zh-min and zh-min-nan

Peter Constable petercon at microsoft.com
Fri Jan 23 18:44:42 CET 2004

 I need to understand the distinction intended by zh-min and zh-min-nan, and to know how the two relate to entries in Ethnologue. The registration form for zh-min says

English name of language   : Min, Fuzhou, Hokkien, Amoy, or Taiwanese
Native name of language (transcribed into ASCII): Min

That for zh-min-nan says:

English name of language   : Minnan, Hokkien, Amoy, Taiwanese,
                              Southern Min, Southern Fujian, Hoklo,
                              Southern Fukien, Ho-lo
Native name of language (transcribed into ASCII): Ban-lam, Ho-lo

While different native names are given, the English names overlap; in fact, it's nearly the case that the English names for the former are all used as well for the latter.

Ethnologue lists Min Bei (Northern Min), Min Dong (Eastern Min), Min Nan (Southern Min) and Min Zhong (Central Min). (It also lists other Chinese languages that are not described as using names with "Min".) Min Nan seems to correspond pretty well with zh-min-nan. I'm not sure how zh-min compares with what is in Ethnologue, however.

Does zh-min encompass all of the "Min" varieties? (It occurs to me that that might have been the intent of the hierarchical tagging zh-min-nan.) Is it for Min varieties *other than* Minnan? How is it getting used?

Peter Constable
Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies
Microsoft Windows Division

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