Saturday, October 4, 2008

Huizhou Chinese

Huizhou, or ''Huizhou-hua'' , also known as ''Hui-yu'' , is a subdivision of . Its exact status is greatly disputed among linguists. Some prefer to classify it under , others prefer to classify it under , still others set it apart as an independent primary branch of Chinese.

Hui is spoken over a small area compared to other Chinese varieties: in and around the historical region of , in about ten or so mountainous in southern Anhui, plus a few more in neighbouring Zhejiang and Jiangxi. Despite its small size, Hui displays a very high degree of internal variation. Nearly every county has its own distinct dialect unintelligible to a speaker a few counties away. It is for this reason that bilingualism and multilingualism are common among speakers of Hui.

Like all other varieties of , there is plenty of dispute as to whether Hui is a language or a dialect. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for the issues surrounding this dispute.


Hui can be divided into five dialects:

* Jixi-Shexian, spoken in , , , , and Ningguo, Anhui province, as well as , Zhejiang province
* Xiuning-Yixian, spoken in , , , , and , as well as , Jiangxi province
* Qimen-Dexing, spoken in and , Anhui province, as well as , Dexing, and , Jiangxi province
* Yanzhou, spoken in and Jiande, Zhejiang province
* Jingde-Zhanda, spoken in , , , , and Ningguo, Anhui province


Phonologically speaking, Hui is noted for its massive loss of s, including -i, -u, and s:

Many dialects of Hui have diphthongs with a , lengthened first part. For example, 話 "speech" is in Xiuning County , 園 "yard" is in Xiuning County ; 結 "knot" is in , 約 "agreement" is in . A few areas take this to extremes. For example, Likou in Qimen County has for 飯 "rice" , with the appearing directly as a result of the lengthened, .

Because s have mostly dropped off, Hui reuses the ending as a diminutive. For example, in the Tunxi dialect, there is 索 "rope" < + .

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