kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
SimL
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby SimL » Fri May 06, 2011 3:54 am

niuc wrote:But how to write a*3 (to bend our neck down) or a*7 (a kind of bun's filling) or e*1 嬰 (i*1 in my variant)?

Very well spotted, niuc!

As the "w-" and "y-" solution don't help these cases, there's yet another reason to reject them as components of a possible orthography for Hokkien (as if we didn't already have enough of them :shock:). I wonder what the mainland dictionary where Andrew saw the "yni" solution does for the cases mentioned by niuc...

Ah-bin
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby Ah-bin » Fri May 06, 2011 10:11 am

That dictionary from China uses:

na for aⁿ
lna for na

It is the same spelling system as in that Amoy Hokkien book that I gave you (Sim). It has fallen out of favour in China though, most of the newly published dictionaries and new coursebooks prefer using IPA based systems and ~ to indicate nasalisation.

SimL
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby SimL » Fri May 06, 2011 6:43 pm

Oh, *that* ghastly system! I remember on the proponents (someone from an American university) was talking about it here on the Forum. Well, good that it's fallen out of favour in China then.

niuc
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby niuc » Fri May 06, 2011 10:00 pm

amhoanna wrote:And many so-called "Traditional" kanji are themselves simplified versions of even more intensely "traditional" characters.

Amhoanna, do you mainly mean seal scripts yet also including 正體/楷書 e.g. 纔 -> 才, 臺 -> 台?
Is 台 in 臺灣 -> 台灣 considered 簡體 in Taiwan itself?

Ah-bin wrote:I want some fried face and some Hokkien face please.

:lol:

If you have Microsoft Word it is easy to input the dot. Just go to “insert” then “symbol” and then when you find it on the table of characters.

Thanks a lot, Ah-bin, ciàⁿ-sìt-ke-duā-kuē_ë 正實加偌快兮!

amhoanna
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby amhoanna » Fri May 06, 2011 11:58 pm

Amhoanna, do you mainly mean seal scripts yet also including 正體/楷書 e.g. 纔 -> 才, 臺 -> 台?


What's a seal script? 台 and 才 may be a subset of what I'm talking about... We actually still know 纔 and 臺... We still see these hanji in print from time to time... But most of the iceberg lies submerged, creating this illusion of 正体字 being uniquely 正. Even just on the 異体字字典 http://dict.variants.moe.edu.tw/main.htm -- which doesn't seem to go all the way back to 甲骨 origins -- most characters have so many variants. Over half of the unfamiliar forms are more complicated than our 正体字. I'm guessing they're generally also older. This is just a guess. To the extent (i.e. percentage) that my guess is right, though, our 正体字 are actually 簡体字 themselves.

Is 台 in 臺灣 -> 台灣 considered 簡體 in Taiwan itself?


I think most TWese would consider it to be an alternative hanji, kind of like 線 and 綫 or 館 and 舘. On the other hand, 湾 would be considered 簡体, yet the 湾 form is everywhere, in writing, on khanpáng (shop signs), in ads, etc. ... but in full text, printed or typed, there's almost an instinctive, nationalistic insistence on 灣 as a FUBU marker (for us, by us).

amhoanna
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby amhoanna » Sat May 07, 2011 12:07 am

And Ah-bin makes a good pt in bringing up the fonts. Using the right fonts, even PRC hanji "don't look that bad".

Hopefully hanji computing will be leaving "font hell" soon... I guess the problem starts with Microsoft Windows not shipping with more fonts. One kongsi has us all by the lānhu̍t. :oops:

In the same vein, has anybody here figured out how to blog in vertical hanji?

SimL
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby SimL » Sat May 07, 2011 12:52 am

amhoanna wrote:In the same vein, has anybody here figured out how to blog in vertical hanji?

I thought that was only for 對聯 :shock:.

SimL
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby SimL » Sat May 07, 2011 12:56 am

Ah-bin wrote:That dictionary from China uses:

na for aⁿ
lna for na

It is the same spelling system as in that Amoy Hokkien book that I gave you (Sim). It has fallen out of favour in China though, most of the newly published dictionaries and new coursebooks prefer using IPA based systems and ~ to indicate nasalisation.

PS. I think this must be a different dictionary from the one Andrew mentioned, as the na/lna-system doesn't need y- and w- in order to use as (pseudo) initial consonants, so that nasalization can be written as an -n- after the initial consonant (Andrew's example was "yni"). In order of non-preference, I think "na/lna" would be my very least liked, followed by "yn-", "wn-". Any POJ- or TLPA-related one has my preference.

AndrewAndrew
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby AndrewAndrew » Sat May 07, 2011 2:31 pm

Although I dislike 簡體字, there are times when the 簡體字 is the older and more attractive form. For example, 網 / 网 ("net") 眾 / 众 ("multitude")

I think the simplifiers missed some serious opportunities to revert to older characters that are simpler, e.g. from ("border" - you can see lines between rice fields) was derived ("strong", jiang sound + bow to denote meaning), and from that was rederived ("border" - qiang sound + earth to denote meaning)

A testament to the flexibility and capacity of Malaysian Chinese in the linguistic arena is the way that Malaysian Chinese newspapers use 繁體字 in the headings/titles and 簡體字 in the text, and people are expected to be able to read both!

amhoanna
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby amhoanna » Sun May 08, 2011 7:51 pm

I remember reading a newspaper in Sabah that had kánthé and hoânthé articles sitting side by side on the front page.

畺 is great, I think I'll use that. Another one is 从.

Then there's 艸.

amhoanna
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby amhoanna » Mon May 09, 2011 4:59 pm

I thought that was only for 對聯 :shock:.


Missed your comment, Sim. Given all the subtle changes that've taken place since around 1995, it kind of surprises me that lots of books are still "printed vertical" in TW and HK. Sea-borne, island-bound diehards all. Ditto for handwriting. It just doesn't carry over to everyday computing and the internet. Now I'm no purist, but I read hanji faster when it's printed vertical. W/i each hanji, top-to-bottom is also the biggest part of the "native logic".

But we could also point out that right-to-left at the page level, and cover to cover, makes no sense.

niuc
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby niuc » Mon May 09, 2011 6:21 pm

Hi Amhoanna

To-siā lï•.

amhoanna wrote:What's a seal script?

I got the term "seal script" from Wikipedia. It refers to 篆書. I think we can say that 小篆 is a simplified version of 大篆, and in turn 隸書 and 楷書 (正楷) of 小篆, right? I am eager to know further about the relationship between 大篆 and 甲骨, if you and others can share more. :mrgreen:

台 and 才 may be a subset of what I'm talking about... We actually still know 纔 and 臺... We still see these hanji in print from time to time...

I like 台 also, may be I am used to it already. Was it originally only for î instead of taî?
I prefer 才 to 纔, as the latter is too complicated for the "simple" meaning, although using the former means additional meaning for 才.

But most of the iceberg lies submerged, creating this illusion of 正体字 being uniquely 正.

I agree that 正體字 in a sense is actually 簡體字, one of the reasons I don't prefer the term 繁體字. Wikipedia mentions that 楷書 (i.e. 正體字) has been in use since 3rd century. IMHO its long history is the one giving us the feeling that it is 正.

And Ah-bin makes a good pt in bringing up the fonts. Using the right fonts, even PRC hanji "don't look that bad".

I like the font 汉鼎简隶变. It makes 简体字 looks better.

I like Andrew & Amhoanna's samples of 网, 众, 畺, 从 and 艸. 8)

Now I'm no purist, but I read hanji faster when it's printed vertical. W/i each hanji, top-to-bottom is also the biggest part of the "native logic".

I also like it vertical then right-to-left, somehow looks more native to me. But why is it vertical top-to-bottom and right-to-left in page arrangement, when for each hanji, it is top-to-bottom and left-to-right?

Yeleixingfeng
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby Yeleixingfeng » Mon May 09, 2011 7:31 pm

Just to reply on the Simplified vs. Traditional discussion, though it's a bit (very) off topic.

About 眾(众), I prefer the traditional script, though the 罒 is unnecessary (it was actually a 日, which now has further changed to 血). I don't know, maybe it has something to do with my dislike of 人 - it is too simple (empty, easy to notice) and frequent in normal writing. If it is also included into word construction, then the Chinese language would be full of 人. Besides, I don't think it is too hard to notice - the lower component of the character is actually three 人 squeezed under the supposed-sun. This example can also be seen in 聚 - 取 is obviously the phonetic.

Actually the Simplified failed to return many hanji to its former, self-explanatory form, like 射, which was initially a bow and an arrow; or 鑄, which was initially two hands moulding gold in a container. Characters like 泪, 网 were the minorities that were simplified in accordance with Oracle Bone (甲骨). Many characters attained a phonetic-semantic form during the big revolution from Bronze (金文) to Seal, and thereafter remained so until today.

Besides, the Simplified also failed to select the correct character as to being the official one - in this case, TW is not excluded. For example, the right component of 沒 is not a 殳 at all. Think about it, how can a weapon and sinking be of any relation? The upper part of the pseudo-殳 is a swirl of water (回), while the lower is a hand (又 = right hand), meaning to sink something into the water. (When you do so, water tend to flow to fill the space above your hand, like a swirl of water.) The 氵 is a late addition.
敎 too should be corrected. The upper component of the pseudo-孝 is actually two crosses, marks, but in this case it specifically mean the marks produced on the child (子) with the weapon-equipped hand (攵). That is why in 學, 覺 all have 爻. And, 爻 and 文 are actually the same character during Oracle Bone. It is just that since writing are a type of organised marks, 文 is loaned for its meaning, and another character 紋 is created.
There are many to join the list.

Conclusion, the simplification of hanji was done crudely and irrationally, without proper consult from the professionals, though it could also be due to the lack of information during their era. I myself am not against simplification of Hanji at all, in fact I think some of them, like 舞 and 鬱 are too complicated.

Hope you understand my point. Any disagrees?

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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby SimL » Tue May 10, 2011 12:26 am

Hi Yeleixingfen,

Thanks for your detailed reply on this topic.

For me, I think it's hard to know how to feel about this whole topic. The issue is very complex, and there are probably as many viewpoints as there are people who have an opinion on it; i.e. every single person probably has a slightly different take on the situation.

A number of "anti" simplified characters people feel that either there should have been no reform at all, or, if there had to be, then it should have been to replace characters completely with an alphabetic script, i.e. that to have these simplified characters was to add to the complexity of the situation, without solving the original "problem". I see and respect this viewpoint, but I feel that the current simplified characters are a compromise: 1) they get rid of many of the characters with "too many strokes", while 2) preserving quite a large number of characters (= the set where traditional and simplified are identical), and 3) they make the writing of many characters easier, because of "standard simplification", like for 馬, 鳥, 言, 金, etc (even with slight exceptions, like 馬, 鳥, etc anywhere, whereas 言, 金, etc only when they are on the left side), and 4) (occasionally) slight improvement of the phonetic (i.e. one which better reflects the pronunciation, while also reducing the number of strokes).

"2" above means that they preserve quite a lot of historical continuity with the "glorious Chinese past", while "1" and "3" make handwriting easier, and "4" (sometimes) makes remembering how to write characters easier.

Some people counter that "making handwriting easier" is no longer an issue, as PC input is just as easy (selecting the character from a list, based on the pinyin) whether the character has a lot of strokes or few. My counter to that is that it's not fair to judge the decisions of the middle of the 20th century based on technology which was only available at the end of the 20th. Furthermore, for memorizing how to write characters by hand (surely also an important skill to be counted on when trying to recognize the appropriate character from a pop-up list of candidates), the fewer strokes there are, the more repetitions of a character one can achieve in any given time, making it "more efficient" to memorize simplified characters; i.e. either one drills a character 500 times to learn it, in which case drilling traditional characters takes much longer than drilling simplified characters; or one spends 500 hours drilling characters, in which case one can drill simplified characters many more times (= learn them better) than one can drill traditional characters.

Other people object that some "good" phonetics were lost. My take on that is that a) in the traditional system, many phonetics sucked anyway*, so the simplified phonetics - where they are different from the traditional - are not that much worse than the original situation, b) quite a lot of bad phonetics were improved by changing them to better ones with fewer strokes. As the overriding requirement was to have fewer strokes, I think the resultant situation is quite acceptable.

The most important information which I used in forming my "pro-simplified characters" stance was a lot of stuff written by an academic called Ping Chen, in a book he wrote about the Chinese language. In it (among other things), he explains that the process of reform was actually *very* consultative - both linguists *and* "real people" were extensively consulted. And that many of the simplifications were very widely known and used in China (in handwriting) already. One piece of evidence he cites in this area is that he explains how one of the last reforms failed (X number of simplified characters to be added to the list) and had to be "undone", *precisely* because it wasn't consultative enough and contained simplifications which were quite restricted, either geographically, or socio-linguistically. So (avoiding the question of just how "educated" these linguists and "real people" were who were consulted**), I got the idea that the (original) process was actually quite "democratic", and proceeded with caution and respect. I'll see if I can get together the (quite large) bodies of text involved in Ping Chen's explanation. [I'm sure he won't mind being quoted, because I'm quoting him out of great respect for his ideas and presentation.]

Anyway, as I said, it's a complex issue, and I don't want to push my pro-simplified characters viewpoint on anyone. I know that much of "pro" or "anti" is also an emotional reaction***, as is whether people are prescriptivist or descriptivist in their approach to language, or whether people are against slang or not against it, etc. The only point I would like to make is that I started out being very anti simplified characters, but after 5 years of trying to learn Mandarin/characters, and after reading a bit on the topic, I have changed from anti to pro.

Notes:

*) "bad" phonetics: 睪 is pretty bad (擇, 釋, 譯, 澤, 鐸, 驛, 繹); 寺 is sort of ok, except for 等, 特 and 待; and even 各 seems to have two "families" - a ge/ke/he-family (各, 格, 客, 閣, 佫, 咯) and an l-family (路, 絡, 略, 洛, 駱, 烙, 酪, 賂).

**) This is a reproach I hear very often from people who are against simplified characters - that the people who designed the reform were ignorant of the Chinese language and tradition. I personally am doubtful if this is accurate. I won't dispute at all that there was a lot of politics in that process, and if your father had been a gentleman scholar you might have been excluded from the process completely, and if your father had been a factory shop-floor supervisor, you might have been more acceptable in expressing your opinions. Nevertheless, I think the people who made the decisions about what principles to apply in the reform, and which characters should be specifically included or excluded from the general principles, etc, etc, were mostly people who *did* know what they were talking about, and *did* have a certain respect for the Chinese language, even if it might have been from a "revolutionary" viewpoint.

***) I don't mean to detract from the validity of a viewpoint by labelling it an "emotional" reaction. People are perfectly entitled to have emotional reactions to things. People love their partners, and that is an "emotional" reaction, and it's not just ok, it's a good thing! All I mean by this is that it's a stance which is based on "gut feelings" about the world, and no amount of discussion of "the facts" is likely to sway the person one way or another, because it is one's *reaction* to "the facts" which influence the forming of the viewpoint, not the facts themselves.

Yeleixingfeng
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Re: kiăm-siăp (stingy) and khiām-iŏng (thrifty)

Postby Yeleixingfeng » Tue May 10, 2011 7:07 pm

SimL wrote:I know that much of "pro" or "anti" is also an emotional reaction***

I doubt any possibility of me being influenced by any generational radical prejudice towards Simplified Chinese (henceforth SC). I am a Malaysian, educated from primary with SC; I am too poor to be influence by books published by renowned scholars – I form my stand purely through my own analysis, which also explains why it is so unorthodox it might be irrelevant.

Basically I agree with the four mentioned advantages of SC. Just some elaboration/counter:

2) preserving quite a large number of characters (= the set where traditional and simplified are identical)

They preserved the wrong ones* and ignorantly simplified others**. I don’t completely disagree with the whole set of simplifications though, like some clichéd ones 泪网 and also 韤(袜), 畵(画).
*舞, 跳 (And other phonosemantics) They should have took Oracle Bone forms into consideration since many of the Oracle Bones are simpler and self-explanatory. For those new phonosemantics created during Seal, i.e. late-emerging characters, they should at least try to represent its meaning semantically for ease of comprehension for later generations or foreign Chinese-enthusiasts.
** 壽, 髪發, 里裏, 晝畵. I agree that simplification is necessary, especially for the mentioned, but:
壽: The simplification should at least incorporate a 耂. (Its Oracle Bone version had one.)
髪發: Completely unrelated.
里裏: 里 means paddy field and earthiness – village. Since villages are considered as to being relatively concealed as compared to cities, and many of the 衣-radical words are related to inside (裹衷)(哀 – 衣 phonetic) The 裏 should be appropriately simplified in accordance to the fact that 衣 is more important than 里.
畵晝: I never did understand, or was satisfied with the explanations of 畵 and 晝. I agree with the 日in 昼, but perhaps 尺 could be improvised.

3) they make the writing of many characters easier, because of "standard simplification", like for 馬, 鳥, 言, 金, etc (even with slight exceptions, like 馬, 鳥, etc anywhere, whereas 言, 金, etc only when they are on the left side)

I don’t quite agree with this – explain later.

4) (occasionally) slight improvement of the phonetic (i.e. one which better reflects the pronunciation, while also reducing the number of strokes)

The phonetics were revised in consideration of Mandarin only. Classic examples are 艦(舰), 膽擔(胆担), 進(进), 栖(棲). This is a hokkien forum; you would know how inaccurate the phonetics have become.

either one drills a character 500 times to learn it, in which case drilling traditional characters takes much longer than drilling simplified characters; or one spends 500 hours drilling characters, in which case one can drill simplified characters many more times (= learn them better) than one can drill traditional characters.

That is the myth that even boggles the minds of Chinese. Although far from a hundred percent, most of the Hanji derive from sensible reasoning, in which case blind drilling is not necessary. The only difficulty in Traditional is its speed in handwriting – understanding-wise, its meaning is more obvious, with just a little research one can understand a lot. (Trust me, I as an amateur can do it, why can’t the world?)

Other people object that some "good" phonetics were lost. My take on that is that a) in the traditional system, many phonetics sucked anyway*, so the simplified phonetics - where they are different from the traditional - are not that much worse than the original situation, b) quite a lot of bad phonetics were improved by changing them to better ones with fewer strokes. As the overriding requirement was to have fewer strokes, I think the resultant situation is quite acceptable.

People often degrade many phonetics as to being purely a sound-tag. In fact, the phonetics string together words of similar meaning, ultimately because some of them were, some point in history, the same word.
曼: 慢 嫚 蔓 漫 謾 (鰻 幔 槾 鏝)
The radical-added characters stem from the original 曼, which itself was a person wearing a hat. Somehow, the meaning extended to, to walk leisurely. From that, we have arrogance, and spreading (of plants and water). Of course, the examples in the bracket are exceptions, since only the sound was borrowed to mean miscellaneous nouns. Thus obviously, I don’t suggest that all members of a phonetic-family are related in meaning. As pointed out earlier, TC itself is not perfect.

When PRC first introduced the characters, it was not to new-learners of the Chinese language, it was to middle-aged people who had already the basics of Tc. All left to be done, was to translate Tc to Sc. Subconsciously they bear in mind the Tc logic while writing Sc. In other words, they know that the 又 of 权 is different than that of 鸡.
But new learners are oblivious to the difference, and are forced to blindly drill in the language. This is where logic fails to play its role and Chinese becomes one of the hardest languages to learn on Earth.

Now, one point to clarify – there are only two stages in one’s mastering of a language, i.e. learning and using. Both conditions require different qualities of a language. In learning, the language has to be easily comprehended. In using, the language has to be conveyed conveniently. Tc ‘partially’ fulfils the former, while Sc partially fulfils the latter.

We, already fluent in the language, would have – by hook by crook – passed the ‘learning’ stage and demand simplicity and convenience in writing. This is selfishness at its worst, but I shall not elaborate on that, since it ultimately is still ‘our’ language. Nonetheless, those who went through Sc education would still once in a while forget a component or even the whole structure of the Hanji, even those who regularly write in Chinese, because their basics were not firm enough. I once met a group of students debating whether the lower part of 罕 is a 干 or 十. They kept rewriting the character, using both 干 and 十, and based on ‘which variant looks more pleasing to the eye’ they chose 十. I was horrified at their conclusion that I stepped up and said, ‘罕 got its sound from 干, so what do you think?’ And, I can guarantee, they – or anyone who is reading my post now – would remember for life that the lower part of 罕 is a 干, even if they have not been exposed to Chinese for years.

I raise the example to prove that understanding is always more efficient. No amount of blind drilling can replace that of simple logic, and, Tc is advantageous so. However, in terms of convenience, Sc wins hands down. Therefore I suggest a compromise between them; learn Tc first during primary – using logic – then proceed to teach them the corresponding simplifying ways. All media should be printed in Tc, since usage of both fonts does not influence the typing speed.

Lastly, if any of my cited examples are wrong, or if I have offended you, or if I have completely ignored one of your vital points, I am deeply sorry - please tell me. I mean no harm. ^^ Just want to discuss.


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