Fuzhou dialect, believing that it could be beneficial to the rule of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. One of their most famous works was the ''Japanese-Chinese Translation: Fuzhou Dialect'' () published in 1940 in Taipei, in which katakana was used to represent Fuzhou pronunciation.


Status quo

By the end of the Qing Dynasty, Fuzhou society had been largely Multilingualism#Multilingualism at the societal level, monolingual. But for decades the Chinese government has discouraged the use of the vernacular in school education and in media, so the number of Mandarin speakers has been greatly boosted. Recent reports indicate that less than 50% of young people in Fuzhou are able to speak Fuzhou dialect. In Mainland China, the Fuzhou dialect has been officially listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage and promotion work is being systematically carried out to preserve its use. In Matsu Islands, Matsu, currently controlled by the Republic of China located in Taiwan, the teaching of Fuzhou dialect has been successfully introduced into elementary schools.


Phonology

Like all Chinese varieties, the Fuzhou dialect is a tonal language, and has extensive sandhi rules in the Syllable onset, initials, Syllable rime, rimes, and tone (linguistics), tones. These complicated rules make Fuzhou dialect one of the most difficult Chinese varieties.


Tones

There are seven original tone (linguistics), tones in Fuzhou dialect, compared with the eight tones of Middle Chinese: The sample characters are taken from the ''Qī Lín Bāyīn''. An acoustically quantified set of data for the citation tones (and preliminary discussion of the phonology in more modern terms), the reader may consult Donohue (2013). Little discussed in the existing literature, Fuzhou uses a non-modal phonation with certain tones that has been shown to be perceptually relevant for tonal identification (e.g. Donohue (2012)). In ''Qī Lín Bāyīn'', the Fuzhou dialect is described as having eight tones, which explains how the book got its title (''Bāyīn'' means "eight tones"). That name, however, is somewhat misleading, because Ĭng-siōng () and Iòng-siōng () are identical in tone contour; therefore, only seven tones exist. Ĭng-ĭk and Iòng-ĭk (or so-called checked tone, entering tone) syllables end with either Voiceless velar plosive, velar stop or a glottal stop . However, they are both now realized as a glottal stop, though the two phonemes maintain distinct sandhi behavior in connected speech. Besides those seven tones listed above, two new tonal values, "˨˩" (Buáng-ĭng-ké̤ṳ, ) and (Buáng-iòng-ké̤ṳ, ) occur in connected speech (see Tonal sandhi below).


Tonal sandhi

The rules of tonal sandhi in Fuzhou dialect are complicated, even compared with those of other Min dialects. When two or more than two morphemes combine into a word, the tonal value of the last morpheme remains stable but in most cases those of the preceding morphemes change. For example, "", "" and "" are words of Iòng-ĭk () with the same tonal value , and are pronounced , , and , respectively. When combined together as the phrase "" (Independence Day), "" changes its tonal value to , and "" changes its to , therefore the pronunciation as a whole is . The two-syllable tonal sandhi rules are shown in the table below (the rows give the first syllable's original citation tone, while the columns give the citation tone of the second syllable): Ĭng-ĭk-gák () are Ĭng-ĭk () syllables ending with and Ĭng-ĭk-ék () are those with . Both are usually realized as the glottal stop by most modern speakers of the Fuzhou dialect, but they are distinguished both in the above tone sandhi behavior, and in Fuzhou dialect#Initial assimilation, initial assimilation that occurs after them. The three patterns of tone sandhi exhibited in the Fuzhou dialect may be a reflex of the voicing split from Middle Chinese into different registers. This is based on a comparison with the tonal sandhi system of the subdialect of Lianjiang County, Lianjiang, a very similar but more conservative Eastern Min variety, where three tonal categories on the penultimate syllables ("Yin" / Ĭng / from unvoiced consonants in Middle Chinese; "Yang" / Iòng / from voiced consonants in Middle Chinese; and a third "Shang" / Siōng / tonal category from the Middle Chinese "rising tone" 上聲 where the Yin and Yang registers have merged) interact with the tonal category of the final syllable to form the sandhi pattern in Lianjiang. Although the effect of the historical tonal registers from Middle Chinese is clear in Lianjiang, the Fuzhou tonal sandhi system has deviated from the older pattern, in that the tone Iòng-ké̤ṳ 陽去, which is from the historical "Yang" tonal register, now follows the sandhi rules for the "Yin" register; and the sandhi tone Ĭng-ĭk-gák 陰入乙 , which comes from the historical "Yin" register, follow the sandhi rules for the merged "Shang" tone. The tonal sandhi rules of more than two syllables display further complexities: For four-syllable words, they can be treated as two sequential two-syllable units, and undergo two-syllable tone sandhi accordingly; in faster speech, the first two syllables are reduced to a half dark departing tone, and the remaining two syllables undergo two-syllable tone sandhi.


Initials

There are fifteen Syllable onset, initials, including a zero initial realized as a glottal stop : The Chinese characters in the brackets are also sample characters from ''Qī Lín Bāyīn''. Some speakers find it difficult to distinguish between the initials and . No Labiodental consonant, labiodental phonemes, such as or , exist in Fuzhou dialect, which is one of the most conspicuous characteristics shared by all branches in the Min Chinese, Min Family. and exist only in connected speech (see Initial assimilation below).


Initial assimilation

In Fuzhou dialect, there are various kinds of initial Assimilation (linguistics), assimilation, all of which are progressive. When two or more than two syllables combine into a word, the initial of the first syllable stays unchanged while those of the following syllables, in most cases, change to match its preceding phoneme, i.e., the Syllable coda, coda of its preceding syllable. As with the Fuzhou dialect#Close/Open rimes, rime changes, initial assimilation is not as mandatory as tone sandhi in connected speech, and its presence and absence may indicate different parts of speech, different meanings of a single word, or different relationships between groups of words syntactically.Li Zhuping: ''Fuzhou Phonology and Grammar'', Dunwoody Press (2002), page 6.


Rimes

The table below shows the seven vowel, vowel phonemes of Fuzhou dialect. Fuzhou is known for its vowel alternations much discussed in the linguistic literature (e.g. Donohue (2017)) In Fuzhou dialect codas , , and have all merged as ; and , , have all merged as . Seven vowel phonemes, together with the codas and , are organized into forty-six Syllable rime, rimes. As has been mentioned above, there are theoretically two different entering tonal codas in Fuzhou dialect: and . But for most Fuzhou dialect speakers, those two codas are only distinguishable when in the #Tonal sandhi, tonal sandhi or #Initial assimilation, initial assimilation.


Close/Open rimes

Some rimes come in pairs in the above table: the one to the left represents a close rime (), while the other represents an open rime (). The close/open rimes are closely related with the tones. As single syllables, the tones of Ĭng-bìng (), Siōng-siăng (), Iòng-bìng () and Iòng-ĭk () have close rimes while Ĭng-ké̤ṳ (), Ĭng-ĭk () and Iòng-ké̤ṳ () have the open rimes. In connected speech, an open rime shifts to its close counterpart in the #Tonal sandhi, tonal sandhi. For instance, "" (hók) is a Ĭng-ĭk syllable and is pronounced and "" (ciŭ) a Ĭng-bìng syllable with the pronunciation of . When these two syllables combine into the word "" (Hók-ciŭ, Fuzhou), "" changes its tonal value from to and, simultaneously, shifts its rime from to , so the phrase is pronounced . While in the word "" (Dṳ̆ng-guók, China), "" is a Ĭng-bìng syllable and therefore its close rime never changes, though it does change its tonal value from to in the tonal sandhi. As with Fuzhou dialect#Initial assimilation, initial assimilation, the closing of open rimes in connected speech is not as compulsory than tone sandhi. It has been described as "a sort of switch that flips on and off to indicate different things", so its presence or absence can indicate different meanings or different syntactic functions. The phenomenon of close/open rimes is nearly unique to the Fuzhou dialect and this feature makes it especially intricate and hardly intelligible even to speakers of other Min Chinese, Min varieties.


Other phonological features


Neutral tone

The Standard Chinese phonology#Neutral tone, neutral tone is attested in the Fuzhou dialect, as well as being found in the
Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Standard Chinese, Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chinese spoken in Fujian (especially the Minnan region), ...
group and in varieties of Mandarin Chinese, including Beijing-based Standard Mandarin. It is commonly found in some modal particles, aspect markers, and some question-forming negative particles that come after units made up of one tone sandhi domain, and in some adverbs, aspect markers, conjunctions etc. that come before such units. These two types, the post-nucleus and the pre-nucleus neutral tone, exhibit different tone sandhi behavior. Disyllabic neutral tone words are also attested, as are some inter-nuclei neutral tones, mainly connected to the use of 蜀 ''siŏh'' // in verbal reduplication.Li Zhuping: ''Fuzhou Phonology and Grammar'', Dunwoody Press (2002), page 106.


Vocabulary

Most words in Fuzhou dialect have cognates in other
varieties of Chinese Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety Algebraic varieties are the central objects of study in algebraic geometry Algebraic geometry is a branch of mathematics, classically studying zero of a function ...
, so a non-Fuzhou speaker would find it much easier to understand Fuzhou dialect written in Chinese characters than spoken in conversation. However, false friends do exist: for example, "" (mŏ̤h sá̤-nê) means "don't be too polite" or "make yourself at home", "" (nguāi dó̤i-chiū nṳ̄ sā̤ uāng) means "I help you wash dishes", "" (ĭ gâe̤ng ĭ lâu-mā lā̤ uŏng-gă) means "he and his wife are quarreling (with each other)", etc. Mere knowledge of Mandarin vocabulary does not help one catch the meaning of these sentences. The majority of Fuzhou dialect vocabulary dates back to more than 1,200 years ago. Some daily-used words are even preserved as they were in the Tang Dynasty, which can be illustrated by a poem of a famous Chinese poet Gu Kuang. In his poem ''Jiǎn'' (), Gu Kuang explicitly noted: In Fuzhou dialect, "" (giāng) and "" (nòng-mâ) are still in use today.


Words from Old Chinese

Quite a few words from Old Chinese have retained the original meanings for thousands of years, while their counterparts in Mandarin Chinese have either fallen out of daily use or varied to different meanings. This table shows some Fuzhou dialect words from Old Chinese, as contrasted to Mandarin Chinese: :1 "" (káng) is also used as the verb "to look" in Fuzhou dialect. :2 "" (iōng) in Fuzhou dialect means "give birth to (a child)". This table shows some words that are used in Fuzhou dialect close to as they were in Classical Chinese, while the meanings in Mandarin Chinese have altered:


Words from Ancient Minyue language

Some daily used words, shared by all Min varieties, came from the ancient Minyue language. Such as follows:


Literary and colloquial readings

The literary and colloquial readings is a feature commonly found in all Chinese dialects throughout China. Literary readings are mainly used in formal phrases derived from the written language, while the colloquial ones are used in colloquial phrases in the spoken language, as well as when used on their own. Phonologically, a large range of phonemes can differ between the character's two readings: in tone, final, initial, or any and all of these features. This table displays some widely used characters in Fuzhou dialect which have both literary and colloquial readings:


Loan words from English

The First Opium War, also known as the First Anglo-Chinese War, was ended in 1842 with the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing, which forced the Qing government to open
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
to all United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, British traders and missionaries. Since then, quite a number of churches and Western-style schools have been established. Consequently, some English language, English words Loanword, came into Fuzhou dialect, but without fixed written forms in Chinese characters. The most frequently used words are listed below: * kŏk, , noun, meaning "an article of dress", is from the word "coat"; * nă̤h, , noun, meaning "a meshwork barrier in tennis or badminton", is from the word "net"; * pèng, , noun, meaning "oil paint", is from the word "paint"; * pĕng-giāng, , noun, meaning "a small sum of money", is from the word "penny"; * tă̤h, , noun, meaning "money", is from the word "take"; * sò̤, , verb, meaning "to shoot (a basket)", is from the word "shoot"; * ă-gì, , verb, meaning "to pause (usually a game)", is from the word "again". * Mā-lăk-gă, , meaning "Southeastern Asian (esp. Singapore and Malaysia)", is from the word "Malacca".


Examples

Some common phrases in Fuzhou dialect: * Fuzhou dialect: ''Hók-ciŭ-uâ'' * Hello: * Good-bye: * Please: ; * Thank you: ; ''Kī-dâe̤ng'' * Sorry: * This: ; ; * That: ; ; 許 * How much?: (''niŏh-uâi'') () * Yes: ; ; (''Duŏh'') () * No: ; ; (''Mâ̤ duŏh'') () * I don't understand: * What's his name?: * Where's the hotel?: * How can I go to the school?: * Do you speak Fuzhou dialect?: * Do you speak English?:


Writing system


Chinese characters

Most of the words of Fuzhou dialect stem from Old Chinese and can therefore be written in Chinese characters. Many books published in Qing Dynasty have been written in this traditional way, such as the famous ''Mǐndū Biéjì'' (, Foochow Romanized: Mìng-dŭ Biék-gé). However, Chinese characters as the writing system for Fuzhou dialect do have many shortcomings. Firstly, a great number of words are unique to Fuzhou dialect, so that they can only be written in informal ways. For instance, the word "mâ̤", a negative word, has no common form. Some write it as "" or "", both of which share with it an identical pronunciation but has a totally irrelevant meaning; and others prefer to use a newly created character combining "" and "", but this character is not included in most fonts. Secondly, Fuzhou dialect has been excluded from the educational system for many decades. As a result, many if not all take for granted that Fuzhou dialect does not have a formal writing system and when they have to write it, they tend to misuse characters with a similar Mandarin Chinese enunciation. For example, " (â̤ sāi)", meaning "okay", are frequently written as "" because they are uttered almost in the same way.


Foochow Romanized

Foochow Romanized, also known as Bàng-uâ-cê (, BUC for short) or Hók-ciŭ-uâ Lò̤-mā-cê (), is a romanization, romanized orthography for Fuzhou dialect adopted in the middle of 19th century by United States, American and United Kingdom, English missionaries. It had varied at different times, and became standardized several decades later. Foochow Romanized was mainly used inside of Church circles, and was taught in some Mission Schools in
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
.
/ref>


Mǐnqiāng Kuàizì

Mǐnqiāng Kuàizì (, Foochow Romanized: ''Mìng-kiŏng Kuái-cê''), literally meaning "Fujian Colloquial Fast Characters", is a Qieyin System () for Fuzhou dialect designed by Chinese scholar and calligrapher Li Jiesan () in 1896.


Example text

Below are Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights written in the Fuzhou dialect, using both Foochow Romanized (left) and Chinese characters (center).


IPA


Literary and art forms


See also

*
Fuzhou Fuzhou, alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, 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 mod ...
* Fuzhou people * Fuqing dialect * Chinatown, Brooklyn * Chinatown, Flushing * Chinatown, Manhattan * East Broadway (Manhattan), Manhattan's Little Fuzhou


References


Further reading


Missionary texts

* * * *


Modern studies

* * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Fuzhou Dialect Textbook
Elementary school textbook in Matsu islands, Matsu.
Fuzhou dialect phonology
by James Campbell.


Fuzhou Dialect Resources

Eastern Min Chinese (Speech variety #113)
Globalrecordings.net. Eastern Min Chinese (Speech variety #113)
OLAC resources in and about the Eastern Min Chinese language
OLAC. OLAC resources in and about the Eastern Min Chinese language {{DEFAULTSORT:Fuzhou Dialect Eastern Min City colloquials Languages of China