I have heard 肉 pronounced you (not sure of the tone, 4th probably, as in: yòu) on multiple occasions. It seems to be a northern Chinese thing - as opposed to a southern thing - but I'm not sure on specifics.

In which locales is 肉 pronounced you?

Edit: I'm getting a lot of responses with Cantonese examples, which is interesting, but I'm fairly certain that this is a northern Chinese thing as I mentioned in my question.

  • In north eastern part of China, people say you instead of rou
    – WoLfPwNeR
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 21:35

6 Answers 6


People from northen east provinces(Dongbei,which includs:黑龙江Heilongjiang, 吉林Jilin,辽宁Liaoning)with accents pronounce 肉 as you4.


In Cantonese, it is pronounced close to “you”. And I think in the northeastern provinces, it is pronounced as “you” as well.

  • Cantonese pronunciation is not close to "you". Jyutping records it as [juk6]. Yale transliteration records it as [yuk6]. Commented May 9, 2019 at 6:47

This is common across all accents that merge the initial Pinyin r- (IPA: /ʐ/) into pinyin y- (IPA /j/).

  • Cantonese-influenced Mandarin very noticeably does this.
  • Most accents of the Northeast (noticeably Shenyang) also do this (although erhua is still present)
  • Apparently, Qingdao Mandarin (and I assume other coastal Shandong dialects) have a full-on split-merger, where only some r- lexemes become y- (肉 → 又 is one of these).

I can provide anecdotal evidence of this accent in northeast cities near 沈阳 (Shenyang) (but not coastal cities like 大连——they have a different accent).

My girlfriend was born and raised in a city near 沈阳 called 鞍山, as were her father and mother. Her father merges (pinyin) r and y into y. When I first met him he introduced some info about his city, including the "yinkou" (人口). People there say "yoù" (肉), "yènao" (热闹), and pretty much everything else follows this pattern, too.

On another note, pinyin chi/zhi are allophones of ci/zi there, as well, it seems.

  • That's interesting. I've seen 人 written as 银 before in other topolects, I guess it's more common than I thought.
    – Mou某
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 10:20
  • Out of curiosity, I've been asking random Chinese people (I live in Beijing), and no one I've asked so far is familiar with the sound ”you“ as 肉. That is, they don't seem to identify it strongly with any particular region, but my sample selection is certainly not representative or adequate in any way:) one person said, he thought of Anhui or some other place farther south, which is interesting.
    – kGdmioT
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 12:37

In Cantonese, 肉 is pronounced as 'yuk' instead of 'you'.
In Putonghua, 肉 is pronounced as 'rou'.
In Northeastern China, people sometimes pronounce it as 'you', for example 膠東, 瀋陽 and 山東. However it is an old pronunciation, and people seldom pronounce it as 'you' nowadays, but 'rou' instead.

  • 1
    As a vegetarian, I agree: 肉?Yuk!
    – Pedroski
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 22:35
  • Me: *facepalms *freaks out Commented May 5, 2019 at 23:55

It indicates an uneducated person. I grew up from the northeast. Usually the aged and uneducated used to pronounce it as you4. Younger generations and the educated won't pronounce it like that.

  • Well that’s a bigoted remark to make. Speaking a dialect is hardly an indicator of being educated or not.
    – Mou某
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 4:50
  • @user3306356 That's the impression of the people from northeast. Now, I feel awkward to say you4, even though I used to say it when I was a little boy.
    – dan
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 5:56
  • Well, I don't want to be pedantic about it, but there's a common misconception that dialects are "wrong" or "ungrammatical" but often they are actually just their own languages. It's good to know about these biases though.
    – Mou某
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 7:00
  • @user3306356 This pronunciation is dying off. Nowadays, you would only hear it's said by the aged (usually hadn't acquired much knowledge from school.) It's not like other dialect usages where they are still prevalent.
    – dan
    Commented May 10, 2019 at 7:10

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