Fujian province attracted a lots of migrants from elsewhere in China, and they brought along with them their own local dialects. Over the years, in Fujian province, only left a handful who spoke Hokkien. I had always assumed if someone were from Fujian, they all spoke Hokkien, which is mostly not true. The Hokkien that I grew up with, spoken as my mother tongue, is actually a local dialect spoken only in Xiamen and its vicinity in the Fujian province. This Hokkien dialect is part of bigger dialect grouping called Minnan (闽南语), which also include Teochew and Hainanese dialects. Minnan are also found in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore due to immigration from South China in the early immigrant days. In China most places are named based on objects and things. Therefore we have Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Henan, to name a few. Minnan was so called since it is south of the Ming dynasty capital. Beside Minnan, there are also Minxi and Minpei, meaning West of Ming and North of Ming, all of which dialects that cannot be understood by someone not from the same area. I had a chance to converse entirely in 'Lau Hokkien (Old Hokkien)' when I took a taxi from Marco Polo Hotel to Zhongsan Lu couple of years back. The taxi driver was amazed that a 'Haikui (海亏 - sea turtle)', a term they used to call oversea Chinese, still able to speak Hokkien even though I was not born in China.
|Many people do not know that Hokkien was |
part of a larger language group called Minnan.
Other dialects under Minnan language are Teochew and Hainanese
|A Teppanyaki chef eavesdrops|