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- The unique features of a local environment always give special characteristics to its inhabitants Minqin ProverbMn Qng Mn Qng Zu Mn Qng Minqin bound From the front seats of their mangled shuttles scrawny swarthy drivers yell in the distinct Minqin dialect markedly different from other regional tongues in Gansu As their voices ring out in the regional bus terminal in Wuwei the bustling prefecture city of Gansu one can easily decipher the distinctive sounds of the Minqin dialect from those of neighboring counties The desert highway connecting Wuwei with the remote county is paved by a gradual succession of accents By the time the shuttles reach the county seat 110 km away the changes in dialects become so profound that one might easily reach the conclusion that the Wuwei and Minqin oases are in different provinces altogether Local dialect in Minqin stresses nasal consonants and intonation shifts abruptly downward at the end of each sentence which creates an abrasive and halting sound The county annals in 1832 states that newly arrived officials often could not comprehend words spoken by the natives as the Minqin dialect was formed by a mixture of Shanxi and Henan central plains accents brought by migrants who were relocated by the central government in the early Ming dynasty Pan 201011 Yet a closer examination of the idioms and phrases used in the dialect would show that the use of repetitive words to express emotion is quite similar to the soft sounds of the Yangtze River delta where the first settlers of the oasis Han soldiers hailed from 700 hundred years ago cite Protected by the remoteness of the oasis the Minqin dialect slowly absorbed and integrated idiosyncrasies of languages used by successive waves of migrants The result of this linguistic and cultural convergence is an environmental history of state-driven migration into the oasis ecology of the Hexi Corridor a people proud of their ability to adapt to the harsh
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