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Wenzhou dialect gets first dictionary

ezhejiang.gov.cn| Updated: October 8, 2021 L M S

The Wenzhou Dialect Dictionary, the first of its kind – was officially launched in the city in East China's Zhejiang province on Sept 30 – with the goal to spread the culture of the region throughout the country and even abroad.


The launch ceremony of the Wenzhou Dialect Dictionary takes place in Wenzhou, in East China's Zhejiang province, on Sept 30. [Photo/zj.zjol.com.cn]

The compilation began in March 2019 and was completed in the August of 2021 by a team of experts and published by the Commercial Press in September.

With a total of 9,088 words, 2,876 entries, 26,269 examples in 744 pages, the dictionary features Wenzhou proverbs and rare words. The pronunciations of the dialect in the dictionary are marked by the International Phonetic Alphabet, or homophone words, with various examples accompanied by phonetic explanations.

The Wenzhou dialect, known as a "living fossil" of the ancient Chinese language, is recognized as one of the dialects with the richest of historical levels. According to Shen Kecheng, chief editor of the Wenzhou Dialect Dictionary, the work is not only a compilation of the Wenzhou dialect, but also a contribution to the study of Chinese history.


Several examples are displayed of the Wenzhou Dialect Dictionary. [Photo/zj.zjol.com.cn]

It has been launched in an audio version, but has also come out in a printed version. Readers can scan the QR code printed on the dictionary or the WeChat mini program the "Wenzhou Dialect Dictionary Audio Version" and input Chinese characters to hear the pronunciation, meanings and phrases of the Wenzhou dialect.

"Learning the Wenzhou dialect makes me admire Wenzhou all the more," said Akutteh David Papa Percy, a Ghananian student at Wenzhou Medical University. He said he now wants to learn more about Wenzhou's culture and thinks of Wenzhou as his second home, after having been made a promotions volunteer of the dictionary at the launch.