Southern Min dialects are spoken in the southern part of Fujian, three southeastern counties of Zhejiang, the Zhoushan archipelago off Ningbo in Zhejiang, and Chaoshan, Guangdong. The variant spoken in Leizhou, Guangdong as well as Hainan is Hainanese; it is not mutually intelligible with standard Minnan or Teochew. Hainanese is classified in some schemes as part of Southern Min and in other schemes as separate.
A form of Southern Min akin to that spoken in southern Fujian is Taiwanese Hokkien, where it has the native name of Tâi-oân-oē or Hō-ló-oē. Southern Min is a first language for the Hoklo people, the main ethnicity of Taiwan. The correspondence between language and ethnicity is not absolute, as some Hoklo have very limited proficiency in Southern Min while some non-Hoklo speak Southern Min fluently.
The variants of Southern Min spoken in Zhejiang province are most akin to that spoken in Quanzhou. The variants spoken in Taiwan are similar to the three Fujian variants and are collectively known as Taiwanese. Taiwanese is used by a majority of the population and is quite important from a socio-political and cultural perspective, forming the second most important, if not the most influential pole of the language due to the popularity of Taiwanese Hokkien media. Those Southern Min variants that are collectively known as "Hokkien" in Southeast Asia also originate from these variants. The variants of Southern Min in the Chaoshan region of eastern Guangdong province are collectively known as Teochew or Chaozhou. Teochew is of great importance in the Southeast AsianChinese diaspora, particularly in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sumatra and West Kalimantan. The Philippines variant is mostly from the Quanzhou area as most of their forefathers are from the aforementioned area.
Xiamen (Amoy) dialect is a blend of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialects. Taiwanese Hokkien is also a blend of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou dialect. Taiwanese in northern Taiwan tends to be based on Quanzhou dialect, whereas the Taiwanese spoken in southern Taiwan tends to be based on Zhangzhou dialect. There are minor variations in pronunciation and vocabulary between Quanzhou and Zhangzhou speech. The grammar is basically the same. Additionally, extensive contact with the Japanese language has left a legacy of Japanese loanwords. In contrast, Teochew speech is significantly different from Quanzhou and Zhangzhou speech in both pronunciation and vocabulary.
Southern Min has one of the most diverse phonologies of Chinese varieties, with more consonants than Mandarin or Cantonese. Vowels, on the other hand, are more-or-less similar to those of Mandarin. In general, Southern Min dialects have five to six tones, and tone sandhi is extensive. There are minor variations within Hokkien, but the Teochew system differs significantly.
Southern Min dialects lack a standardized written language. Southern Min speakers are taught how to read Mandarin in school. As a result, there has not been an urgent need to develop a writing system. In recent years, an increasing number of Southern Min speakers have become interested in developing a standard writing system (either by using Chinese Characters, or using Romanized script).
Min Nan (or Hokkien) can trace its roots through the Tang Dynasty. Min Nan (Hokkien) people call themselves "Tang people," (唐人, Tn̂g-lâng) which is synonymous to "Chinese people". Because of the widespread influence of the Tang culture during the great Tang dynasty, there are today still many Min Nan pronunciations of words shared by the Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese languages.