Shandong 1

Listen to Shandong 1, a 21-year-old man from Heze, Shandong 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): 03/03/1990

PLACE OF BIRTH: Heze, Shandong Province

GENDER: male

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese


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


Subject came to live in Suzhou, Jiangsu, 18 months before the date of the recording.


Subject began to learn English at the age of 14. There have been no foreign influences, as he does not study English. The English he does speak was learned from Chinese teachers at school. His native language is Zhongyuan, one of the three dialects of Putonghua (Mandarin) spoken in Shandong. There are pronounced regional variations in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar, similar to the regional variations of English in the UK.

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







I first began to learn English at my – ah – 14 [pause] age. (ahm) I visited (ah), I visited some places in – such as Yantai, (ah) Beijing, (ah) Hebei, Tongshan, (oh) Ningxia, Yinchuan, Shaanxi, Taiyuan.







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 Zhongyuan dialect. The pinyin version is the same as the standard Mandarin. To get some idea of the regional differences in the Mandarin dialects, this reading should be compared with the reading in the Hebei 1 sample, which is the closest we yet have to the standard Mandarin sound. However, when we realize (see the commentary below) that Confucius was born and spent most of his life not far from the sample’s own hometown, we have the prospect that this may be the nearest we will get to the accent of the master himself.

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?


Shandong is a province on the eastern coast of the People’s Republic of China and has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River. It served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, and Confucianism.Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world’s sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship.

The name of the province translates as “east of the mountains” and refers to its location east of the Taihang range. The nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ after the State of Lu and State of Qi that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period (722 – 476 BCE). Its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain has allowed Shandong to witness the development of Chinese civilization since remote antiquity.

The Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1046 BCE ) and both Zhou dynasties (Western 1046 – 771 BCE; Eastern 770 – 256 BCE) generally controlled western Shandong. The eastern area of the province, around the peninsula that includes modern Qindao, was inhabited by the Laiyi peoples. These were frequently referred to as “the barbarians.” It was not until after the end of the Eastern Zhou that the Laiyi were eventually assimilated into greater China.

During the Spring and Autumn Period (722 – 476 BCE) and the Warring States Period (475 – 221 BCE), many regional states became increasingly powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two powerful states: the state of Qi at Linzi in the east, and the state of Lu at Qufu, in the southwest. The state was, however, comparatively small, and eventually succumbed to the powerful state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi was, on the other hand, a major power throughout this entire period. Cities it ruled included Linzi, Jimo (north of modern Qingdao) and Ju.

In 221 BCE, the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE) destroyed the state of Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state. The succeeding Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 09 CE) created two new provinces: Qingzhou Province in the north and Yanzhou Province in the south. During the division of the Three Kingdoms (220 – 265 CE), Shandong belonged to the Kingdom of Wei, which ruled northern China.

The centuries following the fall of the Han dynasty saw many upheavals, including invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. During the period of the Southern and Northern dynasties (420 – 589), Shandong changed hands several times but essentially remained within the Northern Dynasties group.

Unity in China was restored by the Sui Dynasty (561 – 618), and the succeeding Tang Dynasty (618-907) presided over the next golden age of China. The fall of the Tang was followed by the period of Fuve Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907 – 960) during which Shandong was part of the Five Dynasties, all based in the north. China was finally re-unified by the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279).

The modern province of Shandongwas created by the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). It also included much of modern-day Liaoning part of south Manchuria) and was, therefore, one of the first provinces to experience the Manchu surge, which conquered all China in 1644 and established the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). Under the Qing, Shandong acquired its current borders.

Perhaps the most famous son of Shandong is Confucius, “The Master.” He was born in or near the city of Qufuin 551 BCE and died here in 479 BCE. He was born during the turbulence of the Spring and Autumn Period, and his young life was one of great hardship, his father dying when the boy was just 3 years old. In spite of grinding poverty in which he and his mother lived, he mastered the “Six Skills” of the ancient China, which included music, archery, driving, calligraphy and mathematics). On the death of his mother, when he was 23, he shut himself up for three years in traditional mourning. During that period, he devoted himself to study. He is said to have worked as a shepherd, cowherd, clerk, and a bookkeeper before eventually rising to the position of Justice Minister in Lu at the age of 53.

It is likely that he began to teach, and gather disciples, in his early thirties. Around 498 BCE , he and several of his disciples set out on a long journey throughout eastern China, visiting the states of Wei, Sung, and Ch’en. Received with great respect by the rulers of the states he visited, he spent much of his time developing his ideas on the art of government, as well as continuing his teaching. He acquired a large following, and what we now know as the Confucian school was probably established during these years. He returned to Lu in 484 BCE and died there five years later.

Soon after his death, Qufu, his hometown, became a place of devotion and remembrance and remains a major tourist destination, with many people visiting his grave and the surrounding temples. Since the 1990s, the ancient annual memorial ceremonies of Confucius, held on his birthday, September 28, and suppressed during the Communist period, have gradually been revived.

The Sample’s hometown, Heze, is the westernmost prefecture-level city in Shandong, bordering Jining to the east and the provinces of Henan and Anhui to the west and south, respectively. It is the largest center in China for the cultivation of the peony,China’s national flower.

A noticeable characteristic, which can be heard on the recordings, is the common Chinese problems with /θ/ – /s/ minimal pair.



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