Ba-Shu Chinese

Ba-Shu Chinese (Chinese: 巴蜀語; pinyin: Bāshǔ yǔ; Wade–Giles: Ba1 Shu33; Sichuanese Pinyin: Ba¹su²yu³; IPA: [pa˥su˨˩y˥˧]), or Old Sichuanese (or Old Szechwanese; Chinese: 蜀語), is an extinct Sinitic language formerly spoken in what is now Sichuan and Chongqing, China. This language is first attested in Fangyan during the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE–8 CE) and represents one of the earliest splits from Old Chinese or Early Middle Chinese. It became extinct during the Ming dynasty, when it was supplanted by Southwestern Mandarin after settlement by people from other parts of China.

Phonological aspects of Ba-Shu Chinese are preserved in the Minjiang dialect of Sichuanese Mandarin and there is debate on whether it is a variant of Southwestern Mandarin or a modern day descendant of Ba-Shu.[1][2]

Ba-Shu Chinese
Native toChina
RegionSichuan Basin
ExtinctExtinct during the Ming dynasty. Some features are preserved in Sichuanese Mandarin, especially Minjiang dialect.
Language codes
ISO 639-3None (mis)

See also


  1. ^ 向学春(2008年第5期),《四川方言中的古巴蜀土著语研究》,重庆三峡学院学报 (in Chinese)
  2. ^ 刘晓南(2009年第8卷第6期),《试论宋代巴蜀方言与现代四川方言的关系——兼谈文献考证的一个重要功用: 追寻失落的方言》,语言科学 (in Chinese)

Bashu can refer to:

Bashu, the Little Stranger

Bashu or Ba Shu, a region associated with modern-day Sichuan

Ba-Shu Chinese, also known as Old Sichuanese, an exictinct Sinitic (Chinese) language spoken in Sichuan

Bashu Secondary School, located in Yuzhong District, Chongqing, China

Cheng Han

The Cheng Han (simplified Chinese: 成汉; traditional Chinese: 成漢; pinyin: Chénghàn; 303 or 304-347) was a state of the Sixteen Kingdoms during the Jin Dynasty (265-420) in China. It represented two states, the Cheng state (成, pinyin Chéng) proclaimed in 304 by Li Xiong and the Han state (汉, pinyin Hàn) in 338 by Li Shou. Since they were both ruled by the Li family of the Ba ethnicity, scholars with Chinese backgrounds often combined them into a single Cheng Han state. (The Li family has also been described as being of Ba-Di ethnicity, they were originally Ba from modern Sichuan who had settled among the Di in modern Gansu.) Western texts frequently referred to the two states separately. Whether the treatment is correct is debatable—when Li Shou claimed the throne in 338, he did not acknowledge his throne as having been inherited from Li Xiong's line, and indeed, while continuing the worship of Li Xiong, maintained it in a separate temple. Li Shou's son Li Shi, however, acknowledged the prior emperors as his predecessors. Cheng Han's was the earliest establishment of the Sixteen Kingdoms.

All rulers of the Cheng Han declared themselves "emperors".

The commonly accepted founding year of Cheng has been 304. Nevertheless, Li Te declared a new era name in 303 and self-declaration of era name has been considered by some Chinese scholars to be a symbol of a new government. At that time, however, Li Te claimed no imperial or other special titles for himself.

Chengdu-Chongqing dialect

Chengdu-Chongqing dialect or Cheng–Yu (Chinese: 成渝; pinyin: Chéng-Yú; Sichuanese Pinyin: Cen2yu2, local pronunciation: [tsʰən˨˩y˨˩]) is the most widely used branch of Southwestern Mandarin, with about 90 million speakers. It is named after Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan, and Chongqing, which was split from Sichuan in 1997. It is spoken mainly in northern and eastern Sichuan, the northeastern part of the Chengdu Plain, several cities or counties in southwestern Sichuan (Panzhihua, Dechang, Yanyuan, Huili and Ningnan), southern Shaanxi and western Hubei.This uniform dialect is formed after the great migration movement in Ming and Qing dynasty, and is greatly influenced by the Chinese varieties of Mandarin the immigrants spoke from Hubei, Xiang and Gan. So it keeps fewer characteristics of Sichuan's original Ba-Shu Chinese than other Sichuanese dialects, such as Minjiang dialect.

Former Shu

Great Shu (Chinese: 大蜀, Pinyin: Dàshǔ) called in retrospect Former Shu (Chinese: 前蜀, Pinyin: Qiánshǔ) or occasionally Wang Shu (王蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms formed during the chaotic period between the rules of the Tang dynasty and the Song dynasty. It existed in 907–925 CE. It was the third state named "Shu" on the same territory, the second one having been Shu Han.

The country's name changed from "Shu" to "Han" (Chinese: 漢, Pinyin: Hàn) in 917–918, which is not to be confused with another simultaneous Chinese kingdom during the same Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, Great Han (Chinese: 大漢, Pinyin: Dàhàn) which was initially called Great Yue (Chinese: 大越, Pinyin: Dàyuè) until 918 or 919, and is called in retrospect Southern Han (simplified Chinese: 南汉; traditional Chinese: 南漢; pinyin: Nán Hàn), 917–971 CE.

Later Shu

Shu (referred to as Later Shu (simplified Chinese: 后蜀; traditional Chinese: 後蜀; pinyin: Hòu Shǔ) to differentiate it from other states named Shu in Chinese history), also known as Meng Shu (Chinese: 孟蜀), was one of the Ten Kingdoms during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in China. It was located in present-day Sichuan with its capital in Chengdu and lasted from 934 to 965. It was the fourth and latest state of this name on the same territory.

List of varieties of Chinese

The following is a list of Varieties of Chinese. The varieties of Chinese is the first layer of classification. Each variety of Chinese has several dialects underneath, and these dialects vary in mutual intelligibility tremendously based on geographical distance. Sometimes, professional linguists may use dialect group to refer to a group of regiolects.

Literary and colloquial readings of Chinese characters

Differing literary and colloquial readings for certain Chinese characters are a common feature of many Chinese varieties, and the reading distinctions for these linguistic doublets often typify a dialect group. Literary readings (文讀; wéndú) are usually used in formal loan words or names, when reading aloud, and in formal settings, while colloquial readings (白讀; báidú) are usually used in everyday vernacular speech.

For example, in Mandarin the character for the word "white" (白) is generally pronounced bái ([pǎi]), but as a name or in certain formal or historical settings it can be pronounced bó ([pwǒ]). This example is particularly well known due to its effect on the modern pronunciation of the names of the Tang dynasty (618–907) poets Bai Juyi and Li Bai (alternatively, "Bo Juyi" and "Li Bo").

Generally speaking, colloquial readings preserve more ancient and conservative pronunciations, while literary readings represent newer pronunciations influenced by the dialects of historical capital areas such as Nanjing or Beijing. The case is reversed in Mandarin Chinese, however, where literary pronunciations are usually older.

Minjiang dialect

Minjiang dialect (simplified Chinese: 岷江话; traditional Chinese: 岷江話, local pronunciation: [min˨˩tɕiaŋ˥xa˨˨˦]; pinyin: Mínjiānghuà), is a branch of Sichuanese, spoken mainly in the Min River (Mínjiāng) valley or along the Yangtze in the southern and western parts of the Sichuan Basin. There is also a language island of Minjiang dialect located in the center of the Sichuan Basin covering three counties: Xichong, Yanting, and Shehong Counties.

The primary characteristic of the Minjiang dialect is that the stop consonants for checked-tone syllables in Middle Chinese have developed into tense vowels to create a phonemic contrast, and in several cities and counties the tense vowels retain a following glottal stop. It also keeps many characteristics of Ba-Shu Chinese phonology and vocabulary. Due to these characteristics, the status of Minjiang dialect is disputed among linguists, with some classifying it as Southwestern Mandarin, and others setting it apart as a successor of Ba-Shu Chinese.

Shu Han

Shu or Shu Han ([ʂù xân] (listen); 221–263) was one of the three major states that competed for supremacy over China in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280). The state was based in the area around present-day Sichuan and Chongqing, which was historically known as "Shu" after an earlier state in Sichuan named Shu. Shu Han's founder Liu Bei had named his state "Han" as he considered it the legitimate successor to the Han dynasty, while "Shu" is added to the name as a geographical prefix to differentiate it from the many "Han" states throughout Chinese history.


Sichuan (四川; formerly romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a province in southwest China occupying most of the Sichuan Basin and the easternmost part of the Tibetan Plateau between the Jinsha River on the west, the Daba Mountains in the north, and the Yungui Plateau to the south. Sichuan's capital city is Chengdu. The population of Sichuan stands at 81 million.

In antiquity, Sichuan was the home of the ancient states of Ba and Shu. Their conquest by Qin strengthened it and paved the way for the Qin Shi Huang's unification of China under the Qin dynasty. During the Three Kingdoms era, Liu Bei's Shu was based in Sichuan. The area was devastated in the 17th century by Zhang Xianzhong's rebellion and the area's subsequent Manchu conquest, but recovered to become one of China's most productive areas by the 19th century. During the World War II, Chongqing served as the temporary capital of the Republic of China, making it the focus of Japanese bombing. It was one of the last mainland areas to fall to the Communists during the Chinese Civil War and was divided into four parts from 1949 to 1952, with Chongqing restored two years later. It suffered gravely during the Great Chinese Famine of 1959–61 but remained China's most populous province until Chongqing Municipality was again separated from it in 1997.

The people of Sichuan speak a unique form of Mandarin, which took shape during the area's repopulation under the Ming. The family of dialects is now spoken by about 120 million people, which would make it the 10th most spoken language in the world if counted separately. The area's warm damp climate long caused Chinese medicine to advocate spicy dishes; the native Sichuan pepper was supplemented by Mexican chilis during the Columbian Exchange to form modern Sichuan cuisine, whose dishes—including Kung Pao chicken and Mapo tofu—have become staples of Chinese cuisine around the world.


Sichuanese, Szechuanese or Szechwanese may refer to something of, from, or related to the Chinese province and region of Sichuan (Szechwan/Szechuan) (historically and culturally including Chongqing), especially:

Sichuanese people, a subgroup of the Han Chinese

Sichuanese cuisine

Ba-Shu Chinese (Old Sichuanese), an extinct language in the Sinitic (Chinese) language family

Sichuanese dialect, a branch of Southwest Mandarin

Sichuanese Standard Mandarin, a dialect of standard Putonghua Mandarin Chinese

Sichuanese dialects

Sichuanese or Szechwanese (simplified Chinese: 四川话; traditional Chinese: 四川話; Sichuanese Pinyin: Si4cuan1hua4; pinyin: Sìchuānhuà; Wade–Giles: Szŭ4-ch'uan1-hua4), also called Sichuanese/Szechwanese Mandarin (simplified Chinese: 四川官话; traditional Chinese: 四川官話; pinyin: Sìchuān Guānhuà) is a branch of Southwestern Mandarin spoken mainly in Sichuan and Chongqing, which was part of Sichuan Province until 1997, and the adjacent regions of their neighboring provinces, such as Hubei, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Shaanxi. Although "Sichuanese" is often synonymous with the Chengdu-Chongqing dialect, there is still a great amount of diversity among the Sichuanese dialects, some of which are mutually unintelligible with each other. In addition, because Sichuanese is the lingua franca in Sichuan, Chongqing and part of Tibet, it is also used by many Tibetan, Yi, Qiang and other ethnic minority groups as a second language.Sichuanese is more similar to Standard Chinese than southeastern Chinese varieties but is still quite divergent in phonology, vocabulary, and even grammar. The Minjiang dialect is especially difficult for speakers of other Mandarin dialects to understand. Sichuanese can be further divided into a number of dialects, Chengdu–Chongqing dialect, Minjiang dialect, Renshou–Fushun dialect, and Ya'an–Shimian dialect. The dialect of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province and an important central city is the most representative dialect of Southwestern Mandarin and is used widely in Sichuan opera and other art forms of the region.

Modern Sichuanese evolved due to a great wave of immigration during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644): many immigrants, mainly from Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guangdong flooded into Sichuan bringing their languages with them. The influence of Sichuanese has resulted in a distinct form of Standard Chinese that is often confused with "real" Sichuanese. Sichuanese, spoken by about 120 million people, would rank 10th among languages by number of speakers (just behind Japanese) if counted as a separate language.

Sichuanese people

The Sichuanese, Sze Chuan or Si Ch'uan (previous romanize spelling) people (Sichuanese: 巴蜀人 Ba1su2ren2; IPA: [pa55su21zən21]; alternatively 川人, 川渝人, 四川人 or 巴蜀民系) are a subgroup of Han Chinese living in mostly Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality of China.

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