10 Facts About Southern Min


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.

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Southern Min is not mutually intelligible with other branches of Min Chinese nor with non-Min varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin, and the principal varieties of Southern Min are not intelligible with each other.

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Southern Min dialects are spoken in Fujian, three southeastern counties of Zhejiang, the Zhoushan archipelago off Ningbo in Zhejiang and the Chaoshan region in Guangdong.

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Southern Min dialects spoken in Taiwan, collectively known as Taiwanese, is a first language for most of the Hoklo people, the main ethnicity of Taiwan.

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Variants of Southern Min spoken in Zhejiang province are most akin to that spoken in Quanzhou.

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Chaoshan Southern Min is of great importance in the Southeast Asian Chinese diaspora, particularly in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sumatra, and West Kalimantan.

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Chaoshan Southern Min is significantly different from Quanzhang in both pronunciation and vocabulary.

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Southern Min has one of the most diverse phonologies of Chinese varieties, with more consonants than Mandarin or Cantonese.

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In general, Southern Min dialects have five to six tones, and tone sandhi is extensive.

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Linguists estimate that the oldest layers of Southern Min dialects diverged from the rest of Chinese around the time of the Han dynasty.

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