Wuhua dialect

五華話 / 五华话
Native toSouthern China, Taiwan
Native speakers
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Wuhua dialect
Traditional Chinese五華話
Simplified Chinese五华话

The Wuhua dialect (simplified Chinese: 五华话; traditional Chinese: 五華話; pinyin: Wǔhuáhuà, Hakka: ŋ̍˧˩ fa˧˥ fa˥˩) is a major dialect of Hakka Chinese spoken in Wuhua County, Jiexi County, Shenzhen, eastern Dongguan, Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan, Sichuan Province, and Tonggu County in Jiangxi Province[citation needed].

Overall, the Wuhua dialect is very similar to the prestige dialect of Hakka, the Meixian dialect.


The Wuhua dialect is characterized by the pronunciation of several voiced Middle Chinese qu-sheng (fourth tone) syllables of Moiyen dialect in the Shang-sheng (third tone). The tone-level of the yang-ping is a rising /13/, /35/ or /24/ instead of the low-level /11/ usually found in Meixian. In Wuhua-concentrated areas of Northern Bao'an and Eastern Dongguan, the same Meixian dialect tone level of the yang-ping is found. Two sets of fricatives and affricates (z, c, s, zh, ch, sh, s / ts’ / s, [ts], [tsh], [s] and [ts], [tsh], [s] and [tʃ ], [tʃh], [ ʃ ]) appear, similar to Mandarin Chinese. The distinctive "y" final is found in the Yuebei (Northern Guangdong) Hakka group and Sichuan group. Retroflexed initials in (Zhi series) “Knowledge”, (Xiao group) “Dawn”, and part of (Xi) “Brook”, and poor usage of medials in Grade III and closed finals. Wuhua dialect exhibits “latter-word” tone sandhi. Phonologically, Wuhua showcases a north–south separation while lexically depicting an east- and middle-Guangdong separation, showing similarities to inland and coastal Hakka dialects. Lexically it shows east–west separation in Wuhua, which is quite different from the phonological point of view. Outwardly, lexicons in Wuhua show that the Wuhua dialect is on the diglossia that separates east and middle Guangdong. This way, the lexicons distinguish coast-side dialects from inland ones. The Wuhua dialect is transitional, no matter how it is seen historically or geographically. Overall, the Wuhua Hakka dialect is very similar to the prestige of the Moiyen (Meixian) Hakka dialect.

In the Wuhua Hakka dialect group, Qusheng consists of only QingQu syllables, Shangsheng is a combination of Qingshang and Zhuoqu Characters.

The rounded vowel [y] is common in Yuebei and Sichuan.

According to the Hakka classification of Hashimoto Mantaro, the Wuhua accent falls into Hakka dialects with a high rising staccato and high level tone, a falling tone contour for tone 4 and a rising feature for tone 2.


Most varieties of Jiaying subdialect (Yue-Tai) belong to the Meixian patois[clarification needed], but those in northern Guangdong and Sichuan and some dialects in western Guangdong belong to the Wuhua patois[clarification needed], the Wuhua patoi merges Yangqu with the Shang tone instead, so that voiced characters of MC departing tones have the Shang tone, not Qu. Besides, the Meixian group has a Yingping tone value of 11, but Wuhua has the value of 35 or 24. Most varieties of JYS / Jiaying Subdialect belong to the Meixian patoi, but those in northern Guangdong and Sichuan and some dialects in western Guangdong belong to the Wuhua patoi.


Wuhua County is located in the upper reaches of the Han River. The southeast border of the county is adjacent to Fengshun, Jiexi, and Lufeng. Heyuan and Zijin are located on the southwest borders. The northwest border is connected to Longchuan and the northeast to Xingning. Due to the resulting language contact, Wuhua is affected by the dialectal assimilation of the surrounding areas.

The Wuhua dialect can be found in Wuhua County, Jiexi County, Northern Bao'An (formerly Xin'An (Sin-On), presently called Shenzhen), and Eastern Dongguan, in Guangdong Province, It can also be observed in Yuebei or Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan, as well as in Sichuan Province, and Tonggu County in Jiangxi Province.

Taiwan is also home to the Wuhua Hakka people who migrated from South Wuhua County during the Qing dynasty. Taiwanese Wuhua has observed many changes in its initials, finals, and lexicons. As a result, it shares characteristics with the neighboring Sixian (四縣) and Hailu (海陸) Dialects. The tones remained the same. Minority languages tend to assimilate with their superiors as observed in the Wuhua dialect of Taiwan. The Changle dialect originates in its eponym, the county of Changle (now Wuhua). Currently, speakers of the Yongding and Changle dialects have left their own families. Due to this, there are fewer dialects that are used in present-day Taiwan, including but not limited to prominent Sixian and Hailu dialects.

Internal variation and related dialects

The internal variation within Wuhua County is minimal and is mostly seen in the phonology.[1] The Wuhua dialect spoken in Wuhua County is traditionally categorized into three subgroups:[2]

  • the northern subgroup, traditionally known as the Changle accent (长乐声; 長樂聲; Chánglè shēng), represented by the dialect spoken in Huacheng;
  • the central subgroup, traditionally known as the Xiace accent (下侧声; 下側聲; Xiàcè shēng), represented by the dialect spoken in Shuizhai;
  • the southern subgroup, traditionally known as the Shangshan accent (上山声; 上山聲; Shàngshān shēng), represented by the dialect spoken in Anliu.

A western subgroup, which only includes the dialect spoken in Changbu (长布; 長布; Chángbù), may be added.[3]

Due to its proximity to Xingning City, the spoken language of young people in Wuhua County has been deeply affected by the Xingning dialect, especially in northern towns.

In Taiwan, the Hakka people who use Changle accent mainly live in the area of Taozhu Miao, and a small number of them are scattered in Taipei and Taichung. Most of their ancestors are from Anliu Town and Meilin Town in Wuhua County. Features of Wuhua Dialect. Changle accent is gradually declining in Taiwan and tends to merge with the four county accents.

In more detailed analysis:

  • In Zijin County, the Nanlu accent (南路腔; Nánlù qiāng) spoken in the towns of Longwo, Suqu, Nanling and Shuidun is similar to the Wuhua dialect due to the area's proximity to Wuhua County.,[4] Related to Yuencheng, Dongyuen, Longchuan, Heping, Lianping.
  • The Yuebei group is the most dominant dialect in the rural area of Northern Guangdong around Shaoguan. (c. 2 million speakers), The Speech spoken in Xinfeng, Qujiang and Ruyuan
  • Jiexihua [揭西话] is spoken by the inhabitants of Jiexi County in Guangdong Province. The Hakka accent of Wuyun Town is relatively close to the Hakka accent of Wuhua County (c. 500,000 speakers)
  • Dongguan Hakka [东莞话] is spoken by Hakka inhabitants, in the Eastern part of Dongguan County and North of Bao’an county. This accent has the Yangping as a level tone of value 11, Like Meixian Dialect. (c. 60T speakers)
  • The Sichuan Hakka group or “Tu-Guangdonghua” (四川客家話) is spoken by the migrants from Wuhua County, Meizhou, Guangdong to Sichuan Province (c. 1-2 million speakers)
  • Tongguhua (銅鼓話) is spoken by the people in and around Tonggu County, Jiangxi Province. (c. 1 million speakers)
  • The Changle accent (長樂腔; 长乐腔) was once used in Taiwan as one of the seven major Hakka accents. There are other accents such as Sixian, Hoiliuk, Yongding, Changle/Wuhua, Dabu, Raoping, and Chao'An. It was introduced to the territory by settlers from Changle County (present-day Wuhua) in Jiaying (present-day Meizhou) and immigrants from Yong'an County, Present-day Zijin County (Huizhou Prefecture). Its language is akin to the accents adjacent to the Qin River near Anliu and its surrounding area, in the south of Wuhua County located in present-day mainland China. However, in the Qu Lao Keng area in Yangmei District (specifically Taoyuan City) on Taiwan, there are still many families who utilize the Changle Accent., In Taiwan, the Hakka people who use Changle accent mainly live in the area of Taozhumiao, and a small number of them are scattered in Taipei and Taichung. Most of their ancestral homes are Anliu Town and Meilin Town in Wuhua County. They belong to the Shangshan Accent, and some of the Characteristics of earlier days are preserved. The characteristics of Wuhua dialect. Changle accent is gradually declining in Taiwan and tends to merge with the Sixian accent.
  • Other areas Related to the Wuhua Hakka Accent: Meizhou: Fengshun, Qingyuan: Yingde, Qingxing, Qingcheng, Lianzhou, Lianshan and Liannan, Guangzhou: Conghua, and other places on the Pearl River Delta, Guangxi: Hezhou


Consonant inventory

Labial Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive tenuis p t k
Affricate ts
Aspirated affricate tsʰ tʂʰ
Fricative f v s ʂ h
Approximant l


Most finals are the same with Meixian / Moiyen dialect, except for:

Moiyen Wuhua
uon on
ian an
i ui
in un
uan has lost the "u" medial, example: "kan"
ien en

Vowel inventory

Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open a


Wuhua tones
Tone number Tone name Hanzi Tone letters number English
1 yin ping 陰平 ˦ 44 high
2 yang ping 陽平 ˩ 34 low
3 shang ˧˩ 21 low falling
4 qu ˥˧ 42 high falling
5 yin ru 陰入 ˩ 21 low checked
6 yang ru 陽入 ˥ 44 high checked

In Wuhua, Shaoguan (and most dialects around it), and Sichuan, the Yangping is usually 35 instead of 11.

Wuhua Romanization and IPA

Romanization IPA
b [p]
p [pʰ]
m [m]
f [f]
v [v]
d [t]
t [tʰ]
n [n]
l [l]
g [k]
k [kʰ]
ng [ŋ]
h [h]
j [ts](i)
q [tsʰ](i)
x [s](i)
z* [ts]
c* [tsʰ]
s* [s]
zh* [tʂ]
ch* [tʂʰ]
sh* [ʂ]
a [a]
o [ɔ]
i [i]
u [u]
ê [ɛ]
e [ɨ]

Romanization with an asterisk (*) always precedes an [i].[clarification needed]


  1. ^ Zhu 2010, p. 2.
  2. ^ Zhu 2010, p. 2–3.
  3. ^ Hsu 2010, p. 18.
  4. ^ Zijin County Local Chronicles Editorial Board 2013, vol. 27, ch. 3, sec. 1.


  • Hsu, Fan-ping (2010). 廣東五華客家話比較研究 [Comparative Study of a Hakka dialect in Wuhua, Guangdong] (Master's) (in Chinese). National Central University.
  • Zhu, Bingyu (2010). 五华客家话研究 [A Study of Wuhua Hakka] (in Chinese). Guangzhou: South China University of Technology Press. ISBN 978-7-5623-3299-2.
  • Zijin County Local Chronicles Editorial Board, ed. (2013). 紫金县志(1979~2004) (in Chinese). Guangzhou: Guangdong People's Publishing House. ISBN 9787218092386. OCLC 891032894.

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