Over 100 Last Names and 50 Dialects In Atypical Chinese Village

January 29, 2007 Updated: January 29, 2007

Qucun is a small village located near a town called Xikou, in Jianning County, Fujian Province in China. This village doesn't look any different than a normal village, but once one gets to know the locals and starts to carry on a conversation, one would be truly surprised. This little village of about 1700 people has over 100 last names. About every 15 people share a last name and about eight families share a dialect.

According to a report in the Southeastern Newspaper , Qucun is a small village with about 1700 people and 400 families. The villagers mainly use Mandarin Chinese to communicate with each other. Even the oldest senior villagers in town can communicate in Mandarin. This is very rare in regions speaking dialects like Fujian Province.

The former village leader said there is no other way out. This village has less than 2000 people, but on average, every 15 people speak a different dialect, and there are over 50 dialects. The dialects tend to only be used at home. He and his wife use a Liancheng dialect which comes from Longyan. Their children and grand children have inherited this dialect as well.

The elders say that this village was formed in the 1940s by refugees from different places. Before the '30s, there were only two last names in the village. Then people from Zhejiang Province were the first to arrive, followed by people from Jiangxi Province. By the end of the '40s, there were over 100 last names in the village.

Currently villagers come from 57 different counties of 11 provinces

The village is located in a mountain valley. Although many residents came from different places, they all live together peacefully. Traditionally, every family in the village will post the Chinese characters of “Heaven, Earth, Country, Relative and Teacher”—small letters next to these denote the county where the last name originates. For instance, once one sees Fenyang County, one would know the last name is “Guo.” Although they have been away from home for a long time, the homesickness is very difficult to cure.