Definitions

shanghai dialect

Suzhou dialect

Suzhou dialect is a dialect of Wu, one of the subdivisions of Chinese spoken language. It is spoken in the city of Suzhou, in Jiangsu province of China and is considered the standard form of the Wu dialects.

It is typical of the Wu dialects, being rich in vowels and conservative in having many initials. And it has many similarities with the Shanghai dialect, being comprehensible between the speakers.

Distribution

Considered one of the most flowing and elegant languages of China, Suzhou dialect is mutually intelligible with dialects spoken in neighbouring Shanghai, and the dialects spoken its satellite cities of Kunshan, Changshu, Zhangjiagang etc. It has noticeable differences with Wuxi dialect, although this does not render the two dialects unintelligible to each other. It is also partially intelligible with dialects spoken in Hangzhou and Ningbo. Neither native Mandarin nor Cantonese speakers understand Suzhou dialect.

Due to the city's population flow patterns, many Suzhou-area residents native to the city do not speak Suzhou dialect, but can usually understand it, although the level of fluency varies. Standard Mandarin, therefore, is spoken throughout the city.

Phonology

Initials

Initials of Suzhou dialect
  Bilabial Labio-
dental
Dental Alveolo-
palatal
Velar Glottal
Nasal    
Plosive aspirated      
voiceless    
voiced      
affricates aspirated      
voiceless        
voiced          
Fricative voiceless    
voiced      
Lateral        

Suzhou dialect has a set of voiced initials and exhibits unvoiced unaspirated and aspirated stops, there are unvoiced and voiced fricatives sets. Moreover, palatized initials also feature.

Rimes

Vowels Diphthongs Triphthongs Nasals Glottals
       
ɿ          
ɥ        
i iøʏ
y     yən yɤʔ
u  
ɪ(iɪ)        
ø øʏ      
         
o    
  əu   ən ɤʔ
E        
         
æɐ        
      ã
ɑ        
ɒ     ɒ̃ ɒʔ

Suzhou has one tripthong rime, [iøʏ ]. Unlike Shanghai, it has no nasalised rimes, although it does have a set of rimes which end in a nasal stop. Middle Chinese entering tone characters which end in [-p -t -k ] end as a glottal stop [-ʔ ] in Suzhou. Middle Chinese nasal endings [-m ] have merged with rimes which end with [-n ] in Suzhou. Middle Chinese [-ŋ ] ending rimes have split into two types in Suzhou. Those which have a high fronted main vowel merge with [-n ] ending rimes. Those which possess a palatising medial [-i- ] and back main vowel, retain the [-ŋ ] ending.

Tones

Tone chart of Suzhou dialect
Tone number Tone name Tone letters Description
1 yin ping (陰平) ˦ (44) high
2 yang ping (陽平) ˨˦ (24) rising
3 shang (上) ˥˨ (52) high falling
4 yin qu (陰去) ˦˩˨ (412) dipping
5 yang qu (陽去) ˧˩ (31) mid falling
6 yin ru (陰入) ˦ʔ (4) high checked
7 yang ru (陽入) ˨˧ʔ (23) rising checked

In Suzhou, part of the Middle Chinese Shang tone characters has merged with the modern yin qu tone.

Romanization

See also

External links

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