North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
amhoanna
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by amhoanna » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:03 am

異南洲
Hey, I think 南洲 would be a GREAT Hoklo name for Australia. How about 細南洲 for Australia and 大南洲 for Antarctica? :mrgreen:

異南洲 Īlâmciu sounds to me kind of like PLAYING WITH THE SOUTHERN CONTINENT. :lol: Or is it supposed to be Īⁿlâmciu?
I would politely tell the cashier, “小姐、汝招牌寫錯了、‘潮州’ 之 ‘州’ 是無 ‘三點水’。”
Wouldn't it be cool to have such a language, and replace Mandarin with it?

On the flip-side, educating people in such a language would probably leech vocabulary like "m̄'tio̍h" out of the lexicon in favor of chò 錯. Something which has happened in some aTiong dialects already, as it is. And if we get to the point where topolects differ only in pronunciation, I'll be the first to say, "Let's be done with these goddamn dialects."
4,000 years of Chinese history, everyone dressed in "Ming Dynasty costume", the way they are shown in most Chinese "period films". [Or is this just my "ignorant, non-Chinese educated" background...? Perhaps most Chinese in Malaysia who have gone to Chinese school know all this.]
Not at all, in fact I'd say people who are Chinese educated and from China will believe that and in addition will trot out the ridiculous figure of 5000 years. The oldest written records on oracle bone script) are only about 3500 years old, so your guess is 500 years closer than theirs!
Agree with aPin. As ignorant as the non-Chinese-educated may be, e.g. most Africans, the Chinese-educated are actually 10x worse. In a broad sense, this indicts not only Chinese schooling, but also the "Sino-centric" media as well as the lies that get passed from one generation to the next...

Even the concept of the South as having been "settled", as if no one was living there before, and as if the blood of those early Southern people didn't flow in our veins...

Scholars have done amazing things in the past few decades. They've pieced together the history and concluded that Canton was a Chinese city in a sea of non-Chinese settlements ... as recently as the mid-, if not late-, Ming era! Something along the lines of Singapore today! Meanwhile, the hills of western Hokkien crawled with anti-Han insurgents! Ming emperors came down heavy on the insurgents. Next to U know, the "ethnics" became Hakka, went down to Port Moon 月港 in Ciangciu and maybe later Swatow and Amoy, and went over the tropic seas to "settle" Taiwan and Borneo!!! :shock:

U bet the political "stability" of China is partly based on these fictions of a "Han China". There is a political dimension. This is why the true history must be made known.

Three Asians walked into a bar -- a South Coast Chinaman, a hoanná (a dude), and a hoanpô. They sat down at the bar and ordered drinks. Then the hoanná and hoanpô turned to the Chinaman said, "aBêng, we are your mother, and your father." :lol:
SimL
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Location: Amsterdam

Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by SimL » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:32 am

amhoanna wrote:Even the concept of the South as having been "settled", as if no one was living there before, and as if the blood of those early Southern people didn't flow in our veins...
Hehe! Yes, I was very lucky to have stumbled across C.P. FitzGerald's "The Southern Expansion of the Chinese Peoples" at the tender age of 18. While the major thesis of the book is now perhaps outdated (or perhaps - on the contrary - in fact particularly true / relevant), one of the most important insights I gained as a young man was that the 4000*** year old, static, stable "History of China" - as well as my feeling myself to be integrally part of this 4,000-year-old tradition - were illusions. I.e. being Hokkien, I almost definitely didn't have an ancestor wandering around in 2000 BC - dressed in Ming Dynasty costume :mrgreen: - to whom (if the records had been properly preserved), I could offer sacrifices. If anything, he'd have been some hill-tribe person, not particularly fond of the Hans (if he indeed even knew about them).

***: Thanks for the correction of the 4000 years, Ah-bin. I hang on to it because it's a nice round figure, and I'm used to it, and I'm quoting what I used to think. But the point of my posting is that this is illusory anyway, so perhaps you'll forgive the 500 year distortion :mrgreen:.
SimL
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by SimL » Thu Jun 16, 2011 8:00 am

Ah-bin wrote:Not at all, in fact I'd say people who are Chinese educated and from China will believe that and in addition will trot out the ridiculous figure of 5000 years.
Your citing of the figure "5000" made me think of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xia_Shang_ ... gy_Project.

''There is some controversy over the results of the project. One of the criticisms is that the project supports the concept of a 5,000-year, unbroken and homogeneous history of China, wherein the three ancient dynasties (Xia, Shang and Zhou) were large and powerful states—ignoring the fact that many other groups of people (perhaps equally advanced) existed throughout China and Central Asia during this period."

Perhaps it's already been discussed here on the Forum - one of our perennially re-surfacing topics :mrgreen:?
amhoanna
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by amhoanna » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:17 am

Cool, Sim. ... Goá sī ca̍ppe·h hoè tńg toālâng hit cūn khaisí lâi o̍h Ho̍hló'oē--ê. Little did I know what I was in for. At first I figured once I'd figured out the sound correspondences -- working from Mandarin to Hoklo, with an assist from Cantopop -- the rest would just be plug and play. Soon enough, I was surprised and sure enough fascinated by how "different" Hoklo grammar and, esp., the lexicon were. Cū ánne goá m̄ ciah khaisí lâi cáuchoē goá ê (lán ê) "hoanná kin".

Like the Chinese, the Koreans also have this myth of "5000 years of illustrious Korean history". Coincidence?

The "Taiwanese" have a parallel myth of "400 years" of history. This is the underlying rift in Formosan politics, the 5000-year history that the "Chinese" of Formosa take as given, and the 400-year history that the "Taiwanese" of Formosa take as given. Oil and water. There is no real dialog.

I wrote a piece about this 400 yr vs 5000 yr thing a few yrs ago. It's in Hoklo. I'll post a link if anyone wants to read it.
SimL
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by SimL » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:41 am

amhoanna wrote:At first I figured once I'd figured out the sound correspondences -- working from Mandarin to Hoklo, with an assist from Cantopop -- the rest would just be plug and play. Soon enough, I was surprised and sure enough fascinated by how "different" Hoklo grammar and, esp., the lexicon were.
Your assumption was a natural one, I think.

I made precisely the same assumption, the other way around (perhaps less natural than yours)! In other words, I came to Mandarin expecting that after I had got a feeling for the corresponding sound shifts, the rest of Mandarin would be easy (aside from memorizing characters, of course - I was already very aware of the immensity of that task). How very wrong I was. In fact, I wasted energy for a good part of perhaps two years, grumbling and wondering about why Mandarin wasn't more similar to Hokkien! Especially in areas where the grammar was very different (for example, the two different uses of 了 - post-verb and sentence-final), but also when a simple Hokkien word didn't have a simple Mandarin equivalent (like having a single syllable "gau5" for "clever", where Mandarin needs "cong ming").

Nowadays of course, I just respect the fact that they are just two different - albeit related - languages. So, I just learn whatever vocabulary and grammar I need to in Mandarin, without grumbling about why it's different from Hokkien.
amhoanna
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by amhoanna » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:45 am

1 activity that unexpectedly helped improve my Hoklo ... was getting into Vietnamese. I tackled an old Vietnamese primer on a series of bus rides from Coanciu to Hanoi. Then I got to Saigon and immersed in VNese for ten days. Siūⁿ bē kàu tńgkhì Ēlô'ē (L.A.) liáu'āu, goá ê Ho̍hló'oē soah hiônghiông piàn kekhah sūn, kekhah liàntńg!! :shock: Probably not as good as immersing in a Hoklo environment, but I didn't have that luxury in the part of the world where I was at the time. Don't know, but maybe the two-week crash course in VNese did something to balance out the effects of speaking Mandarin natively. I don't have the "bullet points" for this, but my feeling is that if Mando and Viet are grammatically similar in the larger scheme of things, then Hoklo is part way in between the 2.
Ah-bin
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by Ah-bin » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:00 am

amhoanna wrote:At first I figured once I'd figured out the sound correspondences -- working from Mandarin to Hoklo, with an assist from Cantopop -- the rest would just be plug and play. Soon enough, I was surprised and sure enough fascinated by how "different" Hoklo grammar and, esp., the lexicon were.
Many people who have never learnt a Sinitic language other than Mandarin believe this. It's partly because people are taught to believe it, and partly because they have no way to know otherwise unless they start to learn....and why bother learning when it's just a case of different pronunciation?

I am constantly surprised when I look at my Hakka or Soochow materials just how different again these are from Mandarin and from Hokkien.

Was that Vietnamese Primer the old "Quốc Văn Giao Khoa Thư"? They have that at the local library here. It's what the children learnt from in the 1930's.
amhoanna
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Re: North of Hokkien, reports from the field

Post by amhoanna » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:02 pm

It's partly because people are taught to believe it, and partly because they have no way to know otherwise unless they start to learn....and why bother learning when it's just a case of different pronunciation?
Exactly. Mandarin speakers in TW who can't speak Hoklo, don't learn Hoklo b/c (1) it's too hard and (2) it's the same anyway (as Mandarin).

I guess it's true. There's no concept of irony in East Asia in general. :lol:
Was that Vietnamese Primer the old "Quốc Văn Giao Khoa Thư"?
No, it was a 1950s-60s, "wartime" Stateside primer. I like the wartime primers b/c they teach Saigonese, even if outdated. I say thanks, but no thanks, to new materials that use Hanoi expressions. U wouldn't happen to know where I could find any of the old stuff online, besides the FSI course?
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