Min (闽语 [閩語])
Min varieties of Chinese are spoken by some 75 million people
mainly in Fujian province (福建省) in China,
and also in parts of Jiangsu (江苏), Zhejiang (浙江),
Jiangxi (江西), Guangdong (广东), Hainan
(海南) and Guangxi (广西), as well as in
Taiwan (臺灣) and Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines,
Burma and other parts of Southeast Asia, and in the USA, especially
in New York City.
The Classical Chinese name for Fujian, (闽 [閩]
mǐn) comes from the Kingdom of Minyue (闽越
[閩越] mǐnyuè) was located in what
is now Fujian province between about 334-110 BC. The name
Min was possibly an ethnic name and associated with the Chinese
word for barbarians (蛮 [蠻] mán), and Yue comes
from the State of Yue, a kingdom in Zhejiang Province during
the Spring and Autumn Period (771 - 476 BC).
Varieties of Min are divided according to mutual intelligibility
into five to nine separate groups. A distinction is also made between
Inland Min varieties and Coastal
Inland varieties of Min
Northern Min (闽北话 [閩北話] - / mínbĕihuà)
Northern Min or Min Bei has about 10.3 million speakers in
northern parts of Fujian Province, particulary around Nanping
(南平) and Xiaxian city (辖县市).
There are also speakers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and
other parts of South East Asia.
Shaojiang Min (邵将 [邵將] shàojiāng)
Shaojiang Min or Shao-Jiang is a group of Min subvarieties spoken
around Nanping (南平) in the northeast of Fujian province.
They are often classified as dialects of Northern Min, but are not
mutually intelligible with it.
Central Min (闽中话 [閩中話] mǐnzhōnghuà)
Central Min or Min Zhong is spoken by about 3.5 million people
in central Fujian Province, particularly around Yong'an city
(永安), Sanming city (三明) and Sha County
Coastal varieties of Min
Southern Min (闽南语 [閩南語] bân-lâm-gí / mĭnnányŭ)
Southern Min or Min Nan varieties are spoken by about 49 million
people in the south of Fujian province, in Guangdong, Hainan, Zhejiang and
Jiangxi provinces, and also in Taiwan, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia,
Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. Mĭn is
another name for Fujian province and Nán means 'south'
Major varieties of Southern Min include:
- Quanzhou (泉州 - Chôan-chiu / Chinchew)
Xiamen (廈門 - Ē-mn̂g / Amoy)
- includes Taiwanese
- Zhangzhou (漳州 - Chiang-chiu / Changchew)
Chaozhou (潮州 - Dio⁵ziu¹ / Teochew)
Quanzhou, Xiamen and Zhangzhou varieties of Southern Min are
more or less mutually intelligible with each other, but not
with Chaozhou varieties.
Tower of Babel in Amoy
Eastern Min (闽东话 [閩東語] - mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄ / mǐndōngyǔ)
Eastern Min or Min Dong is spoken by about 9.1 million people
mainly in east central Fujian province, particularly in and
around Fuzhou (福州) and Ningde (宁德),
and also in Brunei, Indonesia (Java and Bali), Malaysia
(Peninsular) Singapore, Thailand.
Tower of Babel in Eastern Min
Puxian (溫州話 / Pô-sing-uā)
Puxian or Puxian Min is spoken by about 2.6 million people mainly
in Putian City (莆田市) and Xianyou County (仙游县)
in Fujian province.
More details of Puxian
The Qiong-Lei variety of Min has two main subvarieties: Leizhou (雷州话
[雷州話] léizhōu huà), which is spoken by about 4 million
peopl in Leizhou city and neighbouring areas in western Guangdong province; and
Hainanese (海南话 [海南話] hái-nâm-oe /
hǎinánhuà), which is spoken mainly in Hainan by about 1.1 million people.
The subvarieties are not mutually intelligible with other varieties of Min.
Books about Chinese characters and calligraphy
Mandarin, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Taiwanese and
Northern Min (Min Bei)
Eastern Min (Min Dong)
Central Min (Min Zhong)
Southern Min (Min Nan)
Lei Zhou Min
Xiamen Missionary Romanisation System for certain Southern Min dialects