I've lived in Henan provice for around 8 years and have never seen any texts for learners of the Henanese dialect. There are considerable variations in dialect within Henan between people from different cities and even different districts within the same city. I am able to understand much of what is spoken, but can't figure out which tones are being used because they are so inconsistent. So the only way I know of learning Henanese is to memorize the pronunciation of phrases.

Henanese is much closer to Mandarin than dialects like Cantonese, Wenzhounese, etc. That may explain the lack of teaching material.

I know of foreigners who have picked up the local dialect, but I'm more of a visual learner. It would be far more efficient to look at a written guide. Are there any such resources for Henanese or other Chinese dialects?

  • 2
    If you have no difficulty in reading Chinese, this blog article would help. If not considering special Henanese phrases, the pronunciation is simple, just following these tone conversion rules: a) Mandarin 1 => Henanese 2; b) Mandarin 2 => Henanese 4; c) Mandarin 3 => Henanese 1; d) Mandarin 4 => Henanese 4->2.
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 5:50
  • That's a very useful blog post, thanks! But I can see there are many exeptions to these rules. Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 5:59
  • 2
    I asked a friend from Henan just now. He said you're right, such rules are not exact enough, and the facts that "never seen textbooks" and "Henan dialect varies in different places" are very true. I'm afraid because of the lack of a standard and a phonetic notation system, you can't find a systematic material even on the Internet (Cantonese does well in these stuff). My friend suggests seeing movies in Henanese (yes you can download them in Mainland China for free). That would be of some help.
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 6:32
  • 1
    @ReedG.Law - Further to Stan's moive comment above, there are some video clips on youtube and other video sites if you search 河南方言
    – going
    Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 2:54

3 Answers 3


There is not much of this available even at bookstores within China. There is even much less for non-background speakers in English.

I personally have been lucky enough to get a book from Peking University Press titled "Practical Suzhou Dialect" which also includes English. I tried searching online however this appears to be a one-off. However, you could try contacting one of the major universities or even going to a university in Henan to see if they have resources available.

There is also this book listed on Amazon Henan dialect of Luoshan but this is not a text book. I have tried seeing if I could find the contents of this online, but only found a site listing an index of what is inside.

I also suggest asking on Chinese social media sites to see if anyone can help.


呵呵。I'm chinese in Peking.I suggest that Pekingnese also called Beingjingnese is the most close to Mandarin.In the fact,Mandarin is created basing on Beijingnese and refer to Most North of Chinese Dialect including Shangdongnese,Dongbeinese,But Henan dialect is more like mid-east region called "ZhongYuan" historically.So lots of Chinese costume drama online are the best resources,a good TV show is named "I Love my family" in Chenese “我爱我家”,like "Friends".Have Fun in Chinese.

  • Is that show in Henan dialect? If it's not, then this answer is not helping resolve the asker's question. Commented Aug 8, 2013 at 16:43

Depends on the purpose of learning:

  1. If you wanna just communicate with local people

    I recommend your visual learning. More efficient based on my experience. Few people would nor care to make a full summary of local usage, because it's painful, if not impossible, and it's something 費力不討好.

    Being a Sichuanese, I learn standard Mandarin by listening to others talking in Mandarin much.

  2. If you really want to dig deeper as a linguist

    Nice! Thank you for your contribution toward Chinese world! Then you may need to view it in the whole picture first, such as 漢語方言介紹.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.