Minnan phrasebook

Sourced from Wikivoyage. Text is available under the CC-by-SA 3.0 license.
Yuriy kosygin
Minnan (闽南话/閩南話 Bân-lâm-ōe) is the main language of Southern Fujian and has spread from there to other areas. It is known by several different names: in mainland China, it is Minnan hua (South Fujian speech), in Taiwan, Taiwanese (台语/臺語 tâi-gí), in most of Southeast Asia, Hokkien (福建话/福建話 Hok-kiàn-ōe) from the Minnan word for Fuijan, and in the Philippines, the overseas Chinese call it "Our People's Language" (咱侬话/咱儂話 Lán-lâng-ōe).
Each of the major cities of Fujian's Minnan-speaking areas — Xiamen, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou — and each overseas region where the language is spoken has its own slightly different variant. The overseas variants are influenced by other local languages; Taiwanese has some Japanese loanwords, Hokkien some from Malay/Indonesian and Cantonese, and so on. All these variants, however, are mutually intelligible to a great extent. The prestige dialect of Minnan is the Xiamen dialect in mainland China, and the Tainan dialect in Taiwan.
Minnan is not mutually unintelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese or other Chinese "dialects", not even with the other Min (Fujian) languages such as Mindong (Fuzhou Hua), Minbei and Puxian. Languages classified as closely related to Minnan are Teochew, which has only partial mutual intelligibility with Minnan, and Hainanese which has almost none.
All Chinese languages, in general, use the same set of characters in reading and writing in formal settings, based on standard Mandarin. This means that a Minnan speaker and a Mandarin speaker cannot talk to each other, but either can generally read what the other writes. However, when writing Minnan in a more colloquial form, there are significant lexical differences from standard Mandarin, meaning that a Mandarin speaker will not be able to make everything out. Use the Chinese phrasebook for reading most writing in Minnan-speaking areas.
Mandarin is an official language in China, Taiwan and Singapore, and widely used in education and media. Today, most Minnan speakers in mainland China and Taiwan also speak Mandarin, and most foreign residents of those areas choose to learn Mandarin rather than Minnan.
Minnan is written with simplified Chinese characters in mainland China, and with traditional Chinese characters in Taiwan. In this phrasebook, where differences exist, simplified characters are written before the slash (/), and traditional characters after the slash.


Phrase list