Culture >Dialects
Xiang Chinese
Xiang Chinese, also known as Hunanese, is a tonal language of the Sinitic languages of the Sino-Tibetan language family. It is spoken by people living beside the Xiang River and its branches, a large part of the Hunan Province. According to the estimates in 2010, nearly 45 million Chinese people, or 4% of the whole population, speak Xiang, which makes it the 33rd most spoken language in the world.
Making profit is a side product'

Making profit is a side product' Zhang Tianyi, wearing a black shirt bearing the words"Ba Man", which in Central China's Hunan dialect means "stubborn and hardworking", in his restaurant in the Beijing CBD, on April 14, 2015. [Photo/Song Wei] "You can disagree with them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them. That's the philosophy of my life", said 25-year-old Zhang Tianyi, CEO of restaurant chain Fu Niu Tang (F.N.T), as the sound of a famous Apple advertisement video "Here's to the crazy ones" drew to a close on his phone. As the Apple video advocates, Zhang is a young businessman who "thinks different". Zhang, a post-90s postgraduate of Peking University, settled in a high-rise office building in Beijing's CBD by becoming a restaurant owner rather than a white-collar worker like most of his classmates. He opened the first F.N.T restaurant specializing in rice noodles from his home province of Hunan in April last year, two months before graduation. Now, he has his fourth restaurant newly opened in the capital. "Stepping into society from school means you are forced to change by a set of strong rules. I regard startups as a way against the rules. I hope I can innovate," he said, sitting in the corner of his small but well-organized restaurant. With the Internet applied to the catering industry, he found an innovative way of developing business by drawing benefits from numerous and active online fans.

Dialects in China

Cantonese may be one of the popular dialects in China since Guangzhou is a major city in Mainland China. People from Hong Kong and those immigrated to North America who were originally from southern China generally speak Cantonese as well. However, the modern Chinese dialects are classified into seven major groups. In the list of those groups below, the population estimates are based upon a total Han Chinese population of 950 million (Ramsey, 87). Dialect Group Estimated Population Where Spoken North 1.Mandarin 679,250,000 (71.5%) all of North and Southwest The North varieties of Chinese are usually known as the Mandarin dialects. They are typified by the Peking dialect, which is the basis of the standard language and of “Mandarin” in a much narrower-and older-sense. South 2.Wu 80,750,000(8.5%) coastal area around Shanghai,Zhejiang The Wu dialects are spoken in the Yangtze delta and the coastal region around Shanghai. This is an area in the most fertile and densely populated part of China. There are more than eighty million speakers of Wu, and they live in a space approximately the size of the state of Georgia(which has a population of about five and a half million). 3.Gan 22,800,000(2.4%) Jiangxi To the west and somewhat south of the Wu area are the Gan dialects. These little-known and little-studied varieties of Chinese are spoken mostly in Jiangxi, a province that stretches from the hills and mountain passes along the border of Guangdong northward to the great bow of the Yangtze River as it bends southto touch Boyang Lake. 4.Xiang 45,600,000(4.8%) Hunan The Xiang dialects are also a Southern group in transition-even more so than Gan. They are exposed to mandarin from several directions. Huna, the place where they are spoken, borders Mandarin-speaking territory on its north, west, and southwest.

Xiang (湘语/湖南语)

Xiang (Hunanese) is spoken by about 36 million people in China, mainly in Hunan (湖南) province, particularly in the cities of Changsha (长沙), Zhuzhou (株洲), Xiangtan (湘潭), Yiyang (益阳), Loudi (娄底), Hengyang (衡阳) and Shaoyang (邵阳). There are also Xiang speakers in southern Shaanxi (陕西), southern Anhui (安徽), northeast Guangxi (广西), Sichuan (四川) and Guizhou (贵州) provinces. Some scholars divide Xiang into two distinct varieties: Old Xiang, which is spoken in the southern parts of the Xiang-speaking area, and New Xiang, which can be heard in the northern Xiang-speaking area and has been influenced by Mandarin. Xiang names for these varieties are 娄底话 /siɔ̃44 ny42/ or Loudi language for New Xiang and 长沙话 /ɕiæ̃33 y41/ or Changsha language for Old Xiang. Xiang pronunciation (Pinfa romanisation system) Gan pronunciation (Pinfa romanisation system) The Pinfa romanization system was developed by Dr C. F. Lau, a.k.a. Liu Zin Fad (劉鎮發) for Hakka, and was later adapted for Xiang and Gan. There are three main groups of Xiang dialects: Chángyì sub-group (長益片), which is spoken in Changsha (长沙), Yiyang (益阳) and 29 other cities and counties. Lóushào sub-group (婁邵片) which is spoken in Loudi (娄底) Shaoyang (邵阳) and 19 other cities and counties. Jíxù subgroup (吉漵片), which is spoken in Jishou (吉首), Xupu (漵浦) and 6 other cities and counties.

Knowledge Graph

1 Zhang Tianyi, wearing a black shirt bearing the words"Ba Man", which in Central China's Hunan dialect means "stubborn and hardworking", in his restaurant in the Beijing CBD, on April 14, 2015.

2 During Qin and Han dynasty, most part of today's Eastern Hunan belonged to Changsha-Xian/Changsha-Guo. According to Yang Xiong's Fangyan, people in this region spoke Southern Chu, which is considered the ancestor of Xiang Chinese today.

3 Xiang or Hsiang, also known as Hunanese, is a group of linguistically similar and historically related varieties of Chinese, spoken mainly in Hunan province but also in northern Guangxi and parts of neighboring Guizhou and Hubei provinces.

4 Xiang speakers played an important role in Modern Chinese history, especially in those reformatory and revolutionary movements such as Self-Strengthening Movement, Hundred Days' Reform, Xinhai Revolution and Chinese Communist Revolution. Some examples of Xiang speakers are Mao Zedong, Zuo Zongtang, Huang Xing and Ma Ying-jeou.