Wuhua dialect

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Native to Southern China
Region Wuhua
Native speakers
6,260,000[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
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Wuhua (simplified Chinese: 五华话; traditional Chinese: 五華話; pinyin: Wǔhuá huà) is a major dialect of Hakka Chinese. It is used in Wuhua County, Jiexi County, Shenzhen, eastern Dongguan, Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan, Sichuan Province, and Tonggu County in Jiangxi Province.


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 and 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. Also distinctive are the "y" final found in the Yuebei (Northern Guangdong) Hakka group and Sichuan group, and retroflexed initials in (Zhi series) “Knowledge”, (Xiao group) “Dawn”, part of (Xi) “Brook”, poor usage of medials in Grade III and closed finals. Wuhua dialect exhibits “latter-word” tone sandhi. Phonologically, Wuhua exhibits a north-south separation while lexically it exhibits 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 Wuhua dialect is on the diglossia that separates east and middle Guangdong, and that distinguishes coast-side dialects from inland ones, the Wuhua dialect is transitional, no matter how it is seen historically or geographically. Otherwise, the Wuhua Hakka dialect is very similar to the prestige of the Moiyen (Meixian) Hakka dialect.


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, with Heyuan and Zijin to 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.

Wuhua can be found in Wuhua County, Jiexi County, Northern Bao'An (formerly Xin'An (Sin-On), presently called Shenzhen), Eastern Dongguan, in Yuebei or Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan, in Sichuan and Tonggu, Jiangxi. All of these places have the tonal characteristics of Wuhua.

Taiwan is also home to Wuhua Hakka people, who came from South Wuhua County in the Qing dynasty. Taiwanese Wuhua has changed much in its initials, finals, and lexicons, possessing much similarity with neighboring Sixian (四縣) and Hailu (海陸) Dialects. Only the tones have been conserved as in Guangdong. Languages tend to assimilate with authoritative ones, and we see this 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 basically left their own families, so only the Sixian, Hailu, Dabu, Raoping and Zhao'an dialects remain in use in Taiwan; in Taiwan, the only widely used Hakka dialects are Sixian and Hailu.

Language variation[edit]

The Wuhua group, with the voiced Middle Chinese characters of the Qu tone merged into the Shang tone. There are usually two sets of fricatives and affricatives similar to that of Mandarin, after all, 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, represented by Huacheng, also called Changle Accent (Huá Chéng, Qí Lǐng), The Central Accent, represented by Shuizai Town, also called Lowland Accent (Tán Xià, Zhuǎn Shuǐ, Héng Bēi, Shuǐ Zhài, Hédōng, Guō Tián), The Western Accent represented by Changbu and Datian, also called the Changbu-Datian Accent (Zhǎng Bù, Dàtián), The Southern Accent, represented by An Liu market town, also called Upland-Highland Accent (Ān liú, Zhōu Jiāng, Shuāng Huá, Méilín, Huáyáng, Mián Yáng, Lóngcūn).

Wuhua County Dialect continuum in Zijin County: Nánlù Accent [Zijin County]: including the towns of Yangtou, Su District, Nanling, and Shuidun Township, Longwo Market Town, and Some other villages in the Market town Area, these areas are adjacent to Wuhua County and the villagers speak slightly with the Wuhua Accent. In Zicheng Dialect they pronounce all qusheng tone words into shangsheng tone words

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

Jiexihua is spoken by the inhabitants of Jiexi county in the Guangdong Province. (c. 0.5M speakers)

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

The Sichuan group or “Tu-Guangdonghua”is spoken by the “Guangdong migrants” in Sichuan (c. 1-2M speakers)

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

Changle Accent [Taiwan]-長樂腔 Changle Accent was once used on Taiwan, as one of the seven major Hakka Accents on Taiwan. [Those other Accents are Sixian, Hoiliuk Yongding, Changle/Wuhua, Dabu, Raoping, Chao'An] It was brought by settlers from Changle County (now Wuhua) in Jiaying (now Meizhou) and immigrants from Yong'an County, Huizhou Prefecture. Its language is similar to the accents found near the Qin River in the south of Wuhua County in the present mainland China, in Meizhou Guangdong; in Qu Lao Keng area in Yangmei District, Taoyuan City, there are still many families who use 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]