Goulou Yue

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勾漏方言 Ngaulau Yut
Native to Southern China
Region GuangxiGuangdong border
Native speakers
6.9 million (1998)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
ISO 639-6 gulu
Glottolog None
guin1237  (Guinan)[2]
Yue Dialects.png
Goulou (Yulin) is yellow, in the west of the Yue area.

Goulou is one of the principal dialects of Yue (Cantonese). It is spoken around the GuangxiGuangdong border, and includes the dialects of Yulin and Bobai.


Yulin dialect is representative, though Bobai is better known.


Bobai dialect is widely cited as having the most tones of any variety of Chinese, though it actually only has six, the same as most Yue dialects. The reason for the claim is that Bobai makes a four-way tonal distinction in checked syllables, whereas most other Yue dialects have three. In Yulin dialect just to the north of Bobai, however, neither entering tone is split: there are just two entering tones, 7 and 8. Lee (1993) believes that Bobai is innovative in having split 8, whereas Yulin (along with several neighboring interior Yue dialects) is innovative in having merged a former split in 7: proto-Yue probably had 7a, 7b, and 8.

Many Yue varieties exhibit a "changed tone" with some semantic content. Such tones occur in the Yulin dialect, in checked syllables only, marking diminutives. In such cases, the final stop -p, -t or -k is changed to a homorganic nasal -m, -n or -ŋ, respectively, and the pitch contour is also altered. This seems to be a trace of a now-lost suffix similar to ér (兒, Middle Chinese nye) in other Chinese varieties.[3]


  1. Olson, An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Guinan". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Tan, Yutian (2011). "The origin and nature of high rising diminutive Tone Change in Siyi Dialect" (PDF). In Jing-Schmidt, Zhuo. Proceedings of the 23rd North American Conference on Chinese Lingusitics (NACCL-23), Volume 2. pp. 190–207.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>