Hoklo people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hoklo people
  • Hokkien
  • Banlam
  • Minnan
A Hokkien family in Southern Fujian, 1920
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 Mainland ChinaFujian
 TaiwanMajority of Han Taiwanese (~22,277,000)
 MalaysiaLargest group of Malaysian Chinese
 SingaporeLargest group of Chinese Singaporeans
 PhilippinesLargest group of Chinese Filipinos[2]
 IndonesiaLargest group of Chinese Indonesians[3]
 BruneiLargest group of Bruneian Chinese
 MyanmarOne of the three largest groups of Burmese Chinese
(figure combined with Cantonese)[4]
 United States70,000+[5]
 Hong KongMinority population
 MacauMinority population
Mother tongue: Hokkien
Others: Standard Chinese, English, national language(s) of respective countries they inhabit
Chinese folk religions (including Taoism, Confucianism, ancestral worship and others), Mahayana Buddhism and non-religious

The Hoklo people (Chinese: 福佬人; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ho̍h-ló-lâng) are a Han Chinese[6] subgroup who speak Hokkien,[7] a Southern Min language,[8] or trace their ancestry to Southeastern Fujian, China[9] and known by various endonyms or other related terms such as Banlam (Minnan) people (閩南人; Bân-lâm-lâng) or more commonly known in southeast asian countries as Hokkien people (福建人; Hok-kiàn-lâng).[a] The Hoklo people are found in significant numbers in Mainland China (Fujian), Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, the United States, Hong Kong, and Macau. The Hoklo people have a distinct culture and architecture, including Hoklo shrines and temples with tilted sharp eaves, high and slanted top roofs, and finely detailed decorative inlays of wood and porcelain. The Hokkien language, which includes Taiwanese Hokkien, is the mainstream Southern Min (Minnan), which is partially mutually intelligible to the TeoSwa, Hainamese, Luichew, Hailokhong.


In Southern Fujian (Mainland China), the Hokkien speakers refer to themselves as Banlam people (閩南人; Bân-lâm-lâng) or generally speaking, Hokkien people (福建人; Hok-kiàn-lâng). In Mandarin, they also call themselves Minnan people (閩南人; 闽南人; Mǐnnán rén).

In Taiwan (ROC), the term "Hoklo" is usually used for the people. The term Holo[10] (Ho̍h-ló)[11] is also used to refer to the language (Taiwanese language) and those people who speak it. The term is likely an exonym originating from Hakka and/or Cantonese that some Hokkien and Teochew speakers, particularly in Taiwan and Mainland China, borrowed from, since the term is not recognized by Hokkien speakers in Southeast Asia. There are three common ways to write Hoklo in Chinese characters, although their etymological correctness is often disputed:

  • 福佬; 'Fujian folk' – an exonym emphasizing the people's native connection to Fujian province. It is not a phonologically accurate transliteration in terms of Hokkien itself although it may correspond to and originate from an actual usage in Hakka.
  • 河洛 / 河老; 'Yellow River and Luo River' – an exonym emphasizing the people's purported long history originating from the area south of the Yellow River.[12] Although used in Mandarin, this term does not exist in the Hokkien language itself. The transliteration is a phonologically inaccurate folk etymology, though the Mandarin pronunciation Héluò has gained currency through the propagation of the inaccurate transliteration.
  • 鶴佬; 'crane folk' – a variant exonym emphasizing the modern pronunciation of the characters (without regard to the meaning of the Chinese characters); more phonologically accurate in Hokkien.

In Hakka, Teochew, and Cantonese, Hoklo may be written as Hoglo (學老; 'learned aged') and 學佬 ('learned folk').

In the Philippines, Chinese Filipinos, where most are usually of Hokkien-speaker descent, usually generally refer to themselves as Lannang (咱人; Lán-lâng / Lán-nâng / Nán-nâng) or sometimes more specifically Hokkien people (福建人; Hok-kiàn-lâng).

In Malaysia & Singapore, Chinese Malaysians & Chinese Singaporeans generally refer to themselves as Tng Lang (唐人; Tn̂g-lâng), where those of Hokkien-speaker descent are more specifically known as Hokkien people (福建人; Hok-kiàn-lâng).

In Indonesia, Chinese Indonesians generally refer to themselves as Tionghoa (中華; Tiong-hôa), where those of Hokkien-speaker descent are more specifically known as Hokkien people (福建人; Hok-kiàn-lâng).



Hoklo architecture styled Lukang Longshan Temple, with its distinguished swallowtail-roof.

Hoklo architecture is, for the most part, similar to any other traditional Chinese architectural styles. Hoklo shrines and temples have tilted sharp eaves just like the architecture of Han Chinese due to traditional beliefs. However, Hoklo shrines and temples do have special differences from the styles in other regions of China: the top roofs are high and slanted with exaggerated, finely-detailed decorative inlays of wood and porcelain.

The main halls of Hoklo temples are also a little different in that they are usually decorated with two dragons on the rooftop at the furthest left and right corners and with a miniature figure of a pagoda at the center of the rooftop. One such example of this is the Kaiyuan Temple in Fujian, China.


The Hoklo people speak the mainstream Hokkien (Minnan) dialect which is mutually intelligible to the Teochew dialect but to a small degree. Hokkien can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, and it also has roots from earlier periods such as the Northern and Southern Dynasties and also a little influence from other dialects as well.

Hokkien has one of the most diverse phoneme inventories among Chinese varieties, with more consonants than Standard Mandarin or Standard Yue. Vowels are more-or-less similar to that of Standard Mandarin. Hokkien varieties retain many pronunciations that are no longer found in other Chinese varieties. These include the pronunciation of the /ʈ/ initial as /t/, which is now /tʂ/ (Pinyin 'zh') in Mandarin (e.g. 'bamboo' 竹 is tik, but zhú in Mandarin), having disappeared before the 6th century in other Chinese varieties.[13] Hokkien has 5 to 7 tones, or 7 to 9 tones according to traditional sense, depending on the variety. The Amoy dialect for example, has 7-8 tones.


Hokkien women performing the Dragon Boat dance in traditional attire in Hong Kong.

Speakers of proper Min Nan language live in the areas of Xiamen, Quanzhou and Zhangzhou in southern Fujian. Most Min Nan-speaking groups in southern Fujian refer to themselves by the area where they live, for example: Quanzhou, Zhangzhou, Teochew people or Loichiu people (speakers of Leizhou Min).


Minnan-speaking areas in South China and Taiwan. Only the speakers of Quanzhou-Zhangzhou dialects (also known as Hokkien) are seen as Hoklos.

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 and Zhangzhou based on their dialects and districts of origin.[14][better source needed] 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.

Hailufeng Hokkiens[edit]

The Minnan speaking people in Haifeng and Lufeng are known as Hailufeng Hokkiens or Hailufeng Minnan, in a narrow scope, but are often mistaken by outsiders as Teochews in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.[citation needed]

Hong Kong[edit]


Southeast Asia[edit]

The Hoklo or Hokkien-lang (as they are known in Southeast Asia) are the largest dialect group among ethnic Chinese communities in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and the southern part of Thailand. These communities contain the highest concentrations of Hoklo or Hokkien-lang in the region. The various Hokkien/Minnan dialects are still widely spoken in these countries, but the daily use of them is slowly decreasing in favor of Mandarin Chinese, English, and local languages.

The Hoklo or Hokkien-lang also make up the largest ethnic group among Chinese Indonesians.

In the Philippines, the Hoklo or Hokkien-lang call themselves Lannang and form the majority of the ethnic Han Chinese people in the country known as Chinese Filipinos. The native Hokkien/Minnan dialect is still spoken there.

United States[edit]

After the 1960s, many Hokkiens from Taiwan began immigrating to the United States and Canada.

Notable Hoklo people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hokkien" is sometimes erroneously used to refer to all Fujianese people.


  1. ^ 闽南文化研究. 2004. ISBN 9787806409633.
  2. ^ Ng, Maria; Holden, Philip, eds. (1 September 2006). Reading Chinese transnationalisms: society, literature, film. Hong Kong University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-962-209-796-4.
  3. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2005), "Indonesia", Ethnologue: Languages of the World (15th ed.), Dallas, T.X.: SIL International, ISBN 978-1-55671-159-6, retrieved 26 January 2010.
  4. ^ Mya Than (1997). Leo Suryadinata (ed.). Ethnic Chinese As Southeast Asians. ISBN 0-312-17576-0.
  5. ^ 2005-2009 American Community Survey
  6. ^ Damm, Jens (2012). "Multiculturalism in Taiwan and the Influence of Europe". In Damm, Jens; Lim, Paul (eds.). European perspectives on Taiwan. Wiesbaden: Springer VS. p. 62. ISBN 9783531943039.
  7. ^ Bolton, Kingsley; Botha, Werner; Kirkpatrick, Andy (14 September 2020). The Handbook of Asian Englishes. ISBN 9781118791653.
  8. ^ Ding 2016, p. 1.
  9. ^ Ding 2016, p. 3.
  10. ^ Exec. Yuan (2014), pp. 36, 48.
  11. ^ Governor-General of Taiwan (1931–1932). "hô-ló (福佬)". In Ogawa Naoyoshi (ed.). 臺日大辭典 [Taiwanese-Japanese Dictionary]. (in Japanese and Hokkien). Vol. 2. Taihoku: 同府 [Dōfu]. p. 829. OCLC 25747241..
  12. ^ Gu Yanwu (1985). 《天下郡國利病書》:郭造卿《防閩山寇議》. 上海書店. OCLC 19398998. 猺人循接壤處....常稱城邑人為河老,謂自河南遷來畏之,繇陳元光將卒始也
  13. ^ Kane, Daniel (2006). The Chinese language: its history and current usage. Tuttle Publishing. pp. 100–102. ISBN 978-0-8048-3853-5.
  14. ^ Davidson (1903), p. 591.