Chinese, Min Nan


A language of China

Alternate Names
Minnan, Southern Min

25,700,000 in China (Johnstone and Mandryk 2001). 3% of the population, including 1,000,000 Xiamen dialect (1988 census), 6,000,000 Quanzhou dialect (Quanzhoushi Fangyan Zhi). Population total all countries: 46,757,560.


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. Also in Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States.

Language Maps
Language Status

6a (Vigorous).


Chao-Shan (Chaozhou, Choushan, Teochew), Hainan (Hainanese, Qiongwen Hua, Wenchang), Leizhou (Lei Hua, Li Hua), Longdu, 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.


SVO; tone sandhi, tonal

Language Use

Other speakers use it for commerce. Most domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Chao-shan speakers may also use Mandarin Chinese [cmn], Yue Chinese [yue], or English [eng].

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.
Latin script, used in Taiwan.
Other Comments

Majority officially classified within Han nationality. Traditional religion, Buddhist, Christian, Daoist.

Also spoken in:

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