Chinese, Min Nan


A language of China

Alternate Names
Minnan, Southern Min

25,700,000 in China (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001). Population total all countries: 46,619,500.


South Fujian, Guangdong, south Hainan, south Zhejiang, and south Jiangxi provinces. Xiamen in south Fujian and Jiangxi provinces; Hainan in Hainan; Leizhou on Leizhou peninsula of southwest Guangdong Province; Chao-Shan in far east corner of Guangdong Province in Chaozhou-Shantou area; Longdu is a dialect island around Zhongshan city and Shaxi in Guangdong Province, south of Guangzhou; Zhenan Min in southeast Zhejiang Province around Pingyang and Cangnan and on Zhoushan archipelago of northeast Zhejiang Province.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous). Language of recognized nationality: Han.


Chao-Shan (Chaozhou, Choushan, Teochew), Hainan (Hainanese, Qiongwen Hua, Wenchang), Leizhou (Lei Hua, Li Hua), Longdu, Mai, Quanzhou (Chinchew), Xiamen (Amoy), Zhangzhou (Changchew), Zhenan Min. Amoy is the prestige dialect. Amoy and Taiwanese are easily mutually intelligible. Chao-Shan has difficult intelligibility with Amoy; Hainan quite different from other dialects. Most speakers in Thailand use Chaoshou dialect. Min Nan most widely distributed and influential Min variety. A member of macrolanguage Chinese [zho].


SVO; tone sandhi, tonal.

Language Use

Other speakers use it for commerce. Most domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Yue Chinese [yue]. Used as L2 by Lingao [onb], She [shx], Tsat [huq].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 91% (2000 census, Han nationality). Highly literate in Chinese and they use that literature. Poetry. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1884–1933.

Bopomofo script [Bopo], used since 1998, used in Taiwan. Katakana script [Kana], 1895–1945, once used in Taiwan. Latin script [Latn], used since 1850.

Other Comments

Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian, Daoist.

Also spoken in:

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