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Understanding Different Accents, especially Fujian!!


Suggested Difficulty (Elementary etc): ____ intermediate
Video or Audio: ____
Lesson Idea: Hi @Constance_Fang and Team,

I love the lessons you guys already have about trying to understand different Chinese accents, and I’d really love to see more of these!! I think it’s awesome that you put so much emphasis on learning how to speak standard Mandarin, because then it’s really easy for others to understand you–but when it comes to ‘real world settings,’ I often have a hard time understanding people with different accents, and so would really like to have more listening practice with ‘non standard Mandarin.’

I think it would be really helpful to have more lessons that help us get used to different accents, and maybe have some tricks and key words we can watch out for to identify someone’s accent.

In particular, I have an extremely hard time understanding my mother-in-law and uncles, who are from Fujian. It’s also quite difficult to find any resources online that help explain the Fujianese accent. So anything of this sort would be very helpful!!

Thanks so much!!
All best,


That’s a great suggestion for a lesson, though Fujian accent may be a rather narrow interest group. I don’t have enough experience with it, though I have been able to understand people from Fujian that I met reasonably well. With older Chinese people it may be the case that they just never studied that much Mandarin. Fujian dialect is in a fairly different language family from putonghua. If you will forgive me for horning in on your good suggestion, I would rather propose a lesson about Northeast versus Southeast, to include Fujian, Taiwan, and Jiangsu, etc. I think there are enough cases of generalizations that you can make to provide material for a useful lesson.


Good idea! Northeast vs Southeast is a good way to categorize it. Perhaps if we did make such a video we could also include the Northwest and Southwest as those accents can also be quite different.


Shame on us, we did not do a search of the lesson archives!

Some commentary by Jenny Zhu excerpted from the discussion threads about local variation in Fujian:
The same goes for deep fried twisted dough. In most parts of China, it’s 油条/you2 tiao2, but in ceratin parts of Fujian province, they call it 油炸鬼/you2 zha4 gui3/deep fried ghost

There is a plethora of accents in China. We need an eternity to cover them. In fact, there are many regional accents or completely different dialogues within a region. Even within the same province, people might be utterly lost when communicating with someone from a different locality. vduncan, Aric is from Taiwan. His accent (or what we might generalise as Taiwan accent) is also the typical Fujian accent. But he is only mildly accented. In fact, all of the people in this lesson has a mild accent.

and from user cassielin:
Vduncan, I am from Fujian Province, and the second one , I mean the taiwanese’s accent is kindof familiar with South Fujian accent, called闽南语min3nan2yu3. Fujian Province is one of the most complicated accents area in China. There are about 6 accents area in Fujian province. 福州话、闽南话、客家话、莆田话、永安话、建瓯话。The most influenced one is 闽南话. And In Chinatown, you will hear most chinese people speak 福州话fuzhouhua. I think it will be better for you to tell the difference if there are some long conversations in different accents


Please see our commentary below and links to older lessons about regional accents. If you are a true language nerd like us and want to delve into the local dialects of Fujian as well (or anywhere else in China) Phonemica is a good place to start.