Xiang (Hunanese) is a Sinitic language spoken mainly in Hunan (湖南) province in China, 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. In 2017 there were about 37 million speakers of Xiang.
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 Old Xiang, and 长沙话 [ɕiæ̃33 y41] or Changsha language for New Xiang.
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.
Download an alphabet chart for Xiang (Excel)
There are three main groups of Xiang dialects:
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Page last modified: 15.03.23
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