Jinhui Dialect
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Jinhui Dialect
Jinhui dialect
Native toChina
RegionJinhui, Fengxian, Shanghai
EthnicityHan Chinese
Native speakers
100,000 (2012)[1]
Language codes

Jinhui dialect (Chinese: ?), also known as Dôn?äc (Chinese: ; pinyin: Dàngd?i), is a dialect of Wu Chinese spoken in the town of Jinhui in Shanghai's suburban Fengxian District. It has about 100,000 native speakers.[1][2] Jinhui is located near the border of the ancient states of Wu and Yue during the Spring and Autumn period. Like other Wu dialects, Dôn?äc has preserved many special features of the ancient language of the Baiyue people.[3]

Dôn?äc has 20 vowel qualities. According to a Fudan University research that was published in the journal Science, Dôn?äc has the largest vowel quality inventory in the world, and ranks highest in overall phonemic diversity among all languages studied in the research.[4][5][6] According to linguist Qian Nairong, who spent eight years teaching in Fengxian and studying its dialects, the reason Dôn?äc has so many vowels is because Jinhui is the place where five isoglosses intersect.[7]


Jinhui has 20 vowels, compared with 7 in Standard Mandarin.[3][4] Pairs of checked and non-checked finals have different vowels. These differences are meaningful in distinguishing phonemes, therefore they are considered different vowels.[3]

i y e ø ? ? ? ? ? o u
oe? æ? a? -- --

There is also a rhotic vowel /?/ which also occurs in restricted environments and is not argued to be a separate vowel, as well as syllabic nasals / m?/. There are not diphthongs in Jinhui; all vowels are monophthongs.[3]

Jinhui also has a large number of consonants, including glottalized stops and a palatalized series:[3]

p? b ?b
p b? ?b?
t? d ?d
t d? ?d?
ts? ts dz
t t? d?
k? ? kf? ?v ?
f v
s z
? ?
h ?
j w

The glottalized consonants are unique to Jinhui dialect and neighboring areas. Most distinctive is //, found for example in ? //. There are other glottalized consonants, such as [?m ?n ?n? ?l], etc., but these are predictable by the tone and so are not distinctive.

[kf? ?v] are phonetically unusual for a Chinese variety; these and the palatalized series correspond to the Mandarin medial vowels -u- and -i-.

It is not clear how many phonemic tones Jinhui has. Of the eight traditional tones, one pair is found in checked syllables, and so not phonemically distinctive. All four pairs may depend on the voicing of the initial, as in other varieties of Wu, but the existence of [?m ?n ?n? ?l] suggests either that they are distinctive after sonorants, or that the consonant inventory is larger.

Level Rising Departing Entering
yin 53 335 ? 4 35
yang 231 113 23 23

There is also a 'light' (unstressed) tone, [?] 2.


In an effort to preserve its unique dialect, Jinhui began teaching it in school in 2012, with a textbook written by Fudan University professor Li Hui, a Jinhui native, and Hong Yulong, the principal of Jinhui School.[7][8]


  1. ^ a b "" 20 (in Chinese). Eastday. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ (in Chinese). people.com.cn. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e "?" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-18. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b Chuan-Chao Wang; Qi-Liang Ding; Huan Tao; Hui Li (2012). "Comment on "Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa"". Science. 335 (6069): 657. doi:10.1126/science.1207846. PMID 22323803.
  5. ^ Chuan-Chao Wang; Qi-Liang Ding; Huan Tao; Hui Li (10 February 2012). "Supporting Online Material for Comment on "Phonemic Diversity Supports a Serial Founder Effect Model of Language Expansion from Africa"" (PDF). Science.
  6. ^ "China tops dialect complexity". Eastday. 2012-02-14. Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b Zhou Shengjie (2012-09-24). """". Fudan University. Retrieved .
  8. ^ """?". Sohu. 2012-09-21. Retrieved .

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