Wuhua dialect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
五華話 / 五华话
Native to Southern China, Taiwan
Region Wuhua
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None

Wuhua (simplified Chinese: 五华话; traditional Chinese: 五華話; pinyin: Wǔhuá huà) is a major dialect of Hakka Chinese. It is spoken in Wuhua County, Jiexi County, Shenzhen, eastern Dongguan, Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan, Sichuan Province, and Tonggu County in Jiangxi Province.

Overall, the Wuhua Hakka dialect is very similar to the Hakka prestige dialect, Meixian dialect (Moiyen).


The Wuhua dialect is characterized by the pronunciation of several voiced Middle Chinese qu-sheng (fourth tone) syllables of Moiyen dialect in the Shang-sheng (third tone). The tone-level of the yin-ping is a rising /13/, /35/ or /24/ instead of the low-level /11/ usually found in Meixian. In Wuhua-concentrated areas of Northern Bao'an and Eastern Dongguan, the same Meixian dialect tone level of the yang-ping is found. Two sets of fricatives and affricates (z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, s / ts’ / s, [ts], [tsh], [s] and [ts], [tsh], [s] and [tʃ ], [tʃh], [ ʃ ]) appear, similar to Mandarin Chinese. The distinctive "y" final is found in the Yuebei (Northern Guangdong) Hakka group and Sichuan group. Retroflexed initials in (Zhi series) “Knowledge”, (Xiao group) “Dawn”, and part of (Xi) “Brook”, and poor usage of medials in Grade III and closed finals. Wuhua dialect exhibits “latter-word” tone sandhi. Phonologically, Wuhua showcases a north-south separation while lexically depicting an east- and middle-Guangdong separation, showing similarities to inland and coastal Hakka dialects. Lexically it shows east-west separation in Wuhua, which is quite different from the phonological point of view. Outwardly, lexicons in Wuhua show that the Wuhua dialect is on the diglossia that separates east and middle Guangdong. This way, the lexicons distinguish coast-side dialects from inland ones. The Wuhua dialect is transitional, no matter how it is seen historically or geographically. Overall, the Wuhua Hakka dialect is very similar to the prestige of the Moiyen (Meixian) Hakka dialect.

In the Wuhua Hakka dialect group, Qusheng consists of only QingQu syllables, Shangsheng is a combination of Qingshang and Zhuoqu Characters.

According to the Hakka classification of Hashimoto Mantaro, the Wuhua accent falls into Hakka dialects with a high rising staccato and high level tone, a falling tone contour for tone 4 and a rising feature for tone 2.


The Wuhua patois merges Yangqu with the Shang tone so that voiced characters of MC departing tones have the Shang tone, not Qu. In addition, the Meixian group has a Yangping tone value of 11, but Wuhua has the value of 13, 35 or 24. Most varieties of Jiaying SubDialect (Tue-Tai) belong to the Meixian patois, but those in northern Guangdong and Sichuan and some dialects in western Guangdong belong to the Wuhua patois.


Wuhua County is located in the upper reaches of the Han River. The southeast border of the county is adjacent to Fengshun, Jiexi, and Lufeng. Heyuan and Zijin are located on the southwest borders. The northwest border is connected to Longchuan and the northeast to Xingning. Due to the resulting language contact, Wuhua is affected by the dialectal assimilation of the surrounding areas.

The Wuhua dialect can be found in Wuhua County, Jiexi County, Northern Bao'An (formerly Xin'An (Sin-On), presently called Shenzhen), and Eastern Dongguan, in Guangdong Province, It can also be observed in Yuebei or Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan, as well as in Sichuan Province, and Tonggu County in Jiangxi Province.

Taiwan is also home to the Wuhua Hakka people who migrated from South Wuhua County during the Qing dynasty. Taiwanese Wuhua has observed many changes in its initials, finals, and lexicons. As a result, it shares characteristics with the neighboring Sixian (四縣) and Hailu (海陸) Dialects. The tones remained the same. Minority languages tend to assimilate with their superiors as observed in the Wuhua dialect of Taiwan. The Changle dialect originates in its eponym, the county of Changle (now Wuhua). Currently, speakers of the Yongding and Changle dialects have left their own families. Due to this, there are few dialects that are used in present-day Taiwan, including but not limited to prominent Sixian and Hailu dialects.

Language variation[edit]

The Wuhua group, merges the Middle Chinese characters of the Qu tone into the Shang tone. There are usually two sets of fricatives and affricatives, similar to that of Mandarin. The Yangping is usually a low rising tone of value 13. The rounded vowel [y] is common in Yuebei and Sichuan.

The Wuhua Dialect in the County itself has four accents: The North Accent (Huá Chéng, Qí Lǐng), The Central/Lowland Accent (Tán Xià, Zhuǎn Shuǐ, Héng Bēi, Shuǐ Zhài, Hédōng, and Guō Tián), The Western Accent (Zhǎng Bù, Dàtián), and The Southern/Highland Accent (Ān liú, Zhōu Jiāng, Shuāng Huá, Méilín, Huáyáng, Mián Yáng, as well as Lóngcūn).

Wuhua County Dialect is also prominent in Zijin County: the Nánlù Accent includes the towns of Yangtou, Su District, Nanling, Shuidun Township, Longwo Market Town, and some other villages in the market town area. The above areas are adjacent to Wuhua County and the villagers utilize the Wuhua Accent, This contact area serves as an accent / dialect continuum between Wuhua and Zijin Hakka dialects / accents

The Yuebei group is the most dominant dialect in the rural area of Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan. (c. 2 million speakers)

Jiexihua is spoken by the inhabitants of Jiexi county in the Guangdong Province. (c. 500,000 speakers)

Dongguan Hakka is spoken by Hakka inhabitants, in the Eastern part of Dongguan county and North of Bao’an county. This accent has the Yangping as a level tone of value 11. (c. 60T speakers)

The Sichuan Hakka group or “Tu-Guangdonghua” is spoken by the migrants from Meizhou, Guangdong in Sichuan (c. 1-2 million speakers)

Tongguhua is spoken by the people in and around Tonggu county, Jiangxi Province. (c. 1 million speakers)

The Changle Accent was once used in Taiwan as one of the seven major Hakka accents. There are other accents such as Sixian, Hoiliuk Yongding, Changle/Wuhua, Dabu, Raoping, and Chao'An. It was introduced to the territory by settlers from Changle County (present-day Wuhua) in Jiaying (present-day Meizhou) and immigrants from Yong'an County, Present-day Zijin County (Huizhou Prefecture). Its language is akin to the accents adjacent to the Qin River near Anliu and its surrounding area, in the south of Wuhua County located in present-day mainland China. However, in the Qu Lao Keng area in Yangmei District (specifically Taoyuan City) on Taiwan, there are still many families who utilize the Changle Accent.


Consonant inventory[edit]

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive tenuis p t k
Affricate ts
Aspirated affricate tsʰ tʂʰ
Fricative f v s ʂ h
Approximant l


Most finals are the same with Meixian / Moiyen dialect, except for:

Moiyen Wuhua
uon on
ian an
i ui
in un
uan has lost the "u" medial, example: "kan"
ien en

Vowel inventory[edit]

Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a


Tone number Hakka Tone name Chinese characters IPA Description
1 yin ping 陰平 ˦ high
2 yang ping 陽平 ˩˧ low rising
3 shang ˧˩ low falling
4 qu ˥˧ high falling
5 yin ru 陰入 ˩ extra low
6 yang ru 陽入 ˥ extra high

In Wuhua, Shaoguan (and most dialects around it), and Sichuan, the Yangping is usually 35 instead of 11.

Wuhua Romanization and IPA[edit]

Romanization IPA
b [p]
p [pʰ]
m [m]
f [f]
v [v]
d [t]
t [tʰ]
n [n]
l [l]
g [k]
k [kʰ]
ng [ŋ]
h [h]
j [ts](i)
q [tsʰ](i)
x [s](i)
z* [ts]
c* [tsʰ]
s* [s]
zh* [tʂ]
ch* [tʂʰ]
sh* [ʂ]
a [a]
o [ɔ]
i [i]
u [u]
ê [ɛ]
e [ɨ]

Romanization with an asterisk (*) always precedes an [i].[clarification needed]