勾漏方言 Ngaulau Yut
Native toSouthern China
RegionGuangxiGuangdong border
Native speakers
(6.9 million cited 1998)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)
ISO 639-6gulu
guin1237  Goulou
  Goulou, among other Yue and Pinghua groups in Guangxi and Guangdong

Goulou is one of the principal groups of Yue dialects. It is spoken around the GuangxiGuangdong border, and includes the dialects of Yulin and Bobai.


Yulin dialect is representative, though Bobai is better known.



Consonants of the Tengxian dialect[2]
Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
voiceless p t k (ʔ)
aspirated tʃʰ
implosive ɓ ɗ
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative voiceless f ʃ h
voiced v
lateral ɬ
Approximant voiced l j
labial ɥ w


Vowel nuclei[2]
Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
Close i y u
Close-mid e ø o
Open-mid ɛ œ ɔ
Near-open ɐ
Open a
Vowel combinations
Oral Nasal Stop
Medial coda i y u m n ŋ p t k
Nucleus Vowel a ai au am an ap at ak
wa wai wan wat
ɐi ɐu ɐm ɐn ɐŋ ɐp ɐt ɐk
wɐi wɐn wɐt
i(ɛ) iɛu iɛm iɛŋ iɛp iɛk
(ei) ek
i iu im in ip it
ɔ ɔi ɔm ɔn ɔŋ ɔp ɔt ɔk
ou ok
u ui un ut


Bobai dialect is widely cited as having the most tones of any variety of Chinese, though it actually only has six, the same as most Yue dialects. The reason for the claim is that Bobai makes a four-way tonal distinction in checked syllables, whereas most other Yue dialects have three. In Yulin dialect just to the north of Bobai, however, neither entering tone is split: there are just two entering tones, 7 and 8. Lee (1993) believes that Bobai is innovative in having split 8, whereas Yulin (along with several neighboring interior Yue dialects) is innovative in having merged a former split in 7: proto-Yue probably had 7a, 7b, and 8.

Many Yue varieties exhibit a "changed tone" with some semantic content. Such tones occur in the Yulin dialect, in checked syllables only, marking diminutives. In such cases, the final stop -p, -t or -k is changed to a homorganic nasal -m, -n or -ŋ, respectively, and the pitch contour is also altered. This seems to be a trace of a now-lost suffix similar to ér (兒, Middle Chinese nye) in other Chinese varieties.[3]



  1. ^ Olson, An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China
  2. ^ a b c Hashimoto, Anne Yue (1971). A Guide to the Teng-xian Dialect. Princeton University, N.J. Chinese Linguistics Project.
  3. ^ Tan, Yutian (2011). "The origin and nature of high rising diminutive Tone Change in Siyi Dialect" (PDF). In Jing-Schmidt, Zhuo (ed.). Proceedings of the 23rd North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-23), Volume 2. pp. 190–207.