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海南話, Hhai3 nam2 ue1, Hái-nâm-oe
Pronunciation[hai˨˩˧ nam˨˩ ue˨˧] (Haikou dialect)
Native toChina, Singapore, Thailand
Native speakers
Around 5 million in China (2002)[1]
Early forms
Chinese characters[citation needed]

Hainanese Pinyin

Hainan Romanized
Language codes
ISO 639-3(hnm is proposed[5])
Varieties of the Hainanese spoken in Hainan.
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
The Book of Genesis in Bǽh-oe-tu, published by the Bible Society of Great Britain

Hainanese (Hainan Romanised: Hái-nâm-oe, Hainanese Pinyin: Hhai3 nam2 ue1, simplified Chinese: 海南话; traditional Chinese: 海南話; pinyin: Hǎinánhuà), also known as Qiongwen (simplified Chinese: 琼文; traditional Chinese: 瓊文) or Qiongyu (琼语; 瓊語),[6] is a group of Min Chinese varieties spoken in the far southern Chinese island province of Hainan and regional Overseas Chinese communities such as in Singapore and Thailand, particularly by the In the classification of Yuan Jiahua, it was included in the Southern Min group, being mutually unintelligible with other Southern Min varieties such as HokkienTaiwanese and Teochew.[7] In the classification of Li Rong, used by the Language Atlas of China, it was treated as a separate Min subgroup.[8] Hou Jingyi combined it with Leizhou Min, spoken on the neighboring mainland Leizhou Peninsula, in a Qiong–Lei group.[9] "Hainanese" is also used for the language of the Li people living in Hainan, but generally refers to Min varieties spoken in Hainan.


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The phonologies of the different varieties of Hainanese are highly divergent,[10] with the Wenchang dialect being the prestige dialect, and often used as a reference.[11]


Below is a table for the consonants of Hainanese across the dialects of Wenchang, Haikou and Banqiao.[10] For more information on a specific variety, please consult the relevant article.

Labial Dental Alveolo-
Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless /p/[i]
aspirated //[i][ii]
voiced /b/[iii]
implosive /ɓ/[iii][ii]
Affricate voiceless /ts/[i][ii] //[iv]
aspirated /tsʰ/[i]
voiced /dz/[i]
Fricative voiceless /ɸ/[iv]
/ɕ/[iv][ii] /x/
voiced /v/[i][ii]
Nasal /m/
Approximant /w/[iv]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Present in the Banqiao dialect.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Present in the Haikou dialect.
  3. ^ a b c d Present in the Wenchang dialect, where there is a phonemic distinction between voiced and implosive stop consonants.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Present in the Wenchang dialect.
  5. ^ Not usually transcribed as /ɠ/, and not phonemically distinct from /g/ in the Wenchang dialect or from /ŋ/ in other Hainanese varieties.[12]

Many of the most widely spoken varieties of Hainanese notably have a series of implosive consonants, /ɓ/ and /ɗ/, which were acquired through contact with surrounding languages, probably Hlai. However, more conservative varieties of Hainanese such as Banqiao remain closer to Teochew and other varieties of Southern Min, lack them.[10]

The consonant system of Hainanese corresponds well with that of Hokkien, but it has had some restructuring. In particular:[10]

Additionally, [ʑ] is an allophone of /j/.

These changes also make Hainanese fairly close to Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary.

Chinese character Mandarin Taiwanese Hokkien Haikou Hainanese Sino-Vietnamese
xié siâ dia2 da
xiān sian din1 tiên
sàn suànn dan4 tàn
jiak di1 tích
shén sîn din2 thần
chī chi si1 si


Hainanese has seven phonemic vowels [citation needed].

Front Central Back
Close /i/ /u/
Close-mid /e/ /o/
Open-mid /ɛ/ /ɔ/
Open /a/


Tone chart of the Hainan dialect
Tone number Tone name Tone contour Example
1 yin ping (阴平) ˨˦ (24)
2 yang ping (阳平) ˨˩ (21)
3 yin shang (阴上) ˨˩˩ (211)
4 yin qu (阴去) ˧˥ (35)
5 yang qu (阳去) ˧ (33)
6 yin ru (阴入) ˥ (5)
7 yang ru (阳入) ˧ (3)
8 chang ru (长入) ˥ (55)


Hainanese Pinyin

Main article: Hainanese Transliteration Scheme

Not to be confused with Hainan Romanized.

Hainanese Pinyin (海南话拼音方案) is a phonetic system announced by the Education Administration Department of Guangdong Province in September 1960. It marks tones with numbers.


IPA Hainanese Pinyin Bǽh-oe-tu Example
/ɓ/ b b
/p/ b p
// p ph
/ɸ/ p f
/m/ m m
/b/ v b ?
/v/ v v
/t/ d t
/ɗ/ dd d
/n/ n n
/l/ l l
/k/ g k
/ŋ/ ng g
/x/ h kh
/h/ hh h
/ɠ/ gh g
/ts/ z c
/s/ s s
/z/ y j


IPA Hainanese Pinyin Bǽh-oe-tu Example
/a/ a a
/o/ o o
/ɛ/ e e
/i/ i i
/u/ u u
ai ai ai
ɔi oi oi
au ao au
ia ia ia
io io
ua ua oa
ue ue oe
ui ui oi
uai uai oai
ɔu ou ou
iu iu iu
iau iao iau
iam iam iam
im im im
am am am
an an an
in in in
un un un
uan uan oan
ang ag
eng eg
ɔŋ ong og
iaŋ iang iag
uaŋ uang oag
iɔŋ iong iog
ip ib ib
iap iab iab
at ad at
it id it
ut ud ut
uat uad oat
ak ag ak
ek eg ek
ok og ok
iok iog iok
uak uag oak
-h -h

See also


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


  1. ^ Hou, Jingyi 侯精一 (2002). Xiàndài Hànyǔ fāngyán gàilùn 现代汉语方言概论 [An Introduction to Modern Chinese Dialects]. Shanghai Educational Press 上海教育出版社. pp. 207–208.
  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. ^ "Change Request Documentation: 2021-045". 31 August 2021. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  6. ^ "为新加坡琼属"寻根"的热心人——王振春". (in Chinese). 中新海南网. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020. 他组织演出琼语话剧《海南四条街》,搬上新琼舞台,引起两地海南人的共鸣。
  7. ^ Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2017). Ethnologue: Languages of the World (20th ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Chinese, Min Nan.
  8. ^ Kurpaska, Maria (2010). Chinese Language(s): A Look Through the Prism of "The Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects". Walter de Gruyter. pp. 54–55, 86. ISBN 978-3-11-021914-2.
  9. ^ Hou, Jingyi 侯精一 (2002). Xiàndài Hànyǔ fāngyán gàilùn 现代汉语方言概论 [An Introduction to Modern Chinese Dialects]. Shanghai Educational Press 上海教育出版社. p. 238.
  10. ^ a b c d Huang, Karen (2006). "Contact-induced changes in the languages of Hainan". Annual Student Conference of the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. University of Hawaii.
  11. ^ "其中文昌话语音清晰,影响较大,被视为海南话的标准语,是海南广播电台、电视台与社会使用的主要方言。" From "《文昌县志·第二十九编 社会习俗·第三章 方言》". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2023-10-23.
  12. ^ "Amaravati: Abode of Amritas: HAINANESE 缩气音 'SHRUNKEN BREATH SOUNDS'". *Xu and Yang regard [g] (their gz) as an implosive, but it sounds like a regular [g] to me. I presume Li Fang-kuei also heard a regular [g], as he only reported two implosives in Haina[n]ese: [ɓ ɗ].

Further reading