Pu Xian

Native to China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan (Wuqiu), United States (California)
Region Fujian (Putian, Xianyou, Fuzhou, Quanzhou)
Ethnicity Putianese (Han Chinese)
Native speakers million  (2000)
Language family
Writing system Chinese characters
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cpx
Linguist List
Pu-Xian Min (yellow)
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Pu–Xian or Puxian Min (simplified Chinese: 莆仙话; traditional Chinese: 莆仙話; pinyin: Púxiān huà), also known as Xinghua, is a branch of Min Chinese.

Puxian is a word combination of two place names of Putian City (莆田市) and Xianyou County (仙游县).

It is spoken mostly in Fujian province, particularly in Putian and Xianyou, parts of Fuzhou, and parts of Quanzhou. More than 2000 people in Shacheng, Fuding (福鼎) in northern Fujian also speak Puxian. There are minor differences between the dialects of Putian and Xianyou.

Overseas populations of Puxian speakers exist in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Speakers of Puxian are also known as Henghua (simplified Chinese: 兴化; traditional Chinese: 興化; pinyin: Xīnghuà), Hinghua, or Xinghua.

History of language

Before the year 979 AD, the Puxian region was part of Quanzhou county and people there spoke a form of Min Nan (Southern Min). Due to its origin in the past as part of spoken Minnan, it lies closely to the other modern Minnan dialects, see chart relationship Min_Chinese#Varieties.

In 979 AD, during the Song Dynasty, the region was administratively separately from Quanzhou and the language developed separately from the rest of Southern Min. Due to its proximity with Fuzhou, it absorbed some elements of Min Dong, but its basic linguistic characteristic i.e. grammar and most vocabulary is based on Quanzhou Minnan.[1]

Characteristics of language

Differences with other Minnan dialects

Puxian differs from most Min Nan varieties in several ways:

1. The vowel 'a' is replaced by /ɒ/ (o̤) in most cases, e.g. 腳 ko̤ "leg".

2. The vowel 'ư' /ɯ/ is replaced by /y/ ('ü'), e.g. 魚 hṳ "fish".

3. In Putian 'ng' has changed to /uŋ/ except after zero initial and h- (notation: ng), e.g. 湯 tung "soup".

4. The vowel /e/ is often replaced by /ɒ/ o̤, e.g. 馬 bo̤ "horse".

5. Where Quanzhou has 'ĩ' and Zhangzhou has 'ẽ', the corresponding Putian vowel is 'ã', e.g. 病 baⁿ "sick", where indicates a nasalized vowel.

6. The vowel 'io' is replaced by 'iau' (notation: a̤u), e.g. 笑 ciao "laugh". This also holds for nasalized vowels, e.g. 張 da̤uⁿ corresponding to Quanzhou tioⁿ.

7. Nasals 'm' sometimes occur in place of voiced stops 'b', e.g. 夢 mang vs. Quanzhou bang.

8. Initial consonant 'ng' replaces 'g' e.g. 五 'ngo' vs. Quanzhou 'go'.

9. There is a loss of distinction between voiced and unvoiced stops, e.g. the sounds /b/ and /p/ both correspond to the same phoneme and occur in free variation.

Borrowings from MinDong language

1.Wife 老媽 (Lau Ma)


Puxian has 15 consonants, including the zero onset, the same as most other Min varieties. Puxian has a lateral fricative [ɬ] instead of the [s] in other Min varieties.

Puxian has 40 finals and 6 phonemic tones.


Puxian Min Initial Chart
  Bilabial Alveolar Lateral Velar Glottal
Plosive unaspirated p 巴 (b) t 打 (d) k 家 (g) ʔ
aspirated 彭 (p) 他 (t) 卡 (k)
Nasals m 麻 (m) n 拿 (n) ŋ 雅 (ng)
Fricatives voiceless ɬ 沙 (s) h 下 (h)
voiced β*
Affricates unaspirated ts 渣 (c)
aspirated tsʰ 査 (ch)
Approximant l 拉 (l)


Puxian Min has 39 rimes.

Rime Chart
Vowel Diphthong Nasal Glottal
no glide a 鴉 (a) au 拗 (au) 王 (ang) 壓 (ah)
ɒ 奥 (o̤) ɒŋ 用 (o̤ng) ɒʔ 屋 (o̤h)
o 科 (eo) ɔu 烏 (o) 温 (eong) 熨 (eoh)
e 裔 (a̤) ai 愛 (ai) ɛŋ 煙 (eng) ɛʔ 黑 (eh)
œ 改 (e̤) œŋ 換 (e̤ng) œʔ 郁 (e̤h)
ŋ 伓 (ng)
/-i-/ i 衣 (i) iu 油 (iu) 引 (ing) 益 (ih)
ia 夜 (ia) iau 要 (a̤u) iaŋ 鹽 (iang) iaʔ 葉 (iah)
/-u-/ u 夫 (u) ui 位 (ui) 黄 (ng)
ua 画 (ua) ue 歪 (oi) uaŋ 碗 (uang) uaʔ 活 (uah)
/-y-/ y 余 (ṳ) 恩 (ṳng) 役 (ṳh)
安 (io̤ⁿ) yɒŋ 羊 (io̤ng) yɒʔ 藥 (io̤h)
Chinese character 黃 (ńg) 方 (hng) 漲 (dn̂g) 幫 (bng) 光 (gng) 兩 (nn̄g) 毛 (mńg)
Putian ŋ̍ hŋ̍ tuŋ puŋ kuŋ nuŋ muŋ
Xianyou ŋ̍ hŋ̍ tŋ̍ pŋ̍ kŋ̍ nŋ̍ mŋ̍
Xianyou dialect nasals
IPA ã ɛ̃ ĩ ɒ̃
Romanization aⁿ a̤ⁿ e̤ⁿ o̤ⁿ iaⁿ io̤ⁿ uaⁿ oiⁿ a̤uⁿ
Romanized IPA ã ø̃ ɒ̃ yɒ̃ ɛũ
Chinese character 爭 (caⁿ) 還 (há̤ⁿ) 段 (dē̤ⁿ) 三 (so̤ⁿ) 鼎 (diáⁿ) 張 (da̤uⁿ) 看 (kua̍ⁿ) 飯 (bōiⁿ) 贏 (ió̤ⁿ)
Xianyou tsã tỹ sɒ̃ tiã tiũ kʰuã puĩ yɒ̃
Putian tsa hi tia tiau kʰua puai


Tone Yin Ping 陰平 Yin Shang 陰上 Yin Qu 陰去 Yin Ru 陰入 Yang Ping 陽平 Yang Qu 陽去 Yang Ru 陽入
Putian ˥˧˧ (533) ˦˥˧ (453) ˦˨ (42) ʔ˨˩ (ʔ2) ˩˧ (13) ˩ (11) ʔ˦ (ʔ4)
Xianyou ˥˦˦ (544) ˧˧˨ (332) ˥˨ (52) ʔ˨ (ʔ2) ˨˦ (24) ˨˩ (21) ʔ˦ (ʔ4)


Xianyou dialect register chart
Chinese character
Colloquial pe ŋ̍ ɬã, tsʰã nia ɬai nŋ̍ hoe pia tieu
Literary mai hɒŋ ɬɛŋ liŋ ɬo løŋ piʔ tøʔ


新婦房 ɬiŋ pu paŋ → ɬiŋ mu β

青草 tsʰɔŋ tsʰau → tsʰɔŋ nau

Comparison between Putian Min and Quanzhou Min Nan

Chinese character 埋 (lit.) 萬 (lit.) 人 (lit.) 危 (lit.)
Putian pai paŋ tsiŋ tsiʔ kui kiʔ tue tɔʔ
Quanzhou bai ban dzin dzip ɡui ɡiak lue lɔk

Syllable of language


Hing-hua̍ báⁿ-uā-ci̍ (興化平話字) is the Romanization system for Puxian Min. It has 23 letters: a a̤ b c ch d e e̤ g h i k l m n ng o o̤ p s t u ṳ.

The Romanization only needs five tone marks for seven tones:

陰平 Yin Ping (unmarked)

陰上 Yin Shang ˆ (â)

陰去 Yin Qu ˈ (a̍)

陰入 Yin Ru (unmarked)

陽平 Yang Ping ́ (á)

陽去 Yang Qu - (ā)

陽入 Yang Ru ˈh (a̍h) 

IPA Puxian Min (Xinghua) Fuzhou
p p
t t
k k
p b b
t d d
k g g
tsʰ ch ch
ts c c
Tone 陰平 Yin Ping 陰上 Yin Shang 陰去 Yin Qu 陰入 Yin Ru 陽平 Yang Ping 陽去 Yang Qu 陽入 Yang Ru
Báⁿ-uā-ci̍ a â ah á ā a̍h
Pe̍h-ōe-jī a á à ah â ā a̍h

Example of Hing-hua̍ báⁿ-uā-ci̍

Tai̍-che̤ ū Dō̤, Dō̤ gah Siō̤ng-Da̤̍ dó̤ng-cāi, Dō̤ cuh sī Siō̤ng-Da̤̍. Ca̤̍ Dō̤ ta̍i-che̤ gah Sio̤ng-Da̤̍ dó̤ng-cāi. Māng-beo̍h sī ciā da̤u̍h I cho̤̍ ē; hang pī cho̤̍, beo̍ seo̍h-ā̤uⁿ ng-sī ciā da̤u̍h I cho̤̍ ē.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)


External links

  • Motoki Makajima, Conversational Texts in Two Min Dialects, 1979
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