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Native toMainland China
RegionXiguan, Liwan District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province
Native speakers
Nearly none[citation needed]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

The Xiguan accent (Chinese: 西關口音) or Xiguan dialect (Chinese: 西關話), is a sub-dialect of the Guangzhou dialect of Cantonese, spoken in Xiguan. Cantonese takes Guangzhou dialect as its standard and Guangzhou dialect once took Xiguan as its standard. With an increasing number of outsiders moving in, Xiguan dialect can only be heard among the older population and it is near extinction. The Guangzhouhua Zidian (Chinese: 廣州話字典; lit. 'Guangzhou Dialect Dictionary') includes Xiguan alongside Nanhai and Hong Kong.


People living in Xiguan have generally lost a Xiguan accent; what they are actually speaking with is the relaxed pronunciation (Chinese: 懶音) of Xiguan Dialect.

Differences with downtown accent

Differences in the pronunciation of some characters

Xiguan Accent Downtown Accent English Translation
han3(瞓)覺 (Close to the ancient pronunciation of "睏") fan3(瞓)覺 To sleep
ji1(依)家 ji4(而)家 Now
ji1(依)個 ni1(呢)個 This, these

Confusion of consonants n & l

Due to Xiguan's near geographical position to Nanhai, both accents spoken in Xiguan and Nanhai feature n-l merger, in which /n/ and /l/ are merged into /l/. However, the feature is less prominent in the Xiguan accent.

Consonant ng

Speakers of Xiguan Accents pronounce zero consonant (Chinese: 零聲母) as the consonant ng, for instance, "屋(uk7)" as "nguk7" and "壓(aat8)" as "ngaat8".

Vowels i & ei / ai

Speakers of Xiguan Accents pronounce vowels ei and ai as i. The phenomenon also lies in Nanhai Accents, such as:

The Character Xiguan Accent Downtown Accent English Translation
使 si2 sai2 To make, to cause, to use
si2 sei2 To die
si3 sei3 Four
si1 sai1 (Owing to the Popularization of Mandarin (Chinese: 推廣普通話), an increasing number of people read si1 rather than sai1, influenced by Mandarin) Neigh, hiss

Dental consonant

Additionally, speakers of Xiguan Accents enhance dental consonants (Chinese: 舌尖齒音). That is to say, downtown people pronounce "知", "雌" and "斯" as [tɕi], [tɕʰi] and [ɕi] (comparatively relaxed in the oral area, close to [tɕ], [tɕʰ] and [ɕ] in IPA; and yet Speakers of Xiguan Accents pronounce [tsi], [tsʰi] and [si] (The tip of tongue pushes up against upper teeth and blocks up air current. Tense in the oral area, similar to zh, ch and sh in Mandarin without rolling tongue). To be precise, dental consonants are similar to the consonants of 左", "初" and "所" (i.e., [ts], [tsʰ] and [s]) in Downtown Accents. In summary, speakers of Xiguan Accents pronounce [tɕ], [tɕʰ] and [ɕ] as [ts], [tsʰ] and [s]. A saying representing Xiguan Accents goes that Servant, take some money to buy some seadless kaki fruits (Chinese: 亞"四",擰幾毫"紙",去買啲水"柿").


Relationship with downtown accents (especially Dongshan accents)

Xiguan lies to the west of Taiping Gate (Chinese: 太平門; pinyin: Tàipíng Mén; Jyutping: Taai3 Ping4 Mun4; lit. 'Peace and Security Gate'). Xiguan is the suburb of Guangzhou and it was administrated by Nanhai County rather than Panyu County (covering former Yuexiu District and former Dongshan District). Therefore, it was not regarded as part of the capital of Guangdong Province. Therefore, Xiguan Dialect should be regarded as suburban accents, distinguished from Downtown Accent (Chinese: 城內音), esp. Dongshan Accents (Chinese: 東山口音). Notwithstanding, Xiguan lies close to the provincial capital, so the gap is narrow.