Southern Peninsular Malaysian Hokkien

Southern Malaysia Hokkien
Lâm-Má Hok-kiàn-oē
Native toSingapore, Malaysia, Indonesia
RegionJohor, Malacca, Selangor, Singapore, Riau and the Riau Islands
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Jementah Hokkien Association in Jementah, Segamat, Johor.

Southern Malaysian Hokkien (simplified Chinese: 南马福建话; traditional Chinese: 南馬福建話; pinyin: Nán Mǎ Fújiànhuà; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lâm-Má Hok-kiàn-oē) is a local variant of the Min Nan Chinese variety spoken in Central and Southern Peninsular Malaysia (Klang, Melaka, Muar, Tangkak, Segamat, Batu Pahat, Pontian, Johor Bahru), Singapore, Riau and Riau Islands[citation needed]

This dialect is based on Quanzhou-accented varieties of Min Nan, including the Eng Choon (Yongchun) dialect.[1][2] It is markedly distinct from Penang Hokkien and Medan Hokkien, which are based on the Zhangzhou dialect.

Similar to the situation in Singapore, the term Hokkien is generally the used by the Chinese in South-east Asia to refer Min Nan Chinese (闽南语). Southern Malaysian Hokkien is based on Quanzhou dialect with some influence from Amoy dialect.


This section is based on Eng Choon (Yongchun) Hokkien spoken in Melaka.


There are eight phonemic vowels:[2]

  Front Central Back
Close i ɨ u
Close-mid e   o
Mid   ə̠  
Open-mid     ɔ
Open a    


There are seven tones, five of which are long tones and two are checked tones.[1] Like other varieties of Hokkien, these tones also undergo tone sandhi in non-final positions.[1] The tone values (both base tones and sandhi tones) of the long tones are shown below:[3]

Tone number Final/base tone Non-final/sandhi tone
1 ˧ (33) ˧ (33)
2 ˨˧ (23) ˨˩ (21)
3 ˥˨ (52) ˧˦ (34)
5 ˨˩ (21) ˥˧ (53)
6 ˨˩ (21) ˨˩ (21)

Influences from other languages

Southern Malaysian Hokkien is also subjected to influence from various languages or dialects spoken in Malaysia. This is influenced to a certain degree by Teochew dialect and is sometimes being regarded to be a combined Hokkien-Teochew speech (especially in Muar, Batu Pahat, Pontian and Johor Bahru).[citation needed]

There are some loanwords from Malay, but they are fewer in number than in Penang Hokkien and do not completely replace the original words in Hokkien.[4] It also has loanwords from English.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Chang & Hsieh 2012, p. 38.
  2. ^ a b Huang, Chang & Hsieh 2011, p. 914.
  3. ^ Chang & Hsieh 2012, p. 43.
  4. ^ Tan 2001, p. 218.


  • Chang, Yueh-chin; Hsieh, Feng-fan (2012). "Tonal coarticulation in Malaysian Hokkien: A typological anomaly?". The Linguistic Review. 29 (1): 37–73. doi:10.1515/tlr-2012-0003.
  • Huang, Ting; Chang, Yueh-chin; Hsieh, Feng-fan (17–21 August 2011). An Acoustic Analysis of Central Vowels in Malaysian Hokkien (PDF). 17th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Hong Kong. pp. 914–917.
  • Tan, Chee Beng (2001). "Chinese in Southeast Asia and Identities in Changing Global Context". In Armstrong, M. Jocelyn; Armstrong, R. Warwick; Mulliner, Kent (eds.). Chinese Populations in Contemporary Southeast Asian Societies: Identities, Interdependence and International Influence. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 210–236. ISBN 0-7007-1398-0.

See also

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