- Beijing dialect
nativename=北京話 / 京腔
Beijingin the People's Republic of China
speakers= Around 4-5 million est.
Beijing dialect (zh-stp|s=北京话|t=北京話|p=Běijīnghuà) is the
dialect of Mandarinspoken in the urban area of Beijing, China. The Beijing dialect is the basis of Standard Mandarin, the standard official Chinese spoken languagethat is used by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Chinaon Taiwan, and Singapore.
Although the Beijing dialect and
Standard Mandarinare 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 Mandarinis 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 Chineseimmigrants 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.
phonology, Beijing dialect and Standard Mandarinare almost identical. See Standard Mandarinfor 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 nounsuffix, 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
lenitionif they are in an unstressed syllable: pinyintransl|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"; pinyinb 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 vowelis 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
slangare 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
grammarof the colloquial Beijing dialect utilizes more colloquial expressions than does Standard Mandarin. In general, Standard Mandarinis 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).
** _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."
** _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.
List of Chinese dialects
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