Guangxi 1

Listen to Guangxi 1, a 33-year-old man from Shilong, Zhongshan County, Hezhou, Guangxi, China. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.

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AGE: 33

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 15/02/1980

PLACE OF BIRTH: Shilong, Zhongshan County, Hezhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese

OCCUPATION: university lecturer

EDUCATION: postgraduate


The subject spent three years in Shanghai during his post-graduate studies.


The subject did have some foreign teachers in high school but says his mother tongue is still the main influence on his English.

The text used in our recordings of scripted speech can be found by clicking here.







My hometown: Aah, my hometown is not a very big place; it is not a industrialized, ah, place. It is surrounded by the mountains and rivers. There’s a, ah, not very big, ah, river surrounded my hometown. Ahm, there’s a big tree and a pot [pond] in front of my home, so during my childhood that’s my happiest time I spent in my childhood. Even though it – it has been more than twenty years, not very, ahm, big changes had taken place in our hometown, but I think that the people in my hometown, they are very friendly, honest, and, ah, it’s full of hosta-bilities [hospitality]. [The subject now goes on to read abstracts from the Analects of Confucius in his own Zhongshanhua dialect. (See the detailed commentary below.) He has not provided a pinyin transliteration. A reading in Putonghua (Mandarin) can be heard on the Hebei 1 sample.]








KEY: A = Mandarin (Simplified); B = Mandarin (Pinyin); C = Dialect (Pinyin); D = English.

孔子: 论语 – Kǒng zǐ : lún yǔ – Kon zi: len yu – Confucius: Lun Yu


學而第一 – xué ér dì yī – Xué ér dì yī – Chapter One

A: 1-1:-       子曰: 學而時習之、不亦說乎。

B: yī-yī :-    zǐ yuē: xué ér shí xí zhī, bù yì yuè hū.

C: yī-yī :-

D: 1-1:-       The Master said: Is it not pleasure to learn, and practice what is learned time and again?

A: 1-2:-       有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎。

B: yī-èr:-     yǒu péng zì yuǎn fāng lái, bù yì lè hū.

C: yī-èr:-

D: 1-2:-       Is it not happiness to have friends coming from distant places?

A: 1-3:-       人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎。

B: yī-sān:    rén bù zhī ér bù yùn, bù yì jūn zi hū.

C: yī-sān:

D: 1-3:-       Is it not virtue for a man to feel no discomposure when others take no note of him?

為政第二 wéi zhèng dì èr – wéi zhèng dì ér – Chapter two

A: 2-2:-       子曰:「詩三百,一言以蔽之,曰:『思無邪』。

B: èr-èr:-     zǐ yuē: shī sān bǎi, yī yán yǐ bì zhī , yuē: sī wú xié.

C: èr-èr:-

D: 2-2:-       The Master said: In the Book of Odes there are three hundred poems, but they may be summarised in a single sentence: Think no evil.

A: 2-7:-       子游問孝。子曰:今之孝者,是謂能養。至於犬馬,皆能有養;不敬,    何 以別乎。

B: èr-qī:-     zǐ yóu wèn xiào. zǐ yuē: jīn zhī xiào zhě, shì wèi néng yǎng. zhì wū quǎn mǎ, jiē néng yǒu yǎng; bù jìng, hé yǐ bié hū.

C: : èr-qī:-

D: 2-7:-       Zi You asked what filial piety was. The Master said: Nowadays, providing support for one’s parents is considered filial piety. But dogs and horses can also do this. If there is no respect, what is the difference?

A: 2-10:-     子曰:「視其所以,觀其所由,察其所安。人焉叟哉?人焉叟哉?

B: èr-shí :- zǐ yuē: shì qí suǒ yǐ , guān qí suǒ yóu, chá qí suǒ ān. rén yān sǒu zāi? rén yān sǒu zāi?

C: èr-shí :-

D: 2-10:-     The Master said: Watch what a man does. Find out his motives. See how he takes his ease. How then can the man hide his true self? How can the man hide his true self?


This is a strong accent and is rich in practically all of the linguistic gems that characterize English as spoken by Chinese subjects. Listen out especially for the “v” in “five times as much” and “rivers” in the unscripted speech.

His native dialect, Zhongshanhua, is a sub-dialect of Pinghua, which is spoken mainly around Nanning and Guilin in Guangxi, with some speakers in Yunnan Province. Originally classified as a subdivision of Yue (Cantonese) Chinese, it is now treated as a separate dialect and is spoken by more than two million people. Pinghua has several notable features, including six phonemic tones. As with all Chinese dialects, there is considerable regional variation of pitch in these tones. It also has various loan words from the Zhuang dialects.

In Hezhou, Pinghua is a trade language and is spoken as a second language by speakers of Zhuang languages. Genetically, Pinghua speakers have more in common with non-Han ethnic minorities in southern China than with other Han groups. In total, there are 29 dialect groups in the Hezhou area, all of them with a number of sub-dialects. This is, therefore, a very rich linguistic area and the linguistic department of Hezhou University has an active program of research that aims to record and preserve samples of as many of these as possible.

Guangxi (广西), is an autonomous region (Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region) in south China along its border with Vietnam. It was originally a province, but became an autonomous region in 1958 in when the Zhuang ethnic group was officially recognised.

The area, which is located in mostly mountainous terrain, has been on the frontier of Chinese civilization throughout much of China’s history. The “Guang” means “expanse” and has been associated with the region since the creation of the Guang Prefecture in AD 226. It was granted provincial level status during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368), but, before the foundation of the People’s republic in 1949, was always seen as a wild and open place.

The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in Guangxi. Of these, the main subgroups are those that speak the southwestern Mandarin and Cantonese (Yue) varieties of Chinese. The Zhuang people are the largest minority ethnicity in China, and more than 90% (>14 million) of the Zhuang live in Guangxi. There are also significant numbers of the Dong and Miao peoples. Smaller ethnic groups include the Yao, Hui, Yi (Lolo), Shui, and Gin (Vietnamese) peoples.

The area now known as Guangxi was originally inhabited by a mixture of tribal groups that the Chinese referred to as the Hundred Yue (Baiyue), and the region did not become part of China until the great unification under the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE). The name “Guangxi” can be traced to the “Expansive” or “Wide” province (廣州) of the Eastern Wu, who controlled southeastern China during the Three Kingdoms period (220 – 265 CE).

During the Tang dynasty (618 – 907), the Zhuang supported the kingdom of Southern Zhao(Nanzhao) in Yunnan in its defeat of imperial armies in 751 and 754. In the ensuing settlement, the region was divided into an area of Zhuang ascendancy west of Nanning and an area of Han ascendancy to the east. The subsequent collapse of the Southern Zhao during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907 – 960), Guangxi, like many regions of China, was plagued by instability. It was finally annexed by the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127) in 971 and became known as the Guang nan xi (“West Southern Expanse”) Circuit.

During the Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368) Guangxi (“Western Expanse”) was established as a full province. The area continued to be difficult to control and the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) used the tactic of divide and rule by setting the different groups against each other. The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) imposed direct rule in 1726 and then left the left the region to its own devices. The 19th century was one of constant unrest. A Yao revolt in 1831 was followed by the Taiping Rebellion in 1850 and the Jintian Uprising on January 11, 1851. The execution of St. Auguste Chapdelaine by local officials in Guangxi provoked the Second Opium War in 1858 and the subsequent legalization of foreign interference in the Chinese interior. The Guangxi Army was also closely engaged in the 1884 Franco-Chinese War.

Guangxi seceded from the Qing Empire on November 6, 1911, and this was followed by a period of political instability and several years of disunity and widespread banditry. Order was finally restored under Li Zongren’s Guangxi Pacification Army in the early 1920s. In 1926, Li enrolled in the Kuomintang (KMT), and a series of successful campaigns saw him become a famous and popular general within the KMT. Li’s unit was one of the few Nationalist units free from serious Communist influence, and it was therefore employed by Jiang Jie Shi (Chiang Kai-shek) to carry out the Shanghai Massacre of 1927. An interesting footnote to history here is that one of the leaders of an unsuccessful communist uprising in Guangxi in 1929 was Deng Xiao Ping, who, as the “paramount leader” of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 to 1992, laid the foundations for China’s modern market economy.

The subject’s hometown in Hezhou, which lies at the intersection of the major north-south (207) and east-west (323) National Highways. It is thus strategically located on the major traffic artery linking the provinces Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, and Guizhou. As a result, it has become home to 15 different ethnic groups, including Han, Hakka, Zhuang, Miao, and Yao peoples.

The city was first established in 111 BCE under the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE) when emperor Hanwu designated the area as Hexian County. The name Hezhou dates from the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618). It is located in a spectacular karst landscape with priomaeval forest areas, and it has a number of natural and historical tourist attractions, although it is largely overshadowed by the more famous and developed nearby Guilin. The city has escaped massive development and industrialisation of modern China so that its environment remain relatively unpolluted. It remains a small with a total population of only 2, 231,900 people (2010 census).



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