Sixian dialect
PronunciationNorthern: [ɕi˥ i̯en˥ kʰi̯oŋ˨˦]
Southern: [ɕi˥ i̯an˥ kʰi̯oŋ˨˦]
Native toTaiwan
RegionMiaoli County; Taoyuan; Kaohsiung; Pingtung County; Huatung Valley
EthnicityTaiwanese Hakka
  • Northern Sixian
  • Southern Sixian
Hakka Romanization System
Official status
Regulated byHakka Affairs Council
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottologsanh1239  Sixian
liud1234  Liudui-Pingtung
taoy1234  Taoyuan-Miaoli
Sixian dialect
Traditional Chinese四縣話
Simplified Chinese四县话
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese四縣腔
Simplified Chinese四县腔
Jiaoling County (yellow) in Meizhou, Guangdong
Jiaoling County (yellow) in Meizhou, Guangdong
Liudui in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, the area where Southern Sixian is spoken
Liudui in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, the area where Southern Sixian is spoken

The Sixian dialect, also known as the Sixian accent (traditional Chinese: 四縣腔; simplified Chinese: 四县腔; Sixian Hakka Romanization System: Xi ien kiongˊ / Xi ian kiongˊ;[1] Pha̍k-fa-sṳ: Si-yen-khiông / Si-yan-khiông[1]), is a dialect of Hakka used by Taiwanese Hakkas, and it is the most spoken dialect of Taiwanese Hakka, being used in Hakka broadcasting in many public occasions. The Sixian dialect is generally spoken in northern and southern Taiwan, with main representative regions being Taoyuan and Miaoli in the north, as well as the Liudui Region in Kaohsiung and Pingtung in the south.

Taiwanese Hakka is often called Si Hai Yong Le Da Ping An (四海永樂大平安; 四海永乐大平安; Sì Hǎi Yǒng Lè Dà Píng Ān), referring to the Sixian (四縣; 四县), Hailu (海陸; 海陆), Yongding (永定), Changle (長樂; 长乐), Dabu (大埔), Raoping (饒平; 饶平) and Zhao'an (詔安; 诏安) dialects. Among these, the Sixian and Changle dialects originate in Jiaying Prefecture, Guangdong, established in 1733 during the Qing Dynasty under the rule of Yongzheng Emperor. Historically, the Jiaying Prefecture governed five counties. The Sixian dialect comes from the four counties of Chengxiang (now Meixian), Zhengping (now Jiaoling), Xingning and Pingyuan, giving it the name Sixian (four counties); the Changle dialect originates in its eponym, the county of Changle (now Wuhua). Currently, speakers of the Yongding and Changle dialects have basically left their own accent families, so only the Sixian, Hailu, Dabu, Raoping and Zhao'an dialects remain in use in Taiwan. In Taiwan, the only widely used Hakka dialects are Sixian and Hailu.

The Sixian dialect of Taiwan is slightly different from the Meixian dialect of mainland China since the majority of immigrants from Jiaying Prefecture are from Zhenping County, which is present-day Jiaoling County, so the Sixian dialect is closer to the Jiaoling dialect of mainland China. There are also differences in vocabulary and phonology between the Sixian dialect spoken in northern Taiwan (called Northern Sixian or Miaoli dialect) and in Liudui of southern Taiwan (called Southern Sixian).[2][3] Because of the differences between the two varieties of Sixian, the recitation contests in the National Language Competition separate the contest into the two accents of (Northern) Sixian and Southern Sixian. Alternatively, Sixian may include Xingning and Changle, but because these two counties were formerly a part of Huizhou fu, they may be closer to the Hailu dialect.



Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n n̠ʲ[4] ŋ
Plosive p t k
Affricate t͡s t͡sʰ t͡ɕ t͡ɕʰ
Fricative f v s ɕ h
Approximant l j (S)[5]



According to the Handbook for Using the Hakka Romanization System (《客家語拼音方案使用手冊》; 《客家语拼音方案使用手册》) published by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education, the rhymes can be split into three categories: yin rhymes (陰聲韻; 阴声韵), yang rhymes (陽聲韻; 阳声韵), and checked rhymes (入聲韻; 入声韵).[7]

Yin rhymes

Yin rhymes are rhymes with a pure vowel or a complex vowel.

Pure vowels
Front Central Back
Close i ɨ[8] u
Mid e o
Open a
Complex vowels
a- ai̯ au̯
e- eu̯
i- i̯a i̯ai̯ (S) i̯au̯ i̯e i̯eu̯ i̯o i̯oi̯ i̯u i̯ui̯
o- oi̯
u- u̯a u̯ai u̯e u̯i

Yang rhymes

Yang rhymes end in a nasal consonant. They can be syllabic nasals or nuclei (pure or complex vowel) with nasal codas.

Syllabic nasals
Nuclei with nasal codas
-m am em ɨm im i̯am i̯em
-n an en ɨn in i̯an (S)[9] i̯en i̯on i̯un on un u̯an u̯en
i̯aŋ i̯oŋ i̯uŋ u̯aŋ

Checked rhymes

Checked rhymes end with a stop consonant (/p̚/,/t̚/,/k̚/) and a short vowel before it.

-p ăp̚ ĕp̚ ɨ̆p̚ ĭp̚ i̯ăp̚ i̯ĕp̚
-t ăt̚ ĕt̚ ɨ̆t̚ ĭt̚ i̯ăt̚ (S)[9] i̯ĕt̚ i̯ŏt̚ i̯ŭt̚ ŏt̚ ŭt̚ u̯ăt̚ u̯ĕt̚
-k ăk̚ i̯ăk̚ i̯ŏk̚ i̯ŭk̚ ŏk̚ ŭk̚ u̯ăk̚


Using [t͡sʰo] and [t͡sʰok] as examples:

Tone Level Rising Departing Entering
Dark/Light Dark Light Dark Light
Tone value 24 (N, S)
33 (S)[10]
11 31 55 2 5
IPA t͡sʰo˨˦ / t͡sʰo˧ t͡sʰo˩ t͡sʰo˧˩ t͡sʰo˥ t͡sʰŏk̚˨ t͡sʰŏk̚˥


Tone sandhi

In compounds, if a dark-level tone is followed by a dark-level, light-entering or departing tone, the dark-level tone (24) changes to the light-level tone (11).[12] In Southern Sixian, if a light-level tone (11) is not in the end of a compound, it is changed to the dark-level tone (33 in Meinong).[13] In the Dalukuan and Guangfu Village accents, there are seven tone sandhi rules: the "low" dark-level and light-level tones mostly become a mid tone (33) or a high rising tone (35); thus, the tones of these two areas sound higher than the other areas in Liudui.

Related Hakka dialects

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In China, the Dabu and Fengshun Counties originally belonging to the Chaozhou fu have been combined with the former Jiaying Prefecture, establishing Meizhou. Historically, other than the Sixian and Changle dialects, the Dabu and Fengshun dialects were also brought to Taiwan from areas presently governed by Meizhou in China. The Fengshun dialect mainly originates in Fengshun and Jieyang Counties. However, in Taiwan, speakers of the Dabu and Fengshun dialects are still traditionally considered to be Chaozhou Hakkas. Other than the Dabu and Fengshun dialects, the Raoping dialect is also from Chaozhou, specifically the Raoping and Huilai Counties.

In Taiwan, the Sixian dialect is the most spoken dialect spoken by the Hakkas, and following is the Hailu dialect (Sixian Hakka Romanization System: hoiˋ liug kiongˊ). The Hailu dialect originates in Huizhou fu (present-day Huizhou and Shanwei) in mainland China, so it is also sometimes called the Huizhou dialect. Since there are many Hakka dialects in Taiwan, when Taiwanese Hakkas interact with each other, there may be influences from other dialects, forming a dialect between the Sixian and Hailu dialects called the Si-Hai dialect (or Hai-Si dialect). The Sihai dialect is not a particular accent, but is just formed because of the interaction between different Hakka groups. Taiwanese Hakka can generally be classified under the Yue-Tai dialects, which are also called the Si-Hai dialects.

The Sixian, Hailu, Changle, Dabu and Raoping dialects all come from Guangdong, China, so Taiwanese Hakkas trace back their origins to Guangdong. Even Hakkas from Tingzhou fu, Fujian, consider themselves to be from Yuedong (Guangdong). Therefore, there is a parallel between "Yuedong Hakkas" and "Minnan Hoklos". Taiwanese Hakka dialects from Fujian include the Yongding, Zhao'an and Tingzhou dialects. The Yongding dialect originates in the Yongding, Shanghang and Wuping Counties of Tingzhou fu. Its phonology is close to Yuedong dialects (e.g. Sixian and Dabu dialects). The Tingzhou dialect originates in the Changting, Ninghua, Qingliu, Guihua and Liancheng Counties of Tingzhou fu. The Zhao'an dialect originates in the Zhao'an, Pinghe, Nanjing and Hua'an Counties of Zhangzhou fu. The Zhao'an and Tingzhou dialects are quite different from the Yue-Tai (Si-Hai) dialects, making them unique in Taiwan.


  1. ^ a b is pronounced as ien (PFS: yen) in Northern Sixian and as ian (PFS: yan) in Southern Sixian.
  2. ^ For vocabulary differences, see Jiaoyubu (2011), pp. 6, 16, 22, 31, etc.
  3. ^ See Jiaoyubu (2012b), pp. 3, 5–6
  4. ^ The Handbook for Using the Hakka Romanization System writes it as [ȵ]. It is written as ng(i)- in the Hakka Romanization System.
  5. ^ In some southern accents, syllables beginning with /i-/ are read as /j(i)-/。
  6. ^ Jiaoyubu (2012b), pp. 5–6
  7. ^ Jiaoyubu (2012b)
  8. ^ The Handbook for Using the Hakka Romanization System uses [ï].
  9. ^ a b Seen in Southern Sixian when the onset is a velar consonant (/k/, /kʰ/, /ŋ/), /t͡ɕ/, /h/, /j/ or a zero consonant.
  10. ^ In some areas speaking Southern Sixian (e.g. Meinong District, Kaohsiung), the tone value is 33.
  11. ^ Jiaoyubu (2012b), p. 3
  12. ^ Jiaoyubu (2012a), p. III; Jiaoyubu (2011), p. VI
  13. ^ Zhong, Rongfu 鍾榮富 (2004). Táiwān Kèjiā yǔyīn dǎolùn 臺灣客家語音導論 [Introduction to Taiwan Hakka Phonetics] (in Chinese). pp. 123–124. ISBN 9571134759.

Works cited