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Pu-Xian Min

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Title: Pu-Xian Min  
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Pu-Xian Min

Bible in Hinghwa (Xinghua) Romanised (Genesis), published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.

Puxian (Hinghwa Romanized: /莆仙語; simplified Chinese: 莆仙话; traditional Chinese: 莆仙話; pinyin: Púxiān huà), also known as Pu-Xian Chinese, Puxian Min, Xinghua or Hinghwa(/興化語; simplified Chinese: 兴化语; traditional Chinese: 興化語; pinyin: Xīnghuà yǔ), is a branch of Min Chinese.

Puxian is spoken mostly in Fujian province, particularly in Putian city and Xianyou County (after which it is named), parts of Fuzhou, and parts of Quanzhou. It is also widely used as the mother tongue in Wuqiu Township, Kinmen County, Taiwan. More than 2000 people in Shacheng, Fuding in northern Fujian also speak Puxian. There are minor differences between the dialects of Putian and Xianyou.

Overseas populations of Puxian speakers exist in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Speakers of Puxian are also known as Henghua, Hinghua, or Xinghua.


  • History 1
  • Characteristics 2
    • Differences with Southern Min dialects 2.1
    • Borrowings from Eastern Min 2.2
  • Phonology 3
    • Initials 3.1
    • Rimes 3.2
    • Tone 3.3
    • Register 3.4
    • Assimilation 3.5
    • Comparison between Putian Min and Quanzhou Min Nan 3.6
  • Romanization 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Before the year 979 AD, the Puxian region was part of Quanzhou county and people there spoke a form of Southern Min.[1][2] due to its origin in the past.

In 979 AD, during the Song Dynasty, the region was administratively separated from Quanzhou and the Chinese spoken there developed separately from the rest of Southern Min. Due to its proximity with Fuzhou, it absorbed some elements of Eastern Min, but its basic linguistic characteristic i.e. grammar and most vocabulary is based on Quanzhou dialect.[3]

Puxian Min has 62% cognates with Quanzhou dialect (Southern Min) and only 39% cognates with Fuzhou dialect (Eastern Min).[4]


Differences with Southern Min dialects

Puxian differs from most Southern Min varieties in several ways:

  • The vowel 'a' is replaced by /ɒ/ (o̤) in most cases, e.g. 腳 ko̤ "leg".
  • The vowel 'ư' /ɯ/ is replaced by /y/ ('ü'), e.g. 魚 hṳ "fish".
  • In Putian 'ng' has changed to /uŋ/ except after zero initial and h- (notation: ng), e.g. 湯 tung "soup".
  • The vowel /e/ is often replaced by /ɒ/ o̤, e.g. 馬 bo̤ "horse".
  • Where Quanzhou has 'ĩ' and Zhangzhou has 'ẽ', the corresponding Putian vowel is 'ã', e.g. 病 baⁿ "sick", where indicates a nasalized vowel.
  • The vowel 'io' is replaced by 'iau' (notation: a̤u), e.g. 笑 ciao "laugh". This also holds for nasalized vowels, e.g. 張 da̤uⁿ corresponding to Quanzhou tioⁿ.
  • Nasals 'm' sometimes occur in place of voiced stops 'b', e.g. 夢 mang vs. Quanzhou bang.
  • Initial consonant 'ng' replaces 'g' e.g. 五 'ngo' vs. Quanzhou 'go'.
  • There is a loss of distinction between voiced and unvoiced stops, e.g. the sounds /b/ and /p/ both correspond to the same phoneme and occur in free variation.

Borrowings from Eastern Min

  • Wife 老媽 (Lau Ma)


Puxian has 15 consonants, including the zero onset, the same as most other Min varieties. Puxian has a lateral fricative [ɬ] instead of the [s] in other Min varieties.

Puxian has 40 finals and 6 phonemic tones.


Puxian Min Initial Chart
  Bilabial Alveolar Lateral Velar Glottal
Plosive unaspirated p 巴 (b) t 打 (d) k 家 (g) ʔ
aspirated 彭 (p) 他 (t) 卡 (k)
Nasals m 麻 (m) n 拿 (n) ŋ 雅 (ng)
Fricatives voiceless ɬ 沙 (s) h 下 (h)
voiced β*
Affricates unaspirated ts 渣 (c)
aspirated tsʰ 査 (ch)
Approximant l 拉 (l)


Puxian Min has 39 rimes.
Rime Chart
Vowel Diphthong Nasal Glottal
no glide a 鴉 (a) au 拗 (au) 王 (ang) 壓 (ah)
ɒ 奥 (o̤) ɒŋ 用 (o̤ng) ɒʔ 屋 (o̤h)
o 科 (eo) ɔu 烏 (o) 温 (eong) 熨 (eoh)
e 裔 (a̤) ai 愛 (ai) ɛŋ 煙 (eng) ɛʔ 黑 (eh)
œ 改 (e̤) œŋ 換 (e̤ng) œʔ 郁 (e̤h)
ŋ 伓 (ng)
/-i-/ i 衣 (i) iu 油 (iu) 引 (ing) 益 (ih)
ia 夜 (ia) iau 要 (a̤u) iaŋ 鹽 (iang) iaʔ 葉 (iah)
/-u-/ u 夫 (u) ui 位 (ui) 黄 (ng)
ua 画 (ua) ue 歪 (oi) uaŋ 碗 (uang) uaʔ 活 (uah)
/-y-/ y 余 (ṳ) 恩 (ṳng) 役 (ṳh)
安 (io̤ⁿ) yɒŋ 羊 (io̤ng) yɒʔ 藥 (io̤h)
Chinese character 黃 (ńg) 方 (hng) 漲 (dn̂g) 幫 (bng) 光 (gng) 兩 (nn̄g) 毛 (mńg)
Putian ŋ̍ hŋ̍ tuŋ puŋ kuŋ nuŋ muŋ
Xianyou ŋ̍ hŋ̍ tŋ̍ pŋ̍ kŋ̍ nŋ̍ mŋ̍
Xianyou dialect nasals
IPA ã ɛ̃ ĩ ɒ̃
Romanization aⁿ a̤ⁿ e̤ⁿ o̤ⁿ iaⁿ io̤ⁿ uaⁿ oiⁿ a̤uⁿ
Romanized IPA ã ø̃ ɒ̃ yɒ̃ ɛũ
Chinese character 爭 (caⁿ) 還 (há̤ⁿ) 段 (dē̤ⁿ) 三 (so̤ⁿ) 鼎 (diáⁿ) 張 (da̤uⁿ) 看 (kua̍ⁿ) 飯 (bōiⁿ) 贏 (ió̤ⁿ)
Xianyou tsã tỹ sɒ̃ tiã tiũ kʰuã puĩ yɒ̃
Putian tsa hi tia tiau kʰua puai


Tone Ing-báⁿ 陰平 Ing-siō̤ng 陰上 Ing-kṳ̍ 陰去 Ing-ci̍h 陰入 Ió̤ng-báⁿ 陽平 Ió̤ng-kṳ̍ 陽去 Ió̤ng-ci̍h 陽入
Putian ˥˧˧ (533) ˦˥˧ (453) ˦˨ (42) ʔ˨˩ (ʔ2) ˩˧ (13) ˩ (11) ʔ˦ (ʔ4)
Xianyou ˥˦˦ (544) ˧˧˨ (332) ˥˨ (52) ʔ˨ (ʔ2) ˨˦ (24) ˨˩ (21) ʔ˦ (ʔ4)


Xianyou dialect register chart
Chinese character
Colloquial pe ŋ̍ ɬã, tsʰã nia ɬai nŋ̍ hoe pia tieu
Literary mai hɒŋ ɬɛŋ liŋ ɬo løŋ piʔ tøʔ


新婦房 ɬiŋ pu paŋ → ɬiŋ mu β

青草 tsʰɔŋ tsʰau → tsʰɔŋ nau

Comparison between Putian Min and Quanzhou Min Nan

Chinese character 埋 (lit.) 萬 (lit.) 人 (lit.) 危 (lit.)
Putian mai man tsin tsiʔ kui kiʔ tue tɔʔ
Quanzhou bai ban lin dzip ɡui ɡiak lue lɔk


Hing-hua̍ báⁿ-uā-ci̍ (興化平話字) is the Romanization system for Puxian Min. It has 23 letters: .

The Romanization only needs five tone marks for seven tones:

陰平 Ing-báⁿ (unmarked)

陰上 Ing-siō̤ng ˆ (â)

陰去 Ing-kṳ̍ ˈ (a̍)

陰入 Ing-ci̍h (unmarked)

陽平 Ió̤ng-báⁿ ́ (á)

陽去 Ió̤ng-kṳ̍ - (ā)

陽入 Ió̤ng-ci̍h ˈh (a̍h) 

IPA Puxian Min (Xinghua) Fuzhou
p p
t t
k k
p b b
t d d
k g g
tsʰ ch ch
ts c c
Tone 陰平 Ing-báⁿ 陰上 Ing-siō̤ng 陰去 Ing-kṳ̍ 陰入 Ing-ci̍h 陽平 Ió̤ng-báⁿ 陽去 Ió̤ng-kṳ̍ 陽入 Ió̤ng-ci̍h
Báⁿ-uā-ci̍ a â ah á ā a̍h
Pe̍h-ōe-jī a á à ah â ā a̍h


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ 李如龍、陳章太:《論閩方言內部的主要差異》,《閩語硏究》 pg 58-138. 北京:語文出版社, 1991.

External links

  • Motoki Makajima, Conversational Texts in Two Min Dialects, 1979
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