Southern Min

Southern Min
閩南語 / 闽南语
河洛話 / 福佬話
Hō-ló-oē / Hô-ló-uē
Koa-a books, Minnan written in Chinese characters
Native toChina, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and other areas of Southern Min and Hoklo settlement
RegionFujian province; the Chaozhou-Shantou (Chaoshan) area and Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong province; extreme south of Zhejiang province; much of Hainan province (if Hainanese or Qiongwen is included); and most of Taiwan.
EthnicityHoklo people
Teochew people
Hainanese people
Native speakers
47 million (2007)[1]
Chinese characters; Latin
Official status
Official language in
None; one of the statutory languages for public transport announcements in Taiwan[2]
Regulated byNone (The Republic of China Ministry of Education and some NGOs are influential in Taiwan)
Language codes
ISO 639-3nan
Min dialect map.svg
  Southern Min in China
Subgroups of Southern Min in China
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese闽南语
Traditional Chinese閩南語
Literal meaning"Language of Southern Min [Fujian]"
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Southern Min, or Minnan (simplified Chinese: 闽南语; traditional Chinese: 閩南語), literally "Southern Fujian" while "Min" is short for "Fujian" and "Nan" is "South", is a branch of Min Chinese spoken in certain parts of south and eastern China including Fujian (especially the Minnan region), most of Taiwan (used to be a part of Fujian), eastern Guangdong, Hainan, and southern Zhejiang.[4] The Minnan dialects are also spoken by descendants of emigrants from these areas in diaspora, most notably the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is the largest Min Chinese branch and the most widely distributed Min Chinese subgroup.

In common parlance and in the narrower sense, Southern Min refers to the Quanzhang or Hokkien-Taiwanese variety of Southern Min originating from Southern Fujian in Mainland China. It is spoken mainly in Fujian, Taiwan, as well as certain parts of Southeast Asia. The Quanzhang variety is often called simply "Minnan Proper" (simplified Chinese: 闽南语; traditional Chinese: 閩南語). It is considered the de-facto mainstream form of Southern Min.

In the wider scope, Southern Min also includes other Min Chinese varieties that are linguistically related to Minnan proper (Quanzhang). Most variants of Southern Min have significant differences from the Quanzhang variety, some having limited mutual intelligibility with it, others almost none. Teochew, Longyan, and Zhenan may be said to have limited mutual intelligibility with Minnan Proper, sharing similar phonology and vocabulary to a small extent. On the other hand, variants such as Datian, Zhongshan, and Qiong-Lei have historical linguistic roots with Minnan Proper, but are significantly divergent from it in terms of phonology and vocabulary, and thus have almost no mutual intelligibility with the Quanzhang variety. Linguists tend to classify them as separate Min languages.

Southern Min is not mutually intelligible with other branches of Min Chinese nor other varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin.

Geographic distribution


Southern Min dialects are spoken in Fujian, three southeastern counties of Zhejiang, the Zhoushan archipelago off Ningbo in Zhejiang, and the Chaoshan (Teo-swa) region in Guangdong. The variant spoken in Leizhou, Guangdong as well as Hainan is Hainanese and is not mutually intelligible with mainstream Southern Min or Teochew.[citation needed] Hainanese is classified in some schemes as part of Southern Min and in other schemes as separate.[example needed][citation needed] Puxian Min was originally based on the Quanzhou dialect, but over time became heavily influenced by Eastern Min, eventually losing intelligibility with Minnan.The Southern Min dialects spoken in Taiwan, collectively known as Taiwanese, Southern Min is a first language for most of the Hoklo people, the main ethnicity of Taiwan. The correspondence between language and ethnicity is not absolute, as some Hoklo have very limited proficiency in Southern Min while some non-Hoklo speak Southern Min fluently.[citation needed]

Southeast Asia

There are many Southern Min speakers among Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. Many ethnic Chinese immigrants to the region were Hoklo from southern Fujian and brought the language to what is now Burma, Indonesia (the former Dutch East Indies) and present-day Malaysia and Singapore (formerly British Malaya and the Straits Settlements). In general, Southern Min from southern Fujian is known as Hokkien, Hokkienese, Fukien or Fookien in Southeast Asia and is mostly mutually intelligible with Hokkien spoken elsewhere. Many Southeast Asian ethnic Chinese also originated in the Chaoshan region of Guangdong and speak Teochew language, the variant of Southern Min from that region. Philippine Hokkien is reportedly the native language of up to 98.5% of the Chinese Filipino community in the Philippines, among whom it is also known as Lan-nang or Lán-lâng-oē (咱儂話), literally "our people’s language".

Southern Min speakers form the majority of Chinese in Singapore, with Hokkien being the largest group and the second largest being Teochew. Despite the similarities, the two groups are rarely seen as part of the same "Minnan" Chinese subgroups.

Other Languages
አማርኛ: ደቡብ ሚንኛ
العربية: مين نان
Bân-lâm-gú: Bân-lâm-gú
brezhoneg: Mineg ar su
català: Min nan
dansk: Minnan
Deutsch: Min Nan
español: Chino min nan
Esperanto: Minnana lingvo
فارسی: مین نان
français: Minnan
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Mén-nàm-ngî
한국어: 민난어
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Min Selatan
italiano: Lingua min nan
Kapampangan: Min Nan
Kiswahili: Kimin-Nan
مازِرونی: مین نان
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Mìng-nàng-ngṳ̄
Nederlands: Minnanyu
日本語: ビン南語
norsk: Minnan
norsk nynorsk: Sør-min
پنجابی: من نان
português: Min nan
Simple English: Min Nan
suomi: Minnan
svenska: Minnan
Tagalog: Min Nan
Türkçe: Güney Min
اردو: من نان
Vahcuengh: Vahminjnanz
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Mân Nam
文言: 閩南語
吴语: 闽南语
粵語: 閩南話
中文: 闽南语