Chinese Language – Min Nan dialect


Min Nan dialects said to have originated in the Yellow River and Luoshui Basins, and moved to southern Fujian during the Western Jin Dynasty, Tang   Dynasty, and Northern Song Dynasty, and originated in Quanzhou, Fujian. Are mainly distributed in addition to the southern region and Taiwan, but also widely distributed in the northeast region of Fujian, Zhejiang Southeast, Guangdong, and eastern regions  (Shanwei, Jieyang, Shantou,   Chaozhou),   western region (Zhanjiang, Maoming, Yangjiang), Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Zhongshan, Hong Kong), Hainan Island and most of the Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. There are more than 70 million Hokkien speakers in the world.


The term “Hokkien” can be divided into broad and narrow meanings. The broad academically refers to the collection of Hokkien languages, and the narrow meaning only refers to Hokkien languages in Fujian and Taiwan. Taiwan and Western scholars mostly think it is a language, belonging to the Min language branch of the Chinese family of the Sino-Tibetan family.


In the classification of mainland linguistics, it belongs to the Min dialect of the Chinese family. Hokkien dialects are called differently in various places, such as Quanzhou dialect, Zhangzhou dialect, [5] Xiamen dialect, Fujian dialect, Heluo dialect, Chaoshan dialect, Leizhou dialect, Shanwei dialect (ancient Henan dialect), and Xueshan dialect in mainland China. Lao dialect, etc.; in Taiwan, it is also known as Taiwanese, Heluo dialect, or Fulao dialect, while overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia are called Hokkien dialect (Hokkien) or Zanong dialect ( Taiwanese is written as Zanong dialect).

Min Nan dialect


Historical formation

The branches of Hokkien dialects all originated from the Zhangzhou phonetic system in Quanzhou, but due to factors such as the time of differentiation, geographical barriers, and the evolution of Zhangquan sounds, there have been varying differences and changes.


The formation of Hokkien is mainly due to two waves of emigration. The reason for emigration is barbarism and avoidance of chaos:First: the fourth century the Jin Dynasty who moved into Fujian, the primary part of the Quanzhou dialect formed in the Jin dynasty five random China period (AD 304–439 years), alien invasion the Central Plains, the West Jin Yongjia queue for two years (AD 308 years) At that time, the eight clans (Zhan Lin Huang, Chen Zheng Qiu, He Hu) of the Central Plains (in Henan) began to take refuge in the river basins of Quanzhou, Jinjiang, Fujian, etc.


They used the Central Plains language at that time (for example, body, skin, turtle, ponder, Ding, chopsticks, etc.) were brought here and later called “Quanzhou dialect”. But this time the number is very small, and most of the immigrants stay in the Minjiang and Mulanxi basins. During the Liang Tianjian period of the Southern Dynasties (502-519AD), Nan’an County was established in the southern part of Jin’an County to maintain the stability of southern Fujian. It was governed in Fengzhou Town, Nan’an City and led Jin’an and other three counties, and governed today’s Xiamen and Putian. Quanzhou, Quanzhou, and Zhangzhou, but were soon revoked. It was not until the mid-Tang Dynasty more than 200 years later that Wurongzhou was set up for the third time in the urban area of  Quanzhou.

Min Nan dialect Historical formation


Soon after it was renamed Quanzhou, the organizational system in Quanzhou’s urban area was stabilized. County, Hui’an, Yongchun, and Dehua were only established in the Five Dynasties more than 400 years later. Therefore, a small amount of “Quanzhou dialect” is the third and fourth centuries Central Plains “Wu Chu dialect” (for example phio5, hand ng2, Limulus hia) and local “Vietnamese dialect” (for example loo3 (high), san2) (Slim), lim (Drink), hiu3 (Sprinkle)), which is the main source of “Vernacular”, earlier than “Reading”.


Second: the Tang Dynasty Chen Zheng, Chen Yuanguang father settlement Kids in Zhangzhou, Zhangzhou words are initially formed in the Tang Emperor general chapter two years (AD 669 years) in southern Fujian barbarians bring disaster disturbed, the court sent Chen Zheng, Yuanguang father and son (Prefecture east) south To quell the chaos, the area of ​​Zhangzhou, where the troops were standing still after the chaos, also includes the areas of Silla and Zhangping in the Longyan area today. These people brought the Middle Chinese from the seventh century. Before Zhangzhou was established in the Tang Dynasty, there were only a few thousand households.


These people should be agricultural households under the control of the Tang Dynasty. Besides them, there were a few barbarians living in the mountainous areas of southern Zhangzhou. The Tang Dynasty army led by Chen Yuanguang and the barbarians fought a long war for control of Zhangzhou. As a result of the fighting between the two sides, the Tang Dynasty controlled the Zhangzhou coastal plain and other vast areas, and the barbarians were finally suppressed. Zhangzhou in the Tang Dynasty was not very prosperous.


The development of Zhangzhou entered the first climax in the Southern Song Dynasty. It has a greater impact on Zhangzhou’s opening of sea bans in the Ming Dynasty alone. “The prosperous cities and towns are one of the most prosperous towns, and thousands of sails in the ports are racing to send out” is a vivid historical portrayal of that time.


The third time: In the late ninth century, the three brothers Wang Chao, Wang Shenjun, and Wang Shenzhen ruled Fuzhou and Quanzhou, etc. Quanzhou dialect was formed.


At the end of the Tang Dynasty, the Huang Chao Rebellion occurred in China (AD 878). In the Tang Dynasty, the three brothers Wang Chao, Wang Shenjun, and Wang Shenzhen from Gushi County, Guangzhou, went south to quell the rebellion. After the rebellion was eliminated, Wang Chao was named the mighty army of Fujian. Jade makes. That is, this batch of people’s pavilions brought the Central Plains dialect of the 9th century.


Most of the third immigrants were from Guangzhou in Huainan Province in the Tang Dynasty. When Fujianese read the Four Books and Five Classics, this is the main source of some “reading sounds”.


At the end of the Ming Dynasty, scholars systematically organized the Hokkien dialect at that time and wrote the “Huiyin Baojian”, and the fifteen syllables were born.

min nan culture


Status of use

Fujian area

Due to the promotion of Mandarin Chinese and English and the influx of a large number of immigrants, Mandarin has become a public language. The three cities in southern Fujian are especially serious in Xiamen. At the same time, counties in northwest Fujian are influenced by Nanfeng and Guangchang in Jiangxi. The Gan language is widely spoken, but the Nannan language is the main language in the communication between locals and locals. Now the three cities in southern Fujian have established Minnan language training classes to facilitate foreign friends who come to Fujian for work, study, and business.


With the strengthening of the awareness of mother tongue protection and the promotion and development of Minnan culture, Xiamen Satellite TV, Quanzhou TV Station, and other TV stations mainly in Minnan have been established. In addition to self-produced programs, they have also introduced many Minnan TV dramas in Taiwan. In rural areas, local theater (such as opera, high A drama, puppetry, South Sound, etc.) still loved by the public.


Shanwei area

The majority of Shanwei City uses Chinese dialects. Chinese is divided into Fulco, Hakka, Vernacular (Cantonese), Zhanmi, Junhua, and Northern dialects. The Fulano dialect is mainly distributed in Shanwei City, Haifeng, and most areas of Lufeng, with a population of about 2.65 million. According to its phonetic characteristics, it can be divided into 8 tones and 7 tones, respectively Haicheng dialect, And Donghai dialect is the representative.


Taiwan area

In Taiwan in the early days of the Kuomintang administration, the Hokkien language was relatively declining Taiwan due to the promotion of the national language (Mandarin) by the Kuomintang government. People who spoke Hokkien would be called “Xia Hong Kong people”, “Taiwanese”, etc.


After the party government came to power, it vigorously promoted “local culture” and “love the country”, “love Taiwan”, “Taiwanese speak Taiwanese” and other activities, making Hokkien once again become a popular and powerful language in Taiwan, and “Taiwanese” also Becoming a representative of popular culture, speaking Hokkien has changed from a native dialect to a trendy, local and man. Many people from other provinces and Hakkas (such as courgettes) are also working hard to learn Hokkien.


Chaoshan area

Chaozhou dialect, the mother tongue of the Chaoshan area  , is well preserved. In addition to speaking Mandarin in schools and communicating with foreigners, local people still speak Chaozhou dialect in daily life, work, and business.

Status of use


Southeast Asia

English is the main language informal occasions. Hokkien in Southeast Asia is heavily influenced by English and Malay. In private occasions, Singaporeans usually speak Hokkien and occasionally mix English and Malay, but there are also many Malays and Indians. He is fluent in Hokkien.


Brunei: The Chinese population is 45,800, most of whom are South Fujianese. In the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan, Hokkien in Quanzhou is spoken.


Myanmar: There are about 900,000 Chinese, of which 40% are from South Fujian and 3% are from Hainan. Zhangzhou-sound Hokkien is spoken.


Indonesia: The Chinese population is 6 million, of which more than half are from South Fujian, while Hainanese and Chaozhou are slightly less. Zhangzhou accent and Quanzhou accent Hokkien are spoken, and the pronunciation is similar to that of Malaysian Hokkien.


Laos: There are about 5,000 Chinese, and nearly 90% are Chaozhou people. Traffic Chaozhou tone Hokkien.


Malaysia: There are close to 6 million Chinese and 2 million Hokkiens. The populations of Chaozhou and Hainanese are ranked 4th and 5th among the dialect groups. The Hokkien dialect in Northern Malaysia prevails in Zhangzhou and Chaoshan dialects, while the Central and Southern Ma speaks Quanzhou and Chaozhou dialects. The Hainan dialect is popular in southern Malaysia and parts of the east coast. The East Ma speaks Quanzhou tones.


Philippines: The Chinese population is about one million, 90% of whom are South Fujianese, and most of them are from Jinjiang, Quanzhou. Speaking of Quanzhou tone Hokkien.


Singapore: Chinese population is more than 3 million, Minnan (Zhangzhou, Quanzhou) is about 1 million, Chaoshan is about 500,000.


Thailand: The Chinese population is close to 6 million, of which more than 40% are from Chaozhou, 18% from Hainan, and 16% from southern Fujian. Hokkien with Teochew accent is spoken. Only in Phuket and parts of southern Thailand are the Zhangzhou-sound Hokkien dialect.


Vietnam: The Chinese population is close to one million, and Chaozhou people account for 34%, Hokkiens 6%, Hainanese 2%, a total of 42%. Traffic Chaozhou tone Hokkien.


other areas

The total population of Hong Kong in 2004 was 6.854 million, and the Fujianese (mostly Hokkien ) were about 1.6 million, accounting for about 20% of the total population of Hong Kong. Affected by the local language, most people who can speak Hokkien are older generations over 50 years old. Some middle-aged people still have a lot of Hokkien accents when they speak Cantonese. Only Cantonese is spoken. As Hokkiens intermarry with other ethnic groups, they have generally switched to Hong Kong Cantonese.


Previous articleChinese Language – Cantonese
Next articleChinese Language – Standard Mandarin


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here