Jiangsu 14

Listen to Jiangsu 14, a 21-year-old man from Suzhou and Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.

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AGE: 21

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 09/09/1989

PLACE OF BIRTH: Lin Hu, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese


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


Subject lived in Nantong, Jiangsu, for a few years when he was a child.


These are very few, and the accent remains strong. The subject did spend some time in Nantong during his childhood, but this has left no trace on his speech. He has been at university in Suzhou, as an English major, for seven months, and the influence of his teachers and the need to speak in Putonghua may eventually have an effect, but none is so far apparent.

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







(ah) My hometown is in Suzhou, called Lin Hu; (ah) it is a very beautiful [pause] town, and (ah) my – in my family (ah) my-my father is a on work, and (ah) my mother is a worker too. (ah) My college life is (ah) very well – is very good. I love my classmates and (ah) often play games with (ah) them. (ah) When I grow – when I grow up, I want to be a teacher. This is my dream when I was even a child.







Short readings from the analects of Confucius

The subject now goes on to read the following abstracts from the Analects of Confucius in his own Wu Nang Fuan Yu dialect. A reading in Putonghua (Mandarin) can be heard on the Jiangsu 7 sample.

KEY: A = Mandarin (Simplified); B = Mandarin (Pingyin); C = Dialect (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.

C: yī-yī :- zìyāo: huó ér sí xié zhū, fē yì sē hāo

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:- yōu páng zì yŏu fāng léi, fē yì lè hāo.

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: níng fē zhū ér fē yùn, fē yì jūn zì hāo

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:- zìyāo: shū sĕi bā, yì héi yĭ bì zhū,yāo: sī fú xió.

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.

C: : èr-qī:- zì yóu wèn xè, zì yào: jīn zhū yè zē, sì wèi néng yáng. zhù yú quĭ mū, jēi, néng yŏu yáng: fé jìng, háo yĭ fiē hāo

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 :- zìyāo: sì qí săo yĭ, quī jí săo ōu. Níng yē sōu zēi? Níng yē sōu zēi?

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?


The subject was raised in a small town of Lin Hu within the jurisdiction of Suzhou, one of the oldest towns in the Yangtze Basin. Suzhou itself is a city on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores ofLakeTai(Tai Hu), the third largest freshwater lake inChina. The city is renowned for its beautiful stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens, which have contributed to its status as a great tourist attraction. Since the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Suzhou has also been an important center forChina’s silk industry and continues to hold that prominent position today.

The modern city had its birth in the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE) when tribes who called themselves “Gou Wu” settled in the area. This became the cradle of the Wu culture, which has had an immense influence in the regions surrounding Tai Hu and beyond. In 514 BC, during the Spring and Autumn Period, King Helu of Wu established the “Great City of Helu,” the ancient name for Suzhou, as his capital. In 496 BC, Helu was buried in Huqiu (Tiger Hill), which, with its famous leaning pagoda, is one of the major tourist sights in the city today.

The golden era of Suzhou ended in 473 BCE when the Wu kingdom was defeated by Yue, a kingdom to the east that itself was annexed by the Chu in 306 BCE. Surviving remnants of the culture include sections of the surrounding moat and 2,500-year-old city wall, including Pan Gate at its western side.

Initially, the Wu Culture mainly adopted the essence of the central Chinese civilization, but around the middle of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it became the conduit for the introduction of overseas influences and into centralChina. The great Ming Dynasty explorer Zhen He set out from Taican, and Marco Polo was hugely impressed, describing it as a very great and noble city possessing 6,000 bridges, all of stone, and so lofty that two ships together could pass underneath them.

Following the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Suzhou City was one of the most prosperous Chinese cities, both in agricultural production and domestic and foreign trade. Today, Suzhou has been designated the “Most Aspiring City of Prosperity and Civilization in the Southeast of China,” and is an open city with a rapidly growing economy and a large expat population as a result of a huge expansion in foreign trade and international economic cooperation.

The Wu culture is father to the Taihu Wu (or northern Wu) family of dialects, of which Suzhou dialect (Suzhouhua) is the premier example. Geographically, these dialects are spoken in most of Zhejiang Province, the municipality of Shanghai, southern Jiangsu Province, as well as smaller parts of Anhui, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces. Altogether, there are fourteen major dialects in this family, nine of them grouped together as the Taihu group.

Interestingly, while many Wu dialects are diverse and not mutually intelligible with each other, all Wu dialects can understand the Taihu dialect, but Taihu speakers find the other dialects unintelligible or intelligible only to a small extent.

Like most other branches of Chinese, Wu developed from Middle Chinese. Because Wu represents the earliest split from the parent branch, it has kept many of the ancient characteristics. However, because of its geographical proximity to North China, and also the high level of education in this region, it was influenced by northern Chinese (Mandarin) throughout its development. The main characteristics of modern Wu were formed between Ming Dynasty and early Republican in the twentieth century. The Suzhou dialect became the most influential, and many scholars use it in citing examples of Wu.

This subject’s dialect is one of the very many sub-dialects to be found within the Suzhou dialect itself. There are some notable characteristics to listen out for in the recording. There is a tendency to transpose the /θ/ – /s/ and /m/ – /n/ minimal pairs, and there is also the very common difficulty with the possessive and plural /s/ when preceded by another /s/ or /z/ phonemes. Very noticeable is the occasional addition of a trailing /a/ after certain final consonants, such as /d/ and /m/. Good examples are “porridge,” “good,” and “up.” This is a carry-over from the Chinese, where certain words at the end of a sentence are emphasized in this way.



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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