Singular root of lán?

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Abun
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Singular root of lán?

Postby Abun » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:09 am

While reading Ang Ui-jins 臺灣禮俗語典, I stumbled on his explanation for the (Taiwanese) Hokkien plural personal pronouns:
北方的「們」實際就是「家」的意思。本作「門」,如「門風」即「家」風。客家話複數以「兜」(teu)表示,「兜」相當於閩雸語的tau,家也。但閩南語以「等」(tán)來表示。詳細的考證,參見拙著『談彎河佬語聲調研究』第五章「聲調研究在語源學尚的運用例」[I haven't read this one yet and also am not able to look the part in question up right now because I don't have it here],我現在僅提出結論如下:
汝等〔lí--tán〕 --> 〔lí--n〕 恁〔lín〕 (你們)
伊等〔i--tán〕 --> 〔i--n〕 亻因〔in〕 (他們)
我等〔guá--tán〕 --> 〔guá--n〕 阮〔guán〕 (我們)
余等〔lá--tán〕 --> 〔lá--n〕 咱〔lán〕 (咱們)
〔á--tán〕 --> 〔á--n〕 俺〔án〕 (咱們)
[Note: I changed his transcription system to POJ because his involved superscript-x's for indicating the "hanging" light tone, which I didn't know how to enter, therefore I used "--"]

(source: Ang Ui-jin 洪惟仁: Taiwan lisu yudian 臺灣禮俗語典 [Dictionary of Taiwanese Etiquettes and Customs]. Taipei: Independence Evening 自立晚報 (1986), 161.)

While I am somewhat doubtful about his 等-theory (there are the versions with lâng in other variants after all), it is obvious that there is a pattern of pluralisation by adding [-n], which is of course nothing new to me.

However he suggests a root lá (余) for the 1st person plural inclusive 咱 as well and this is new to me (even disregarding the character which I'm pretty sure can't be the "correct" one; although 康熙 has a reading with a dental initial (同都切, tôo), this is only used in a place name of the Xiongnu). Has anybody ever heard of such a word?

amhoanna
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby amhoanna » Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:24 am

I notice he published this in 1986, during the Dark Ages of Hoklology. I doubt the good professor believes any of that anymore.

"Lán" is interesting. What we need are comparative forms from as far and wide as poss. Another etymology I've heard is that it's a contraction of lír + goá + -n.

Abun
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby Abun » Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:45 am

amhoanna wrote:I notice he published this in 1986, during the Dark Ages of Hoklology. I doubt the good professor believes any of that anymore.

very possible :lol:

Also, I kind of have a logical problem with a singular root of lán because by logic it would have to be a 1st person singular inclusive pronoun and the 1st person singular seems inherently exclusive to me. Unless maybe in the rare cases of siamese twins talking to each other or a mother speaking to her unborn child, I fail to imagine a situation where "I" can include "you".

amhoanna wrote:"Lán" is interesting. What we need are comparative forms from as far and wide as poss.

You mean other theories about the etymology? "lír+guá+n" sounds interesting already.

Btw, I forgot to mention the other word Ang talks about which I have never heard of: án. Does anybody know that one?^^'

And then there's also gún... If guán is guá+n, can gún also be guá+n and still sound different? Or is gún a Choân-chiu loan in Chiang-chiu-style variants? Also, if it is guá+n, does that maybe mean that the [u] glide used to be a lot more prominent than the "main vowel" [a], which caused the [a] to disappear after [n] was added?

amhoanna
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby amhoanna » Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:07 am

If guán is guá+n, can gún also be guá+n and still sound different? Or is gún a Choân-chiu loan in Chiang-chiu-style variants? Also, if it is guá+n, does that maybe mean that the [u] glide used to be a lot more prominent than the "main vowel" [a], which caused the [a] to disappear after [n] was added?

The goán --> gún is overdetermined, i.e. not marked, i.e. natural. Goán is a high frequency usage. HFUs are esp. prone to becoming shorter, simpler, dropping syllables, etc. It's always possible for this kind of change to start in one place first (e.g. Coanciu) and "spread". Ciangciu could easily develop "gún" on its own, but every conversation with a Coanciu speaker could act as a seed, and bring the change about much sooner.

Prominence of the glide is interesting in itself for Hokkien. This might be the clearest example of the "Northeast Asianization" of Hokkien driven by 20th and 21st century geopolitics. If U talk to Hoklophones over 50 or 60, U'll notice -u- and -i- tends to be nice and long. Young people in "Mandarin overlay" territory have turned -u- and -i- into IPA [w] and [j]. Among young people, educated white collars tend to have [w] and [j]; blue collars who finished school have a bit longer of a glide; and dudes who drop out of school to gangbang or work in the market or construction have a full -u- and -i- just like grandpa. Girls in general have the short glide, and ones who have a full glide will be subtly devalued on the "marriage market" in any Mand-overlay city.

In Bangkok I notice the Teochew speakers have gone the other way: their -u- and -i- "glides" dominate the syllable, with the -a- that follows it having atrophied into a tiny schwa a là bahasa Thai.

...

án: I'm not familiar with this. The only án I know is in certain dialects, such as 同安﹣金門, where they have án instead of a; ánkong instead of akong, etc. Could be related.

I fail to imagine a situation where "I" can include "you".

Very Nordic-Western of U. :lol:

Throughout S.E. Asia we see lots of conflation btw lán and goá as well as conflation btw lán and lí.

Abun
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby Abun » Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:09 am

amhoanna wrote:The goán --> gún is overdetermined, i.e. not marked, i.e. natural. Goán is a high frequency usage. HFUs are esp. prone to becoming shorter, simpler, dropping syllables, etc. It's always possible for this kind of change to start in one place first (e.g. Coanciu) and "spread". Ciangciu could easily develop "gún" on its own, but every conversation with a Coanciu speaker could act as a seed, and bring the change about much sooner.

True, but shouldn't it then be equally possible for certain groups to shorten it to gán? But maybe that change has simply not yet occured yet? Especially if [u] is eliding to [w] in a lot of variants, a development towarts gán should be more probable than gún for the dialects in question. Or maybe even án if those variants lost the initial [g] in front of [u] as some variants apparently have.

amhoanna wrote:Very Nordic-Western of U. :lol:

Throughout S.E. Asia we see lots of conflation btw lán and goá as well as conflation btw lán and lí.

Haha the leopard can't change his spots can he :lol: but he may learn to grasp that other animals have other ways of fur patterns which work just as well. So please, enlighten me, how is lán as a substitute for goá or lí used? Is there a semantic implication in the use of lán instead of the "standard" pronoun?

amhoanna
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby amhoanna » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:31 am

So please, enlighten me, how is lán as a substitute for goá or lí used? Is there a semantic implication in the use of lán instead of the "standard" pronoun?

I should add I don't just mean the Hokkien words lán, lí and goá... I'm talking about the three concepts, throughout SE Asia.

To start with a Hoklo example: if U call someone and they don't know who U are, they might ask, "Lán hia tó'ūi?"

Also the word "lílán", meaning "lán", or Mandarin "你我". ("時間已経造成汝咱个阻礙...")

The Malay word KITA means "lán" in Std Malay (/Indonesian), but means YOU (sg) in many other dialects and sister languages, esp. in the east (Maluku, Sulawesi, etc.). If I went to Manado, for example, I would look up the pronouns in Manado Malay before going, at the same time as checking the exchange rates.

The Viet word TA* means "lán" generally, but it can also be used in the singular (I).

Nothing in Siamese or Cantonese, AFAIK. This may be "a saltwater thang".

* Just noticed the possible ta/kita correspondence, which could go with đã / sudah, đang / sedang, cậu / engkau etc. ... Roots deeply shared btw Vietnamese and Malay.

Abun
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby Abun » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:18 am

amhoanna wrote:I should add I don't just mean the Hokkien words lán, lí and goá... I'm talking about the three concepts, throughout SE Asia.

Yes, I also meant the concepts, I just felt that the terms "inclusive first person plural personal pronoun", "second person singular personal pronoun" and "first person singular personal pronoun" are somewhat bulky, so I substituted them with shorter lán, lír, goá :mrgreen:

amhoanna wrote:To start with a Hoklo example: if U call someone and they don't know who U are, they might ask, "Lán hia tó'ūi?"

Also the word "lílán", meaning "lán", or Mandarin "你我". ("時間已経造成汝咱个阻礙...")

This is interesting. I always had the impression that East Asian cultures tended to stress social hierarchies and therefore to emphasize the social distance between "you" and "me/us" (the custom to call people by their titles or Korean and Japanese complex honorific systems may serve as examples how this reflects on the language). The differenciation of inclusive and exclusive personal pronouns also fits this picture because by this way, it is possible to make a sharper destinction between in-group guán and out-group lír/lín. The blending of lán with goá or lír on the other hand would blur the lines between "you" and "me", which I think is interesting in your first example in particular, because in every language I know, you would usually use the highest degree of honorifics (i.e. social distinction) towards people you don't know.*

amhoanna wrote:The Malay word KITA means "lán" in Std Malay (/Indonesian), but means YOU (sg) in many other dialects and sister languages, esp. in the east (Maluku, Sulawesi, etc.). If I went to Manado, for example, I would look up the pronouns in Manado Malay before going, at the same time as checking the exchange rates.

I must admit, I have next to no knowledge of Austronesian languages so far. Does that mean some of those languages do not distinguish between the concepts represented by lír and lán in Hokkien? If not, do you have theories about how the same word might have come to represent those otherwise clearly distinguished concepts? Were they maybe the same in "proto-Malay"?

amhoanna wrote:The Viet word TA* means "lán" generally, but it can also be used in the singular (I).

So could this be roughly compared to the use of gún for "I" in certain Hokkien variants then (apart from the fact that gún is exclusive while TA* is inclusive of course)?

amhoanna wrote:This may be "a saltwater thang".

I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with this expression...

*EDIT: I just remembered that in Mandarin I would probably not use 您 towards a total stranger... Still, the overall tendency remains: European languages would use honorific pronouns if available (German "Sie", French "vous", Russian "Вы"...), Korean and Japanese would use honorific verb forms, Tibetan would use honorific vocabulary... Even in Mandarin, although one would probably still stick to 你, one would tend to be more humble than towards people whose social relation towards oneself is already established and tend to the use of forms of address like 先生、小姐(as long as it doesn't denote prostitutes in the area in question)、師傅、老師 and so on.

amhoanna
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby amhoanna » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:45 am

Does that mean some of those languages do not distinguish between the concepts represented by lír and lán in Hokkien?

Possibly, to some degree. The one Austronesian language I know is Riau-Johor-based Malay. The distinction is pretty clear in general.

If not, do you have theories about how the same word might have come to represent those otherwise clearly distinguished concepts? Were they maybe the same in "proto-Malay"?

Not sure. I bet there's dozens of papers on this on the internet. The roots KITA, KAMI, etc. go back to Proto-Austronesian.

小姐(as long as it doesn't denote prostitutes in the area in question)

:P
The funny thing is when U consider what 女 and 且 represented in early times.

So could this be roughly compared to the use of gún for "I" in certain Hokkien variants then

Not sure what U mean by "roughly". The Vietnamese TA seems closer in spirit to the English "royal we".

I always had the impression that East Asian cultures tended to stress social hierarchies and therefore to emphasize the social distance between "you" and "me/us" (the custom to call people by their titles or Korean and Japanese complex honorific systems may serve as examples how this reflects on the language). The differenciation of inclusive and exclusive personal pronouns also fits this picture because by this way, it is possible to make a sharper destinction between in-group guán and out-group lír/lín. The blending of lán with goá or lír on the other hand would blur the lines between "you" and "me", which I think is interesting in your first example in particular, because in every language I know, you would usually use the highest degree of honorifics (i.e. social distinction) towards people you don't know.*

Probably too broad to say anything meaningful. Exclus. vs. inclus. "we" is a maritime thing; Austronesian plus Hokkien / Vietnamese / Teochew. Cantonese and Siamese don't have it. Penang speakers seem to sometimes use "goálâng" for either inclus. or exclus. contexts -- maybe a Cantonism.

For Vietnamese, strangers tend to use kinship terms. Formal respectful pronouns are reserved for speeches, maybe customer service, etc. I almost never use them b/c if U use one where a kinship term is expected or allowed, it creates sudden distance unless the other person senses that U did it unintentionally.

SE Asian languages have complex pronominal systems, esp. compared to Chinese ones. Rank differences are definitely a big part of all that. The oldest roots, the ones that flow from the proto-languages, are usually in the most vulgar layers. Malay AKU (goá) is a word as old as time, but in some communities, but U're generally not supposed to use it with strangers; yet SAYA (goá), the polite word, doesn't have the same sizzle and doesn't get used in song lyrics as much. The Siamese cognate KU, also meaning goá, is only to be used w/ people very close to U, or when U want to start a fight.

Ah-bin
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby Ah-bin » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:54 pm

Just something to add. I have a suspicion that Vietnamese ta may have picked up the meaning of "our" through an enforced parallelism with written Chinese. Back when Vietnamese could only be written in Nôm, books for learning the script consisted of rhymed lists of vocabulary set out in "A [in Sino-Vietnamese] is B [in Vietnamese]"

The first few lines of the book Tam thiên tự (三千字) go:

天 Thiên là trời (sky is sky)
地 Địa là đất (earth is earth)
舉 Cử là cất (to raise is to raise)
存 Tồn là còn (to still exist is to still exist)
子 Tử là con (child is child)
孫 Tôn là cháu (grandchild is grandchild)
六 Lục là sáu (six is six)
三 Tam là ba (three is three)
家 Gia là nhà (home is home)
國 Quốc là nước…. (country is country)

and so on, I can't be bothered putting the Nôm in. In all of these rhymes Sino-Vietnamese ngã (我) ta is always paired with the native "ta". What I have noticed is that the connections drawn between Chinese and Vietnamese words in these rhymes have been influential in the creation of "native" Vietnamese vocabulary through calquing the individual morphemes of a compound word according to the Sino-Vietnamese compound, such as "nhà nước" modelled on "quốc gia" 國家 (with the morphemes reversed). 我 used as "our" is common in literary Chinese, and the Vietnamese seem to have modelled compounds on usages such as 我軍 and 我國, making (in the case of the second compound) "nước ta" meaning "our country". I think it might be through this habit of calquing that the ta in Vietnamese picked up the meaning of a first person inclusive pronoun, but I need to have a closer look at the history of the other first person pronouns in Vietnamese, to see if the original meaning was inclusive or not.

When I get back to Australia I'll check this, and also see if I can find anything in the Tai languages in Kwong-sai and northeastern Vietnam that indicates an inclusive pronoun.

Another thing to think about is the lack of the 北佬 word 咱們 in Taiwanese Mandarin. You would think they would have been more likely to use it for translating "lán" when Taiwanese first started learning Mandarin, but I think it may have been one of those words that is good 普通話 but bad 國語, and had a limited range of use before the bandits took over and promoted it.

amhoanna
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby amhoanna » Sat Dec 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Kadri, I would be interested in knowing what U find.

One other word that comes to mind is "người ta" (PEOPLE; OTHER PEOPLE).

I have a different theory regarding ZǍNMEN. I've noticed it's really a Northern word, used consistently by people from certain parts of North China. Apolitical, uneducated people use it no less -- possible more -- than anyone else, suggesting that there was no Party influence. On the other hand, Southern people don't use it much if at all, and the KMT was basically a Southern thing, so KMT Mandarin kind of did w/o it.

Kind of echoing your point, using "zǎnmen" maybe does serve as some kind of a political shibboleth among Southern Chinese. When a coastal Southern Chinese person uses the word, it does kind of "put me on guard". 8) The "ascendancy of the North" is one of the themes underlying Trung Cong (CCP) rule.

Abun
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby Abun » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:08 am

amhoanna wrote:
So could this be roughly compared to the use of gún for "I" in certain Hokkien variants then

Not sure what U mean by "roughly". The Vietnamese TA seems closer in spirit to the English "royal we".

I meant the blurred border between the pronouns. I'm trying to get an idea of the circumstances under which one might use lán for second person singular.
For example, as I've mentioned someplace before the Korean 우리 (uri) is a first person plural pronoun (both in- and exclusive) but can also mean "my" (i.e. something belonging to the in-group when talking to an outsider), for example 우리 회사 (uri hoesa, "our" company), 우리 아버지 ("our" father, this can be used even if the speaker is an only child). English "you" and German "Sie" strictly speaking are plural pronouns as well but got adopted as a second person singular honorific pronoun (English "you" even became so common that it replaced the original plain second person sgl. pronoun "thou" completely). English royal we is a similar case with plural indicating an honorific. And although I have not yet completely understood the mechanics behind gún, there are obviously rules there, too (including a rather feminine note ect.).

So does this usage of lán indicate an honorific? I've wondered for some time already how one would adress people one respects in Bân-lâm-gí. Whether there are honorific pronouns such as Mandarin 您 which I had just not yet heard about or whether it is done similarly to Korean or Japanese which prefer to use titles. Or judging by amhoanna's example, maybe Bân-lâm-gí takes a kind of middle way and uses titles for people I know I have to be respectful towards, and lán as a sort of mild honorific for strangers whose social rank I don't yet know?

niuc
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby niuc » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:39 pm

夠範久無來啊! :mrgreen:

Gún in my variant is used for both "my" and "our" (beside "exclusive we"). Gúntau 阮兜 (or more natively and frequently gúnnaī 阮內) can mean both "our house/place" and "my house/place". In my variant, gúnhiaⁿ 阮兄 for "my elder brother" is considered more "refined/smooth/native" than guá'êhiaⁿ 我个兄.

I think gún for "my" is used for persons/places/things that are usually shared, and maybe originally meant to cultivate "humility" (e.g. awareness that those are too big to be owned by oneself alone). But of course gún can be used arrogantly too.

For others such as book, pen, clothes, and even car (depends on context), I would use guá'ê 我个. Using gún for these in fact usually sounds weird or at least imprecise.

Usage of lín and lír'ê for "singular your" mirror the above.

In certain context, lán is used instead of gún to make the addressee feel welcomed and included.

Of course, these are what I observed in my variant. Not so sure about others.

Abun
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby Abun » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:43 pm

niuc wrote:I think gún for "my" is used for persons/places/things that are usually shared, and maybe originally meant to cultivate "humility" (e.g. awareness that those are too big to be owned by oneself alone). But of course gún can be used arrogantly too.

When you say "things that are usually shared", am I correct in understanding that you mean a sort of inherent quality of the thing posessed? Or does it really have to be a shared thing in the particular context? For example, could/would a single child say "gún lãu-pē" in your variant or would s/he tend to use "goá--ê lãu-pē" because s/he has no one to share the lãu-pē with?^^

niuc wrote:In certain context, lán is used instead of gún to make the addressee feel welcomed and included.

This seems different (and at first glance more intuitive) to me than the use amhoanna mentioned earlier, because it seems to denote something which is technically "mine" but is expressed as "ours" for the reasons you mentioned. Amhoanna's example (asking an unknown caller "Lán hia tó-ūi?") on the other hand pretty obviously doesn't include the "I". Do you have this kind of lán in your variant as well?

niuc
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby niuc » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:51 pm

Abun wrote:When you say "things that are usually shared", am I correct in understanding that you mean a sort of inherent quality of the thing posessed? Or does it really have to be a shared thing in the particular context? For example, could/would a single child say "gún lãu-pē" in your variant or would s/he tend to use "goá--ê lãu-pē" because s/he has no one to share the lãu-pē with?^^

Yes, you are correct. In my variant, a single child should also say "gún lāupē".

This seems different (and at first glance more intuitive) to me than the use amhoanna mentioned earlier, because it seems to denote something which is technically "mine" but is expressed as "ours" for the reasons you mentioned. Amhoanna's example (asking an unknown caller "Lán hia tó-ūi?") on the other hand pretty obviously doesn't include the "I". Do you have this kind of lán in your variant as well?

I think I ever heard that usage (as in Amhoanna's example) but very rarely. IMHO the intention is similar, i.e. to be inclusive and to create togetherness. I am not sure if anyone ever say something like "Lán naī tītô·?" to mean "Where is your house?" i.e. Lán as possessive pronoun, but this sounds intrusive ("sok akrab" in Indonesian) to my ears, unlike "Lán hia tó-ūi?" i.e. Lán as personal pronoun.

amhoanna
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Re: Singular root of lán?

Postby amhoanna » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:44 am

Niuc, goânlâi Bâgán pún ciong chù kóng cò "lāi", kah Tiôciu-ōe kāng. 8)

I also benefited from Niuc's answer regarding the use of gún. I learned or thought I learned somewhere that "gún lāupē" is used whenever there's at least one sibling, but I guess it's used w/ or w/o siblings.

My "interpretation" of gún vs. goá ê -- Niuc, pls correct if off -- is that gún is used when it refers to something that the speaker is part of something with. "Gún bó͘" would be correct b/c the speaker and his wife are part of something -- a marriage, a coupling, a ความรัก. :mrgreen: On the other hand, I've also heard "goá ê bó͘" used. It seems to be a "marked form" with an emphasis on the speaker's possession of his wife, e.g. "Cò mihⁿ àmsî ca̍p tiám khà lâi chē góa ê bó͘?"


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