Chawan dialect
詔安話 (Chiàu-an-ōɛ)
Native toChina
RegionSouthern part of the Zhao'an County
Native speakers
270,000 (2021)[1]
Early forms
Han characters
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Chawan dialect[1] (simplified Chinese: 诏安话; traditional Chinese: 詔安話; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chiàu-an-ōɛ) is a variety of Southern Min spoken in the Chawan (Zhao'an) County in Fujian province, China. It is usually considered a divergent dialect of Hokkien exhibiting some Teochew influence.

Geography and classification

Chawan dialect is spoken in the southern half of the Chawan (Zhao'an) county. The northern part of the county, with roughly one-third of its population, is mainly Hakka-speaking, and the border between the Chawan-speaking and the Hakka-speaking parts of county lies within the Hongxing township (红星乡) and Taiping town (太平镇).[5]

The dialect spoken in Sidu (四都镇), Meizhou (梅洲乡) and Jinxing (金星乡), three localities in the eastern part of the Chawan county, is closer to the Yunxiao Hokkien. The Yunxiao dialect bears some affinity to Chawan, however, it lacks some of its notable characteristicts, such as vowels /ɯ/ and /ə/.[5]

A related dialect is spoken in some parts of the Dongshan island, particularly the Qianlou town (前楼镇).[6]

The speech of the Nanzhao town is taken as representative for Chawan dialect. There are some internal differences, but the subdialects of Chawan are yet poorly described. E.g.:[7]

Chawan is usually classified as a dialect of Hokkien. However, it also has some common traits with Teochew, particularly in its vocabulary, e.g.:



In terms of consonants, Chawan does not differ much from other dialects of Hokkien. It has as total of 15 initials. Denasalization is extensive, which is typical for Hokkien, but not for Teochew.


The most notable feature of Chawan is the presence of the vowels /ɯ/ and /ə/, which are absent in the general Zhangzhou dialects.

feature Hokkien Teochew
Chawan Qianlou
Yunxiao and
rural Dongshan
Zhangzhou Amoy Quanzhou Raoping
rime in ɯ u i i u ɯ ə
rime in ə ə e e e ə o
rime in ei ei ei e i
rime in ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ e

Chawan is also notable for distinguishing /ue/ and /uɛ/. While the former rime is common across Hokkien dialects, the latter is usually merged with /ue/ (in Quanzhou Hokkien) or /ua/ (in Zhanghzou Hokkien). To a lesser extent, Yunxiao Hokkien also distinguishes /ue/ and /uɛ/.

feature Hokkien Teochew
Chawan Yunxiao Zhangzhou Amoy Quanzhou Raoping
rime in , ua ua ua ua ua ua
rime in , ue ue ue
rime in , ue ue ue e ə
rime in , uaʔ uaʔ uaʔ uaʔ uaʔ uaʔ
rime in uɛʔ uɛʔ uiʔ ueʔ ueʔ
rime in , ueʔ ueʔ ueʔ əʔ
rime in ,
rime in , uɛ̃ uẽ uãi uẽ
rime in , uẽ ɛ̃ ãi e ə

Chawan dialect does not dissimilate the rimes /uam/ and /uap/ (in hoâm, hoām, hoap), similarly to Teochew. Most other Hokkien dialects have /uan/ and /uat/ instead.


Chawan has 7 citation tones, which are mostly similar to general Zhangzhou Hokkien tones.[7]

citation tones post-sandhi tones








-p, -t, -k
dark 55 53 21 3 33 35 53 5
light 13 33 13 21 31 3


  1. ^ Min is believed to have split from Old Chinese, rather than Middle Chinese like other varieties of Chinese.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ a b "Reclassifying ISO 639-3 [nan]: An Empirical Approach to Mutual Intelligibility and Ethnolinguistic Distinctions" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-09-19.
  2. ^ Mei, Tsu-lin (1970), "Tones and prosody in Middle Chinese and the origin of the rising tone", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 30: 86–110, doi:10.2307/2718766, JSTOR 2718766
  3. ^ Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (1984), Middle Chinese: A study in Historical Phonology, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-7748-0192-8
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2023-07-10). "Glottolog 4.8 - Min". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. doi:10.5281/zenodo.7398962. Archived from the original on 2023-10-13. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  5. ^ a b 洪惟仁 (2011-03-01). "漳州詔安縣的語言分佈". 臺灣語文研究. 6 (1): 23–36. doi:10.6710/JTLL.201103_6(1).0003.
  6. ^ 东山县地方志编纂委员会 (1994). 東山县志. 中华人民共和国地方志 : 福建省. ISBN 978-7-101-01330-6.
  7. ^ a b "福建詔安閩南方言研究__臺灣博碩士論文知識加值系統". Retrieved 2024-05-15.