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Mǐn Nán (Simplified Chinese: 闽南语, Traditional Chinese: 閩南語), also spelt as Minnan or Min-nan; native name Bân-lâm-gú; literally means "Southern Min" or "Southern Fujian" and refers to the local language/dialect of southern Fujian province, China. It is often known simply as Hokkien (i.e., "Fujian[ese]") or Teochew, especially in Southeast Asia. The Taiwanese language is a form of Min Nan.
Southern Min and its counterpart Northern Min can be grouped together as the Min language group. Both are often classified under the Chinese language group, itself part of the Sino-Tibetan language family. However, Min Nan is neither mutually intelligible with Northern Min , nor with Mandarin, the official Chinese langugage.
Min Nan is spoken in the southern part of the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian by the Hoklo as well as their descendents who migrated from this province to Taiwan, Guangdong (around Chaozhou-Swatou, and Leizhou peninsula), Hainan, two counties in southern Zhejiang and Zhoushan archipelago offshore Ningbo. There are many Min Nan speakers also among overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. In Taiwan, it also has the native name of Tâi-oân-oē or Hō-ló-oē. In the Philippines, it has the name Lán-lâng-oē ("our people's language") among the Chinese Filipinos, many of which are descendants of Fujian people or Hoklo.
There are three main dialects of Min Nan in southern Fujian, corresponding to the areas of:
As Xiamen (Amoy) is the principal city of southern Fujian, its dialect is considered the most important variant.
Outside Fujian, Min Nan exists in major variants in these places:
The variant(s) spoken in Taiwan, though similar to the three southern Fujian variants, are grouped separately, and collectively known as Taiwanese. Taiwanese bears great importance from a socio-political perspective and is the second (and perhaps greatest) major pole of the language.
- 陰平 Yin-ping |44|
- 上聲 Shang-sheng |51|
- 陰去 Yin-qu |31|
- 陰入 Yin-ru |3|
- 陽平 Yang-ping |24|
- 陽去 Yang-qu |33|
- 陽入 Yang-ru |5|
The numbers given in | | are tone contours (in the Amoy sub-dialect), where 1 is the lowest and 5 is highest. Unlike some Chinese languages, such as Cantonese, all tones in Min Nan are subject to tone sandhi, that is, a given syllable's tone changes when it appears in front of another syllable.
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