List of Chinese Dialects
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List of Chinese Dialects
Distribution of Chinese dialect groups within the Greater China Region
This video explains the differences in pronunciation and vocabulary among Mandarin Dialects (Std. Mandarin, Sichuan Mandarin and NE Mandarin) and Cantonese.

The following is a list of Sinitic languages and their dialects. For a traditional dialectological overview, see also varieties of Chinese.

Classification

Proportions of first-language speakers[1]

  Mandarin (65.7%)
  Min (6.2%)
  Wu (6.1%)
  Yue (5.6%)
  Jin (5.2%)
  Gan (3.9%)
  Hakka (3.5%)
  Xiang (3.0%)
  Huizhou (0.3%)
  Pinghua, others (0.6%)

Linguists classify these varieties as the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Within this broad classification, there are between seven and fourteen dialect groups, depending on the classification.

The conventionally accepted set of seven dialect groups first appeared in the second edition of the dialectology handbook edited by Yuan Jiahua (1961). In order of decreasing number of speakers, they are:

  1. Guan (including Beijing and Nanjing variants)
  2. Wu (including the Shanghainese and Suzhounese variants)
  3. Yue (including the Cantonese and Taishanese variants)
  4. Min (including the Hokkien and Fuzhounese variants)
  5. Hakka (Kejia)
  6. Xiang (Hunanese)
  7. Gan (Jiangxinese)

The revised classification of Li Rong, used in the Language Atlas of China (1987) added three further groups split from these:

  1. Mandarin -> Jin
  2. Wu -> Huizhou
  3. Yue -> Pinghua
  4. Min
  5. Hakka (Kejia)
  6. Xiang
  7. Gan

Summary

The number of speakers derived from statistics or estimates (2019) and were rounded:[2][3][4]

Number Branch Native Speakers Dialects
1 Mandarin 850,000,000 51
2 Wu 95,000,000 37
3 Yue 80,000,000 52
4 Jin 70,000,000 6
5 Min 60,000,000 61
6 Hakka 55,000,000 10
7 Xiang 50,000,000 25
8 Gan 30,000,000 9
9 Huizhou 7,000,000 13
10 Pinghua 3,000,000 2
Total Chinese 1,300,000,000 266

List of languages and dialects

In addition to the varieties listed below, it is customary to speak informally of dialects of each province (such as Sichuan dialect and Hainan dialect). These designations do not generally correspond to classifications used by linguists, but each nevertheless has characteristics of its own.

Gan

  • /
Gan in Mainland China.
The main dialect areas of Gan in Mainland China.

Mandarin

  • /
The main dialect areas of Mandarin in Mainland China.

The number of speakers derived from statistics or estimates (2019) and were rounded:[5]

Number Branch Native Speakers Dialects
1 Beijing 35,000,000 7
2 Ji-Lu 110,000,000 4
3 Jianghuai 80,000,000 6
4 Jiao-Liao 35,000,000 4
5 Lan-Yin 10,000,000 3
6 Northeastern 100,000,000 4
7 Southwestern 280,000,000 11
8 Zhongyuan 200,000,000 11
Total Mandarin 850,000,000 50


Hui

  • /

Sometimes subcategory of Wu.

Jin

  • /
The main dialect areas of Jin in China.

Sometimes a subcategory of Mandarin.

Hakka

  • /

Min

  • /
The main dialect areas of Min in Mainland China, Hainan and Taiwan.
Southern Min
Quanzhang Min (Hokkien) () ()
  o Amoy dialect
  o Quanzhou dialect
  o Zhangzhou dialect
  o Longhai dialect
  o Zhangpu dialect
  o Anxi dialect
  o Hui'an dialect
  o Tong'an dialect
  o Jinjiang dialect
  o Nan'an dialect
  o Yongchun dialect
   o Taiwanese (see regional variations) [7]
   o Lan-nang dialect (Philippine Hokkien) /() / ()
   o Singaporean Hokkien
   o Penang Hokkien
   o Muar Hokkien
   o Medan Hokkien
   o Burmese Hokkien
Chaoshan (Teo-Swa) ? ?
  o Teochew dialect (Chaozhou)
  o Shantou dialect (Swatow)
  o Jieyang dialect
  o Chaoyang dialect
  o Puning dialect
  o Huilai dialect
  o Hailufeng dialect ? ?
  o Bangkok Teochew
Longyan Min
Zhenan Min
Datian Min
(disputed: separate Min branch)
Zhongshan Min
(disputed:separate Min branch)
  o Longdu dialect
  o Nanlang dialect
  o Sanxiang dialect
  o Zhangjiabian dialect ? ?
Leizhou Min
(disputed: separate Min branch)
  o Haikang dialect
  o Zhanjiang dialect
Qiong Wen (Hainanese)
(disputed: separate Min branch)
() ()
  o Wenchang dialect
  o Haikou dialect
Eastern Min
  o Fuzhou dialect
  o Fu'an dialect
   o Fuding dialect
   o Xiapu dialect
   o Shouning dialect
   o Zhouning dialect
   o Ningde dialect
   o Zherong dialect
   o Minhou dialect
   o Yongtai dialect
   o Minqing dialect
   o Changle dialect
   o Luoyuan dialect
   o Lianjiang dialect
   o Fuqing dialect
   o Pingtan dialect
   o Pingnan dialect
   o Gutian dialect
Northern Min
  o Jian'ou dialect
Shao-Jiang Min
Central Min
  o Yong'an dialect
  o Sanming dialect
  o Sha dialect
Pu-Xian Min
  o Putian dialect
  o Xianyou dialect

Wu

  • /
The main dialect areas of Wu in Mainland China.

Xiang

  • /
Language map of Hunan Province.
New Xiang is orange, Old Xiang yellow, and Chen-Xu Xiang red. Non-Xiang languages are (clockwise from top right) Gan (purple), Hakka (pink along the right), Xiangnan Tuhua (dark green), Waxianghua (dark blue on the left), and Southwestern Mandarin (light blue, medium blue, light green on the left; part of dark green).

Yue

  • /
Distribution of Pinghua and Yue dialect groups in Guangxi and Guangdong[8]
     Guibei (N Pinghua)      Gou-Lou
     Guinan (S Pinghua)      Guangfu (Yuehai)
     Siyi
     Yong-Xun      Gao-Yang
     Qin-Lian      Wu-Hua
The main dialect areas of Cantonese (Yue) in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau.

Pinghua

  • /
Guibei Pinghua (Northern Ping) ? ?
    o Tongdao Pinghua ? ?
Guinan Pinghua (Southern Ping) ? ?

Ba-Shu

  • /

Other

The non-Min dialects of Hainan were once considered Yue, but are now left unclassified:

Hainan "Yue" ?
  o Danzhou dialect
  o Mai dialect

Mixed languages

In addition to the varieties within the Sinitic branch of Sino-Tibetan, a number of mixed languages also exist that comprise elements of one or more Chinese varieties with other languages.

Linghua A Mandarin Chinese and Miao mixed language
Maojia A Qo-Xiong Miao and Chinese dialects mixed language
Shaozhou Tuhua ? ? A group of distinctive Chinese dialects in South China, including Yuebei Tuhua and Xiangnan Tuhua. It incorporates several Chinese dialects, as well as Yao languages.
Tangwang A Mandarin Chinese and Dongxiang mixed language
Waxiang An independent Chinese dialect. It incorporates Chen-Xu Xiang and Qo-Xiong Miao languages.
Wutun A Mandarin Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian mixed language

List in the Atlas

The extensive 1987 Language Atlas of China groups Chinese local varieties into the following units:[9]

  • Supergroup ( dàq?), of which there are but two: Mandarin and Min
  • Group (? q?), corresponding to the varieties of Chinese of the ISO standard
  • Subgroup (? piàn), which may be mutually unintelligible with other subgroups[10]
  • Cluster ( xi?opiàn), which may be mutually unintelligible with other clusters
  • Local dialect (? di?n), which are the dialects sampled by the Atlas

In the list below,[11] local dialects are not listed. Groups are in bold, subgroups are numbered, and clusters are bulleted.

Northeastern Mandarin
  1. Jishen
    • Jiaoning
    • Tongxi
    • Yanji
  2. Hafu
    • Zhaofu
    • Changjin
  3. Heisong
    • Nenke
    • Jiafu
    • Zhanhua
Jilu Mandarin
  1. Baotang
    • Laifu
    • Dingba
    • Tianjin
    • Jizun
    • Luanchang
    • Fulong
  2. Shiji
    • Zhaoshen
    • Xingheng
    • Liaotai
  3. Canghui
    • Huangle
    • Yangshou
    • Juzhao
    • Zhanghuan
Beijing Mandarin
  1. Jingshi
  2. Huaicheng
  3. Chaofeng
  4. Shike
Jiaoliao Mandarin
  1. Qingzhou
  2. Denglian
  3. Gaihuan
Central Plains Mandarin
  1. Zhengcao
  2. Cailu
  3. Luoxu
  4. Xinbeng
  5. Fenhe
    • Pingyang
    • Jiangzhou
    • Xiezhou
  6. Guanzhong
  7. Qinlong
  8. Longzhong
  9. Nanjiang
Lanyin Mandarin
  1. Jincheng
  2. Yinwu
  3. Hexi
  4. Tami
Southwestern Mandarin
  1. Chengyu
  2. Dianxi
    • Yaoli
    • Baolu
  3. Qianbei
  4. Kungui
  5. Guanchi
    • Minjiang
    • Renfu
    • Yamian
    • Lichuan
  6. Ebei
  7. Wutian
  8. Cenjiang
  9. Qiannan
  10. Xiangnan
  11. Guiliu
  12. Changhe
Jianghuai Mandarin
  1. Hongchao
  2. Tairu
  3. Huangxiao
(unclassified Mandarin)
  1. Hubeihua
  2. Henanhua
  3. Nanping dialect
  4. Yangyu dialect
  5. Junhua
  6. Longmen dialect
Jin
  1. Bingzhou
  2. Lüliang
    • Fenzhou
    • Xingxi
  3. Shangdang
  4. Wutai
  5. Dabao
  6. Zhanghu
  7. Hanxin
    • Cizhang
    • Huoji
  8. Zhiyan
Wu
  1. Taihu
    • Piling
    • Suhujia
    • Tiaoxi
    • Hangzhou
    • Linshao
    • Yongjiang
  2. Taizhou
  3. Oujiang
  4. Wuzhou
  5. Chuqu
    • Chuzhou
    • Longqu
  6. Xuanzhou
    • Tongjin
    • Taigao
    • Shiling
Hui
  1. Jishe
  2. Xiuyi
  3. Qide
  4. Yanzhou
  5. Jingzhan
Gan
  1. Changjing
  2. Yiliu
  3. Jicha
  4. Fuguang
  5. Yingyi
  6. Datong
  7. Leizi
  8. Dongsui
  9. Huaiyue
Xiang
  1. Changyi
  2. Loushao
  3. Jixu
Yue
  1. Guangfu
  2. Yongxun
  3. Gaoyang
  4. Siyi
  5. Goulou
  6. Wuhua
  7. Qinlian
Pinghua
  1. Guibei
  2. Guinan
Hakka
  1. Yuetai
    • Jiaying
    • Xinghua
    • Xinhui
    • Shaonan
  2. Yuezhong
  3. Huizhou
  4. Yuebei
  5. Tingzhou
  6. Ninglong
  7. Yugui
  8. Tonggu
Southern Min
  1. Quanzhang
  2. Datian
  3. Chaoshan
  4. Teochew
Puxian
Eastern Min
  1. Houguan
  2. Funing
Northern Min
Central Min
Qiongwen
  1. Fucheng
  2. Wenchang
  3. Wanning
  4. Yaxian
  5. Changgan
Leizhou
Shaojiang
Unclassified topolects

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (2012), pp. 3, 125.
  2. ^ https://www.ethnologue.com/
  3. ^ https://glottolog.org/glottolog/family
  4. ^ https://www.ethnologue.com/subgroups/chinese
  5. ^ https://www.ethnologue.com/subgroups/chinese
  6. ^ The official sanction of Mandarin as an official language has given rise to the following varieties of Standard Mandarin in areas that did not originally speak any dialect of the Mandarin group:
  7. ^ Includes:
    • Central Taiwanese
    • Northeastern coastal Taiwanese
    • Northern Taiwanese
    • Southern Taiwanese
  8. ^ Wurm et al. (1987).
  9. ^ Kurpaska, Maria (2010). Chinese Language(s): A Look Through the Prism of "The Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects". Walter de Gruyter. pp. 63-63. ISBN 978-3-11-021914-2.
  10. ^ For example, though the Southwestern Mandarin of Chengdu is intelligible to speakers of Standard Chinese, other local variants of Southwestern Mandarin may not be mutually intelligible to each other.
  11. ^ Kurpaska (2010), pp. 64-73.

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