Hoklo people

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Hoklo People.jpg
Total population
Around 60 million (est. worldwide)
Regions with significant populations
ChinaMainland China Fujian
 Taiwan Majority of Taiwanese
 Hong Kong A minority population
 Macao A minority population
 Malaysia Largest group of Malaysian Chinese
 Singapore Largest group of Chinese Singaporeans
 Indonesia Largest group of Indonesian Chinese
 Myanmar One of the 3 largest groups of Burmese Chinese
 Philippines Majority of Chinese Filipinos
Hokkien dialect of Minnan and/or Mandarin. Diaspora also speak their respective home country's language(s)
Chinese folk religions (including Taoism, Confucianism, ancestral worship and others), Mahayana Buddhism and non religious. Minority: Christianity.
Minnan-speaking areas in South China and Taiwan. Only the speakers of Quanzhou Zhangzhou (also known as Hokkien) are seen as Hoklos.

The Hoklo people or Hokkien people (endonym Hok-ló lâng, Hō-ló lâng, or Ho̍h-ló lâng) are Han Chinese people whose traditional ancestral homes are in southern Fujian of South China. They are also known by various endonyms (above), or other related terms such as Min-nan people (閩南人) or Hokkien Lang (福建人).

In a narrow scope, "Hoklo people" refers mainly to people who speak and use the Hokkien dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in southern Fujian, Taiwan, and by many overseas Chinese throughout Southeast Asia.

In a wider scope, "Hoklo people" can include speakers of other Min Nan languages, such as Zhongshan Min, Zhenan Min, Teochew dialect, and Hainanese.[1]


In general, the Hoklo people can refer to one of the following:

Hoklos in Taiwan[edit]

About 70% of the Taiwanese people descend from Hoklo immigrants who arrived to the island prior to the start of Japanese rule in 1895. They could be categorized as originating from Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, and Zhangpu based on their dialects and districts of origin.[2] People from the former two areas (Quanzhou-speaking) were dominant in the north of the island and along the west coast, whereas people from the latter two areas (Zhangzhou-speaking) were dominant in the south and perhaps the central plains as well.

During the two centuries of Qing rule, a large number of Hoklo men took aboriginal brides.[3] As some of the plains aboriginals also adopted Chinese customs and language,[4] many of those who today categorize themselves as Hoklo have some degree of indigenous ancestry. Thus, Hoklo culture in Taiwan has deviated from that in mainland China due to Austronesian and Japanese influences.[3]

Within the Taiwanese Han Hoklo community itself, differences in culture indicate the degree to which mixture with aboriginals took place, with most Hoklo Han in Northern Taiwan having almost no Aboriginal admixture, which is limited to Hoklo Han in Southern Taiwan.[5] Plains aboriginals who were mixed and assimilated into the Hoklo Han population at different stages were differentiated by the historian Melissa J. Brown between "short-route" and "long-route".[6]

Indonesia and Malaysian Hoklo or Hokkien[edit]

Main article: Malaysian Chinese
Main article: Chinese Indonesians

The Hoklo or Hokkien make up one of the Malaysian Chinese groups. There are also Hokkien or Hoklo among the Chinese Indonesians.

Haifeng, Lufeng and Leizhou in Guangdong, China[edit]

The people of Leizhou and the non-Hakka people in Haifeng and Lufeng are Hoklo people, in a narrow scope, but are often being mistaken as Chaozhou/Teochew people in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

Chinese characters for Hoklo[edit]

In Taiwan, there are three common ways to write Hoklo in Chinese characters (Min Nan pronunciations are given in POJ), although none have been established as etymologically correct:

  • 福佬 (Hok-ló; lit. "Fujian folk") – emphasizes their connection to Fujian province. This is not an accurate transliteration in terms of the Hokkien language itself, although it may correspond to an actual usage in Hakka.
  • 河洛 (Hô-lo̍k; lit. "Yellow River and Luo River") – emphasizes their purported long history originating from the area south of the Yellow River. This transliteration is a phonologically inaccurate folk etymology; the noun Hô-lo̍k does not exist, although the Mandarin pronunciation Héluò has gained currency through the propagation of this inaccurate transliteration.
  • 鶴佬 (Ho̍h-ló; lit. "crane folk") – emphasizes the modern pronunciation of the characters (without regard to the meaning of the Chinese characters); it is a phonologically accurate transliteration. This variant is used by the Chinese Wikipedia version of this article.

In Hakka, Teochew, and Cantonese, Hoklo may be written as 學老 (lit. "learned aged") and 學佬 (lit. "learned folk").

Despite many ways to write Hoklo in Chinese, many Taiwanese will use the term Hō-ló to refer to the language and Hoklo culture.

Age of Discovery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ben Sia, 《新加坡的漢語方言》 (The Chinese Languages and Dialects of Singapore),1988
  2. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 591.
  3. ^ a b Exec. Yuan (2014), p. 48.
  4. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 581.
  5. ^ Brown 2004. pp. 156-7.
  6. ^ Brown 2004. p. 162.