Jinhui dialect

Jinhui dialect
Native to China
Region Jinhui, Fengxian, Shanghai
Ethnicity Han Chinese
Native speakers
100,000 (2012)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Jinhui dialect (Chinese: 金汇方言), also known as Dônđäc (Chinese: 偒傣; pinyin: Dàngdǎi), is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the town of Jinhui in Shanghai's suburban Fengxian District. It has about 100,000 native speakers.[1][2] Jinhui is located near the border of the ancient states of Wu and Yue during the Spring and Autumn period. Like other Wu dialects, Dônđäc has preserved many special features of the ancient language of the Baiyue people.[3]

Dônđäc has 20 vowel qualities. According to a Fudan University research that was published in the journal Science, Dônđäc has the largest vowel quality inventory in the world, and ranks highest in overall phonemic diversity among all languages studied in the research.[4][5][6] According to linguist Qian Nairong, who spent eight years teaching in Fengxian and studying its dialects, the reason Dônđäc has so many vowels is because Jinhui is the place where five isoglosses intersect.[7]


Jinhui has 20 vowels, compared with 7 in Standard Mandarin.[3][4] Pairs of checked and non-checked finals have different vowels. These differences are meaningful in distinguishing phonemes, therefore they are considered different vowels.[3]


There is also a rhotic vowel /ɚ/ which also occurs in restricted environments and is not argued to be a separate vowel, as well as syllabic nasals /ŋ̍ m̩/. There are not diphthongs in Jinhui; all vowels are monophthongs.[3]

Jinhui also has a large number of consonants, including glottalized stops and a palatalized series:[3]

pʰ b ˀb
pʰʲ bʲ ˀbʲ
tʰ d ˀd
tʰʲ dʲ ˀdʲ
tsʰ ts dz
tɕʰ tɕ dʑ ˀɟ
kʰ ɡkfʰ ɡvʔ
f v
s z
ɕ ʑ
h ɦ
j w

The glottalized consonants are unique to Jinhui dialect and neighboring areas. Most distinctive is /ˀɟ/, found for example in 金 /ˀɟɪ̃˥˧/. There are other glottalized consonants, such as [ˀm ˀn ˀnʲ ˀl], etc., but these are predictable by the tone and so are not distinctive.

[kfʰ ɡv] are phonetically unusual for a Chinese variety; these and the palatalized series correspond to the Mandarin medial vowels -u- and -i-.

It is not clear how many phonemic tones Jinhui has. Of the eight traditional tones, one pair is found in checked syllables, and so not phonemically distinctive. All four pairs may depend on the voicing of the initial, as in other varieties of Wu, but the existence of [ˀm ˀn ˀnʲ ˀl] suggests either that they are distinctive after sonorants, or that the consonant inventory is larger.

꜀平 Level꜂上 Rising去꜄ Departing入꜆ Entering
yin ˥˧ 53˧˧˥ 335˦ 4˧˥ˀ 35
yang ˨˧˩ 231˩˩˧ 113˨˧ 23˨˧ˀ 23

There is also a 'light' (unstressed) tone, [˨] 2.


In an effort to preserve its unique dialect, Jinhui began teaching it in school in 2012, with a textbook written by Fudan University professor Li Hui, a Jinhui native, and Hong Yulong, the principal of Jinhui School.[7][8]


  1. 1 2 奉贤金汇方言"语音最复杂" 元音巅峰值达20个左右 (in Chinese). Eastday. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  2. 寻找人类语言巴别塔 (in Chinese). people.com.cn. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "金汇方言". Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
  4. 1 2 Chuan-Chao Wang; Qi-Liang Ding; Huan Tao; Hui Li (2012). "Comment on "Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa"". Science. 335 (6069): 657. doi:10.1126/science.1207846.
  5. Chuan-Chao Wang; Qi-Liang Ding; Huan Tao; Hui Li (10 February 2012). "Supporting Online Material for Comment on "Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa"" (PDF). Science.
  6. "China tops dialect complexity". Eastday. 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  7. 1 2 Zhou Shengjie (2012-09-24). "奉贤金汇方言"偒傣话"入小学课堂". Fudan University. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  8. "奉贤金汇学校首开"偒傣话"课". Sohu. 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 6/1/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.