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Hokkien () is a
Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucrac ...
language originating from the
Minnan region Minnan, Banlam or Minnan Golden Triangle (, literally: Southern Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrativ ...
in the south-eastern part of
Fujian Province Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territori ...

Fujian Province
in Southeastern
Mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies ...

Mainland China
and spoken widely there. It is also spoken widely in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
(where it is usually known as
Taiwanese Taiwanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Taiwan (Formosa) * Taiwanese aborigines, the indigenous people of Taiwan * Han Taiwanese, the Han people of Taiwan * Taiwanese people, residents of Taiwan or people of Taiwanese descent * Taiwan ...
); by the Chinese diaspora in
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
and other parts of
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
; and by other
overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese () refers to people of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populat ...

overseas Chinese
all over the world. The Hokkien 'dialects' are not all mutually intelligible, but they are held together by ethnolinguistic identity.
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
is, however, mutually intelligible with the 2 to 3 million speakers of the
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...
and
Philippine The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republik ...
dialects. In Southeast Asia, Hokkien historically served as the ''
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
'' amongst overseas Chinese communities of all dialects and subgroups, and it remains today as the most spoken variety of Chinese in the region, including in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...
,
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...
and some parts of
Indochina Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indochina
(particularly Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). The Betawi Malay language, spoken by some five million people in and around the Indonesian capital
Jakarta Jakarta (; ), officially the Special Capital Region of Jakarta ( id, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta), is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the lette ...

Jakarta
, includes numerous Hokkien loanwords due to the significant influence of the
Chinese Indonesian , image = , caption = Slogan proclaiming that Chinese Indonesians stand together with Native Indonesians Native Indonesians, also known as ''Pribumi'' (literally " first on the soil"), are Indonesians whose ancestral roo ...
diaspora, most of whom are of Hokkien ancestry and origin.


Names

Chinese speakers of the Quanzhang variety of Southern Min refer to the mainstream Southern Min language as * (, literally 'language or speech of Southern Min') in China and Taiwan. * (, literally 'Taiwanese language') or (literally 'Hoklo speech') in Taiwan. * (, literally 'our people's speech') in the Philippines. *''Hok-kiàn-ōe'' (福建話, literally 'Hokkien speech') in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. In parts of Southeast Asia and in the English-speaking communities, the term ''Hokkien'' () is etymologically derived from the
Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucrac ...
pronunciation for
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
(), the province from which the language hails. In Southeast Asia and the English press, ''Hokkien'' is used in common parlance to refer to the Southern Min dialects of southern Fujian, and does not include reference to dialects of other Sinitic branches also present in Fujian such as the Fuzhou language (
Eastern Min Eastern Min or Min Dong (, Foochow Romanized: Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄), is a branch of the Min Chinese, Min group of Sinitic languages of China. The prestige form and most-cited representative form is the Fuzhou dialect, the speech of the capital ...
),
Pu-Xian Min Puxian (Hinghwa Romanized Hinghwa Romanized, also known as Hing-hua̍ báⁿ-uā-ci̍ (興化平話字) or Báⁿ-uā-ci̍ (平話字), is a Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally use ...
,
Northern Min Northern Min (), is a group of mutually intelligible Min varieties spoken in Nanping prefecture of northwestern Fujian. Classification and distribution Early classifications of varieties of Chinese, such as those of Li Fang-Kuei in 1937 a ...
,
Gan Chinese Gan, Gann or Kan is a group of Sinitic languages The Sinitic languages, often synonymous with "Chinese languages", constitute the major branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages, Sino-Tibetan language family. It is frequently proposed that th ...
or
Hakka The Hakka (), sometimes also referred to as Hakka Han, or Hakka Chinese, are a Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The fou ...
. In Chinese linguistics, these languages are known by their classification under the Quanzhang division () of
Min Nan Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucrac ...
, which comes from the first characters of the two main Hokkien urban centers of
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
. The word ''Hokkien'' first originated from
Walter Henry Medhurst Walter Henry Medhurst (29 April 179624 January 1857), was an English Congregationalist missionary to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by ...
when he published ''the Dictionary of the Hok-këèn Dialect of the Chinese Language, According to the Reading and Colloquial Idioms'' in 1832. This is considered to be the earliest English-based Hokkien Dictionary and the first major reference work in POJ, although the romanization within was quite different from the modern system. In this dictionary, the word "Hok-këèn" was used. In 1869, POJ was further revised by John Macgowan in his published book ''A Manual Of The Amoy Colloquial''. In this book, "këèn" was changed to "kien" and from then on, the word "Hokkien" began to be used more often.


Geographic distribution

Hokkien is spoken in the southern, seaward quarter of
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
province, southeastern
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...

Zhejiang
, and eastern Namoa Island in China;
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
;
Metro Manila Metropolitan Manila (often shortened as Metro Manila; fil, Kalakhang Maynila), officially the National Capital Region (NCR; fil, Pambansang Punong Rehiyon), is the seat of government The seat of government is (as defined by ''Brewer's Po ...

Metro Manila
,
Metro Cebu Metropolitan Cebu, or simply Metro Cebu, ( ceb, Kaulohang Sugbo; fil, Kalakhang Cebu), is the main urban center of the province of Cebu Cebu (; ceb, Sugbo), officially the Province of Cebu ( ceb, Lalawigan sa Sugbo; tl, Lalawigan ng Ceb ...
,
Metro Davao Metro Davao, officially called Metropolitan Davao ( ceb, Kaulohang Dabaw), fil, Kalakhang Davao, is a metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city ...

Metro Davao
and other cities in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
;
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
;
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Jawi alphabet, Jawi: ), is a sovereign state, country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coa ...

Brunei
;
Medan Medan (; English: ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and small ...

Medan
,
Riau Riau is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level region provinces or ). Provinces are ...
and other cities in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
; and from Taiping to the Thai border in
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
, especially around
Penang Penang, officially the State of Penang, is a States and federal territories of Malaysia, Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Strait of Malacca, Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where t ...

Penang
. Hokkien originated in the southern area of
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
province, an important center for trade and migration, and has since become one of the most common Chinese varieties overseas. The major pole of Hokkien varieties outside of Fujian is nearby Taiwan, where immigrants from Fujian arrived as workers during the 40 years of Dutch rule, fleeing the Qing Dynasty during the 20 years of , as immigrants during the 200 years of Qing dynasty rule, especially in the last 120 years after immigration restrictions were relaxed, and even as immigrants during the period of
Japanese rule Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan, an island country in East Asia * Japanese language, spoken mainly in Japan * Japanese people, the ethnic group that identifies with Japan through culture or ancestry ** Japanese diaspora ...
. The Taiwanese dialect mostly has origins with the
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...
variants, but since then, the
Amoy dialect The Amoy dialect or Xiamen dialect (), also known as Amoynese, Amoy Hokkien, Xiamenese or Xiamen Hokkien, is a dialect of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucr ...
, also known as the Xiamen dialect, has become the modern prestige standard for the language in
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. Both ''
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...

Amoy
'' and ''
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
'' come from the Chinese name of the city (); the former is from Zhangzhou Hokkien, whereas the latter comes from Mandarin. There are many Minnan (Hokkien) speakers among
overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese () refers to people of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populat ...

overseas Chinese
in Southeast Asia as well as in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
(
Hoklo Americans Hokkien, Hoklo (Holo), and Minnan people are found in the United States. The Hoklo people The Hoklo people are Han Chinese people whose traditional Ancestral home (China), ancestral homes are in Minnan region, southern part of Fujian, China. ...
). Many ethnic
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
emigrants to the region were
Hoklo The Hoklo people are Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
from southern Fujian, and brought the language to what is now Burma (
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
),
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
(the former
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East-Indies; nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ) was a Dutch colony The Dutch colonial empire ( nl, Nederlandse koloniale rijk) comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administer ...
) and present day
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
(formerly Malaya and the British Straits Settlements). Many of the Minnan dialects of this region are highly similar to Xiamen dialect (Amoy) and Taiwan Hokkien with the exception of foreign loanwords. Hokkien is reportedly the native language of up to 80% of the in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, among which is known locally as '' Lán-nâng-uē'' or ''Lán-lâng-ōe'' or ''Nán-nâng-uē'' ("Our people's speech"). Hokkien speakers form the largest group of overseas Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.


Classification

Southern
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
is home to three principal Minnan Proper (Hokkien) dialects: Chinchew,
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...
, Chiangchew, originating from the cities of
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
,
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
(respectively). Traditionally speaking, Quanzhou dialect spoken in Quanzhou is the Traditional Standard Minnan, it is the dialect that is used in and () and (). Being the Traditional Standard Minnan, Quanzhou dialect is considered to have the purest accent and the most conservative Minnan dialect. In the late 18th to the early 19th century, Xiamen (Amoy) became the principal city of southern Fujian. Xiamen (Amoy) dialect is adopted as the Modern Standard Minnan. It is a hybrid of the Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialects. It has played an influential role in history, especially in the relations of Western nations with China, and was one of the most frequently learnt dialect of Quanzhang variety by
Westerners The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and State (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, the Americas, and Australasia.
during the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The Modern Standard form of Quanzhang accent spoken around the city of Tainan in Taiwan is a hybrid of the Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialects, in the same way as the Amoy dialect. All Quanzhang dialects spoken throughout the whole of Taiwan are collectively known as
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
, or Holo locally, although there is a tendency to call these Taiwanese language for political reasons. It is spoken by more Taiwanese than any Sinitic language except Mandarin, and it is known by a majority of the population; thus, from a socio-political perspective, it forms a significant pole of language usage due to the popularity of Holo-language media.


Southeast Asia

The varieties of Hokkien in
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
originate from these dialects. The
Chinese Singaporean Chinese Singaporeans () are Singaporeans of Chinese people, Chinese ancestry. Chinese Singaporeans constitute 76.2% of the Singaporean population, making them the largest ethnic group in Singapore. As early as the 10th century, there was evid ...
s, Southern
Malaysian Chinese The Malaysian Chinese, also known as Chinese Malaysians (Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dep ...
, and
Chinese Indonesian , image = , caption = Slogan proclaiming that Chinese Indonesians stand together with Native Indonesians Native Indonesians, also known as ''Pribumi'' (literally " first on the soil"), are Indonesians whose ancestral roo ...
s in
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
's
Riau province Riau is a Provinces of Indonesia, province of Indonesia. It is located in the central eastern coast of Sumatra along the Strait of Malacca. Until 2004 the province included the offshore Riau Islands, a large group of small islands (of which the ...
and
Riau Islands The Riau Islands ( id, Kepulauan Riau) is a province of Indonesia Provinces of Indonesia are the 34 administrative division, administrative division of Indonesia and the highest tier of the local government (formerly called first-level re ...
variant is from the
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
area. They speak a distinct form of
Quanzhou Hokkien The Quanzhou dialect (), also known as the Chin-chew dialect, is a dialect of Hokkien that is spoken in southern Fujian (in southeast China), in the area centered on the city of Quanzhou. Due to migration, variations of the Quanzhou dialect are sp ...
called
Southern Peninsular Malaysian Hokkien Southern Malaysian Hokkien () is a local variant of the Min Nan Southern Min (), Minnan ( Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chin ...
(SPMH), where it is known as
Singaporean Hokkien Singaporean Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ) is a local variant of the Hokkien language Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the origi ...
in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
. Among
Malaysian Chinese The Malaysian Chinese, also known as Chinese Malaysians (Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dep ...
of
Penang Penang, officially the State of Penang, is a States and federal territories of Malaysia, Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Strait of Malacca, Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where t ...

Penang
, and other states in Northern
Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay language, Malay: ''Semenanjung Malaysia''), also known as West Malaysia or the Malaysian Peninsula, formerly known as Malaya (disambiguation), Malaya, is the part of Malaysia which occupies the southern half of the Ma ...
and ethnic
Chinese Indonesian , image = , caption = Slogan proclaiming that Chinese Indonesians stand together with Native Indonesians Native Indonesians, also known as ''Pribumi'' (literally " first on the soil"), are Indonesians whose ancestral roo ...
s in
Medan Medan (; English: ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and small ...

Medan
, with other areas in
North Sumatra North Sumatra ( id, Sumatra Utara) is a Provinces of Indonesia, province of Indonesia located on the northern part of the island of Sumatra. Its capital and largest city is Medan. North Sumatra is the fourth most-populous province after West Java ...
,
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Indonesia
, a distinct form of
Zhangzhou Hokkien The Zhangzhou dialect (), also known as Changchew dialect or Changchow dialect, is a dialect of Hokkien spoken in southern Fujian province (in southeast China), centered on the city of Zhangzhou. It is the source of some former place names in Englis ...
has developed. In Penang, it is called
Penang Hokkien Penang Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ''Pin-siânn Hok-kiàn-uā''; , ) is a local variant of Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a S ...
while across the
Malacca Strait id, Selat Malaka th, ta, hi, zh, , native_name_lang = , other_name = , image = Strait of malacca.jpg , alt = , caption = The Strait of Malacca connects the Pacific Ocean to ...
in Medan, an almost identical variant is known as
Medan Hokkien Medan Hokkien is a local variety of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension ...
. The
Chinese Filipino Chinese Filipinos; tl, Tsinoy, / Pilipinong Tsino, ; Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien or Lannang-Oe (), is a particular dialect of Southern Min language spoken by part of the Chinese Filipino, ethnic Chinese population of the Philippi ...

Chinese Filipino
s in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
also speak a variant known as
Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien is a dialect of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extensi ...
, which is also mostly derived from
Quanzhou Hokkien The Quanzhou dialect (), also known as the Chin-chew dialect, is a dialect of Hokkien that is spoken in southern Fujian (in southeast China), in the area centered on the city of Quanzhou. Due to migration, variations of the Quanzhou dialect are sp ...
, particularly the Jinjiang and Nan'an dialects with a bit of influence from the
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...
(
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
) dialect, as most of their ancestors are also from the aforementioned areas.


History

Variants of Hokkien dialects can be traced to two sources of origin:
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
. Both
Amoy Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minn ...
and most
Taiwanese Taiwanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Taiwan (Formosa) * Taiwanese aborigines, the indigenous people of Taiwan * Han Taiwanese, the Han people of Taiwan * Taiwanese people, residents of Taiwan or people of Taiwanese descent * Taiwan ...
are based on a mixture of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialects, while the rest of the Hokkien dialects spoken in South East Asia are either derived from Quanzhou and Zhangzhou, or based on a mixture of both dialects.


Quanzhou and Zhangzhou

During the
Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the states of Cao Wei, Wei, Shu Han, Shu, and Eastern Wu, Wu. The Three Kingdoms period started with the End of the Han dynasty, end of the Han dynasty#East ...

Three Kingdoms
period of ancient China, there was constant warfare occurring in the Central Plain of China. Northerners began to enter into
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
region, causing the region to incorporate parts of northern Chinese dialects. However, the massive migration of northern
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
into Fujian region mainly occurred after the
Disaster of Yongjia The Disaster of Yongjia () refers to events in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was me ...
. The Jìn court fled from the north to the south, causing large numbers of northern
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
to move into Fujian region. They brought the
Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It i ...
spoken in the Central Plain of China from the prehistoric era to the 3rd century into
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, sub ...

Fujian
. In 677 (during the reign of
Emperor Gaozong of Tang Emperor Gaozong of Tang (21 July 628 – 27 December 683), personal name Li Zhi, was the third emperor of the Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an i ...
), Chen Zheng, together with his son Chen Yuanguang, led a military expedition to suppress a rebellion of the
She people The She people (; Shehua: ; Cantonese: , Fuzhou dialect, Fuzhou: ) are an ethnic group in China. They form one of the 56 List of ethnic groups in China, ethnic groups officially recognized by the China, People's Republic of China. The She are th ...
. In 885, (during the reign of
Emperor Xizong of Tang Emperor Xizong of Tang (June 8, 862 – April 20, 888), né Li Yan, later name changed to Li Xuan (, changed 873), was an emperor of the Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled ...
), the two brothers Wang Chao and
Wang Shenzhi Wang Shenzhi (; 862 – December 30, 925), courtesy name Xintong () or Xiangqing (), formally Prince Zhongyi of Min () and later further posthumously honored as Emperor Taizu of Min (), was the founder of Min Kingdom on the southeast coastal provi ...
, led a military expedition force to suppress the . Waves of migration from the north in this era brought the language of
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country ...
into the Fujian region.


Xiamen (Amoy)

The
Amoy dialect The Amoy dialect or Xiamen dialect (), also known as Amoynese, Amoy Hokkien, Xiamenese or Xiamen Hokkien, is a dialect of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucr ...
is the main dialect spoken in the Chinese city of
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
( formerly romanized and natively pronounced as "Amoy") and its surrounding regions of
Tong'an Tong'an District () is a northern mainland district of Xiamen which faces Kinmen County, Republic of China (Taiwan). To the north is Anxi and Nan'an, and to the south is Jimei. Tong'an is also east of Lianxiang and Changqin to the West. It covers ...
and Xiang'an, both of which are now included in the greater Xiamen area. This dialect developed in the late
Ming dynasty The Ming dynasty (), officially the Great Ming, was the Dynasties in Chinese history, ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644 following the collapse of the Mongol Empire, Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynas ...

Ming dynasty
when Xiamen was increasingly taking over Quanzhou's position as the main port of trade in southeastern China. Quanzhou traders began traveling southwards to Xiamen to carry on their businesses while Zhangzhou peasants began traveling northwards to Xiamen in search of job opportunities. A need for a common language arose. The Quanzhou and Zhangzhou varieties are similar in many ways (as can be seen from the common place of Henan Luoyang where they originated), but due to differences in accents, communication can be a problem. Quanzhou businessmen considered their speech to be the prestige accent and considered Zhangzhou's to be a village dialect. Over the centuries,
dialect leveling Dialect levelling or leveling (in American English) is the process of an overall reduction in the variation or diversity of features between two or more dialects. Typically, this comes about through assimilation, mixture, and merging of certain d ...
occurred and the two speeches mixed to produce the Amoy dialect.


Early sources

Several playscripts survive from the late 16th century, written in a mixture of Quanzhou and Chaozhou dialects. The most important is the '' Romance of the Litchi Mirror'', with extant manuscripts dating from 1566 and 1581. In the early 17th century, Spanish missionaries in the Philippines produced materials documenting the Hokkien varieties spoken by the Chinese trading community who had settled there in the late 16th century: * ''Diccionarium Sino-Hispanicum'' (1604), a Spanish–Hokkien dictionary, giving equivalent words, but not definitions. * ''Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua china'' (1607), a Hokkien translation of the ''
Doctrina Christiana The ''Doctrina Christiana'' ( eng, Christian Doctrine) was an early book on the Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian c ...

Doctrina Christiana
''. * ''Bocabulario de la lengua sangleya'' (c. 1617), a Spanish–Hokkien dictionary, with definitions. * ''Arte de la Lengua Chiõ Chiu'' (1620), a grammar written by a Spanish missionary in the Philippines. These texts appear to record a Zhangzhou dialect, from the old port of
Yuegang Yuegang (月港, literally 'Moon Harbour') was a seaport situated at the estuary of the Jiulong River near Zhangzhou in Fujian, China. Known as a smuggling hub since the early Ming dynasty, Yuegang rose to prominence in the 16th century as the Ming ...
(modern-day Haicheng, an old port that is now part of Longhai). Chinese scholars produced rhyme dictionaries describing Hokkien varieties at the beginning of the 19th century: * ''Lūi-im Biāu-ngō͘ (Huìyīn Miàowù)'' (彙音妙悟 "Understanding of the collected sounds") was written around 1800 by Huang Qian (黃謙), and describes the Quanzhou dialect. The oldest extant edition dates from 1831. * ''Lūi-chi̍p Ngé-sio̍k-thong Si̍p-ngó͘-im (Huìjí Yǎsútōng Shíwǔyīn)'' (彙集雅俗通十五音 "Compilation of the fifteen elegant and vulgar sounds") by Xie Xiulan (謝秀嵐) describes the Zhangzhou dialect. The oldest extant edition dates from 1818.
Walter Henry Medhurst Walter Henry Medhurst (29 April 179624 January 1857), was an English Congregationalist missionary to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by ...
based his 1832 dictionary on the latter work.


Phonology

Hokkien has one of the most diverse
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme is a unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most List of dialects of English, dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlan ...
inventories among Chinese varieties, with more
consonant In articulatory phonetics The field of articulatory phonetics is a subfield of phonetics that studies articulation and ways that humans produce speech. Articulatory phoneticians explain how humans produce speech sounds via the interaction of d ...
s than
Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bri ...
and
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, Brit ...

Cantonese
.
Vowel A vowel is a syllabicSyllabic may refer to: *Syllable, a unit of speech sound, considered the building block of words **Syllabic consonant, a consonant that forms the nucleus of a syllable *Syllabary, writing system using symbols for syllables ...

Vowel
s are more-or-less similar to that of Standard Mandarin. Hokkien varieties retain many pronunciations that are no longer found in other Chinese varieties. These include the retention of the initial, which is now (Pinyin 'zh') in Mandarin (e.g. 'bamboo' 竹 is ''tik'', but ''zhú'' in Mandarin), having disappeared before the 6th century in other Chinese varieties. Along with other Min languages, which are not directly descended from
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country ...
, Hokkien is of considerable interest to
historical linguists History (from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the History of writing#Inventions of writing, invention of writing systems are considered ...
for reconstructing
Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It i ...
.


Finals

Unlike Mandarin, Hokkien retains all the final consonants corresponding to those of
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country ...
. While Mandarin only preserves the n and ŋ finals, Southern Min also preserves the m, p, t and k finals and developed the ʔ (). The vowels of Hokkien are listed below: (*)Only certain dialects * Oral vowel sounds are realized as nasal sounds when preceding a nasal consonant. * only occurs within triphthongs as . The following table illustrates some of the more commonly seen vowel shifts. Characters with the same vowel are shown in parentheses.


Initials

Southern Min has aspirated, unaspirated as well as
voiced consonant Voice or voicing is a term used in phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics that studies how humans produce and perceive sounds, or in the case of sign languages, the equivalent aspects of sign. Phoneticians—linguists who specialize i ...
initials. For example, the word ''khui'' (; "open") and ''kuiⁿ'' (; "close") have the same vowel but differ only by aspiration of the initial and nasalization, nasality of the vowel. In addition, Southern Min has labial consonant, labial initial consonants such as ''m'' in ''m̄-sī'' (; "is not"). Another example is ''ta-po͘-kiáⁿ'' (; "boy") and ''cha-bó͘-kiáⁿ'' (; "girl"), which differ in the second syllable in consonant voicing and in tone (linguistics), tone. * All consonants but may be nasalized; voiced oral stops may be nasalized into voiced nasal stops. * Nasal stops mostly occur word-initially. * Quanzhou and nearby may pronounce dz as l or gl. *Approximant sounds [] [], only occur word-medially, and are also realized as laryngealized [] [], within a few medial and terminal environments.


Tones

According to the traditional Chinese system, Hokkien dialects have 7 or 8 distinct tones, including two entering tones which end in plosive consonants. The entering tones can be analysed as allophones, giving 5 or 6 phonemic tone (linguistics), tones. In addition, many dialects have an additional phonemic tone ("tone 9" according to the traditional reckoning), used only in special or foreign loan words. This means that Hokkien dialects have between 5 and 7 phonemic tones. Tone sandhi is extensive. There are minor variations between the
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
tone systems. Taiwanese tones follow the patterns of Amoy or Quanzhou, depending on the area of Taiwan.


Dialects

The Hokkien language (Minnan) is spoken in a variety of accents and dialects across the
Minnan region Minnan, Banlam or Minnan Golden Triangle (, literally: Southern Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrativ ...
. The Hokkien spoken in most areas of the three counties of southern Zhangzhou have merged the coda finals -n and -ng into -ng. The initial consonant j (Voiced alveolar affricate, dz and Voiced alveolo-palatal affricate, dʑ) is not present in most dialects of Hokkien spoken in Quanzhou, having been merged into the Voiced dental and alveolar stops, d or Dental, alveolar and postalveolar lateral approximants, l initials. The -ik or -ɪk final consonant that is preserved in the native Hokkien dialects of Zhangzhou and Xiamen is also preserved in the Nan'an dialect (色, 德, 竹) but are pronounce as -iak in Quanzhou Hokkien. *Quanzhou Hokkien dialects (泉州閩南片): **Anxi dialect (安溪話) **Dehua dialect (德化話) **Hui'an dialect (惠安話) **Jinjiang, Fujian#Language, Jinjiang dialect (晋江話) **Nan'an dialect (南安話) **Tong'an dialect (同安話) **Quanzhou dialect (泉州話) **Yongchun dialect (永春話) **Youxi dialect (尤溪話) **Kinmen dialect (金門話) **
Southern Peninsular Malaysian Hokkien Southern Malaysian Hokkien () is a local variant of the Min Nan Southern Min (), Minnan ( Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chin ...
(南馬福建話) ***
Singaporean Hokkien Singaporean Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ) is a local variant of the Hokkien language Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the origi ...
(新加坡福建話) **
Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien is a dialect of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extensi ...
(咱人話/咱儂話/菲律賓福建話) *Zhangzhou Hokkien dialects (漳州閩南片): **Longxi dialect (龍溪話) **Longyan dialect (龍巖話) **Pinghe dialect (平和話) **Yunxiao dialect (雲霄話) **Zhangpu dialect (漳浦話) **Zhangzhou dialect (漳州話) **Zhao'an dialect (詔安話) **Haifeng dialect (海豐話) **Haifeng dialect, Lufeng dialect (陸豐話) **
Penang Hokkien Penang Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ''Pin-siânn Hok-kiàn-uā''; , ) is a local variant of Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a S ...
(檳城/庇能福建話) **
Medan Hokkien Medan Hokkien is a local variety of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension ...
(棉蘭福建話) *hybrid Quanzhou–Zhangzhou: **
Amoy dialect The Amoy dialect or Xiamen dialect (), also known as Amoynese, Amoy Hokkien, Xiamenese or Xiamen Hokkien, is a dialect of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucr ...
(廈門話) **
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
(臺灣話/臺灣閩南語/台語)


Comparison

The
Amoy dialect The Amoy dialect or Xiamen dialect (), also known as Amoynese, Amoy Hokkien, Xiamenese or Xiamen Hokkien, is a dialect of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucr ...
(Xiamen) is a hybrid of the
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
dialects.
Taiwanese Taiwanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Taiwan (Formosa) * Taiwanese aborigines, the indigenous people of Taiwan * Han Taiwanese, the Han people of Taiwan * Taiwanese people, residents of Taiwan or people of Taiwanese descent * Taiwan ...
is also a hybrid of these two dialects. Taiwanese in northern and coastal
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
tends to be based on the Quanzhou dialects, Quanzhou variety, whereas the Taiwanese spoken in central, south and inland Taiwan tends to be based on Zhangzhou dialects, Zhangzhou speech. Meanwhile,
Penang Hokkien Penang Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ''Pin-siânn Hok-kiàn-uā''; , ) is a local variant of Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a S ...
and
Medan Hokkien Medan Hokkien is a local variety of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension ...
are based on the Zhangzhou dialect, whereas
Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien is a dialect of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extensi ...
and
Southern Peninsular Malaysian Hokkien Southern Malaysian Hokkien () is a local variant of the Min Nan Southern Min (), Minnan ( Mandarin pronunciation: ) or Banlam (), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chin ...
, including
Singaporean Hokkien Singaporean Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ) is a local variant of the Hokkien language Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the origi ...
, is based on the Quanzhou dialect. There are minor variations in pronunciation and vocabulary between Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialects. The grammar is generally the same. Additionally, extensive contact with the Japanese language has left a legacy of Japanese loanwords in Taiwanese Hokkien. On the other hand, the variants spoken in
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
have a substantial number of loanwords from Malay language, Malay and to a lesser extent, from English language, English and other Chinese varieties, such as the closely related Teochew dialect, Teochew and some
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, Brit ...

Cantonese
. Meanwhile in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, there are also a few Philippine Spanish, Spanish and/or Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog) loanwords, while it is also currently a norm to frequently codeswitch with Philippine English, English and Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog), or other Philippine languages, such as Cebuano language, Bisaya.


Mutual intelligibility

The Quanzhou dialect, Xiamen dialect, Zhangzhou dialect and Taiwanese are generally mutually intelligible. Varieties such as
Penang Hokkien Penang Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ''Pin-siânn Hok-kiàn-uā''; , ) is a local variant of Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a S ...
and
Singaporean Hokkien Singaporean Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ) is a local variant of the Hokkien language Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the origi ...
could be less intelligible to some speakers of Quanzhou, Xiamen, Zhangzhou and Taiwanese varieties due to the existence of loanwords from Malay. Although the Min Nan varieties of Teochew dialect, Teochew and Amoy are 84% phonetically similar including the pronunciations of un-used Chinese characters as well as same characters used for different meanings, and 34% lexical similarity, lexically similar,, Teochew has only 51% intelligibility with the
Tong'an Tong'an District () is a northern mainland district of Xiamen which faces Kinmen County, Republic of China (Taiwan). To the north is Anxi and Nan'an, and to the south is Jimei. Tong'an is also east of Lianxiang and Changqin to the West. It covers ...
Xiamen dialect of the Hokkien language (Cheng 1997) whereas Mandarin and Amoy Min Nan are 62% phonetically similar and 15% lexically similar. In comparison, German and English are 60% lexically similar. Hainanese, which is sometimes considered Southern Min, has almost no mutual intelligibility with any form of Hokkien.


Grammar

Hokkien is an analytic language; in a sentence, the arrangement of words is important to its meaning. A basic sentence follows the subject–verb–object pattern (i.e. a subject (grammar), subject is followed by a verb then by an object (grammar), object), though this order is often violated because Hokkien dialects are Topic-prominent language, topic-prominent. Unlike synthetic languages, seldom do words indicate time, gender and plural by inflection. Instead, these concepts are expressed through adverbs, aspect markers, and grammatical particles, or are deduced from the context. Different particles are added to a Sentence (linguistics), sentence to further specify its status or Intonation (linguistics), intonation. A verb itself indicates no grammatical tense. The time can be explicitly shown with time-indicating adverbs. Certain exceptions exist, however, according to the pragmatic interpretation of a verb's meaning. Additionally, an optional Grammatical aspect, aspect particle can be appended to a verb to indicate the state of an action. Appending interrogative or exclamative particles to a sentence turns a statement into a question or shows the attitudes of the speaker. Hokkien dialects preserve certain grammatical reflexes and patterns reminiscent of the broad stage of Archaic Chinese. This includes the Serial verb construction, serialization of verb phrases (direct linkage of verbs and verb phrases) and the infrequency of nominalization, both similar to Archaic Chinese grammar. Choice of grammatical function words also varies significantly among the Hokkien dialects. For instance, ''khit'' (乞) (denoting the causative, passive or dative) is retained in Jinjiang (also unique to the Jinjiang dialect is ''thō͘'' 度) and in Jieyang, but not in Longxi County, Fujian, Longxi and
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
, whose dialects use ''hō͘'' (互/予) instead.


Pronouns

Hokkien dialects differ in the pronunciation of some pronouns (such as the second person pronoun ''lí'' or ''lú'' or ''lír''), and also differ in how to form plural pronouns (such as ''-n'' or ''-lâng''). Personal pronouns found in the Hokkien dialects are listed below: :1 Exclusive :2 Inclusive :3 儂 (''-lâng'') is typically suffixed in Southeast Asian Hokkien dialects (with the exception of
Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien is a dialect of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extensi ...
) Possessive pronouns can be marked by the particle ''ê'' (的), in the same way as normal nouns. In some dialects, possessive pronouns can also be formed with a nasal suffix, which means that possessive pronouns and plural pronouns are homophones: The most common reflexive pronoun is ''ka-kī'' (家己). In formal contexts, ''chū-kí'' (自己) is also used. Hokkien dialects use a variety of demonstrative pronouns, which include: *this – ''che'' (這, 即), ''chit-ê'' (即個) *that – ''he'' (許, 彼), ''hit-ê'' (彼個) *here – ''chia'' (遮), ''chit-tau'' (即兜) *there – ''hia'' (遐), ''hit-tau'' (彼兜) The interrogative pronouns include: *what – ''siáⁿ-mih'' (啥物), ''sím-mih'' (甚麼), ''há-mi̍h'' (何物) *when – ''tī-sî'' (底時), ''kúi-sî'' (幾時), ''tang-sî'' (當時), ''sím-mih sî-chūn'' (甚麼時陣) *where – ''tó-lo̍h'' (倒落), ''tó-uī'' (倒位) *who – ''siáⁿ-lâng'' (啥人), ''siáng'' (誰), *why – ''ūi-siáⁿ-mih'' (為啥物), ''ūi-sím-mih'' (為甚物), ''án-chóaⁿ'' (按怎), ''khah'' (盍) *how – ''án-chóaⁿ'' (按怎), ''lû-hô'' (如何), ''cháiⁿ-iūⁿ'' (怎樣)


Copula ("to be")

States and qualities are generally expressed using stative verbs that do not require the verb "to be": With noun complements, the verb ''sī'' (是) serves as the verb "to be". To indicate location, the words ''tī'' (佇) ''tiàm'' (踮), ''leh'' (咧), which are collectively known as the locatives or sometimes coverbs in Chinese linguistics, are used to express "(to be) at":


Negation

Hokkien dialects have a variety of negation particles that are prefixed or affixed to the verbs they modify. There are six primary negation particles in Hokkien dialects (with some variation in how they are Written_Hokkien#Chinese_characters, written in characters): #''m̄'' (毋, 呣, 唔, 伓) #''bē'' (未) #''bōe'' (𣍐) #''mài'' (莫, 【勿爱】) #''bô'' (無) #''put'' (不) – literary Other negative particles include: #''bâng'' (甭) #''bián'' (免) #''thài'' (汰) The particle ''m̄'' (毋, 呣, 唔, 伓) is general and can negate almost any verb: The particle ''mài'' (莫, 【勿爱】), a concatenation of ''m-ài'' (毋愛) is used to negate imperative commands: The particle ''bô'' (無) indicates the past tense: The verb 'to have', ''ū'' (有) is replaced by ''bô'' (無) when negated (not 無有): The particle ''put'' (不) is used infrequently, mostly found in literary compounds and phrases:


Vocabulary

The majority of Hokkien vocabulary is monosyllabic. Many Hokkien words have cognates in other Chinese varieties. That said, there are also many indigenous words that are unique to Hokkien and are potentially not of Sino-Tibetan origin, while others are shared by all the Min Chinese, Min dialects (e.g. 'congee' is 糜 ''mê'', ''bôe'', ''bê'', not 粥 ''zhōu'', as in other dialects). As compared to Standard Chinese (Mandarin), Hokkien dialects prefer to use the monosyllabic form of words, without suffixes. For instance, the Mandarin noun suffix 子 (zi) is not found in Hokkien words, while another noun suffix, 仔 (á) is used in many nouns. Examples are below: *'duck' – 鴨 ''ah'' or 鴨仔 ''ah-á'' (SC: 鴨子 ''yāzi'') *'color' – 色 ''sek '' (SC: 顏色 ''yán sè'') In other bisyllabic morphemes, the syllables are inverted, as compared to Standard Chinese. Examples include the following: *'guest' – 人客 ''lâng-kheh'' (SC: 客人 ''kèrén'') In other cases, the same word can have different meanings in Hokkien and standard written Chinese. Similarly, depending on the region Hokkien is spoken in, loanwords from local languages (Malay, Tagalog language, Tagalog, Burmese, among others), as well as other Chinese dialects (such as Southern Chinese dialects like
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, Brit ...

Cantonese
and Teochew dialect, Teochew), are commonly integrated into the vocabulary of Hokkien dialects.


Literary and colloquial readings

The existence of literary and colloquial readings is a prominent feature of some Hokkien dialects and indeed in many Sinitic varieties in the south. The bulk of literary readings (, ''bûn-tha̍k''), based on pronunciations of the vernacular during the Tang Dynasty, are mainly used in formal phrases and written language (e.g. philosophical concepts, given names, and some place names), while the colloquial (or vernacular) ones (, ''pe̍h-tha̍k'') are usually used in spoken language, vulgar phrases and surnames. Literary readings are more similar to the pronunciations of the Tang standard of Middle Chinese than their colloquial equivalents. The pronounced divergence between literary and colloquial pronunciations found in Hokkien dialects is attributed to the presence of several strata in the Min lexicon. The earliest, colloquial stratum is traced to the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE); the second colloquial one comes from the period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 – 589 CE); the third stratum of pronunciations (typically literary ones) comes from the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) and is based on the prestige dialect of Chang'an (modern day Xi'an), its capital. Some commonly seen sound correspondences (colloquial → literary) are as follows: *p- (, ) → h () *ch-, chh- (, , , ) → s (, ) *k-, kh- (, ) → ch (, ) *-ⁿ (, ) → n () *-h () → t () *i () → e () *e () → a () *ia () → i () This table displays some widely used characters in Hokkien that have both literary and colloquial readings: This feature extends to Chinese numerals, which have both literary and colloquial readings. Literary readings are typically used when the numerals are read out loud (e.g. phone numbers, years), while colloquial readings are used for counting items.


Semantic differences between Hokkien and Mandarin

Quite a few words from the variety of
Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It i ...
spoken in the state of Wu (state), Wu, where the ancestral language of Min and Wu dialect families originated, and later words from
Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country ...
as well, have retained the original meanings in Hokkien, while many of their counterparts in Mandarin Chinese have either fallen out of daily use, have been substituted with other words (some of which are borrowed from other languages while others are new developments), or have developed newer meanings. The same may be said of Hokkien as well, since some lexical meaning evolved in step with Mandarin while others are wholly innovative developments. This table shows some Hokkien dialect words from Classical Chinese, as contrasted to the written Chinese standard, Mandarin: For other words, the classical Chinese meanings of certain words, which are retained in Hokkien dialects, have evolved or deviated significantly in other Chinese dialects. The following table shows some words that are both used in both Hokkien dialects and Mandarin Chinese, while the meanings in Mandarin Chinese have been modified:


Words from Minyue

Some commonly used words, shared by all Min Chinese languages, came from the ancient Proto-Austronesian, Minyue languages. Jerry Norman (sinologist), Jerry Norman suggested that these languages were Austroasiatic. Some terms are thought be cognates with words in Tai Kadai and Austronesian languages, Austronesian languages. They include the following examples, compared to the Fuzhou dialect, a Min Dong language:


Loanwords

Loanwords are not unusual among Hokkien dialects, as speakers readily adopted indigenous terms of the languages they came in contact with. As a result, there is a plethora of loanwords that are not mutually comprehensible among Hokkien dialects.
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
, as a result of linguistic contact with Japanese language, Japanese and Formosan languages, contains many loanwords from these languages. Many words have also been formed as calques from Mandarin, and speakers will often directly use Mandarin vocabulary through codeswitching. Among these include the following examples: *'toilet' – ''piān-só͘'' () from Japanese *:Other Hokkien variants: (''sái-ha̍k''), (''chhek-só͘'') *'car' – ''chū-tōng-chhia'' () from Japanese *:Other Hokkien variants: (''hong-chhia''), (''khì-chhia'') *'to admire' – ''kám-sim'' () from Japanese *:Other Hokkien variants: (''kám-tōng'') *'fruit' – ''chúi-ké / chúi-kóe / chúi-kér'' () from Mandarin () *:Other Hokkien variants: (''ké-chí / kóe-chí / kér-chí'')
Singaporean Hokkien Singaporean Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ) is a local variant of the Hokkien language Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the origi ...
,
Penang Hokkien Penang Hokkien (; Tâi-lô: ''Pin-siânn Hok-kiàn-uā''; , ) is a local variant of Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语), known as Quanzhang or Tsuan-Tsiang (泉漳) in linguistics, is a S ...
and other Malaysian Hokkien dialects tend to draw loanwords from Malay language, Malay, English language, English as well as other Chinese dialects, primarily Teochew dialect, Teochew. Examples include: *'but' – ''ta-pi'', from Malay *:Other Hokkien variants: 但是 (''tān-sī'') *'doctor' – 老君 ''ló-kun'', from Malay ''dukun'' *:Other Hokkien variants: 醫生(''i-seng'') *'stone/rock' – ''bà-tû'', from Malay ''batu'' *:Other Hokkien variants: 石头(''chio̍h-thâu'') *'market' – 巴剎 ''pa-sat'', from Malay ''pasar'' from Persian ''bazaar'' (بازار) *:Other Hokkien variants: 市場 (''chhī-tiûⁿ''), 菜市 (''chhài-chhī'') *'they' – 伊儂 ''i-lâng'' from Teochew (i1 nang5) *:Other Hokkien variants: 𪜶 (''in'') *'together' – 做瓠 ''chò-bú'' from Teochew 做瓠 (jo3 bu5) *:Other Hokkien variants: 做夥 (chò-hóe), 同齊 (tâng-chê) or 鬥陣 (tàu-tīn) *'soap' – 雪文 ''sap-bûn'' from Malay ''sabun'' from Arabic ''ṣābūn'' (صابون).
Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien is a dialect of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extensi ...
, as a result of centuries-old contact with both Philippine languages and Philippine Spanish, Spanish also incorporate words from these languages. Speakers today will also often directly use Philippine English, English and Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog), or other Philippine languages like Cebuano language, Bisaya, vocabulary through codeswitching. Examples include: *'cup' – ''ba-sù'', from either Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog) ''baso'' or Philippine Spanish, Spanish ''vaso'' *:Other Hokkien variants: 杯仔 (''poe-á''), 杯 (''poe'') *'office' – ''o-pi-sín'', from either Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog) ''opisina'' or Philippine Spanish, Spanish ''oficina'' *:Other Hokkien variants: 辦公室 (''pān-kong-sek/pān-kong-siak'') *'soap' – ''sap-bûn'', from either Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog) ''sabon'' or Early Modern Spanish, Early Modern Philippine Spanish, Spanish ''jabon'' *:Other Hokkien variants: *'to pay' – ''pá-lâ'', from Philippine Spanish, Spanish ''paga'' *:Other Hokkien variants: 予錢 (''hō͘-chîⁿ''), 還錢 (''hêng-chîⁿ'') *'coffee' – ''ka-pé'', from either Filipino language, Filipino (Tagalog language, Tagalog) ''kape'' or Philippine Spanish, Spanish ''café'' *:Other Hokkien variants: 咖啡 (''ko-pi''), 咖啡 (''ka-pi'')


Comparison with Mandarin and Sino-Xenic pronunciations


Koiné Hokkien

Amoy Hokkien and
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
, both having close resemblance and mutual intelligibility, was developed from a mixture of Quanzhou dialects and Zhangzhou dialects and had emerged as a Koiné language of Hokkien. Both function as a form of comprised common language amongst various Hokkien variants, and are sometimes known as "Standard Hokkien". Learning them allows one to understand both the Quanzhou dialects and Zhangzhou dialects as well as the South East Asia Hokkien Variants. Hokkien originated from both
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
.
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
was historically the cultural center for Hokkien, as various traditional Hokkien culture such as Nanguan music, Beiguan music, Glove puppetry, Kaoka opera (高甲戲) or Lewan opera (梨園戲) genre of Hokkien opera originated from
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
. This was mainly due to the fact that
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
had become an important trading and commercial port since Tang dynasty and had prospered into an important city. After the Opium War in 1842,
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
(Amoy) became one of the major treaty ports to be opened for trade with the outside world. From the mid-19th century onwards,
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
slowly developed to become the political and economical center of the Hokkien speaking region in China. This caused
Amoy dialect The Amoy dialect or Xiamen dialect (), also known as Amoynese, Amoy Hokkien, Xiamenese or Xiamen Hokkien, is a dialect of Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucr ...
to gradually replace the position of dialect variants from
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a natural ...

Quanzhou
and
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lan ...

Zhangzhou
. From the mid-19th century until the end of World War II, western diplomats usually learned Amoy as the preferred dialect if they were to communicate with the Hokkien-speaking populace in China or South-East Asia. In the 1940s and 1950s,
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
also tended to incline towards Amoy dialect. The retreat of the Republic of China to Taiwan in 1949 drove party leaders to seek to both culturally and politically assimilate the islanders. As a result, laws were passed throughout the 1950s to suppress Hokkien and other languages in favor of Mandarin. By 1956, speaking Hokkien in ROC schools or military bases was illegal. However, popular outcry from both older islander communities and more recent Mainlander immigrants prompted a general wave of education reform, during which these and other education restrictions were lifted. The general goal of assimilation remained, with Amoy Hokkien seen as less ‘native’ and therefore preferred. However, from the 1980s onwards, the development of Hokkien pop, Taiwanese Min Nan pop music and media industry in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
caused the Hokkien culture, Hokkien cultural hub to shift from
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
to
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
. The flourishing Hokkien entertainment media, Taiwanese Min Nan entertainment and media industry from Taiwan in the 1990s and early 21st century led Taiwan to emerge as the new significant cultural hub for Hokkien. In the 1990s, marked by the liberalization of language development and mother tongue movement in Taiwan,
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
had undergone a fast pace in its development. In 1993,
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
became the first region in the world to implement the teaching of
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
in Taiwanese schools. In 2001, the local Taiwanese language program was further extended to all schools in Taiwan, and Taiwanese Hokkien became one of the compulsory local Taiwanese languages to be learned in schools. The mother tongue movement in Taiwan even influenced
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
(Amoy) to the point that in 2010,
Xiamen Xiamen ( , ; ), also known as Amoy (, from Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ...

Xiamen
also began to implement the teaching of Hokkien dialect in its schools. In 2007, the Ministry of Education (Republic of China), Ministry of Education in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
also completed the standardization of Chinese characters used for writing Hokkien and developed Taiwanese Romanization System, Tai-lo as the standard Hokkien pronunciation and romanization guide. A number of universities in Taiwan also offer Taiwanese degree courses for training Hokkien-fluent talents to work for the Hokkien media industry and education. Taiwan also has its own Hokkien literary and cultural circles whereby Hokkien poets and writers compose poetry or literature in Hokkien. Thus by the 21st century, Taiwan has become one of the most significant Hokkien cultural hubs of the world. The historical changes and development in Taiwan had led
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
to become the more influential pole of the Hokkien dialect after the mid-20th century. Today,
Taiwanese Taiwanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Taiwan (Formosa) * Taiwanese aborigines, the indigenous people of Taiwan * Han Taiwanese, the Han people of Taiwan * Taiwanese people, residents of Taiwan or people of Taiwanese descent * Taiwan ...
prestige dialect (Taiyu Youshiqiang/Tongxinqiang ) is heard on Taiwanese media.


Writing systems


Chinese script

Hokkien dialects are typically written using Chinese characters (, ''Hàn-jī''). However, the written script was and remains adapted to the literary form, which is based on classical Chinese, not the vernacular and spoken form. Furthermore, the character inventory used for Mandarin (standard written Chinese) does not correspond to Hokkien words, and there are a large number of informal characters (, ''thè-jī'' or ''thòe-jī''; 'substitute characters') which are unique to Hokkien (as is the case with written Cantonese, Cantonese). For instance, about 20 to 25% of Taiwanese morphemes lack an appropriate or standard Chinese character. While most Hokkien morphemes have standard designated characters, they are not always etymological or phono-semantic. Similar-sounding, similar-meaning or rare characters are commonly borrowed or substituted to represent a particular morpheme. Examples include "beautiful" ( ''bí'' is the literary form), whose vernacular morpheme ''suí'' is represented by characters like (an obsolete character), (a vernacular reading of this character) and even (transliteration of the sound ''suí''), or "tall" ( ''ko'' is the literary form), whose morpheme ''kôan'' is . Common grammatical particles are not exempt; the negation particle ''m̄'' (not) is variously represented by , or , among others. In other cases, characters are invented to represent a particular morpheme (a common example is the character ''in'', which represents the personal pronoun "they"). In addition, some characters have multiple and unrelated pronunciations, adapted to represent Hokkien words. For example, the Hokkien word ''bah'' ("meat") has been reduced to the character , which has etymologically unrelated colloquial and literary readings (''he̍k'' and ''jio̍k'', respectively). Another case is the word 'to eat,' ''chia̍h'', which is often transcribed in Taiwanese newspapers and media as (a Mandarin transliteration, ''xiā'', to approximate the Hokkien term), even though its recommended character in dictionaries is . Moreover, unlike Cantonese, Hokkien does not have a universally accepted standardized character set. Thus, there is some variation in the characters used to express certain words and characters can be ambiguous in meaning. In 2007, the Ministry of Education (Republic of China), Ministry of Education of the Republic of China formulated and released a standard character set to overcome these difficulties. These standard Chinese characters for writing
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
are now taught in schools in Taiwan.


Latin script

Hokkien, especially
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
, is sometimes written in the Latin script using one of several alphabets. Of these the most popular is Pe̍h-ōe-jī, POJ, developed first by Presbyterian missionaries in China and later by the indigenous Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Use of this script and orthography has been actively promoted since the late 19th century. The use of a mixed script of Han characters and Latin letters is also seen, though remains uncommon. Other Latin-based alphabets also exist. Min Nan texts, all Hokkien, can be dated back to the 16th century. One example is the ''Doctrina Christiana, Doctrina Christiana en letra y lengua china'', presumably written around 1593 by the Spanish Dominican Order, Dominican Friars in Spanish Philippines, friars in the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
. Another is a Ming Dynasty script of a play called ''Tale of the Lychee Mirror'' (1566), supposedly the earliest Southern Min colloquial text, although it is written in Teochew dialect. Taiwan has developed a Latin alphabet for
Taiwanese Hokkien Taiwanese, also known as Taigi, Taiwanese Hokkien (), Taiwanese Minnan, Hoklo and Holo, is a variety of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bure ...
, derived from POJ, known as Taiwanese Romanization System, Tai-lo. Since 2006, it has been officially promoted by Taiwan's Ministry of Education (Republic of China), Ministry of Education and taught in Taiwanese schools. Xiamen University has also developed an alphabet based on Pinyin called Bbánlám pìngyīm.


Computing

Hokkien is registered as "Southern Min" per RFC 3066 a
zh-min-nan
When writing Hokkien in Chinese characters, some writers create 'new' characters when they consider it impossible to use directly or borrow existing ones; this corresponds to similar practices in character usage in Written Cantonese, Cantonese, Chữ Nôm, Vietnamese chữ nôm, Hanja, Korean hanja and Kanji, Japanese kanji. Some of these are not encoded in Unicode (or the corresponding ISO/IEC 10646: Universal Character Set), thus creating problems in computer processing. All Latin characters required by Pe̍h-ōe-jī can be represented using Unicode (or the corresponding ISO/IEC 10646: Universal Character Set), using precomposed or combining (diacritics) characters. Prior to June 2004, the vowel akin to but more open than ''o'', written with a dot above right, was not encoded. The usual workaround was to use the (stand-alone; spacing) character ''Interpunct'' (U+00B7, ''·'') or less commonly the combining character ''dot above'' (U+0307). As these are far from ideal, since 1997 proposals have been submitted to the ISO/IEC working group in charge of ISO/IEC 10646—namely
ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2
to encode a new combining character ''dot above right''. This is now officially assigned to U+0358 (see document
N2507N2628N2699
an
N2713
.


Cultural and political role

Hokkien (or Min Nan) can trace its roots through the Tang Dynasty and also even further to the people of the Minyue, the indigenous non-Han people of modern-day Fujian. Min Nan (Hokkien) people call themselves "Names of China#Tang, Tang people," () which is synonymous to "Chinese people". Because of the widespread influence of the Tang culture during the great Tang dynasty, there are today still many Min Nan pronunciations of words shared by the Vietnamese language, Vietnamese, Korean language, Korean and Japanese language, Japanese languages. In 2002, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, a party with about 10% of the Legislative Yuan seats at the time, suggested making Taiwanese a second official language. This proposal encountered strong opposition not only from Mainland Chinese, Mainlander groups but also from Hakka and Taiwanese aboriginal groups who felt that it would slight their home languages. Because of these objections, support for this measure was lukewarm among moderate Taiwan independence supporters, and the proposal did not pass. Hokkien was finally made an official language of Taiwan in 2018 by the ruling DPP government.


See also

*Hokkien Kelantan *Hokkien people *Languages of China *Languages of Taiwan *List of Hokkien dictionaries *List of Hokkien people *wikt:Appendix:Amoy Min Nan Swadesh list, Amoy Min Nan Swadesh list


Notes


References


Further reading

* * * * ** * An analysis and facsimile of the ''Arte de la Lengua Chio-chiu'' (1620), the oldest extant grammar of Hokkien.


External links

* A playscript from the late 16th century. * Hokkien translation of the ''
Doctrina Christiana The ''Doctrina Christiana'' ( eng, Christian Doctrine) was an early book on the Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian c ...

Doctrina Christiana
'': *
at Biblioteca Nacional de España
*
at UST Miguel de Benavidez Library, Manila
*
at NCTU, Taiwan
*
at Filipinas Heritage Library, Manila
* A manual for learning Hokkien written by a Spanish missionary in the Philippines. * The oldest known rhyme dictionary of a Zhangzhou dialect. * *
當代泉州音字彙
a dictionary of Quanzhou speech

includes translation and sound clip *: (The voyager clip says: 太空朋友,恁好。恁食飽未?有閒著來阮遮坐哦!) {{Use dmy dates, date=June 2021 Hokkien, Southern Min-language dialects Languages of China Languages of Taiwan Languages of Malaysia Languages of Indonesia Languages of the Philippines Southern Min,