Northeastern Mandarin

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Northeastern Mandarin
東北話 / 东北话
Native to Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces of China; (Overseas, United States-New York City, Russia-primarily in Primorsky Krai)
Region Northeast China
Native speakers
82 million (date missing)[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-6 dbiu
Linguist list
Glottolog None
huab1238  (Huabei Guanhua)[1]
Mandarín noreste.png

Northeastern Mandarin[2] is the dialect of Mandarin Chinese spoken in Northeast China. It is very similar to the Beijing dialect upon which Standard Chinese (Pǔtōnghuà) is based, the two forming Northern Mandarin.

Geographical spread

The dialect is spoken by people in the Northeastern part of Mainland China; areas like Liaoning (except its southern part from Dalian to Dandong where Jiaoliao Mandarin is spoken), Jilin, and Heilongjiang provinces. With over 100 million people living in the Northeastern part of China, the Northeastern Mandarin-speaking population is quite large. Like other Mandarin dialects, differences between Northeastern Mandarin and other forms arise from the wide geographical distribution and cultural diversity of northern China. A form of Northeastern Mandarin (with some words from Udege and Nanai) is spoken by the Taz people nearby in the far east of Russia, primarily in Primorsky Krai. Overseas, Northeastern Mandarin is being spoken in increasingly larger communities in the Chinatowns of New York City in the United States.


Northeastern Mandarin can be subdivided into regional sub-dialects named for major cities where there might be slight differences.

The Taz dialect is spoken in Russia by the Taz people, a group formed from intermarriage between Udege, Nani and Han Chinese people since approximately 1800.

Linguistic information

Northeastern Mandarin is extremely close to the Beijing dialect of Standard Chinese. The Chinese dialectologist Li Rong believes that Beijing Mandarin could be classified as a northeastern dialect, because Beijing shares more tonal and phonological features - for example, the preservation of initial [w] over [v] - with northeastern Mandarin than with the dialects of Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing.[3] However, in northeastern Chinese, final -ian or -üan is pronounced with an [æ] rather than with [ɛ] or [e] as in the standard.[3]

One hypothesis for the similarities tells that as the Qing conquest of the Ming overturned the government in Beijing in 1644, hundreds of thousands of Manchu people - the northeastern ethnic group of the new ruling family - moved into the Chinese capital. The Manchus adopted Mandarin Chinese as an official language along with their native Manchu before they invaded China proper and took Beijing, due to the massive amount of Chinese officials and soldiers defecting to their side. They would become over 30% of the city's population and eventually their version of Mandarin Chinese wielded influence over the local Chinese dialect.[3]

Mandarin Sub-Dialects.svg

Cultural and regional identity

Although not considered a language in academic circles, Mandarin variants like Northeastern Mandarin often contribute to a strong regional identity. Native or fluent Chinese speakers can usually recognize a Northeasterner by his or her accent (similar to how a fluent English speaker can assume a person with a Southern American English accent to be from the Southern United States). Because of its informal usage of words and tones, comedians often use Northeast dialects when performing.

The comedian Zhao Benshan is recognized nationwide for his performances which make humorous use of Northeastern dialect and the Er ren zhuan folk dance and song traditions of northeast people.[4]


  1. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Huabei Guanhua". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. simplified Chinese: 东北话; traditional Chinese: 東北話; pinyin: Dōngběihuà; literally: "Northeast Speech" or 东北官话/東北官話 Dōngběiguānhuà "Northeast Mandarin"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Li, Chris Wen-Chao (2003). "Conflicting notions of language purity: the interplay of archaising, ethnographic, reformist, elitist and xenophobic purism in the perception of Standard Chinese". Language & Communication. Elsevier: 5-6, 19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Liu, Jin (2011). "Deviant Writing and Youth Identity: Representation of Dialects with Chinese Characters on the Internet". Chinese Language and Discourse. John Benjamins Publishing. 2 (1): 74.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also