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Minnan phrasebook Travel Guide

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Minnan hua or Southern Min (閩南話 bân-lâm-ōe) is the Chinese dialect of the Southern part of Fujian province, the area around Xiamen and Quanzhou. A variant is widely spoken in Taiwan where it is referred to as Taiwanese (臺彎話 tâi-oan-ōe). Another variant is also spoken widely in the Philippines where it is referred to as Lan Nang Oe (咱人話 lán-lâng-ōe). In Singapore, Malaysia and Medan, the Minnan dialects excluding Teochew are called Hokkien (福建話 hok-kiàn-ōe), the Minnan pronunciation of 'Fujian'.

Note that this list is based on the Xiamen version of Minnan. The dialects spoken in Taiwan, other parts of mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Medan and other Chinese communities have some differences, due to borrowing of words from different languages and sometimes language evolution due to relative isolation. Most notably, Minnan spoken in Taiwan has borrowed some words from Japanese, so "uncle" would be known as "ojisan" in Taiwan instead of 阿伯 "a-pek" (father's elder brother), 阿叔 "a-chek" or 阿舅 "a-kū" (mother's brother) as in Xiamen. The variant spoken in Zhangzhou, Fujian province has some subtle differences from the Xiamen varient but is largely mutually intelligible (eg. kiam nui instead of kiam neng for salted egg). Yet another well known variant is the Teochew dialect spoken around Chaozhou and Shantou in Guangdong, and by large foreign Chinese Teochew communities around the world including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and France which is significantly different (eg. chı̍t-kâi-nâng instead of chı̍t-ê-lâng for '一個人') but is still mutually intelligible with the Xiamen variant to a small degree. The variants spoken in Singapore and Malaysia are also known to have extensive borrowing from Malay and to a lesser extent Cantonese and English.

While the Hainanese dialect spoken on the island of Hainan is grouped under Minnan by many linguists, it differs more significantly and is not mutually intelligible with any of the other variants of Minnan.

It can be said to be mutually unintelligible with standard Mandarin and other dialects not only due to the pronounciation differences but also because of the irregular word/character convertion i.e. a non-native Minnan speaker can only understand the dialect to a small extent even when it is presented in written form (e.g. "吃甲尚好驚血壓高,水姆兌人走": 《陳雷.歡喜就好》) It is also not mutually intelligible with the other branches of the Min dialect family such as Mindong, Minbei and Puxian.

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Minnan phrasebook Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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