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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 Min varieties.


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 (沙县).


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' or 'southern'.

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.

Information about:

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

Qiong-Lei (琼雷)

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.

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Min Chinese
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_Chinese

Shaojiang Min
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shao-Jiang_Min

Northern Min (Min Bei)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_Bei

Eastern Min (Min Dong)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_Dong
http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/閩東語

Central Min (Min Zhong)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_Zhong

Southern Min (Min Nan)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_Nan
http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/闽南语

Pu-Xian
http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/莆仙話

Lei Zhou Min
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leizhou_Min

Hainanese
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainanese

Xiamen Missionary Romanisation System for certain Southern Min dialects
http://www.coastalfog.net/languages/xiarom.html

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Sinitic (Chinese) languages

Dungan, Cantonese, Fuzhounese, Gan, Hakka, Mandarin, Puxian, Shanghainese, Taiwanese, Teochew, Wenzhounese, Xiang


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