Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Min (linguistics)

Min (閩方言 in pinyin: min3 fang1 yan2) is a general term for a group of dialects of the Chinese language spoken in the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian as well as by migrants from this province in Taiwan, Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou, and Leizhou peninsula), Hainan, two counties in southern Zhejiang and Zhoushan archipelago offshore Ningbo. There are many Min speakers also among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia.

Some researches tend to divide the Min group into Northern Min and Southern Min subgroups with Fuzhou and Xiamen (Amoy) dialects being paramount.

More complex division is suggested by SIL: Northern Min (Min-Bei, around Jian'ou in Fujian), Central Min (Min-Zhong, around Shaxian, Sanming), Eastern Min (Min-Dong in Fuzhou), Xinghua (in Puxian and Xianyou counties) and Southern Min (Min-Nan, in Zhangzhou, Quanzhou, Xiamen). Southern Min is also spoken by Fujian diaspora in Guangdong, Taiwan, Hainan, etc).

The initials of Min dialects are more numerous than in Mandarin Chinese, as well as finals.

The Southern Min language in Taiwan is known as Hō-ló-oē, in Guangdong as Hoklo, in Hainan as Qiongzhou hua.

Writing system is identical to Mandarin, though some Taiwanese are using so called Church Romanization (Jiaohui Luomazi, or in Taiwanese, Pe̍h-oē-jī, "vernacular writing"; see Taiwanese language) created by foreign missionaries in the 19th century. There are some uncommon publications in mixed writing, combining Chinese characters for Chinese words and Latin alphabet for indigenous words, including those from Taiwanese aborigines.

External links