Beijing dialect

Beijing dialect

Infobox Language
name=Beijing dialect
nativename=北京話 / 京腔
states=Urban Beijing in the People's Republic of China
region=Northeastern China;
speakers= Around 4-5 million est.
nation="not official"

Beijing dialect (zh-stp|s=北京话|t=北京話|p=Běijīnghuà) is the dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China. The Beijing dialect is the basis of Standard Mandarin, the standard official Chinese spoken language that is used by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China on Taiwan, and Singapore.

Although the Beijing dialect and Standard Mandarin are extremely similar, there are some differences that make it easy for Chinese people to tell between a native of Beijing speaking homegrown Beijing dialect, and a non-native of Beijing speaking Standard Mandarin.


The term "Beijing dialect" usually refers to the dialect spoken in the urban area of Beijing only. However, linguists have given a broader definition for Beijing Mandarin (zh-stp|s=北京官话|t=北京官話|p=Běijīng Guānhuà) that also includes some dialects extremely akin to that of Beijing.

For example, the local speech of Chengde, a city north of Beijing, is considered sufficiently close to Beijing dialect to be put into this category. Standard Mandarin is also put into this category, since it is based on the local dialect of Beijing. Other examples include the local speech of Hailar, Inner Mongolia; Karamay, Xinjiang; and (increasingly) Shenzhen, Guangdong. Many of these cities are populated by recent Han Chinese immigrants from diverse linguistic backgrounds or their descendants. As a result, the residents of these cities have adopted standard Mandarin (or something very close to it) as the de facto common language.


In phonology, Beijing dialect and Standard Mandarin are almost identical. See Standard Mandarin for its phonology charts; the same charts apply to Beijing dialect.

However, there are some striking differences. Most prominently is the proliferation of rhotic vowels. All rhotic vowels are the result of - _zh. 儿 IPA|/-ɹ/, a noun suffix, except for a few words pronounced as IPA|/ɑɹ/ that do not have this suffix. In Standard Mandarin, these also occur, but nowhere near the ubiquity and frequency in which they appear in Beijing dialect. This phenomenon is known as transl|zh|ISO|erhua ( _zh. 儿化).

Moreover, Beijing dialect has a few phonetic reductions that are usually considered too "slangy" for use in Standard Mandarin. For example, in fast speech, initial consonants go through lenition if they are in an unstressed syllable: pinyin transl|zh|ISO|zh ch sh IPA|/tʂ tʂʰ ʂ/ become r IPA|/ɻ/, so _zh. 不知道 transl|zh|ISO|"bùzhīdào" "don't know" can sound like transl|zh|ISO|"bùrīdào" (stress is on the first and third syllables); j q x IPA|/tɕ tɕʰ ɕ/ become y /j/, so _zh. 赶紧去 transl|zh|ISO|"gǎnjǐnqù" "go quickly" can sound like transl|zh|ISO|"gǎnyǐnqù"; pinyin b d g /p t k/ go through voicing to become [b d g] ; similar changes also occur on other consonants. Also, final /-n/ and (less frequently) IPA|/-ŋ/ (-ng) can fail to close entirely, so that a nasal vowel is pronounced instead of a nasal consonant; for example, _zh. 您 transl|zh|ISO|nín ends up sounding like "transl|zh|ISO|nyih" (nasalized), instead of "transl|zh|ISO|nyeen" in Standard Mandarin:The tones of Beijing dialect tend to be more exaggerated than Standard Mandarin. In standard Mandarin, the four tones are high flat, high rising, low dipping, and falling; in Beijing dialect, the first two tones are made higher, the third one dips more prominently, and the fourth one falls more.


Beijing dialect has a lot of words that are considered slangy, and therefore occur much less or not at all in Standard Mandarin. Non-Beijing natives often have trouble understanding what most of these mean. Many of these slangwords have the rhotic suffix -r. Examples include:

* transl|zh|ISO|bèir — very, especially (referring to manner or attribute)
* transl|zh|ISO|biéjie — do not; usually followed by _zh. 呀 if used as an imperative (Usually used when rejecting a favor from close friends)
* transl|zh|ISO|cuōhuǒr — to be angry
* transl|zh|ISO|diārle — to leave; to run away
* transl|zh|ISO|èrbǎdāo — a person with limited abilities, klutz
* transl|zh|ISO|hè — interjection indicating surprise or doubt
* transl|zh|ISO|hōur — to an extreme extent; used of tastes (usually sweet)
* transl|zh|ISO|kōumér — stingy, spendthrift
* transl|zh|ISO|láojia — excuse me; heard often on Beijing buses
* transl|zh|ISO|liūda — to stroll about; equivalent to standard Mandarin _zh. 逛街 or _zh. 散步
* transl|zh|ISO|sayazi — to let go on feet, to go, leave.
* transl|zh|ISO|sóng / _zh. 蔫儿 transl|zh|ISO|niār — no backbone, spiritless
* transl|zh|ISO|xiāoting — to finally and thankfully become quiet and calm
* transl|zh|ISO|zhé — way (to do something); equivalent to standard Mandarin _zh. 办法
* transl|zh|ISO|zhezile — ruined (especially things to do)

Note that some of the slang are considered to be transl|zh|ISO|"tuhua" ( _zh. 土话), or "base language", that are carryovers from an older generation and are no longer used amongst more educated individuals, for example:

* transl|zh|ISO|qíxiǎor — since a young age
* transl|zh|ISO|yūnlecài — to be disoriented

Others, still, can be construed as neologistic expressions that are used amongst "trendier" crowds:

* transl|zh|ISO|shuǎng — cool *in relation to a matter*; compare with _zh. 酷 (transl|zh|ISO|kù) *describes a person*
* transl|zh|ISO|tàocír — to toss into the hoop; used of basketball
* transl|zh|ISO|xiǎomì — special female friend *negative connotation*


As with phonology and vocabulary, the grammar of the colloquial Beijing dialect utilizes more colloquial expressions than does Standard Mandarin. In general, Standard Mandarin is influenced by Classical Chinese, which makes it more condensed and concise; Beijing dialect is not influenced in this way, and can therefore seem more longwinded — though this is made up by the fact that Beijing dialect is spoken faster and has phonetic reductions (see Phonology section above).

An example:

*Standard Mandarin:
** _zh. 今天会下雨,所以出门时要记得带伞。
**transl|zh|ISO|"Jīntiān huì xiàyǔ, suǒyǐ chūmén shí yào jìde dài sǎn."
*Beijing dialect:
** _zh. 今儿得下雨,所以出门儿时得记着带伞!
**transl|zh|ISO|"Jīnr děi xiàyǔ, suǒyǐ chūménr shí děi jìzhe dài sǎn!"
*After having gone through Beijing dialect's phonetic reductions:
**transl|zh|ISO|"Jīr děi xiàyǔ, suǒyǐ chūmér shi děi jìzhe dài sǎn!"
*"It is going to rain today, so remember to bring an umbrella when you go out."

The Beijing dialect sentence would sound too long-winded if used in a context that requires Standard Mandarin (e.g. in writing, or formal speech), though it sounds fine if used among Beijing locals (with Beijing phonetic reductions in place). The Standard Mandarin pronunciation sounds fine if it is used in a context that requires it (e.g. among friends from different Chinese regions), but it is too stilted and short to be able to accommodate all the phonetic reductions of Beijing pronunciation and may be rendered incomprehensible as a result.

ee also

*List of Chinese dialects
*Mandarin slang

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Beijing dialect — noun the dialect of Chinese spoken in Beijing and adopted as the official language for all of China • Syn: ↑Mandarin, ↑Mandarin Chinese, ↑Mandarin dialect • Hypernyms: ↑Chinese …   Useful english dictionary

  • Beijing opera — or Peking opera (zh stp|s=京剧|t=京劇|p=Jīngjù) is a form of traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. It arose in the late 18th century and became fully developed and recognized by the mid 19th… …   Wikipedia

  • Beijing — Peking redirects here. For other uses, see Peking (disambiguation). Beijing 北京   Municipality   Municipality of Beijing • 北京市 …   Wikipedia

  • Beijing city fortifications — The city wall of Beijing was a fortification built around 1435. It was 23.5 km long. The thickness at ground level was 20m and the top 12m. The wall was 15m high, and it had nine gates. This wall stood for nearly 530 years, but in 1965 it was… …   Wikipedia

  • Beijing — /bay jing /, n. Pinyin. a city in and the capital of the People s Republic of China, in the NE part, in central Hebei province: traditional capital of China. 7,570,000. Also, Peking, Peiching. Formerly (1928 49), Peiping. * * * I or Pei ching… …   Universalium

  • Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics — infobox University name= Beihang University (BUAA) native name = 北京航空航天大学 motto = 德才兼备 知行合一 (Having both ability and integrity, seeking and acting for truth.) established= Oct 25, 1952 type= Public president= Li Wei(李未) undergrad = 12,523… …   Wikipedia

  • dialect — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. language, tongue; vernacular, idiom, argot, patois, jargon, cant. See speech. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. idiom, accent, vernacular, patois, slang, jargon, argot, cant, lingo*, pidgin, creole; see also… …   English dictionary for students

  • Tianjin dialect — Infobox Language name=Tianjin dialect nativename=天津話 Tianjinhuà familycolor=Sino Tibetan states=Urban Tianjin in the People s Republic of China region=Northeastern China speakers= Approx. 6 million est. fam1=Sino Tibetan fam2=Chinese… …   Wikipedia

  • Karamay dialect — 克拉玛依话/北疆话 Spoken in Northern Xinjiang, China Region Northern Xinjiang, China; Native speakers ≤500,000  (date missing) …   Wikipedia

  • Prestige dialect — A prestige dialect is the dialect spoken by the most prestigious people in a speech community which is large enough to sustain more than one dialect. The study of prestige in language use is an important part of sociolinguistics.ocial prestige… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”