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It is a word that has the initial [l] and likely Tone 1 (阴平). I suspect it is a suffix representing a person. (Below the horizontal bar is the evidence and line of reasoning on how I come to these claims.)

The vocabulary in Sichuan Mandarin has many strata. I vaguely remember some dialects/languages in the neighboring regions have the word lang for 人 (I did some search but couldn't find any source). Is it possibly related?

Another possibility is 郎. But in words like 牛郎、货郎, 郎 is not 儿化ed or changed to Tone 1, and restricted to men.

Mou某 proposed 佬/老 in the answer. I think it's possible but issues are: 1) my region does not 儿化 them 2) we do not change their tone in a larger word. 3) ler feels more neutral/positive than 佬/老.


Related entries found in dictionaries are as follows.

精巴子 is recorded in 《汉语方言大词典》 for the noun 赤裸的上身 in Jianghuai Mandarin.

So 精巴 looks like a verb and 子 a nominalizer. The verbal usage of 光巴 is confirmed. 光巴 is recorded in 《漢語大詞典》 as a dialect for 裸露, 《現代漢語方言大詞典》 and 《汉语方言大词典》 explicitly say it's a verb in Beijing Mandarin and Northwestern Mandarin, respectively. 《教育部重編國語辭典》 didn't denote the part of speech but gave a verb example.

Though not found in these dictionaries, Sichuan Mandarin use the noun 精/光巴ler1 for a naked upper human body. By the same token, ler1 converts the verb to a noun.

ler is an 儿化. In Sichuan Mandarin, 儿化 usually uses er to replace all parts of the vowel. So we only have the information for the initial. Since my region distinguishes l and n, I know it's [l] rather than [n] (unless some irregular sound change has take place). Also, because tonal changes are prevalent, the tone 1 (阴平) in the whole word does not necessarily mean stand-alone it is a 阴平, though much more likely than other tones.

Another comparable word is 胖乎(fu2)ler1, referring to someone who is 胖乎乎的. Based on these two examples, I suspect that ler1 is a suffix representing a person.

2 Answers 2

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It's a bit dubious, but I have a hunch.


The only reference I can find is not a great one.

Page 157 of《成都方言》has the following entry:

enter image description here

and a text version:

光胴胴儿 guangdongdongr 赤身裸体,身上一丝不挂:打~洗澡。又为“光董董、光巴捞儿”。

This gives us: 光巴捞儿.

From the dictionary except, though, the professionality, or lack thereof, is quite obvious. The Sichuanese pinyin is not correctly formatted, there isn't any indication of tones, no part of speech is indicated and the characters certainly don't fit in with generally accepted spellings. So,「捞儿」while tempting to accept as the correct writing as it is featured in a published reference work, doesn't seem all that convincing. It most likely is just a rustic spelling.


A second entry on page 103 of《成都方言》has the following entry:

enter image description here

and a text version:

打胴胴 dadongdong 打光胴胴的简称,指不穿衣服,光着上身:大庭广众下~,极不雅观。亦作“打光把肋儿、打光董董、打侗侗,打董董”。

Adding to the confusion, as the author of this book likes to do, we now have:

打光把肋儿

Here, now, the ba[pa] is different, opting to use 把 for 巴. The character 把 can only either be 上声 or 去声, compared to the 阴平 on 巴.

From the above entry「捞儿」[Ĩər⁵⁵]/[nər⁵⁵] has now become 肋儿[Ĩər²¹] another shift in tone, this time from 阴平 to 阳平.

The tones have been completely altered and the spelling is entirely different as well.


Thanks to Sichuanese's fluidity in erhua, ler1 [Ĩər⁵⁵]/[nər⁵⁵] could be a contraction of:

  • 篓 lou1 ---> 篓儿 ler1 (笆篓儿)
  • 哪 la3 ---> 哪儿 ler1 (想到哪儿说到哪儿)
  • 囊 lang2 ---> 囊儿 ler1 (肚囊儿皮)
  • 笼 long2 ---> 笼儿 ler1 (烘笼儿)
  • 捞 lao1 ---> 捞儿 ler1 (净捞儿)
  • 篮 lan2 ---> 篮儿 ler1 (篮篮儿)
  • 脶 lo2 ---> 脶儿 ler1 (脶脶儿)
  • 炉 lu2 ---> 炉儿 ler1 (炉炉儿)

Among many others.


I believe there is a more obvious choice though. There is the very common suffix: 佬儿, think: 乡巴佬儿(乡坝佬儿)and 庄稼佬儿. This is a clear candidate for the ler [Ĩər]/[nər] pronunciation. The tone is a bit problematic, but influences from tone sandhi or regional variants and topolectical considerations could easily make up for that.

(老儿 could also be another consideration, found in words like: 烧火老儿 and 山巴老儿.)

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  • For 佬 and 老, the meaning matches, but my region does not 儿化 them, and the tone of lao is not changed in the whole word. So intuitively they feel like different words to me. Compare to 佬, ler1 also seems to have a more neutral/positive connotation. But it's still possible to be the same word since irregular things can happen to fixed expressions. By the way, interestingly, for all the contraction examples you gave, my region does none, only a close one 那儿
    – lilysirius
    Apr 9, 2023 at 9:19
  • @lilysirius How about 螂儿? or 芦儿? We might be pushing into "luer" territory now. 擂儿? 礌儿? (活)路儿? What branch of Sichuanese are you? (Adding two more: 廊儿? 狼儿?)
    – Mou某
    Apr 9, 2023 at 9:31
  • None of them. 擂/礌子(擂擂),x螂 x lang1, 活路lu1,路路lu1,廊 (回廊子),狼. I don't know what 芦儿 is, but 葫芦 is just 葫芦. Among them, x螂 x ler1 is understandable, others (including those in your answer) with ler are not. Luer is understandable in context. Seems we have much less 儿化 than other Sichuan Mandarin regions. We usually use repetition (and optionally tone sandhi) or 子 to achieve the same purpose. It's a variant under 成渝小片.
    – lilysirius
    Apr 9, 2023 at 9:45
  • It's more likely that this is influenced from neighboring regions, in that case. Unless you're from 荣县, then it could be anything! 😂
    – Mou某
    Apr 9, 2023 at 10:05
  • I just noticed that 打光胴dong3胴dong2 in my region means to be all naked, quite different from 《成都方言》. I'm actually quite far from 荣县, closer to 成都, but more to the west.
    – lilysirius
    Apr 9, 2023 at 11:00
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I think the word is 人 with 儿化. Its meanings and connotations match perfectly, and the tone also fits better than other candidate words.

From https://zi.tools/zi/%E4%BA%BA, I found that 人 has the initial [l] in some variants of 江淮官话、西南官话、闽语, mostly len2. My earlier impression of lang as 人 is probably a variant of 海南闽语 where it's pronounced as nang2.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

nang2 is typical of Hainan Min. enter image description here

For one thing, historically there was mass immigration from 两湖、江淮、福建、广东. For another, locally I've seen some people completely replace both the r (ie. [z]) and n (in my local variant we typically distinguish n and l) sound by [l]. Interestingly the two replacements seem to have to happen at the same time.

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