Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Mark Yong
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Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Mark Yong » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:20 pm

At 15 pages, our first thread on the same topic has grown a bit too big, so am starting a new one for good order.

I heard this word spoken aloud for the first time yesterday morning, and in Sydney of all places (there you go, Sim - it is possible for the Hokkien crusade to continue here!): cεⁿ2. Yes, I am aware that it should be a very common word, but amazingly I never heard it used in my 6 years in Penang. Maybe wells fell out of vogue by the 1990's.

Given that 福建 Hok-Kien is China's tea province, how would 龍井 be pronounced - liong5 ceng2 or leng5 cεⁿ2? The reason I am asking is because I absolutely hate it when I have 點心 tiam2 sim1 in Penang, and the waitresses end up using Cantonese for all the food and drink names! :evil:

niuc and siamiwako, would it be ciⁿ2 in your variants?

Note: I have retained the anachronistic reference to "Penang Hokkien" only for topical continuity, and in no way is it meant to exclude the other variants. 四海爲家 su3 hai2 ui7 ka1. :mrgreen:
Ah-bin
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Ah-bin » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:38 pm

it is possible for the Hokkien crusade to continue here!): 井 cεⁿ2. Yes, I am aware that it should be a very common word, but amazingly I never heard it used in my 6 years in Penang. Maybe wells fell out of vogue by the 1990's.
I've heard the morpheme in the context of:

Chhim-ché•ⁿ 深井 – the inner courtyard of a traditional Chinese house (dictionary entry)

in the Penang Hokkien Podcast Episode 291, This episode is all about old houses.

John Ong was wondering (at 18:20) what the big threshold stone was called on the main gateway to an old house. Does anyone know what that is called? He thought it began with mûi 門, but couldn't remember the rest of it.
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by niuc » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:48 pm

SimL wrote: It's even stronger than that. Many "linguistically naive" native speakers of Hokkien will insist that the sandhi rules are "natural", i.e. "it's much easier to say the words with the shifted sandhi", or "it sounds more elegant to say the words with the shifted sandhi". They don't realise that Hokkien sandhi rules are "arbitrary" - a result of the historical development of the language.
Thanks, Sim, for sharing your knowledge about linguistics. I also don't think that sandhis are there to be more elegant, because if that's so, why the sandhi itself usually is another citation tone. In fact I don't understand why Wu & Min languages have sandhis but not Yue, Hakka or Mandarin. Anyone know how sandhi tones developed? And how the early speakers applied those sandhis during the "implementation" period? Actually, I also would like to understand how English etc got the inflections?
For example, in German and Dutch, voiced stops at the end of a word become unvoiced. So, in German, "baths" - "Bäder" - is pronounced with a "-d-" (i.e. voiced), but the singular "bath" - "Bad" is pronounced with a "-t" (i.e. unvoiced). This means that "Bat" (a word meaning "to ask / to request") and "Bad" are pronounced identically in German. Similarly for "-b-" vs "-p" and "-g-" vs "-k": the voicing disappears, if the voiced consonant is at the end. Now, this "rule" doesn't exist in English, so "God" and "Got" are not pronounced identically in English. But, German speakers feel that this "rule" is so "natural", that when they speak English, they will pronounce "God" and "Got" identically. As with linguistically naive Hokkien speakers thinking that "tone sandhi is natural", linguistically naive German speakers think that "devoicing of voiced consonants at the end of words is natural". In both cases, they are simply arbitrary (but essential) rules for good pronunciation.
In this case, Indonesian shares the same tendency with German. In fact, Singlish pronunciation of "bat" and "bad" is the same!
amhoanna wrote:There's no single word for this in TW Hoklo, AFAIK. I would use a variety of structures to get this across, depending on the situation, e.g. whether it was visual confusion, cognitive confusion, etc. My impression is that while MIXING TWO THINGS TOGETHER and MISTAKING ONE THING FOR ANOTHER are semantically related in English (and Mandarin: 搞混 gao3-hun3), in Hoklo they're not. We'll see what Niuc and others of the Penang persuasion have to say.
True for my variant. MIXING TWO THINGS TOGETHER = cham1. MISTAKING ONE THING FOR ANOTHER -> usually we say: (ciōng) A liàh/khuàⁿ/thiaⁿ-cuè B; alternatively we say: nā-cún (A sī) B.
amhoanna wrote: Don't know, but there's usually some kind of method behind the madness. There's a whole set of etyma that go -eng in some dialects and -aiⁿ in others:

hêng / hâiⁿ
cheng / chaiⁿ 千
keng / kaiⁿ 間 (Coanciu proper: kuiⁿ)
tēng / tāiⁿ
seng / saiⁿ 先 (not 100% sure about this one)
cêng / câiⁿ / cûiⁿ 前
My variant uses both -aiⁿ & -ing above except for hîng & tīng (may be for 讀冊音 but on daily life we only say hâiⁿ & tāiⁿ).
Is colloq 反 is páiⁿ in the -aiⁿ dialects? Maybe Niuc can shed more light.
Yes. 倒反 = tò-páiⁿ.
Mark Yong wrote:
niuc and siamiwako, would it be ciⁿ2 in your variants?
Yup.
Ah-bin
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Ah-bin » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:26 pm

I have just remembered another phrase I heard Bhante Dhammavudho say twice:

"Pocket chít-chiam pún bô" Which I interpret to mean "not a cent in one's pocket"

Does anyone have an idea what the "chiam" is? Is it needle 針?

Also....is a note from the doctor a 老君字?
Mark Yong
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Mark Yong » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:37 pm

Ah-bin wrote:
Does anyone have an idea what the "chiam" is? Is it needle 針?
On the basis of finding a character where the pronunciation matches in both Hokkien and Cantonese, was what I postulated. However, I have not been able to find any citations to confirm or refute it to date.

Also, the usage of ciam for a unit cent is unusual in Penang; they normally use lui. The only exception I know of is when they say “一針錢、一針貨。 jit ciam ciⁿ, jit ciam hoe..
aokh1979
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by aokh1979 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:24 pm

Mark Yong wrote: Given that 福建 Hok-Kien is China's tea province, how would 龍井 be pronounced - liong5 ceng2 or leng5 cεⁿ2? The reason I am asking is because I absolutely hate it when I have 點心 tiam2 sim1 in Penang, and the waitresses end up using Cantonese for all the food and drink names! :evil:
龍井 is not from Hokkien but Hangzhou. Anyway, I heard lêng-tséⁿ in Penang. And 龍井 is a place so the pronunciation should be 白讀, usually-lah.
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by SimL » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:39 pm

Mark Yong wrote:
Ah-bin wrote:
Does anyone have an idea what the "chiam" is? Is it needle 針?
On the basis of finding a character where the pronunciation matches in both Hokkien and Cantonese, was what I postulated. However, I have not been able to find any citations to confirm or refute it to date.

Also, the usage of ciam for a unit cent is unusual in Penang; they normally use lui.
Indeed, the North Malayan "lui1" and "puat8" are "ciam1" and "kak4" in South Malaya.
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by SimL » Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:52 pm

niuc wrote:Thanks, Sim, for sharing your knowledge about linguistics.
Hi niuc,

You're very welcome! It's nice that I have a group of people for whom this is interesting. Most of my friends get glazed eyes, if I start to talk about linguistics...
niuc wrote:I also don't think that sandhis are there to be more elegant, because if that's so, why the sandhi itself usually is another citation tone.
Yes, it's not more natural or elegant, because Hokkien has "se3" (= "small") and "tiau5" (= "measure word for clothing"), and that sandhis to "se1_tiau5" (non-Penang Hokkien "se2_tiau5"), but Mandarin "xiao3" and "tiao2" (with roughly the same tone contours respectively) doesn't sandhi at all. Does this mean that Mandarin speakers are speaking "unnaturally" or "inelegantly", whenever they have a (Mandarin) "T3" + "T2" combination :mrgreen: ?
niuc wrote:In fact I don't understand why Wu & Min languages have sandhis but not Yue, Hakka or Mandarin. Anyone know how sandhi tones developed? And how the early speakers applied those sandhis during the "implementation" period? Actually, I also would like to understand how English etc got the inflections?
A very good question, and it's never occurred to me before! Does anyone else know? I could ask Henning Kloeter if he knows.

The only thing I seem to recall is that the Wu languages have even more complex tone-sandhi rules: there (apparently), groups of 2 and groups of 3 syllables have different effects, and the actual combination also affects the change, i.e. tone-X with a tone-Y following would sandhi to something different than tone-X with a tone-Z following. Sounds hideously difficult. Even Hokciu is supposed to have more complicated tone-sandhi rules than Hokkien, IIRC.
Mark Yong
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:31 am

aokh1979 wrote:
龍井 is not from Hokkien but Hangzhou. Anyway, I heard lêng-tséⁿ in Penang.
Oh, thank God for that. At least now I know that should I ever have 點心 tiam2 sim1 at 大東 Tai Tong in 日本街 Cintra Street, I can say 龍井 lêng-tséⁿ and not have the waiter think I am a retard.
aokh1979 wrote:
And 龍井 is a place so the pronunciation should be 白讀, usually-lah.
This is an interesting point. In Bodman, 北京 is pak-kiaⁿ, but 上海 is siOng hai (i.e. not chiOⁿ hai). Also, 廣東 is kuiⁿ tang, but 廣府 is kOng hu (this one is not from Bodman).
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Ah-bin » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:17 pm

I think that might be something to do with the relative newness ot Shanghai compared to the other places. Isn't Tientsin 天津 Thian-chin, rather than Thiⁿ-chin? Those two places are of a similar age I guess.

I remember that 屏東 in Taiwanese is Pîn-tong, but 臺東 is Tâi-tang, I have no idea why. It may be that the first one was in a Hakka-speaking district at one time and retained a Hakka-like name.
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Ah-bin » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:20 pm

For some reason the same thing posted twice....
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by SimL » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:03 pm

Hi Mark and Ah-bin,

Indeed, I knew "cEN2" from both the "chim1-cEN2" (= "air well", in Malaysian English) of the old shop-houses, and from the plain old "cEN2" (= "well") of the rural setting. The latter possibly because one of the old matriarchal shop-houses that my extended family lived in even had one of those in the back of the house, inside the house, next to the kitchen and washing area. It was already disused (as all the houses had had piped water for years), and had a wooden cover, but as kids, we would always ask to have the cover removed so that we could look down, whenever we visited.

The other place you might have come across it in Penang is "cui2-cEN2" (literally "water well"), which was one of the terms for the large cement receptacle filled with water, in the bathroom, from which one scooped water to "bathe". This topic was covered in detail some time back, but perhaps the term for the object wasn't mentioned. I don't know if it's the proper term, or just "borrowed usage" - what did your family call it, niuc?
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:08 pm

SimL wrote:
The other place you might have come across it in Penang is "cui2-cEN2" (literally "water well"), which was one of the terms for the large cement receptacle filled with water, in the bathroom, from which one scooped water to "bathe".
I have one of those at my parental home! It was given to us by my late paternal grandmother back in the 1980’s (she had one too many at her house). Yes, we used to call it , too (pronounced ciāng in my dialect). I know it is also associated with the Malay word ‘cebok’, but I am not sure whether that word refers to the 水井 cui2 cεⁿ2 itself, the large wooden ladle with which you scooped the water, or the method of bathing as a whole.
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Ah-bin » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:18 pm

Niuc wrote:

Thanks, Sim, for sharing your knowledge about linguistics. I also don't think that sandhis are there to be more elegant, because if that's so, why the sandhi itself usually is another citation tone. In fact I don't understand why Wu & Min languages have sandhis but not Yue, Hakka or Mandarin. Anyone know how sandhi tones developed? And how the early speakers applied those sandhis during the "implementation" period? Actually, I also would like to understand how English etc got the inflections?
I've been thinking over this for a while. Actually Mandarin does have tone sandhi, and I think you might have forgotten the rule you learnt when starting Mandarin and learning Nǐ hǎo! This becomes ní hǎo two third tones become a second and a third. The third tone in front of a second also loses its rising contour becoming 21 from 213. Both of these are examples of mandarin tone sandhi.

The two types of Hakka I am familiar with (namely Hoi-liuk 海陸 and Si-yen 四縣, both spoken in Taiwan) also have tone sandhi, Hoi-liuk sandhi is almost as complex as Hokkien sandhi.

Some of the varietes of Yue spoken in western 廣東 and eastern 廣西 have tone sandhi rules as complex as some Min languages.

The difference between Wu and Min sandhi is that it Min sandhi works from the last syllable backwards, and Wu moves from the first syllable in forwards. That was what an expert in Wu tone sandhi told me, anyway.

Where the tone sandhi comes from is a much more difficult question, I'll have a look and see if I can find some readable articles on the subject. I have seen many very difficult ones!
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions (Part 2)

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:37 pm

niuc wrote:
In fact I don't understand why Wu & Min languages have sandhis but not Yue, Hakka or Mandarin.
Ah-bin wrote:
Some of the varietes of Yue spoken in western 廣東 and eastern 廣西 have tone sandhi rules as complex as some Min languages.
Some time back, I mentioned to aokh1979 that I identified one possible rare case of tone sandhi in Cantonese: 知道. Try saying by itself. Low-level tone. Now, try saying 知道. Yup, it just became a mid-level tone.

Unless, unless... it is not 知道, but 知到. Not an impossibility, since Hokkien has its own 知影 cai-iaⁿ.

There is another example I can think of, though I am not sure if it qualifies as tone sandhi: yan. It can either be a low tone when referring to persons in general, or a rising tone when specifying gender.
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