Min or Miin[a] (simplified Chinese: 闽语; traditional Chinese: 閩語; pinyin: Mǐn yǔ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Bân gú; BUC: Mìng ngṳ̄) is a broad group of Chinese varieties spoken by about 30 million people in Fujian province as well as by 45 million descendents of migrants from this province in Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Shantou, or Chaoshan area, Leizhou peninsula and Part of Zhongshan), Hainan, three counties in southern Zhejiang, Zhoushan archipelago off Ningbo, some towns in Liyang, Jiangyin City in Jiangsu province, and Taiwan. The name is derived from the Min River in Fujian, which is also the abbreviated name of Fujian Province. Min varieties are not mutually intelligible with each other or with any other varieties of Chinese.
There are many Min speakers among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. The most widely spoken variety of Min outside Fujian is Southern Min (Min Nan), also known as Hokkien-Taiwanese (which includes Taiwanese and Amoy).
Many Min languages have retained notable features of the Old Chinese language, and there is linguistic evidence that not all Min varieties are directly descended from Middle Chinese of the Sui–Tang dynasties. Min languages are believed to have a significant linguistic substrate from the languages of the inhabitants of the region prior to its sinicization.
|Ethnicity||Hoklo people, Fuzhou people, Putian people, other Min speaking people|
|Mainland China: Fujian, Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Shantou and Leizhou peninsula), Hainan, Zhejiang (Shengsi, Putuo and Wenzhou), Jiangsu (Liyang and Jiangyin); Taiwan; overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia and Northeastern United States|
|Linguasphere||79-AAA-h to 79-AAA-l|
Distribution of Min languages
Bân gú / Mìng ngṳ̄ ('Min') written in
|Hokkien POJ||Bân gú|
The Min homeland of Fujian was opened to Chinese settlement by the defeat of the Minyue state by the armies of Emperor Wu of Han in 110 BC. The area features rugged mountainous terrain, with short rivers that flow into the South China Sea. Most subsequent migration from north to south China passed through the valleys of the Xiang and Gan rivers to the west, so that Min varieties have experienced less northern influence than other southern groups. As a result, whereas most varieties of Chinese can be treated as derived from Middle Chinese, the language described by rhyme dictionaries such as the Qieyun (601 AD), Min varieties contain traces of older distinctions. Linguists estimate that the oldest layers of Min dialects diverged from the rest of Chinese around the time of the Han dynasty. However, significant waves of migration from the North China Plain occurred:
Jerry Norman identifies four main layers in the vocabulary of modern Min varieties:
Laurent Sagart (2008) shows that Norman and Mei Tsu-lin analysis of an Austroasiatic substratum in Min is incorrect. The hypothesis proposed by Jerry Norman and Tsu-Lin Mei arguing for an Austroasiatic homeland along the middle Yangtze has been largely abandoned in most circles, and left unsupported by the majority of Austroasiatic specialists.
Min is usually described as one of seven or ten groups of varieties of Chinese but has greater dialectal diversity than any of the other groups. The varieties used in neighbouring counties, and in the mountains of western Fujian even in adjacent villages, are often mutually unintelligible.
Early classifications, such as those of Li Fang-Kuei in 1937 and Yuan Jiahua in 1960, divided Min into Northern and Southern subgroups. However, in a 1963 report on a survey of Fujian, Pan Maoding and colleagues argued that the primary split was between inland and coastal groups. A key discriminator between the two groups is a group of words that have a lateral initial /l/ in coastal varieties, and a voiceless fricative /s/ or /ʃ/ in inland varieties, contrasting with another group having /l/ in both areas. Norman reconstructs these initials in Proto-Min as voiceless and voiced laterals that merged in coastal varieties.
The coastal varieties have the vast majority of speakers, and have spread from their homeland in Fujian and eastern Guangdong to the islands of Taiwan and Hainan, to other coastal areas of southern China and to Southeast Asia. Pan and colleagues divided them into three groups:
Although coastal varieties can be derived from a proto-language with four series of stops or affricates at each point of articulation (e.g. /t/, /tʰ/, /d/, and /dʱ/), inland varieties contain traces of two further series, which Norman termed "softened stops" due to their reflexes in some varieties. Inland varieties use pronouns and negatives cognate with those in Hakka and Yue. Inland varieties have little or no tone sandhi.
Most Min vocabulary corresponds directly to cognates in other Chinese varieties, but there is also a significant number of distinctively Min words that may be traced back to proto-Min. In some cases a semantic shift has occurred in Min or the rest of Chinese:
Norman and Mei Tsu-lin have suggested an Austroasiatic origin for some Min words:
However, Norman and Mei Tsu-lin suggestion is rejected by Laurent Sagart (2008). Moreover, the Austroasiatic predecessor of modern Vietnamese language has been proven to originate in the mountainous region in Central Laos and Vietnam, rather than in the region north of the Red River delta. . In other cases, the origin of the Min word is obscure. Such words include *khauA 骹 "foot", *-tsiɑmB 䭕 "insipid" and *dzyŋC 𧚔 "to wear".
When using Chinese characters to write a non-Mandarin form, standard practice is to use characters that correspond etymologically to the words being represented, and to invent new characters for words with no evident ancient Chinese etymology or in some cases for alternative pronunciations of existing characters, especially when the meaning is significantly different. Written Cantonese has carried this process out to the farthest extent of any non-Mandarin variety, to the extent that pure Cantonese vernacular can be unambiguously written using Chinese characters. Contrary to popular belief, a vernacular written in this fashion is not in general comprehensible to a Mandarin speaker, due to significant changes in grammar and vocabulary and the necessary use of large number of non-Mandarin characters.
A similar process has never taken place for any of the Min varieties and there is no standard system for writing Min, although some specialized characters have been created. Given that Min combines the Chinese of several different periods and contains some non-Chinese vocabulary, one may have trouble finding the appropriate Chinese characters for some Min vocabulary. In the case of Taiwanese, there are also indigenous words borrowed from Formosan languages, as well as a substantial number of loan words from Japanese. The Min spoken in Singapore and Malaysia has borrowed heavily from Malay and, to a lesser extent, from English and other languages. The result is that cases of Min written purely in Chinese characters does not represent actual Min speech, but contains a heavy mixture of Mandarin forms.
Attempts to faithfully represent Min speech necessarily rely on romanization, i.e. representation using Latin characters. Some Min speakers use the Church Romanization (Chinese: 教會羅馬字; pinyin: Jiaohui Luomazi). For Hokkien the romanization is called Pe̍h-ōe-jī (POJ) and for Fuzhou dialect called Foochow Romanized (Bàng-uâ-cê, BUC). Both systems were created by foreign missionaries in the 19th century (see Min Nan and Min Dong Wikipedia). There are some uncommon publications in mixed writing, using mostly Chinese characters but using the Latin alphabet to represent words that cannot easily be represented by Chinese characters.
In conclusion, there is no convincing evidence, linguistic or other, of an early Austroasiatic presence on the south‑east China coast.
Central Min, or Min Zhong (simplified Chinese: 闽中语; traditional Chinese: 閩中語; pinyin: Mǐnzhōngyǔ), is a part of the Min group of varieties of Chinese. It is spoken in the valley of the Sha River in Sanming prefecture in the central mountain areas of Fujian, consisting of Yong'an, the urban area of Sanming (Sanyuan and Meilie districts) and Sha County.Dzao Min language
Dzao Min (Chinese: 藻敏, Zao Min), is a Hmong–Mien language of China. Mao (2004:306) reports a total of more than 60,000 speakers in Liannan County and Yangshan County of Guangdong, and in Yizhang County of Hunan. The speakers from Bapai, Guangdong are also called Bapai Yao (八排瑶族).Fang Chieh-min
Fang Chieh-min (Chinese: 方介民; pinyin: Fāng Jièmín; born January 31, 1986 in Taipei) is a badminton player from Taiwan. He paired with Lee Sheng-mu in men's doubles. The pair won 3 BWF Super Series titles including 2010 Singapore Super Series, 2010 Indonesia Super Series and 2012 Malaysia Super Series.Fu'an dialect
The Fu'an dialect (福安話) is a dialect of Eastern Min, which is a branch of Min Chinese spoken mainly in the eastern part of Fujian Province.
The Fu'an dialect covers two city and three counties: Ningde, Fu'an, Shouning, Zhouning and Zherong County.Fuzhou people
The people of Fuzhou (Chinese: 福州人; Foochow Romanized: Hók-ciŭ-nè̤ng), also known as Fuzhounese, Foochowese, Hokchew, Hokchia, Hokchiu, Fuzhou Shiyi people (福州十邑人), Eastern Min or Mindong usually refers to people who originate from Fuzhou region and the Mindong region, adjacent Gutian County, Pingnan County, in Fujian province and in the adjacent Matsu Islands. Fuzhounese are Han Chinese people and are a part of Min-speaking group, who speaks Eastern Min or specifically Fuzhou dialect. There is also a significant overseas Foochowese population, particularly distributed in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, United States (Fuzhou Americans), Japan, United Kingdom, etc.Despite their small population size, Fuzhounese people have produced a large number of achievements in both academic and science fields, there has been 17 Fuzhounese Zhuangyuans (scholar who is ranked first in the imperial examinations), and famous mathematicians and scientists such as Zhang Yuzhe (the father of modern Chinese astronomy), Guo Kexin (the main pioneer of electron microscopy of China), Chih-Tang Sah, Hsien Wu, Guo Kexin and Min Zhuo are Fuzhounese.Hainanese
Hainanese (Hainan Romanised: Hái-nâm-oe, simplified Chinese: 海南话; traditional Chinese: 海南話; pinyin: Hǎinán huà), also known as Qióng Wén (simplified Chinese: 琼文; traditional Chinese: 瓊文) or Qióng yǔ (瓊語; 琼语), is a group of Min Chinese varieties spoken in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan. In the classification of Yuan Jiahua, it was included in the Southern Min group, although it is mutually unintelligible with Southern Min varieties such as Hokkien–Taiwanese and Teochew. In the classification of Li Rong, used by the Language Atlas of China, it was treated as a separate Min subgroup. Hou Jingyi combined it with Leizhou Min, spoken on the neighboring mainland Leizhou Peninsula, in a Qiong–Lei group. "Hainanese" is also used for the language of the Li people living in Hainan, but generally refers to Min varieties spoken in Hainan.Hlai languages
The Hlai languages (Chinese: 黎语; pinyin: Lí yǔ) are a primary branch of the Kra–Dai language family spoken in the mountains of central and south-central Hainan in China, not to be confused with the colloquial name for the Leizhou branch of Min Chinese (Chinese: 黎话; pinyin: Lí huà). They include Cun, whose speakers are ethnically distinct. A quarter of Hlai speakers are monolingual. None of the Hlai languages had a writing system until the 1950s, when the Latin script was adopted for Ha.Jerry Norman (sinologist)
Jerry Lee Norman (July 16, 1936 – July 7, 2012) was an American sinologist and linguist known for his studies of Chinese dialects and historical phonology, particularly on the Min Chinese dialects, and of the Manchu language. Norman had a large impact on Chinese linguistics, and was largely responsible for the identification of the importance of the Min Chinese dialects in linguistic research into Old Chinese.Jian'ou dialect
Jian'ou dialect (Northern Min: Gṳ̿ing-é-dī / 建甌事; Chinese: simplified Chinese: 建瓯话; traditional Chinese: 建甌話; pinyin: Jiàn'ōu huà), also known as Kienow dialect, is a local dialect of Northern Min Chinese spoken in Jian'ou in northern Fujian province. It is regarded as the standard common language in Jian'ou.Jiangle dialect
Jiangle dialect is a dialect of Shao-Jiang Min Chinese spoken in Jiangle, Sanming in northwestern Fujian province of China. It combines elements from Northern Min and Hakka Chinese.Jianyang dialect
Jianyang (Northern Min: Gṳ̿ing-iô̤ng-dī / 建陽事) is a dialect of Northern Min Chinese spoken in Jianyang in the north of Fujian province.Leizhou Min
Leizhou Min (simplified Chinese: 雷州话; traditional Chinese: 雷州話; pinyin: Léizhōu huà, [lěiʈʂóu xwâ]) is a branch of Min Chinese spoken in Leizhou city, Xuwen County, Mazhang District, most parts of Suixi County and also spoken inside of the lingustically diverse Xiashan District. In the classification of Yuan Jiahua, it was included in the Southern Min group, though it has low intelligibility with other Southern Min varieties. In the classification of Li Rong, used by the Language Atlas of China, it was treated as a separate Min subgroup. Hou Jingyi combined it with Hainanese in a Qiong–Lei group.Min Chinese speakers
Min-speaking peoples (simplified Chinese: 闽民系; traditional Chinese: 閩民系; pinyin: Mǐn mínxì) are a major subgroup of the Han Chinese (also known as the ethnic Chinese). They are a Min Chinese-speaking people that mainly live in Fujian, Hainan, southern Zhejiang, and Guangdong province's Leizhou and Chaoshan regions. In the Chinese diaspora, they form the majority of people in Taiwan and the majority of Han Chinese in Southeast Asia including countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. The latter two countries are Teochew-speaking.Pu-Xian Min
Puxian (Hinghwa Romanized: Pó-sing-gṳ̂/莆仙語; simplified Chinese: 莆仙话; traditional Chinese: 莆仙話; pinyin: Púxiānhuà), also known as Pu-Xian Chinese, Puxian Min, Xinghua or Hinghwa (Hing-hua̍-gṳ̂/興化語; simplified Chinese: 兴化语; traditional Chinese: 興化語; pinyin: Xīnghuàyǔ), is a branch of Min Chinese.
Puxian is spoken mostly in Fujian province, particularly in Putian city and Xianyou County (after which it is named), parts of Fuzhou, and parts of Quanzhou. It is also widely used as the mother tongue in Wuqiu Township, Kinmen County, Fujian Province, Republic of China. More than 2000 people in Shacheng, Fuding in northern Fujian also speak Puxian. There are minor differences between the dialects of Putian and Xianyou.
Overseas populations of Puxian speakers exist in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Speakers of Puxian are also known as Henghua, Hinghua, or Xinghua.Shao-Jiang Min
Shao–Jiang or Shaojiang Min (simplified Chinese: 邵将; traditional Chinese: 邵將; pinyin: Shàojiāng) is a collection of dialects of Min Chinese centered on Western Nanping in Northwest Fujian, specifically in the Nanping counties of Guangze, Shaowu, and Western Shunchang and the Northern Sanming county of Jiangle.
Shao-Jiang developed from Northern Min (Min Bei), and was deeply influenced by Gan Chinese and Hakka Chinese. The classification of Shao-Jiang is disputed. It is frequently classified as a dialect of Northern Min, but sometimes it is excluded from Min and classified as Gan Chinese instead. But it is mutually intelligible with neither other Northern Min nor other Gan. Actually it is a collection of dialects which have limited mutual intelligibility instead of a language. Some Chinese scholars call it Min-Gan dialects (闽赣方言), Min-Gan transition dialects (闽赣过渡方言) or Min-Hakka-Gan transition dialects (闽客赣过渡方言).Shaowu dialect
Shaowu dialect is a dialect of Shao-Jiang Min Chinese spoken in Shaowu, Nanping in northwestern Fujian province of China. It combines elements from Northern Min and Gan Chinese.Southern Min
Southern Min or Minnan (simplified Chinese: 闽南语; traditional Chinese: 閩南語), literally "Southern Fujian" while "Min" is short for "Fujian" and "Nan" is "South", also known as Hokkien-Taiwanese, is a language group that forms a branch of Min Chinese spoken in certain parts of south and eastern China including Fujian (especially the Minnan region), most of Taiwan (many citizens are descendents of settlers from Fujian), eastern Guangdong, Hainan, and southern Zhejiang. The Minnan dialects are also spoken by descendants of emigrants from these areas in diaspora, most notably the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and New York City. It is the largest Min Chinese branch and the most widely distributed Min Chinese subgroup.
In common parlance and in the narrower sense, Southern Min refers to the Quanzhang or Hokkien-Taiwanese variety of Southern Min originating from Southern Fujian in Mainland China. It is spoken mainly in Fujian, Taiwan, as well as certain parts of Southeast Asia. The Quanzhang variety is often called simply "Minnan Proper" (simplified Chinese: 闽南语; traditional Chinese: 閩南語). It is considered the mainstream Southern Min Chinese Language.
In the wider scope, Southern Min also includes other Min Chinese varieties that are linguistically related to Minnan proper (Quanzhang). Most variants of Southern Min have significant differences from the Quanzhang variety, some having limited mutual intelligibility with it, others almost none. Teochew, Longyan, and Zhenan may be said to have limited mutual intelligibility with Minnan Proper, sharing similar phonology and vocabulary to a small extent. On the other hand, variants such as Datian, Zhongshan, and Qiong-Lei have historical linguistic roots with Minnan Proper, but are significantly divergent from it in terms of phonology and vocabulary, and thus have almost no mutual intelligibility with the Quanzhang variety. Linguists tend to classify them as separate Min languages.
Southern Min is not mutually intelligible with other branches of Min Chinese nor other varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin.Yu Min (physicist)
Yu Min (Chinese: 于敏; pinyin: Yú Mǐn; 16 August 1926 – 16 January 2019) was a prominent Chinese nuclear physicist, an academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and a recipient of Two Bombs, One Satellite Achievement Medal.Zhongshan Min
Zhongshan Min (Chinese: 中山閩語), is a group of Min Chinese varieties spoken in the Zhongshan region of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. The Zhongshan Min people settled in the region from Fujian Province as early as the Northern Song dynasty period (1023–1031).
There are three main dialects:
Longdu dialect, spoken in Dachong in the west of the prefecture,
Nanlang dialect, spoken in Nanlang in the east, and
Sanxiang dialect, spoken in Sanxiang in the south.According to Nicholas Bodman, the Longdu and Nanlang dialects belong to the Eastern Min group, while the Sanxiang dialect belongs to Southern Min. All three have been heavily influenced by the Shiqi dialect, the local variety of Yue Chinese.
|Hanyu Pinyin||Mǐn Yǔ|
|Hokkien POJ||Bân gú|
|Fuzhou BUC||Mìng ngṳ̄|