Ethnologue.com home
Ethnologue > Web version > Country index > Asia > China > Chinese, Min Nan

Chinese, Min Nan

A language of China

ISO 639-3nan

Population  25,700,000 in China (1984). 2.5% of the population, including 1,000,000 Xiamen dialect (1988 census), 6,000,000 Quanzhou dialect (Quanzhoushi Fangyan Zhi). Population total all countries: 47,265,100.
Region  South Fujian, Guangdong, south Hainan Island, south Zhejiang, south Jiangxi provinces. Xiamen in south Fujian, Jiangxi, and Taiwan; Hainan in Hainan; Leizhou on Leizhou peninsula of southwest Guangdong; Chao-Shan in far east corner of Guangdong in Chaozhou-Shantou area; Longdu is a dialect island around Zhongshan City and Shaxi in Guangdong south of Guangzhou; Zhenan Min in southeast Zhejiang Province around Pingyang and Cangnan and on Zhoushan archipelago of northeast Zhejiang. Also in Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia (Java and Bali), Malaysia (Peninsular), Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States.
Language map  Southern China
Alternate names   Minnan, Southern Min
Dialects  Xiamen (Amoy), Leizhou (Lei Hua, Li Hua), Chao-Shan (Choushan, Chaozhou), Hainan (Hainanese, Qiongwen Hua, Wenchang), Longdu, Zhenan Min. Xiamen has subdialects Amoy, Fujian (Fukien, Hokkian, Taiwanese). Amoy is the prestige dialect. Amoy and Taiwanese are easily mutually intelligible. Chao-Shan subdialects: Chaoshou (Chaochow, Chaochow, Teochow, Teochew), Shantou (Swatow). Chao-Shan, including Swatow, has very difficult intelligibility with Amoy; Sanjiang somewhat difficult for other dialect speakers; Hainan quite different from other dialects; Min Nan most widely distributed and influential Min variety. 2 subdialects in Taiwan: Sanso and Chaenzo. Most Min Nan speakers in Thailand use Chaoshou dialect.
Classification  Sino-Tibetan, Chinese
A member of macrolanguage Chinese [zho] (China).
Language use  Other speakers use it for commerce. Most domains. All ages. Positive attitude. Chao-shan speakers may also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Yue Chinese [yue], or English.
Language development  Literacy rate in L2: 91%. Poetry. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1884–1933.
Writing system  Latin script, used in Taiwan.
Comments  Classified as Han nationality. Traditional Chinese religion, Buddhist, Christian, Daoist.

Also spoken in:

Brunei

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  13,100 in Brunei (2006).
Alternate names  Min Nan, Minnan
Dialects  Chaochow (Tiuchiu, Teochow), Hainan, Fujian (Hokkien).
 

Indonesia (Java and Bali)

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  700,000 in Indonesia (1982).
Region  Pontianak (West Borneo) and elsewhere.
Alternate names  Min Nan, Minnan
Dialects  Fujian (Hokkien), Chaochow (Tiu Chiu).
 

Malaysia (Peninsular)

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  2,660,000 in Malaysia (2000). 497,280 Teochew, 141,045 Hainanese, 2,020,868 Hokkien (2000).
Alternate names  Min Nan, Minnan
Dialects  Fukienese (Amoy, Fujianese, Hokkien), Hainanese, Chaochow (Teochow, Teochew).
 

Philippines

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  592,000 in Philippines. 98.7% of Chinese population in the Philippines (1982).
Alternate names  Min Nan
 

Singapore

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  1,170,000 in Singapore (1985). 736,000 speakers of Hokkien, 28.8% of the population (1993), 360,000 of Teochew (1985), 14.2% of the population (1993); 74,000 of Hainanese (1985), 2.9% of the population (1993). Ethnic population: 1,482,000 (1993) including 884,000 Hokkien (1993), 452,000 Teochew (1985), 146,000 Hainanese (1993).
Alternate names  Min Nam, Southern Min
Dialects  Hokkien (Fukienese, Fujian, Amoy, Xiamen), Teochew (Chaochow, Chaozhou, Taechew), Hainanese.
Language use  Trade language. Hokkien dialect is the most widely understood in Singapore (1979 Kuo). Also use Mandarin [cmn], English, or other Chinese varieties.
 

Taiwan

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  15,000,000 in Taiwan (1997 A. Chang).
Region  Tainan, Penghu Archipelago, cities on east coast, western plain.
Language map  Taiwan
Alternate names  Min Nan, Minnan
Dialects  Amoy (Taiwanese).
Language use  Also use Mandarin [cmn]. Adults over 60 also use Japanese.
Comments  Taiwanese people are called Hoklo or Holo. Chinese traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian, secular.
 

Thailand

Language name   Chinese, Min Nan
Population  1,080,000 in Thailand. 1,058,400 Chaochow (18%), 17,640 Fujian (.3%), 5,880 Hainanese (.1%) (1984).
Region  Cities.
Alternate names  Min Nan, Minnan
Dialects  Chaozhou (Chaochow, Tiuchiu, Teochow, Techu), Shantou (Swatow), Hainan, Fujian (Fukien, Hokkien).
Comments  Commerce; industrialists; clerks; sales; service; agriculturalists; professionals. Buddhist, Chinese folk religion, secular, Christian.