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The Hangzhou dialect, or Rhangzei Rhwa
杭州话; traditional Chinese:
杭州話; pinyin: hángzhōuhuà), is
spoken in the city of Hangzhou and its immediate suburbs, but
excluding areas further away from Hangzhou such as Xiāoshān (蕭山)
and Yúháng (余杭) (both originally county-level cities and now the
districts within Hangzhou City). The number of speakers of the
Hangzhou dialect has been estimated to be about 1.2 to 1.5 million.
It belongs to the Wu
language family, which in turn constitutes one of the Sinitic
language families. The Hangzhou dialect is of immense interest to
phonologists and dialectologists because phonologically, it exhibits
extensive similarities with the other Wu languages; however, grammatically and lexically, it shows many
tendencies. (Simmons 1995)
Phonetics and phonology
The Hangzhou tonal system is similar to that of the Suzhou dialect,
in that some words with shàng tone in Middle Chinese
have merged with the yīn qù tone. Since the tone split
dating from Middle Chinese still depends on the voicing of the
initial consonant, these constitute just three phonemic tones:
pin, shang, and qu. (Ru syllables are
Tone chart of Hangzhou dialect
||yin ping (陰平)
||yang ping (陽平)
||yin qu (陰去)
||yang qu (陽去)
||yin ru (陰入)
||yang ru (陽入)
The most important event to impact on Hangzhou's dialect was its
establishment as Ling'an, the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty. When the Northern Song Dynasty was conquered by the
Jin Dynasty in 1127, large numbers of
northern refugees fled to what is now Hangzhou, speaking
predominantly Mandarin of the Henan variety. Within 30 years, contemporary
accounts record that immigrants outnumbered natives in Hangzhou.
This resulted in Mandarin influences in the pronunciation, lexicon
and grammar of the Hangzhou dialect.
Further influence by Mandarin occurred after the overthrow of
the Qing Dynasty
in 1912. The local Manchu
garrisons were dissolved, adding significant numbers of Beijing dialect
Mandarin speakers to the population.
Because of the frequent commerce and intercourse between Hangzhou and Shaoxing, the Hangzhou
dialect is also influenced by the Shaoxing dialect.
- Qián,nǎiróng (1992). Dāngdài Wúyǔ yánjiū.
(Contemporary Wu linguistics studies). Shànghǎi: shànghǎi jiàoyù
chūbǎnshè. (錢乃榮. 1992. 當代吳語研究. 上海敎育出版社) ISBN 7-5320-2355-9