Sichuan 3

Listen to Sichuan 3, a 19-year-old woman from Guang Han and Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Click or tap the triangle-shaped play button to hear the subject.

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AGE: 19

DATE OF BIRTH (DD/MM/YYYY): 16/11/1991

PLACE OF BIRTH: Guang Han, Sichuan Province

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese


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


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


Subject began to learn English at the age of 11, but all of of her teachers were Chinese nationals. She is an English major at university and will have had limited exposure to native English-speaking teachers.

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







Today I want to introduce Chengdu. Chengdu is located in the east of Sichuan Province. As we all know, there are many delicious foods, because people in there enjoying cooking and eating food. [pause] River, across the city – it is a beautiful as a painting. As we all know, Sichuan people are friendly to others. If you come to Chengdu, you will not want to leave.







Short readings from the analects of Confucius

The subject now goes on to read the following abstracts from the Analects of Confucius in her own Sichuan dialect. A reading in Putonghua (Mandarin) can be heard on the Hebei 1 sample.

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

孔子: 论语 – Kǒng zǐ : lún yǔ – Kong zi : lun yu – Confucius: Lun Yu

學而第一 – xué ér dì yī – xio er di yie – 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 :- Zi yue : xio er si xi zi, bu yi yue fu.

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:- You peng zi yuan fang lai, bu yi le fu.

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: ren bu zi er bu yun, bu yi jun zi fu.

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 – Wei zeng di ni – 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:- Zi yue: si san bei, yi yan yi bi zi, yue , si wu xie.

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:- Zi you wen xiao. zi yue: jin zi xiao ze, si wei leng yang. zi yu quan ma, jie leng you yang, bu jin, ho yi bie fu

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 :- zi yue, si qi suo yi, guan qi suo you ,ca qi suo an, ren yan sou zai? ren yan sou zai?

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?


Sichuan (known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan) is a province in southwest China, with its capital in Chengdu. The current name of the province is an abbreviation of Sì Chuānlù, or “four circuits of rivers,” which is itself abbreviated from Chuānxiá Sìlù, or “four circuits of rivers and gorges,” named after the division of the existing circuit into four during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127).

The province and its vicinity were the cradle of unique local civilizations, which can be dated back to the later years of Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1046 BCE). At the beginning of the ninth century BCE, Shu (today Chengdu) and Ba (today Chongqing City) emerged as cultural and administrative centers at the hearts of two rival kingdoms. Shu’s existence was unknown until an archaeological discovery in 1986 at Sanxingdui, a small village in Guanghan County, the hometown of the current sample.

Although the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE) destroyed the kingdoms of Shu and Ba, the Qin government accelerated the technological and agricultural advancements of Sichuan, making it comparable to that of the Huang He (Yellow River) Valley. The Dujiangyan Irrigation System, built in the 3rd century BCE under the inspection of Li Bing, was the symbol of modernization in that that period. Composed of a series of dams, it redirected the flow of the Min Jiang, a major tributary of the Yangtze River, to fields, which had frequently suffered damage by seasonal floods. This, and other projects, greatly increased the harvest of the area, which became the main source of provisions and manpower in the unification of China by the Qin. The area was also on the trade route from the Huang He Valley to foreign countries in the southwest, especially India.

The Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279) established coordinated defenses against the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty in Sichuan and Xiangyang. The Sichuantea industry was monopolized by the state to pay for warhorses, but this worsened the situation. The line of defense was finally broken after the first use of firearms in history during the six-year siege of Xiangyang, which ended in 1273.

During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1440), major architectural works were created in Sichuan. Bao’en Temple, for example, is a well-preserved fifteenth century monastery complex built between 1440 and 1446 during Emperor Yingzong’s reign (1427–64).

Today, the massive Jiu Zhai Gou valley in northwestern Sichuan is a national park of major international significance. It includes a large area of protected primeval forest and a series of descending lakes and waterfalls formed by naturally created timber and stone dams.

Most dialects of Chinese spoken in Sichuan, including the Chengdu dialect of the provincial capital, belong to the southwestern subdivision of the Mandarin group, and are therefore very similar to the dialects of neighboring Yunnan and Guizhou provinces as well as Chongqing Municipality. Typical features shared by many southwestern Mandarin dialects include the merger of /n/ and /l/, as well as the merger of /ɤŋ iɤŋ/ into /ən in/.

The prefectures of Garzê and Ngawa (Aba) in western Sichuan are populated by Tibetan and Qiang people. Tibetans speak the Kham and Amdo dialects of Tibetan. The Qiang and other related ethnicities speak the Qiangic languages, which are part of the Tibeto-Burman languages. The Yi of Liangshan prefecture in southern Sichuan speak the Yi language, which is more closely related to Burmese; Yi is written using the Yi script, a syllabary standardized in 1974. Like in all of mainland China, regional languages are being supplanted by the mandatory instruction of Mandarin Chinese in nearly all schools regardless of the ethnicity of the students. However, certain accommodations to non-Chinese speakers are made in the minority inhabited regions including some bi-lingual signage.

The sample’s hometown, Guanghan, is now a county-level industrial city whose prosperity is growing rapidly. Tourism is also an important industry, a major attraction being the nearby Sanxingdui ruins mentioned above.

Some notable pronunciation features to listen out for are the /l/-/n/-/r/ and /v/-/w/ minimal-pair problems common in China. She also has the common non-pronunciation of the possessive /s/ in words such as “goose’s.” She also twice uses the very common phrase “as we all know” – the bane of English teachers in China.



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