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About Lan-nang Language

Lan-nang, or more properly known as Lán-nâng-ōe (咱人話, also 咱儂話), is the Philippine variant of Hokkien. The name "Lán-nâng-ōe" means 'our (lán) people's (lâng) language (ōe)'. Its mother dialect is the Amoy dialect of Xiamen, China. Lan-nang is spoken among the Chinese residing in the Philippines. It is characterized by borrowings from Tagalog, Spanish, and Cantonese languages. It is also known by its heavy usage of words which are considered as colloquial or localized forms found in dialects from Amoy and Choan-Chiu. About 592,200 people, or 98.7% of all Chinese in the Philippines speak it as their mother language. Although Lan-nang is not recognized in the linguistic academe, in this article, however, it is treated as a variant of the Amoy dialect, and not as a dialect, per se.


In some situations, Lan-nang is written in the Latin alphabet. With the direction of the Chinese Congress on World Evangelization-Philippines, an international organization of Overseas Chinese Christian churches around the world, romanization of Lan-nang is leaning highly on the Pe̍h-ōe-jī system.


  • b, ch, chh, g, h, j, k, kh, l, m, n, ng, p, ph, s, t, th
  • Vowels: a, i, u, e, o, o͘
  • Diphthongs: ai, au, ia, iu, io, ui, oa, oe
  • Triphthongs: iau, oai
  • Nasals: m, n, ng


Lan-nang has five tones, reduced to two in checked syllables. Tones are expressed by diacritics; checked syllables (i.e. those ending with glottal stops) are marked by the letter h. Where diacritics are not technically available, e.g. on some parts of the internet, tone numbers may be used instead.

  • a (yinping)
  • á (shangsheng)
  • à (yinqu)
  • ah (yinru)
  • â (yangping)
  • ā (yangqu)
  • a̍h (yangru)

Examples of the tones: chhiūⁿ 象 (elephant), pà 豹 (leopard), bé 馬 (horse), ti 豬 (pig), chôa 蛇 (snake), ah 鴨 (duck), lo̍k 鹿 (deer)

Geographic spread

Lan-nang-ōe is spoken throughout the Philippines where there are significant numbers of Hokkien Chinese. Cities in the Philippines that have a significant number of Chinese include Metro Manila, Angeles City, Davao City, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, San Fernando City, Pampanga, Ilagan, Isabela, Cauayan City, Cabatuan, Isabela, Naga City, Cebu City, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Zamboanga City.


Although Lan-nang-ōe is generally mutually comprehensible with Hokkien, including Taiwanese, certain words in Lan-nang-ōe are only used in the Philippines. Often, this results in confusion in Lan-nang-ōe speakers, especially in China. Other aspects of Lan-nang-ōe's uniqueness is its massive use of Hokkien colloquial words (see Sample Phrases above). Because there is an absence of a central agency governing Lan-nang-ōe, various subvarieties have developed. In Cebu, for example, instead of Tagalog, Cebuano words are also incorporated. The vast majority of the Chinese who came to the Philippines had their ancestral roots in China, so Lan-nang-ōe is closer to the Hokkien dialects spoken in China.


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