A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Ah-bin
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A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby Ah-bin » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:12 pm

I decided to take Dr. Ông Iók-tek’s “Basic Vocabulary of Taiwanese” and make a POJ (or POJ-like) version of it bit-by-bit in as many different versions of Hokkien (including characters, pún-jī or hùn or any you feel are good enough!) as people know here. I thought it might be a nice project for learners as a guide to the very basic words. The first section is about weather:

Thiⁿ – 天 sky
Thiⁿ-sî – 天時 weather
Jít-thâu – 日頭 the Sun
Goéh-niâu – 月娘 the Moon
Chhe•ⁿ – 星 a star
Hong – 風 wind
Lûi-kong – 雷公 thunder
Sih-nà - 爍爁 lightning
Hûn – 雲 cloud
Seh – 雪 snow
Sng – 霜 frost/ice (naturally occurring, or in a fridge, not the sort in drinks)
Bū – 霧 mist

Those that I don’t know in Penang Hokkien are: typhoon, storm, shower, sunshower and rainbow. The BVT has hong-thai 風颱, sai-pak-hō•西北雨, cha-bó•-hō• -查某雨 and khēng 虹 for these in taiwanese.

Yeleixingfeng
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby Yeleixingfeng » Sun Mar 20, 2011 8:42 pm

Do you know the Punji for:
Sui - Beautiful
Jin and Jin Jia - Very
Cha bO - Girl
ta pO - Boy

Just surprised that the Punji of such common expressions are unknown to me. Haha. Thanks.

Ah-bin
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:36 am

There is a whole thread on this a few pages back you can have a look at.

Chin-chiàⁿ is 真正, I think.

I have no idea about the others. People might tell you 水 is sui, because of some meaning it had in a very old text, but the pronunciation here derives from Late Middle Chinese (the one that derives from Early Middle Chinese chúi, is the ordinary word for "water"). The late Middle Chinese pronunciation was originally used in the reading of texts. The question then is how on earth an obscure meaning of a character in a Chinese text ended up as the ordinary word for "beautiful" in the speech of people who mostly were illiterate. That is why I doubt this explanation.

I write it with 媠, as does the ROC ministry of education, but that is probably not the original character. I think maybe it doesn't actually have one.

I've noticed there is a problem sometimes with the use of the word "pún-jī". Technically, we shouldn't actually be able to say "the correct pún-jī" or "another pún-jī". "Pún-jī" means not "an original character" but "the original character" - so there should be only one for each syllable.

Browny
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby Browny » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:19 am

Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

Kate

amhoanna
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby amhoanna » Tue May 31, 2011 6:45 pm

Not sure where to stick this question. I guess here is fine. 8)

What do U guys call the four suits (spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds) in your styles of Hokkien, and any other styles of Hokkien U may be familiar with?

And what's the word in mahjongg corresponding to Mandarin 碰 for when U "pick up" a piece thrown away by another player?

I'd like to know more cards- and mahjongg-related vocab too, if anybody is willing and able to go into the gory details.

BTW, Ah-bin, are U still working on the project described in the opening post up top?

SimL
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby SimL » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:31 am

Hi amhoanna,

I don't know the answer to most of these questions, I'm sorry.

My paternal Baba relatives all played mah-jong when I was young. I have many childhood memories of visits to any one of a number of great-aunt's homes (Baba society was matriarchal, so these homes were always considered to the "great aunts' homes", not the "great uncles' homes"). On any visit, when one came through the front door to the "first hall", there would almost always be four people sitting around a table in the middle of the room, playing mah-jong. The racket was incredible, and we would usually leave the four to play there, and retreat into the comparative peace of the inner chambers, to chat with other family members.

I never actually learnt to play the game, but terms such as "ang-tiong" (紅中) and "chEN-huat" (青發) are the two that I still remember. [This was one of my earliest memories of reading TLJ out in Hokkien, of course. I'd learnt the characters in Chinese home tuition, and then I heard them being called these names in Hokkien, during the mah-jong games. So, a "real-life" experience of TJL in Hokkien, without me consciously realising it until this very moment of writing about it!]

In answer to one of your questions, I think the word you're after for "" might be "poong1". It's what someone would call out, when someone did something, and they wanted to respond to it out of the normal playing sequence (seems a bit like the scenario you describe). Note that my use of "-oo-" isn't for the "open-o" (my usual convention is to use uppercase-O for "open-o" anyway). Instead, this "-oo-" is to indicate that even though it precedes an "-ng", it is pronounced as "closed-o", not "open-o". If I wrote "pong", then this would be pronounced "pOng", because "o-before-ng" in Hokkien is always "open-o".

This is something which I've been thinking about for a number of years now: what to use in the orthography of Penang Hokkien, for the few cases of "closed-o" before "-ng"***. One of my thoughts was that "-u-" would be ok (with explanation to the reader), as "-u-" doesn't occur before "-ng" in Hokkien normally. In that way, there's a sort of "symmetry": "o" written before "-ng" is an "open-o" (i.e. one step lower than normal "closed-o"), and "u", written before "-ng" is an "closed-o", (i.e. also one step lower than normal "u"). Seems a good solution to me, but I don't know if other people think so too.

***: one other known case (off the top of my head) is a term borrowed (I think) from Cantonese: "put4-tau3-oong1" - those dolls with a round bottom, which rock to-and-fro, and don't topple over. I presume the TLJ for this is 不倒嬰, though I'm only guessing.

Ah-bin
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby Ah-bin » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:42 am

BTW, Ah-bin, are U still working on the project described in the opening post up top?


I gave up because no-one replied! I was going to do a page every few days from Ong Iok-tek's 王育德 book and collect the variations.

I think it's supposed to be 不倒翁

I'll be very pleased to hear what the names of the suits of cards are, and what Mah-jong itself is called, and what the tiles are called etc. I know it is still popular in Penang, even among people my age. Mark will know why I know that.... :)

SimL
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby SimL » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:19 am

Ah-bin wrote:I think it's supposed to be 不倒翁

Oh, great. Thanks.

Ah-bin wrote:I'll be very pleased to hear [...] what Mah-jong itself is called ...

Ah, that at least I can supply easily: "ma37_chiok4" (I write the sandhied tone for the first syllable), as in "lu ma-cai be(h)-khi puah ma-chiok bo?" (= "are you going to play mahjong tomorrow?").

BTW, the above sentence highlights a problem which (I think) you've touched on recently, in connection with your dictionary. Namely, generally, we use the dash ("-") between syllables to indicate whether the preceding syllable undergoes tone sandhi. But in the sentence above, the "puah" of "puah ma-chiok" does undergo sandhi, but it would be odd to write "puah-ma-chiok". In some ways, "-" is being asked to fulfill 2 functions, one of indicating sandhi-status, and the other of showing meaningfully grouped units / "words". While the two functions co-incide quite well in many situations, this is one where they don't.

amhoanna
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby amhoanna » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:39 pm

In some ways, "-" is being asked to fulfill 2 functions, one of indicating sandhi-status, and the other of showing meaningfully grouped units / "words".

Agreed, Sim. It can't do both at the same time. But I think sandhi status is well worth indicating in writing, even when it's hanji. Consider this:

我意愛 HIT 仒 CABÓ͘ (w/ running 愛) = I LOVE THAT WOMAN
我意愛 HIT 仒 CABÓ͘ (w/ citation 愛) = THE WOMAN I LOVE

I've never seen a real piece of Hoklo writing that marked sandhi status. Tadpolenese did propose a system that marked it.

SimL
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby SimL » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:26 pm

amhoanna wrote:我意愛 HIT 仒 CABÓ͘ (w/ running 愛) = I LOVE THAT WOMAN
我意愛 HIT 仒 CABÓ͘ (w/ citation 愛) = THE WOMAN I LOVE

I can certainly "feel" the distinction you mean, but I don't know if that's just because of my knowledge of Amoy Hokkien from my mother.

I think Penang Hokkien wouldn't express these two in that way. It would be more:

wa cin-nia suka / sa-yang hele ca-bO : I like / love that woman
hele wa cin-nia suka / sa-yang e ca-bO: the woman I like / love

But this could just be because the Penang Hokkien I speak is of a very colloquial register, of very influenced by English.

Perhaps Andrew could comment...

And yes, we should think about how to convey this information without overworking the poor old "-".

Ah-bin
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Re: A Basic Hokkien Vocabulary

Postby Ah-bin » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:54 pm

But this could just be because the Penang Hokkien I speak is of a very colloquial register, of very influenced by English.


In this case Sim, I don't think your Hokkien is influenced by English here, since the pattern you have quoted is very un-English in structure. I think it's more of a case of Penang just accentuating it in a different way.


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