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In the classic 相声《卖马》, near the beginning is a line that goes:


but in that line, "小小" was pronounced as "xué xiǎo". Here's a clip:

Why is this pronunciation used? Is it a specific dialect? And if so, what?

  • At first I thought perhaps it originated from Peking Opera, because the piece was adapted from the Peking Opera piece 《秦琼卖马》. However finding a clip online, the correct "xiao xiao" pronunciation was used:
  • I don't think it was a mispronunciation, because there's a modern version by 郭德纲 of the same piece which also uses the "xué xiǎo" pronunciation:
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I think Leo is correct. – grayQuant Oct 26 '13 at 22:02

This particular pronunciation is traditionally used in crosstalk, especially in the northern area of China. I think it's related to Tianjin dialect. Today Chinese only pronounce 小小 as 'xiaoxiao'.

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