Henan 3

Listen to Henan 3, a 22-year-old man from Xuchang, Henan Province, China. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.

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AGE: 22

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 11/11/1991

PLACE OF BIRTH: Xuchang, Henan Province

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese


EDUCATION: university


Subject has been a student in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for two-and-a-half semesters.


Subject claims that his foreign teachers are a major influence.

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







Hello, everyone. I come from Henan Province. Henan is the center of old China, and there are many famous scenic spots. Shaolin Temple is the most famous one, and Kaifeng is the capital of six dynasty. Huang [yellow] River is the second large – largest river in China. If you come here for a visit, I can be your guide, and I’m sure you will – you will enjoy it. I began to learn English when I was 12, and it was really a challenge for me to memorize the vocabulary, grammar – I really don’t like the grammar – but now I began to like it – umm, love English and I also made progresses of English. If you want your English getting well, you should love it first, do more practice, and you will find it’s – it’s not so much difficult.
[The subject now goes on to read abstracts from the Analects of Confucius in his own zhōngyuán guānhuà dialect. (See the detailed commentary below.) He has also provided a pinyin transliteration. A reading in standard Putonghua 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, bú yì yuè hū.

C: yī-yī :-    zǐ yuē: xué ér shí xí zhī, bú yì yù​e 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.

C: yī-èr:-     yǒu péng zì yuǎn fāng lāi, bú 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, bú yì jūn zi hū.

C: yī-sān:    rén bù zhí ér bù yùn, bú yì jŭn zǐ​ 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.

C: èr-èr:-     zǐ yuē: shī sān bǎi, yī yān 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 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:-   zǐ yóu wèn xiào. zǐ yuē: jīn zhī xiào zhé, shì wèi néng yǎng. zhì yú quǎn má, jié nēng yǒu yǎng; bú jìng, hé yí​ 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?

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


This is a moderately strong accent, but soft, and even melodious. There is no evidence of deliberate accent reduction, but neither are there many of the common pronunciation issues that one finds in Chinese speakers of English. Some idiosyncratic sounds to listen out for are the pronunciations of “goose” and “really,” plus a tendency to pronounce the /e/ phoneme almost as /I/. There is also a slight problem with the /S/ phoneme. The subject lists his foreign teachers as an important influence on his speech. Interestingly, these consisted of a Canadian, a French-Canadian, and (currently) an Irishman for short periods (no more than 6 months) each.

The subject’s dialect is the Henan sub-dialect of the Central Plains Mandarin group (zhōngyuán guānhuà). This dialect is one of the origins of Standard Mandarin, and sub-dialects are also found in Shaanxi, Shandong, Qinhai, and Russia. The archaic dialect of Peking Opera is derived from this dialect through Yuju, Henan Opera. A close comparison between this subject’s reading of the extracts from Confucius with the reading on the Hebei 1 sample will reveal the subtle tonal differences between this dialect and the modern standard, Putonghua.

With over 5,000 years of history, Henan is the cradle of Chinese civilization. It continued to be China’s cultural, economical, and political center until the end of the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE).

Archaeological investigations have shown that prehistoric cultures such as the Yangshao Culture and Longshan Culture were active in what is now northern Henan. It was also the home of the so-called Erlitou culture, controversially identified with the Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BCE), the first, and largely legendary, Chinese dynasty. The first literate dynasty of China, the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE), was also centered in Henan. Their last capital, Yin, was located at the modern city of Anyang. During the upheavals of the Zhou Dynasties (1046 -221 BCE), the capital was moved to Luoyang in 722 BCE, and Henan was subsequently divided into a variety of small states.

These states were replaced by seven large and powerful states during the Warring States period (475-221 BCE), and Henan itself was divided into three states, the Wei to the north, the Chu to the south, and the Han in the middle. This all changed in 221 BCE when Ying Zheng, the leader of Qin, crowned himself as the First Qin Emperor, unifying the core of the Han Chinese homeland for the first time and ending 800 years of warfare. The succeeding Han Dynasty (206  BCE to 9 CE), with its capital at Chang’an, ushered in a golden age of Chinese culture, economy, and military power.

The following two centuries, culminating in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265 CE), were a time of upheaval that saw an invasion of nomadic peoples from the north who established many successive regimes in northern China, including Henan. These people were gradually assimilated into the Chinese culture in a process known to historians as sinification.

The Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE ) reunified China again and moved the capital back to Chang’an. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), which nurtured China’s most famous Golden Age of literature and culture. During this period, Henan was one of the wealthiest places in the empire. The Tang Dynasty eventually collapsed as a result of internal strife and was succeeded by the Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960). During this period, Kaifeng in eastern Henan was the capital of four dynasties.

China was again re-unified under the Song Dynasty (982-1127), which also had its capital at Kaifeng. Under Song rule, China entered another era of culture and prosperity, and Kaifeng became the largest city in China, indeed in the world. In 1127, however, the Song Dynasty was overcome by the Jurchen invaders from the north, and in 1142 ceded all of northern China, including Henan, to the new Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). The Song moved their capital to Hangzhou in the Jiangnan region (modern southern Jiangsu, northern Zhejiang, and Shanghai). Under the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), the Yangtze River delta enjoyed a prolonged period of peace and cultural and economic prosperity, making this the new center of Chinese culture and economy.

In 1279, the Mongols conquered all of China, establishing the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), and set up the forerunner of modern Henan province, and neither its territories nor its role in the economy were much changed under the later dynasties. The province remained important in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-191), although its economy slowly deteriorated as a result of frequent natural disasters. The Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the Republic of China in 1911, marking the beginning of China’s modern era.

The subject’s hometown is Xǔchāng City, which borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the northwest, Kaifeng to the northeast, Zhoukou to the east, Luohe to the southeast, and Pingdingshan to the southwest.

According to tradition, the city was named after Xu, an ancient state led by tribal leader Xuyou during the Spring and Autumn Period (772-476 BCE). In ancient times, the city occupied a strategic location in central China. The city served as the warlord Cao Cao’s de facto capital during the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE). After finding the old capital Luoyang ravaged by war, Cao moved the imperial court and Emperor Xian to what is now Xuchang in 196 CE. In 220, Cao Cao’s son and successor Cao Pi officially declared the city the capital of the newly established state of Cao Wei. The city was renamed “Xuchang,” meaning “Xu Rising.” The Wei emperors held court at Xuchang until the capital was moved to Luoyang in the 220s.

In modern times, Xuchang is an important center of the Chinese tobacco industry. However, because of economic reasons, many farmers are abandoning the tobacco crop.

The city is also famous for its manmade human-hair exports.



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