Native toPeople's Republic of China
Native speakers
< 100 (2017)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Jizhao (Chinese: 吉兆话) is an unclassified Kra-Dai language spoken in Jizhao Village 吉兆村, Tanba Town 覃巴镇, Wuchuan, Guangdong. It may be most closely related to Be.[3] In Wuchuan, Jizhao is locally referred to as Haihua 海话, which is the term used elsewhere in Leizhou 雷州, Xuwen 徐闻, and Maoming 茂名 to refer to the local Minnan Chinese dialect of Leizhou.[5]


Jizhao is an endangered language that only has speakers above the age of 60 (Shao 2016:70). Within Jizhao Administrative Village 吉兆行政村, it is spoken in the hamlets (natural villages) of Jizhao 吉兆, Meilou 梅楼, and Hong 洪村 villages (Shao 2016:9). Jizhao speakers are officially classified as ethnic Han by the Chinese government.

As of 2017, there are fewer than 100 speakers of Jizhao, most of whom are above the age of 70.[1]


Shao & Meng (2016) observe some similarities with the Be language of northern Hainan, but provisionally consider Jizhao to be unclassified within the Kam-Tai (壮侗) branch. Jizhao has many loanwords from Yue Chinese and Minnan Chinese.

Weera Ostapirat (1998),[3] analyzing data from Zhang (1992),[6] notes that Be and Jizhao share many lexical similarities and sound correspondences, and that Jizhao may be a remnant Be-related language on the Chinese mainland.

In a 100-item Swadesh list, Shao (2016) found lexical matches between Jizhao and the following languages.


Jizhao has 6 tones (Shao 2016:15).

  1. [˨˩] 21
  2. [˧˩] 31
  3. [˧˨] 32
  4. [˧] 33
  5. [˥] 55
  6. [˦˥] 45

Jizhao, like Hlai, also has the implosive consonants /ɓ/ and /ɗ/ (Li & Wu 2017).

See also


  1. ^ a b Li Jinfang [李锦芳]; Wu Yan [吴艳]. 2017. "Guangdong Wuchuan Jizhaohua gaikuang Archived 2017-12-10 at the Wayback Machine" [广东吴川吉兆话概况]. In Minzu Yuwen [民族语文] 2017:4.
  2. ^ Hansell, Mark (1988). "The Relation of Be to Tai: Evidence from Tones and Initials". In Edmondson, Jerold A.; Solnit, David B. (eds.). Comparative Kadai: Linguistic Studies Beyond Tai. Publications in Linguistics No. 86. Summer Institute of Linguistics and The University of Texas at Arlington. pp. 239–288.
  3. ^ a b c Ostapirat, W. (1998). A Mainland Bê Language? / 大陆的Bê语言?. Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 26(2), 338-344
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2023-07-10). "Glottolog 4.8 - Beic". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. doi:10.5281/zenodo.7398962. Archived from the original on 2023-10-20. Retrieved 2023-10-19.
  5. ^ Shao Lanzhu [邵兰珠]; Meng Yuanyao [蒙元耀]. 2016. "Loanwords of Min dialect in Jizhao dialect in Guangdong" [广东吉兆话中的闽方言借词]. In Journal of Guangdong University of Petrochemical Technology [广东石油化工学院学报], Vol. 26, No. 2, April 2016.
  6. ^ Zhang Zhenxing [张振兴]. 1992. "Guangdongsheng Wuchuan fangyan jilve" [广东省吴川方言记略]. In Fangyan [方言] 1992(3).