Hebei 3

Listen to Hebei 3, an 18-year-old woman from Xingtai, Hebei Province, China. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.

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AGE: 18

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 21/12/1992

PLACE OF BIRTH: Xingtai, Hebei Province

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese


EDUCATION: At the time of the recording, subject was in her first year at university.


Subject had been living in Suzhou for the six months prior to the recording.


There have been very few direct influences; she lived at home until coming to university in Suzhou six months ago. She began to learn English at the age of 14 (fifth grade) but did not have any native English-speaking teachers at school. Her major is science, and she is learning English as a necessary skill. Her accent, therefore, remains very strong.

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







(Umm, ah) Well, I come from Hebei Province, and I live in Xingtai. Xingtai is famous as a historical and cultural city in Hebei. The ancient – the ancient famous scientist Guo Shuojing is a native of Xingtai. My hometown has been great changed. I used to live in a small town with trees all around. There was no tall buildings, no tall buildings and the only street was narrow. Just outside the town there was a river. You can see different kinds of fish swimming in the clear water. People – people here lived a simple life. Great changes have taken place in my hometown. You can see tall buildings, big department – department stores and factories everywhere. Different kinds of cars and buses are running in the big streets. Peopl – the people have found – have found a lot of ways of making money. (Umm) Many people have cell phones and personal computers. Thanks to the government’s efforts, people’s living conditions have improved a lot. But with the development of the in – industry, we have fewer trees. Air and water pollution is becoming more and more serious. I think we must do something to stop the pollution and make our [pause] town even more beautiful.







Short readings from the analects of Confucius

The subject now goes on to read the following abstracts from the Analects of Confucius in the standard Mandarin dialect spoken in her hometown. (See commentary below). This can usefully be compared to theHebei1 andHebei2 samples to get a good idea of the kind of differences to be heard in even the dialects of Standard Putonghua. Some of these characteristics, of course, carry over to their English pronunciation, especially in subjects such as this, andHebei2, whose exposure to foreign influences has been minimal.

KEY: A = Mandarin (Simplified); B = Mandarin (Pingyin); D = English.

孔子: 论语 – Kǒng zǐ : lún yǔ – Kon zi:leng 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.

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.

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.

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.

D: 2-2:-  The Master said: In the Book of Odes there are three hundred poems, but they may be summarized 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.

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?

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?


Héběi is the province in north China that surrounds the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin. The name means “North of the Yellow (river).” Its alternative name in Yānzhào, derived from the states of Yan and Zhao that comprised this territory during the Warring States Period of early Chinese history. It was in the plains of Héběi that Peking Man (a Homo erectus group) flourished around 200,000 to 700,000 years ago. Chinese Neolithic findings at the prehistoric Beifudi site date back to 7000 and 8000 BCE.

After the Warring States Period,China was unified by the Qin Dynasty in 221 BCE and under the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) Héběi consisted of two provinces, Youzhou and Jizhou. Following the end of the Han Dynasty and the period of the Three Kingdoms, Héběi came under the rule of the Kingdom of Wei. Being strategically placed at the northern frontier of China, Héběi changed hands many times during the long period of upheavals during the 5th and 6th centuries.

Stability came with the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when the province was first designated as Héběi. During the Song Dynasty (960-1127), it again changed hands many times and was ceded to the Jurchen Jin Dynasty when the Southern Song abandoned north China in 1127. Although the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271- 1368) established by Kublai Khan divided China into provinces, Héběi was not designated as a province. The succeeding Ming Dynasty ruled it directly from the imperial capital,Beijing. This arrangement was not ended until 1928.

The subject’s hometown is Xingtai, the oldest city in North China, with a recorded history of 3500 years. During the Shang Dynasty (1600−1046 BCE), Xingtai functioned as a capital city. During the Zhou Dynasty (1122−256 BCE), the State of Xing was founded in the city from which its present-day name derives. During the Warring States Period (473−221 BCE), the state of Zhao made Xingtai its provisional capital. The city was known as Xindu for most of the Qin Dynasty (221−206 BCE), but after the Battle of Julu (in modern Xingtai, 207 BCE) it became known as Xiangguo, the capital of the state of Zhao (Changshan).

When the Later Zhao (a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms, 319−351 CE) was founded by Shi Le of the Jie ethnicity, the capital was again at Xiangguo. During the Sui (580-630 CE) and Tang (630−907 CE) Dynasties, the city was known as Xingzhou. From the times of the Yuan Dynasty (Mongol, 1271−1368) to the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, Xingtai was called Shundefu, and functioned as a prefecture in China.

The dialect of Mandarin spoken in Xingtai is a sub-dialect (Xingtaihua) of the Shi-Ji dialect Group and is similar to the Shijiazhuanghjua in the Hebei 2 sample. This group is spoken throughout a large part of central Hebei province, including the capital,Shijiazhuang, and in the western part of Shandong province, including the capital Jinan. The name of the dialect is made up of the first characters of both capital cities. Comparison with the Ji-Lu dialect in the Hebei 1 sample is illuminating.

The continued popularization of Standard Chinese in the two provincial capitals has induced changes in the Shi-Ji dialect, causing the former to shift rapidly toward the standard language. And Jinan is bringing about changes in the Shi-Ji dialect that are audibly shifting toward the standard Mandarin.

On this recording, we can hear some of the usual Chinese problems with English: [s] and [sh], [z] and [zh] pairs; the /θ/- /s/ and /ʒ/- /s/, and the /v/ and /w/ minimal pair transpositions.



The archive provides:

  • Recordings of accent/dialect speakers from the region you select.
  • Text of the speakers’ biographical details.
  • Scholarly commentary and analysis in some cases.
  • In most cases, an orthographic transcription of the speakers’ unscripted speech.  In a small number of cases, you will also find a narrow phonetic transcription of the sample (see Phonetic Transcriptions for a complete list).  The recordings average four minutes in length and feature both the reading of one of two standard passages, and some unscripted speech. The two passages are Comma Gets a Cure (currently our standard passage) and The Rainbow Passage (used in our earliest recordings).


For instructional materials or coaching in the accents and dialects represented here, please go to Other Dialect Services.


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