Jian'ou dialect

Gṳ̿ing-é-dī / 建甌事
Pronunciation[kuiŋ˧ ɪ˥˦ ti˦]
Native toSouthern China
RegionJian'ou, Fujian province
Chinese character, Kienning Colloquial Romanized
Language codes
ISO 639-3
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Bible in Jian'ou Romanised (Genesis), published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.

Jian'ou dialect (Northern Min: Gṳ̿ing-é-dī / 建甌事; Chinese: simplified Chinese: 建瓯话; traditional Chinese: 建甌話; pinyin: Jiàn'ōu huà), also known as Kienow dialect, is a local dialect of Northern Min Chinese spoken in Jian'ou in northern Fujian province. It is regarded as the standard common language in Jian'ou.

Phonetics and phonology

According to The Eight Tones of Kien-chou (建州八音), a rime dictionary which published in 1795, Jian'ou dialect has 15 initials, 34 rimes and 7 tones in the 18th century, however there are only 6 tones in the modern dialect as the "light level" (陽平) tone disappeared.


Initials of Jian'ou dialect
  Bilabial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ  
Plosive voiceless unaspirated p t k ʔ
voiceless aspirated  
Affricate voiceless unaspirated   ts    
voiceless aspirated   tsʰ    
Fricative   s x  
Approximant   l    


Rimes of Jian'ou dialect
Open syllable Nasal coda
Open mouth a ɪ ɛ œ ʊ ɔ ai au aiŋ eiŋ œyŋ ɔŋ [1]
Even mouth i ia iau iu iaŋ ieiŋ[2] iɔŋ
Closed mouth u ua [3] uai uiŋ [4] uaŋ uaiŋ uɔŋ
Round mouth y [3] yiŋ [4]


Jian'ou has four tones, which are reduced to two in checked syllables.

Tone chart of the Jian'ou dialect
Tone number Tone name Tone contour
1 level (平聲) ˥˦ (54) or ˥ (5)
2 rising (上聲) ˨˩ (21) or ˩ (1)
3 dark departing (陰去) ˨ (2)
4 light departing (陽去) ˦ (4)
5 dark entering (陰入) ˨˦ (24)
6 light entering (陽入) ˦˨ (42)

The entering tones in Jian'ou dialect do not have any entering tone coda (入聲韻尾) such as /-ʔ/, /-p̚/, /-t̚/ and /-k̚/ which makes it distinct from many other Chinese varieties.


  1. ^ /oŋ/ which is mentioned in Kienning Colloquial Romanized has merged into /ɔŋ/ in the modern dialect.
  2. ^ /ieiŋ/ is not mentioned in Kienning Colloquial Romanized as it diverged from /iŋ/ after the romanization system was established.
  3. ^ a b /yɛ/ tends to merge into /uɛ/.
  4. ^ a b /yiŋ/ tends to merge into /uiŋ/.


  • Běijīng dàxué zhōngguóyǔyánwénxuéxì yǔyánxué jiàoyánshì. (1989) Hànyǔ fāngyīn zìhuì. Běijīng: Wénzìgǎigé chūbǎnshè.(北京大學中國語言文學系語言學教研室. 1989. 漢語方音字匯. 北京: 文字改革出版社)
  • Norman, Jerry. [1988] (2002). Chinese. Cambridge, England: CUP ISBN 0-521-29653-6
  • Yuán, jiāhuá (1989). Hànyǔ fāngyán gàiyào (An introduction to Chinese dialects). Beijing, China: Wénzì gǎigé chūbǎnshè. (袁家驊. 1989. 漢語方言概要. 北京:文字改革出版社.)
  • Compilation Commission of Chorography of Jian'ou County 建瓯县地方志编纂委员会 (1994). Jian ou xian zhi 建瓯县志 ["Chorography of Jian'ou County"]. 36. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company. ISBN 7-101-01283-3.

External links

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