With the abundance of immigration and emigration in Asia it would be interesting to know where the Chinese languages moved to as well.

The effect of Chinese characters on Japan and Korea goes without saying, but how about South East Asia?

Wikipedia's page Language and overseas Chinese communities mentions the subject a little but mostly in gloss.

Any ideas?

  • 1
    The effect of Chinese characters on Japan and Korea this is the effect of Chinese literary language on the Korean and Japanese languages, while the question talks about actual Chinese languages spoken in SEA - which, apart from Vietnam, have little effect on the literary languages of SEA, and remain primarily Indic-influenced to this day. There's two different concepts going on here. – dROOOze Jun 3 '18 at 12:42

Page 2 of《泰国的西南官话》by 肖自辉 has this little little insert, which is quite nice:


  • Malaysia speaks: Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Hakka.
  • Singapore speaks: Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese, Teochew and Hainanese
  • Indonesia speaks: Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese and Teochew.
  • Brunei speaks: Amoy and Hakka.
  • Philippines speaks: Hokkien and Cantonese.
  • Vietnam speaks: Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka, Southwestern Mandarin, Hokkien and Hainanese.
  • Laos speaks: Teochew and Southwestern Mandarin.
  • Cambodia speaks: Teochew.
  • Thailand speaks: Teochew, Hakka, Cantonese and Southwestern Mandarin.
  • Myanmar speaks: Southwestern Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese and Hakka.

It's not that surprising to see Cantonese and Min, along with its other branches, getting big representation. Southwestern Mandarin on the other hand is a bit of a shock.

  • 1
    Southwestern Mandarin is largely a result of the Panthay Rebellion. – dROOOze Jun 3 '18 at 12:46
  • 1
    @droooze From what I've seen it seems to mostly be 国民党 escapees. – Mou某 Jun 3 '18 at 14:08
  • +1, but not sure why you're using "Fuzhounese": the table says Minnan (闽南语), and the speakers themselves are largely Hoklo who calls their dialect Hokkien (福建话). Fuzhou dialect (福州话) is Mindong, not Minnan, and is known in Singapore as Hokchiu. – lambshaanxy Jun 3 '18 at 23:23
  • @jpatokal Good catch. Seems I can't stop mixing up 福州 and 福建. – Mou某 Jun 4 '18 at 2:18
  • For the record, the 闽东语-speaking community (Fuzhounese, Fuqingnese etc., all classified by linguists under Eastern Min or Mindong) is quite sizeable in East Malaysia; there is a significant minority in Singapore too. – Michaelyus Jun 4 '18 at 22:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.