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Indigenous Peoples

In 2000, the ethnic groups of Hainan included the Han Chinese, known as the Hainanese, who are the majority (84% of the population); the Li (Hlai) (14.7% of the population); the Miao (0.7%) and the Zhuang 0.6%) The Li are the largest indigenous group on the island in terms of population. Also found on the island are the Hui.

Although they are indigenous to the island and do not speak a Chinese language, the Limgao (Ong-Be) people near the capital (8% of the population) are counted as Han Chinese.

The Han Chinese of Hainan speak a variant of the Min Nan Chinese language, known as Hainanese. In addition, the national standard Putonghua is understood and spoken by most people, and Cantonese is understood by many local Hainanese. The Li, the Zhuang and the Limgao (Ong-Be) speak Tai–Kadai languages. The Miao speak Hmong–Mien languages. These groups would usually speak Putonghua as a second language.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainan#Demographics

4,500 people in the villages of Yanglan (羊栏) and Huixin (回新), two villages on the outskirts of Sanya, speak the Tsat language, a member of the Chamic languages.

Adults who are members of a minority also have quite high literacy skills in Chinese. Most adults speak several Chinese dialects, and some also speak Li. In old Yacheng City and its vicinity as well as for several dozen miles west of Huihui and Huixin, the so-called military speech (the official language of the southwest among the northern Chinese dialects) is spoken. In Yanglan Village to the northeast, two Min dialects, both closely related to Cantonese, are spoken: the Mai dialect and the Danzhou dialect, spoken in Haipo Village in the south, which is the same dialect as the dialect spoken in Danzhou in Dan Country in the northern part of the island. From the east to the west along the seashore, the Hainanese dialect is used. In Sanya City itself one sometimes finds speakers of Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese.

The general public can also use Mandarin Chinese to communicate with mainlanders. When Hui interact with the Hainanese dialect speakers from within Hainan Province, they use the Hainanese dialect, though youngsters generally use Mandarin. Not many can communicate in Li when interacting with the Li, so the Hainanese dialect or Mandarin is often used. In the market place and within the Sanya Municipality, the Hui speakers use Hui among themselves, and when they interact with speakers of other languages, they mostly use the Hainanese dialect. However, in the market places near the government seat of Yanglan Township, the Hui either use the Hainanese dialect or the Mai dialect.
 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hainan#Demographics

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