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Topics in Chinese Linguistics: Introduction to Chinese Unit 2: Dialects in China
What is a dialect? a. A regional variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, esp. a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists: Cockney is a dialect of English. b. A variety of language that with other varieties constitutes a single language of which no single variety is standard: the dialects of Ancient Greek.
What is a dialect? The language peculiar to an occupational group or a paricular social class: the dialect of science. The manner or style of expressing oneself in language or the arts. A language considered as part of a larger family of languages or a linguistic branch: Spanish and French are Romance dialects. (American Heritage Dictionary, Second edition, 1982, 1985)
Eight Chinese Dialects Northen (Beijing) 647,000,000 Wu (Shanghai) 77,000,000 Yue (Guangzhou) 47,000,000 Xiang (Changsha) 46,000,000 Min South (Xiamen) 28,000,000 Min North (Fuzhou )11,000,000 Hakka (Mei Xian) 37,000,000 Gan (Nanchang) 22,000,000 (Hu Yushu, 1962 Modern Chinese)
Eight Chinese Dialects Northern (Mandarin)715 million (71.5%) Jiangsu-Zhejiang (Wu) 85 million (8.5%) Cantonese (Yue)50 million(5%) Hunan (Xiang)48 million(4.8%) Hakka37 million(3.7%) Southern Min28 million (2.8%) Jiangxi (Gan)24 million(2.4%) Northern Min13 million(1.3%) (DeFrancis (1984) The Chinese Language p. 58 )
Seven Chinese Dialects Mandarin679,250,000(71.5%) Wu80,750,000(8.5%) Gan22,800,000(2.4%) Xiang45,600,000(4.8%) Hakka35,150,000(3.7%) Yue47,500,000(5.0%) Min38,950,000(4.1%) (Ramsey (1987) The Languages of China p. 87. )
Chinese Dialect Map This map contains some errors. Can you find them out? What is mislabeled? What is missing?
Characteristics of Chinese dialects Pronunciation Vocabulary Grammar
Pronunciation Mutual unintelligible Northern dialects do not have voice sounds b-, d-, g-, z-, v- and entering tone –p, -t, -k -? Wu dialect has voiced sounds, entering tones and makes no distinction between z, c, s and zh, ch, sh Cantonese has entering tones, but no voiced sounds.
Tonal differences The number of tones vary in various dialects Mandarin – 4 tones Yīn PíngYáng PíngShǎng ShēngQù Shēng
Tones in Wu and Cantonese Wu Dialect –5 tones
Tones in Wu and Cantonese Cantonese – 9 tones
Vocabulary differences Same concept - different words corn - yùmǐ: bàngzi, bāogǔ, bāomǐ, zhēnzhūmǐ match - huǒchái: yánghuǒ, zìláihuǒ, qǔdēngr drink tea - hē chá: chik zo (Shanghai), yam cha (Cantonese)
Vocabulary differences Same word - different concepts ādiē means: father (Jiaxing, Wu), grandfather from fathers side (Suzhou, Wu), grandfather from mothers side (Guangxi)
Grammar differences are minor Word order: Putonghua: give you money. Shanghai: give you money. Cantonese: give money you. Putonghua: you first go. Shanghai: you first go. Cantonese: you go first.
More grammatical examples I am as tall as you. Putonghua I with you same tall Shanghai I with you same tall Cantonese I with you same tall
More grammatical examples Putonghua Sit plane comp sit train fast Shanghai Sit plane comp sit train fast Cantonese Sit plane fast than sit train
More grammatical examples Putonghua I give you a book Shanghai I give you a book Cantonese I give a book him
Samples of dialects Mandarin Shanghai Cantonese Hakka Chiuchou The North Wind and the Sun Once upon a time the North Wind and the Sun were arguing over which ones power was greater. Just then a man wearing a very warm coat happened to pass by. [Seeing him,] the two of them decided to make an agreement whichever one had the power to make the man take off that coat of his first, then the power of that one would be regarded as greater. Thereupon the North Wind blew with all his strength. Who would have thought that the harder he blew the tighter the man pulled his coat around his body! Finally, seeing that it was all of no use, the North Wind gave up. Then, the Sun sent out some really warm heat, and the man walking down the road immediately took off his coat. In this way, the North Wind was forced to admit that the Sun was greater than he was. (Ramsey, 1987, p.107)
How were dialects formed? Population distribution Migration Geographical barrier Language contact
Two theories Wang, James S. Y. Wave theory – language change starts in the center and radiates to peripheral areas like waves spread. Kaufman and Thomason (1988, in Wadley, 1996) - Language borrowing and language shift theory – a) languages contact and borrow words from each other; b) groups of people move and learn the second language, their second language is a pidgin, then the pidgin was accepted by the target language speakers causing changes.
Research on dialects The earliest study of dialects was concentrated on vocabulary use. Yang Xiongs Dialects (53 BC-AD18, Western Han) recorded words dating from Zhou and Qin Dynasties to the end of Western Han. It has 13 volumes, with 11,9000 words. Each word has a description of its use of area.
Research on dialects In 1924, Dialect Investigation Association was established in Beijing University. The alphabet used to describe dialects was developed. In 1956, large scale investigation of dialects started. In 1960, beginning of editing and compling the Descriptions of Dialects
Research on dialects Japan : Tokyo Foreign Language University, Asia and Africa Language and Culture Research Institute is the major research institute
How to study dialects Investigation of dialects: field work Analysis and description of dialect systems Publication of dialect description book and map Use of computer to analyze dialects
Putonghua (Common Speech) Need of Putonghua: The need for a unified language in China is obvious. Without a unified language (spoken), people will not be able to communicate. The question is which dialect to select as the standard language.
Definition of Putonghua It is the Common Language (Putonghua), which has as its standard pronunciation the Peking pronunciation, as its basic dialect the Northern dialect, and as its grammatical model the exemplary literary works written in the modern colloquial.
Promotion of Putonghua Means of instruction Mass media Language for aviation, railway and other transportation vehicles Military forces
Questions and Concerns Can Putonghua become native language of Chinese people? Does Putonghua replace all dialects? Is bilingualism viable?
Reading assignments and activities 1. Ramsey: Chapter 1 (pp. 1-18) and Chapter 6 (pp 87-95, pp Focus on Mandrin, Wu and Yue) (concise and clear description); 2. Optional: Norman: Chapter 8.1-4, 8.6, 8.8, 9.2 ( more detailed information about dialects), 10.1; 3. Surf the Internet and find some web sites related to Chinese dialects. Record the URLs.
Review questions 1. What is a dialect? 2. How many major dialects are there in China? Are they mutually intelligible? 3. What different features are observed in various dialects in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar? 4. What is the major difference between Northern and Wu dialect and Cantonese? 5. What factors influence the formation of dialects? 6. How and why to study dialects? 7. What is Putonghua? Why does China need Putonghua? 8. Do you think that Putonghua will finally become a unified language? 9. Do you think that bilingualism/bidialectalism possible?