Southern Min

Southern Min (simplified Chinese: 闽南语; traditional Chinese: 閩南語; pinyin: Mǐnnán yǔ; lit. 'Southern Fujian language'), Minnan (Mandarin pronunciation: [mìn.nǎn]) or Banlam (Southern Min pronunciation: [bàn.ɾám]), is a group of linguistically similar and historically related Sinitic languages that form a branch of Min Chinese spoken in Fujian (especially the Minnan region), most of Taiwan (many citizens are descendants of settlers from Fujian), Eastern Guangdong, Hainan, and Southern Zhejiang.[1] The Minnan dialects are also spoken by descendants of emigrants from these areas in diaspora, most notably the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. It is the most populous branch of Min Chinese, spoken by an estimated 48 million people in ca. 2017–2018.[2]

Southern Min
閩南語 / 闽南语
Bàn-lâm-gú
EthnicityHoklo people
Teochew people
Geographic
distribution
Fujian Province; the Chaozhou-Shantou (Chaoshan) area and Leizhou Peninsula in Guangdong Province; extreme south of Zhejiang Province; much of Hainan Province (if Hainanese or Qiongwen is included) and most of Taiwan as well as Penang, Melaka, Singapore and Sumatra
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan
Subdivisions
ISO 639-3nan
Linguasphere79-AAA-j
Glottologminn1241
  Southern Min in Mainland China and Taiwan

Subgroups of Southern Min in Mainland China and Taiwan
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese闽南语
Traditional Chinese閩南語
Literal meaning"Language of Southern Min [Fujian]"

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. This 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 with non-Min varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin, and the principal varieties of Southern Min are not intelligible with each other.