Zhejiang 3

Listen to Zhejiang 3, a 19-year-old woman from Deqing, Huzhou, Zhejiang 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): 08/04/1991

PLACE OF BIRTH: Deqing, Huzhou, Zhejiang Province

GENDER: female

ETHNICITY: Han Chinese


EDUCATION: university



She had some limited exposure to Native English teachers at school summer camp and has had limited exposure to native speakers in the seven months prior to the date of the recording.

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







I’d like to introduce my hometown. Ah, it’s a small, old town in Huzhou, Zhejiang, and ah, ah, it was built about one-thousand and seven-hundred years ago. And it is a typical [note pronunciation] town in the south of Yangtse River. Ah, and, ah, you ca – you can image there are many beautiful buildings and delicious foods. Ahm, but in the nineteen – it developed industry and, ah, you know the buildings were seriously destroyed. Um, but fortunately, now the government began to focus on its ah, um, protecting.

[The subject now goes on to read abstracts from the Analects of Confucius in her own Deqinghua dialect. (See the detailed commentary below). She has also provided a pinyin transliteration.]








The Chinese dialects are spoken languages only; Putonghua is used for writing. A comparison with any of the other samples in this archive will demonstrate the vast differences in sound between the Mandarin (Hebei 1, for example), Wu (any of the south Jiangsu samples) and Yue dialects (Guangdong 3). To get a flavor of the difference between the different Wu dialects, this reading should be compared with the southern Wenzhouhua in the Zhejiang 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 – xué ér di – Chapter One

A: 1-1:-       子曰: 學而時習之、不亦說乎。

B: yī-yī :-    zǐ yuē: xué ér qié shí xí zhī, bù yì yuè hū.

C: yī-yī :-    zì yè; yuè ér sí zī, fè yì yè 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:-     yù páng zí yì fāng lái, fè 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.

C: yī-sān:    nín fè zī ér fè yìn, fè yì jīn 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 – i zeng dì èr – 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:-     zì yè; sī sāi bà, yè yì yǐ bì zī, yè: sī wú a

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:-   zì yú mén xiáo. Zī yè: jīn zī xiáo zè. Sí wài néng yàng. zì yú qì mù. Jie néng yù yàng fè jìng. Wú yì 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 :- zì yè; sí qí sū yì. Guāi qí sù yù cá qi sù āi. Níng yī sōu zāi? Níng yī 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 nice, strong accent (heavily aspirated /h/, for example) with some of the usual Chinese problems with minimal pairs, notably the /r/ and /l/ pair, the /th/ and /s/ pair, and the usual problem with multiple /s/ sounds in possessives and plurals, as in “goose’s,” for example.

The subject’s dialect, Deqinghua, is a sub dialect of the Huzhou dialect (see the Zhejiang 2 sample). Huzhouhua belongs to the Su-Jia-Hu (Suzhou-Jiaxing-Huzhou) subgroup Taihu Wu dialect group. Specifically, it is one of two dialects in the Tiaoxi branch, the other being Southeast Guangde dialect in neighbouring Anhui. A sister branch of the Su-Jia-Hu subgroup includes the dialects spoken in Suzhou, Wuxi and Jiaxing.

Like south Jiangsu, Zhejiang is a linguist’s paradise. The province is very mountainous and has therefore fostered the development of many individual localized cultures. Linguistically, the inhabitants of Zhejiang, like neighbouring southern Jiangsu, speak Wu, one of the older branches of the Chinese language. However, the Wu dialects are very diverse, especially in the south, where one valley may speak a dialect completely unintelligible to another valley a few kilometers away. In addition, non-Wu dialects are spoken along the borders; Mandarin and Huizhou dialects are spoken on the western border with Anhui, while Min dialects are spoken on the southern border with Fujian.

An eastern coastal province of the People’s Republic of China, Zhejiang has borders with Jiangsu province and Shanghai municipality to the north, Anhui province to the northwest, Jiangxi province to the west, and Fujian province to the south. Its seaboard is along the East China Sea. Zhejiang, which means crooked river, was the old name of the Qiantang River,which flows through the provincial capital, Hangzhou.

Untouched by the early stages of Chinese civilisation during the Xia (2070 – 1600 BCE) and Shang (1600 – 1046 BCE) dynasties, it was populated by the Yue peoples from the south. By the time of the Spring and Autumn Period (722 – 476 BCE) a state of Yue had been established in northern Zhejiang. This was strongly influenced by the Chinese civilisation to the north and in 473 BCE had become strong enough to destroy the powerful state of Wu further north in Jiangsu. Yue was in turn conquered by the state of Chu further west, and was assimilated into the unified China established by the Qin Dynasty (221 – 206 BCE).

The old state of Yue remained a frontier area throughout the Qin (221 – 206 BCE) and Han (206 BCE – 220 CE) dynasties. To the south, the original Yue peoples retained their own political and social structures. Following the collapse of the Han dynasty, warlords from Zhejiang were instrumental in establishing the Kingdom of Wu, one of the Three Kingdoms in the period of that name (220 – 265 CE).

From the fourth century onward, there were many upheavals including invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China was overrun and, as a result, massive numbers of refugees arrived from the north and poured into South China, which hosted the refugee Eastern Jin Dynasty (317 – 420) and Southern Dynasties (420 – 589). This had the effect of accelerating the sinicization of South China, including Zhejiang.

Unity was restored under by the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618), which built the Grand Canal, which linked Hangzhou to the North China Plain. This canal, which is still a busy waterway today, provided Zhejiang with a vital link to the centres of Chinese civilization.

During the golden age of the tang Dynasty (618 – 907), Zhejiang was part of the Jiangnandong Circuit, and many references to its prosperity appear in the records. Following the disintegration of the Tang Dynasty and another, brief fragmentation into the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907 – 960), Zhejiang formed most of the territory of the regional kingdom of Wuyue.

Unity was finally restored under the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), and it was at this time that the prosperity of South China began to overtake North China. After the conquest of the north by the Jurchen people (ancestors of the Manchu) in 1127, the modern provincial capital, Hangzhou, was the capital of the Han Chinese Southern Song Dynasty, which held on to South China. Renowned for its prosperity and beauty, it may have been the largest city in the world at the time. Ever since this period, and still today, north Zhejiang and south Jiangsu, especially Suzhou, have been synonymous with luxury and opulence in Chinese culture. This is encapsulated in the much quoted saying: In heaven paradise, on earth Hangzhou and Suzhou.

The arrival of the short-lived Yuan dynasty (1271 – 1368) founded by Kublai Khan restored political influence to the north (and Beijing). The Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) established the Province of Zhejiang and its borders have changed very little since that period.

The subject’s hometown is Deqing, a county-level prefecture under the jurisdiction of Huzhou. Its longstanding culture can be traced back to 5,000 years. The popular legend of native water-control hero named Fangfengshi is recorded in the Guoyu, a historical record that predates the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE). The famous poet Mengjiao of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) was a native of Deqing.

Fangeng established its county here 4000-5000 years ago, and traces of the earliest township can still be seen in Xinshi. Located on the transportation hub in North Zhejiang, Xinshi has always had a flourishing economy. Modern economic activity includes thriving silk and pearl industries while Zisiqiao (子思桥) Village, located within Xinshi Town, is renowned as a centre of snake farming. In the region, 800 people in Zisiqiao work in the snake-farming industry, raising some 3 million snakes a year for specialty restaurants worldwide.



The archive provides:

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