The people of Hainan speak a multitude of languages, although 10 make up the majority of language use.
1. Hainanese: Unique to Hainan, Hainanese is in the Minnan branch of the Sino-Tibetan language group. Hainanese is the most widespread of local languages in Hainan, and spoken by the most people. Throughout Hainan, there are over 5 million Hainanese speakers, who live mostly in Haikou, Qiongshan, Wenchang, Qionghai, Wanning, Dingan, Tunchang, Chengmai, and other towns in the areas of Lingshui, Ledong, Dongfang, Changjiang, Sanya, and coastal areas. In various places, pronunciation and tones of Hainanese also vary, with the Wenchang dialect generally considered to be standard.
2. Li language: The Li language is in the Zhuang Dong (Kam-Tai) branch of the Sino-Tibetan language group. It has 5 principal dialects, and is spoken by Li people in all parts of Hainan. It is primarily spoken in Qiongzhong, Baoting, Lingshui, Baisha, Dongfang, Ledong, Changjiang, and other autonomous counties, as well as Sanya and Wuzhishan City.
3. Lingao language: Lingao Language belongs to the Zhuang-Dai branch of the Zhuang-Dong group of Sino-Tibetan languages, and is similar to the Zhuang language. Spoken by about 500,000, the Lingao language is primarily found in Lingao County and the western areas of Haikou City including Changliu, Rongshan, Xinhai, Xiuying, and others.
4. Danzhou language: Danzhou language is in the Cantonese branch of the Sino-Tibetan language group, and had more than 400,000 speakers. It is primarily spoken in Danzhou, Changjiang, Dongfang, and other coastal areas.
5. Army dialect: Army dialect belongs to the northern branch of southwestern bureaucratic Mandarin, in the Sino-Tibetan language group, and is descended from the language of soldiers and officials who were banished to Hainan in ancient times. It is spoken by 100,000, and is principally found in Changjiang county, Dongfang, Danzhou, and some areas of Sanya.
6. Miao language: Miao language is in the Miao-Yao branch of the Sino-Tibetan language group, and is found primarily in the central and southern cities and counties, as well as a few other places. It is spoken by 50,000.
7. Village language: Village language is in the Zhuang-Dong branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. With about 60,000 speakers, it is chiefly found in Dongfang, in Changjiang county on both sides of the lower reaches of the Changhua River.
8. Huihui Language: Currently believed to be in the Hainan language family, Huihui is a unique language. According to the Qiongzhou records, Huihui language was spoken by people who came to Hainan from abroad before the time of the Song and Yuan Periods, and was considered a foreign language at that time. It is spoken by about 6,000 Hui people, and is principally spoken in the two Hui towns in Sanya, as well as by a few people in Baisha County and Wanning.
9. Mai language: Mai language is in the Cantonese language family, and is relatively similar to the dialect spoken in Guangzhou. It is spoken by the Han people, but it has few speakers, and is not widespread. Currently it is only spoken in the suburbs of Sanya.
10. Tanka: Tanka is a dialect of Cantonese. It is only spoken by the Han residents of the Sanya Harbor area. In addition, in Sanya, Lingshui County, and other coastal areas fishermen speak a boating language. Port, railroad, mining, and state owned farm employees have their own spoken dialects, and there are also some speakers of Hakka, Teochew, Zhejiang, Yunnan, Hokkien and other dialects.