Waxiang Chinese

Region western Hunan
Native speakers
300,000 (1995)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wxa
Glottolog waxi1236

Dialect map of Hunan.
Waxianhua is the bit of dark blue in the medium blue (SW Mandarin) just above the red (Xiang)

Waxiang (simplified Chinese: 瓦乡话; traditional Chinese: 瓦鄉話; pinyin: wǎxiānghuà) is a divergent variety of Chinese,[2][3] spoken by the Waxiang people, an unrecognized ethnic minority group in the northwestern part of Hunan province, China. Waxiang is a distinct language, very different from its surrounding Southwestern Mandarin, Xiang and Qo Xiong languages.

Waxiang may share some lexical innovations with Bai, suggesting a possible Macro-Bai substratum.[4][5] It has also been suggested that perhaps Waxiang is a mixed language of Xiang and Miao.


Waxianghua is found in Luxi, Guzhang and Yongshun counties in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Zhangjiajie prefecture-level city (in Dayong 大庸), and Chenxi, Xupu and Yuanling counties in Huaihua prefecture-level city. Neighboring languages include Southwestern Mandarin, Xiang Chinese, Tujia, Qo Xiong, and Hm Nai.

The word Wa 瓦 is only a phonetic transcription.

Wu & Shen (2010) report Waxianghua to be spoken in the following villages.

Liubaohua 六保话, a dialect closely related to Waxianghua, is spoken in several villages in southeastern Guazhang County (including in Shaojitian Village 筲箕田村, Shanzao Township 山枣乡) and parts of Luxi County.[6] Liubaohua is spoken in the following locations (Zou 2013).

Conservative features

Waxiang preserves a number of features of Old Chinese not found in most modern varieties of Chinese, such as the initial *l- (which became a voiced dental stop in Middle Chinese):[7]

Waxiang also has some cases of /z/ for Old Chinese *r- (which became l- in Middle Chinese):[8]

Like Proto-Min, it has affricate initials in a number of words where Middle Chinese has sy-:[9]


  1. Waxiang at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Baxter, William; Sagart, Laurent (2014). Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-19-994537-5.
  3. Kurpaska, Maria (2010). Chinese Language(s): A Look Through the Prism of "The Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects". Walter de Gruyter. p. 73. ISBN 978-3-11-021914-2.
  4. http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_8967627a0101rnbv.html
  5. http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_8967627a0101du6j.html
  6. Zou Xiaoling 邹晓玲. 2013. 湘西古丈县“六保话”的系属.
  7. Baxter & Sagart (2014), p. 109.
  8. Baxter & Sagart (2014), p. 110.
  9. Baxter & Sagart (2014), p. 93.
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