Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.

Facial features of Hokkiens

Post by Sim » Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:40 pm

Hi Niuc,

Some anecdotes:

1. When I was young, my mother used to tell me that she didn't like to be photographed from the side, and would always try to turn to face the camera, if someone was taking pictures. She said she did this because Hokkiens (which she is) "have very flat faces, which look very ugly in profile" !!!

2. When I was at university in Australia, I became very good friends with an Australian man, Ross (he eventually married a Singaporean girl). After his very first trip to Penang, he came back to tell me excitedly: "Oh, when I looked around me in Penang, SO MANY PEOPLE LOOKED LIKE SIM!!!!". Apparently I have very typical (Penang) Hokkien features.


P.S. I had a parallel experience too. I had a very close Scottish friend, Ian, in Australia, whom I always just used to think of as "himself". When I went to Scotland, I looked up his parents in his home-town, and true enough, about 30% of the men I saw had features which I had (up to that point) always thought of as "unique to Ian".


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Sim » Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:53 pm

Hi Niuc,

I too like Church Romanization / Peh-oe-ji a lot. I agree with you that "c & ch" are nicer than "ch & chh" (why not use a single c, it's not used for anything else anyway, plus it matches Malay/Indonesian).

I think my own romanisation differs from CR in some ways. I write "-ua-" where I think CR writes "-oa-". This is a typical problem with the transcription of diphthongs in many languages actually. In many languages (e.g. German), the diphthongs transcribed "ai", "au", "ua", "ia" are often pronounced (phonetically) [ae], [ao], [oa], [ea]. That is to say, the begin or end points are not as high as the transcription sugggests.

It really doesn't matter, because "psychologically", the speaker often thinks that (s)he is going to the highest point, it's just that in practice they don't. The intended diphthong is clear in any case.


Dylan Sung

Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Dylan Sung » Fri Aug 29, 2003 10:26 pm

I'm not a usual contributor to this forum, but having read this thread, and having received a recent private request for info, I guess this is relevant. Below is part of my reply to that request, the inquirer mentioned Soren Egerod's study of the Lungtu dialect of Zhongshan many decades ago, and wondered if anything new was available.

In the book I have out, called Guangdong Min Fangyan Yuyin
Yanjiu (which I translate as Guangdong Min Dialect Linguistic Studies),
written by Lin LunLun and Chen Xiaofeng, ISBN 7-81036-091-4, (pub 1996 by
Shantou University Press). Pages 151 to 187, the fourth chapter of the book
is Zhongshan Min Fangyan Dao (Zhongshan Min dialect Islands) gives a
linguistic description of the Longdu dialect.

It says that (my translation, albeit a rough one)

ZhongShan city is found near the southern Guangdong coast. It is surrounded
by Yue dialect areas, bu three unconnected populations speak Min language
dialects. These are termed Zhongshan Min dialect islands. They include
Longdu dialect (speakers in Shaxi, Dayong towns) , Nanlang dialect (speakers
in Nanlang and Zhangjiabian) and Sanxiang dialect (speakers in Sanxiang
town), these three Min dialect speaking areas has a total population of one
seventh of the Zhongshan area. Of these Longdu speaking areas have speakers
totalling around 100,000 plus and thus forms the major portion of Zhongshan
Min dialect island speakers. Nanlang dialect is close to Longdu dialect.
Sanxiang speakers are found in southern hilly districts of Zhongshan, and
differs to the other two groups, with speakers totalling around 30,000 or

It gives the a phonological description of the Zhongshan Longdu dialect,
with sixteen initials, 87 rimes (a list of the vowels useed), seven tones,
an account of the tone sandi, and then the rest of the chapter deals with
the other two varieties of Zhongshan Min dialects. Finally the chapter does
some comparisons with these three dialects and Xiamen, Putian, Fuzhou and
Shantou dialects for specific characters, and a discussion about the tones.

Dylan Sung

Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Dylan Sung » Fri Aug 29, 2003 10:28 pm

I should clarity "I have out", as I'm visiting HK again, I make good use of the libraries.


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Niuc » Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:54 pm

Hi Sim,

Thanks for the anecdotes :-)

Is it true that Hokkiens have very flat faces? From what I know, not only Hokkiens but virtually most Eastern Asian faces are comparably flat.

I learn a lot from your expertise in phonology. Thanks & keep sharing! :-)


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Steve » Thu Dec 11, 2003 11:45 pm

I'm new to this forum, but was happy to find the discussion of Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong, particularly this comments about the Longdu, Nanlang, and Sanxiang areas in Zhongshan.

As a Chinese American in the San Francisco Bay Area, I can tell you the Longdu dialect exists here, although Cantonese speakers are still the majority. My own family is from the Nanlang area, but only very old folks spoke the Nanlang dialect, and even then only infrequently; more often they spoke the Zhongshan version of Cantonese, which is intelligible to Cantonese speakers from Guangzhou, Hong Kong, the Three County (Nanhai, Shunde, and Panyu), and a fair number of Four County speakers.

Here's a question. With the increasing number of Taiwanese business people coming to the Zhuhai SEZ and other parts of the Pearl River Delta, has anyone heard of Minnan speaking Taiwanese communicating with their long-lost Longdu, Nanlang, and Sanxiang cousins?


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Niuc » Sat Dec 13, 2003 2:51 pm

Hi Steve

Nice to have you here in the forum. Your story is very interesting. Hopefully you'll continue to share more. Regarding your question, may be Taiwanese friends here can help.

Best Regards,


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by A-Hiong » Mon Dec 22, 2003 6:32 am

Possibly that Guangdong Minnan speakers can communicate with each other but I doubt it. Unless you really get used to the different words and pronunciation then they might find it mutually intelligible. However, just off the bat, Teochiu and Taiwanese, its not that easy to understand. There's many words that they pronounce differently. Its more likely that someone from Taiwan could talk to someone from Xiamen or Zhangzhou with no problem or minimum problems. Teochiu is possible if you are used to it. I don't know enough of the other Guangdong minnan dialects to say if Taiwanese people could really pick up what they are saying and understand.

Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by matt » Tue Dec 23, 2003 8:12 pm

I know from my experience with Loong doo, it sounds like a mixture of Cantonese and Fujianese. Such as the usage of the word "wa" for I, and "si" for the verb "to be"... But of course they are related. I find that in the States there are few Loong Doo people here, as most Cantonese people tend to be of Tai Shan Descent. I don't know many words, except for such miscellaneous things as "bring" (kai li) and "faster" (ke nay).


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by taiwanese » Sat Dec 27, 2003 12:36 pm

a good forum to widen our view in southern languages, isn't it?

Once I found that a music band called "gaza" from Hong Kong.
It means cockroach in Cantonese. And in Taiwanese a cockroach is called
"gazua", then I knew I find a long-lost relative.

Wellcome to ask me things about Taiwanese language.

my msn messenger latom@so-net.net.tw

Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by A » Thu Feb 12, 2004 12:49 am

PDF:略論粵方言對中山閩語的影響 ... TUSETQTQTZ


Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by Chongtak » Fri May 28, 2004 9:48 pm

Asnwer to taiwanese, cockroach is not "gaza" in cantonese; cockroach=gaat jaat
Gazua is in hokkien from taiwan?
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm

Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by danteferry » Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:36 am

Is it possible to request someone to record on tape some written Catholic prayers (seven prayers) in these Hokkien dialects, & Teochiu? Can someone also put them on Church Romanization? I need them for a compilation of prayers in different languages. Thanks a lot! - Dante Ferry, Manila, Philippines

Hi guys

Re: Facial features of Hokkiens

Post by Hi guys » Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:04 pm

Hi, im from singapore, just want to ask anyone know how to say 'i love you' in min dong dialects in fujian province??

Re: Hokkien Dialects in Guangdong

Post by may » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:08 am

hi, i just want to ask how to say : i love you in hokkian language.thanks