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Jian'ou dialect (Northern Min: Gṳ̿ing-é-dī / 建甌事; Chinese: simplified Chinese: 建瓯话; traditional Chinese: 建甌話; pinyin: Jiàn'ōu huà), also known as Kienow dialect, is a local dialect of Northern Min Chinese spoken in Jian'ou in the north of the Fujian province. It is regarded as the standard common language in Jian'ou.

Gṳ̿ing-é-dī / 建甌事
Pronunciation[kuiŋ˧ ɪ˥˦ ti˦]
Native toSouthern China
RegionJian'ou, Fujian province
Chinese character, Kienning Colloquial Romanized
Language codes
ISO 639-3
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Bible in Jian'ou Romanised (Genesis), published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.


Phonetics and PhonologyEdit

According to The Eight Tones of Kien-chou (建州八音), a rime dictionary which published in 1795, Jian'ou dialect has 15 initials, 34 rimes and 7 tones in the 18th century, however there are only 6 tones in the modern dialect as the "light level" (陽平) tone disappeared.


Initials of Jian'ou dialect
  Bilabial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ  
Plosive voiceless unaspirated p t k ʔ
voiceless aspirated  
Affricate voiceless unaspirated   ts    
voiceless aspirated   tsʰ    
Fricative   s x  
Approximant   l    


Rimes of Jian'ou dialect
Open syllable Nasal coda
Open mouth a ɪ ɛ œ ʊ ɔ ai au aiŋ eiŋ œyŋ ɔŋ [2]
Even mouth i ia iau iu iaŋ ieiŋ[3] iɔŋ
Closed mouth u ua [4] uai uiŋ [5] uaŋ uaiŋ uɔŋ
Round mouth y [4] yiŋ [5]


Jian'ou has four tones, which are reduced to two in checked syllables.

Tone chart of the Jian'ou dialect
Tone number Tone name Tone contour
1 level (平聲) ˥˦ (54) or ˥ (5)
2 rising (上聲) ˨˩ (21) or ˩ (1)
3 dark departing (陰去) ˨ (2)
4 light departing (陽去) ˦ (4)
5 dark entering (陰入) ˨˦ (24)
6 light entering (陽入) ˦˨ (42)

The entering tones in Jian'ou dialect do not have any entering tone coda (入聲韻尾) such as /-ʔ/, /-p̚/, /-t̚/ and /-k̚/ which makes it distinct from many other Chinese varieties.


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Jian'ou". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ /oŋ/ which is mentioned in Kienning Colloquial Romanized has merged into /ɔŋ/ in the modern dialect.
  3. ^ /ieiŋ/ is not mentioned in Kienning Colloquial Romanized as it diverged from /iŋ/ after the romanization system was established.
  4. ^ a b /yɛ/ tends to merge into /uɛ/.
  5. ^ a b /yiŋ/ tends to merge into /uiŋ/.


  • Běijīng dàxué zhōngguóyǔyánwénxuéxì yǔyánxué jiàoyánshì. (1989) Hànyǔ fāngyīn zìhuì. Běijīng: Wénzìgǎigé chūbǎnshè.(北京大學中國語言文學系語言學教研室. 1989. 漢語方音字匯. 北京: 文字改革出版社)
  • Norman, Jerry. [1988] (2002). Chinese. Cambridge, England: CUP ISBN 0-521-29653-6
  • Yuán, jiāhuá (1989). Hànyǔ fāngyán gàiyào (An introduction to Chinese dialects). Beijing, China: Wénzì gǎigé chūbǎnshè. (袁家驊. 1989. 漢語方言概要. 北京:文字改革出版社.)
  • Compilation Commission of Chorography of Jian'ou County 建瓯县地方志编纂委员会 (1994). Jian ou xian zhi 建瓯县志 ["Chorography of Jian'ou County"]. 36. Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company. ISBN 7-101-01283-3.

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