Malaysian Hokkien Occupation Words

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Ah-bin
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Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Malaysian Hokkien Occupation Words

Postby Ah-bin » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:11 pm

A question has been brewing in my mind.

Do native Hokkien speakers prefer to express: "He is a greengrocer" as "He sells vegetables" or as "He is a vegetable seller"?

I means Hokkien prefer this way of expressing occupations:

I bē-bah 賣肉 – s/he is a butcher
I bē-chhài 賣菜个儂 – s/he is a greengrocer
I bē-hû 賣魚个儂 – s/he is a fishmonger
I bē-ke 賣雞个儂 – s/he chickens

Or does it prefer to make nouns by adding "-ê-lâng " Someone who…. to the end of the phrase like so?:

Bē-bah-ê-lâng 賣肉个儂 – a butcher
Bē-chhài-ê-lâng 賣菜个儂 – a greengrocer
Bē-hû-ê-lâng 賣魚个儂 – a fishmonger
Bē-ke-ê-lâng 賣雞个儂 – a chicken seller

I have seen many people translate words like "driver" and "fisherman" as hōaⁿ-chhia and liáh-hû, but can they really be used as nouns?

What do people use, for example, to complete the sentence:

I lâng kà-liáu sī…
伊儂kà了是…
"They are all"

If you add "bē-bah-ê-lâng 賣肉个儂", making "I sī bē-bah-ê-lâng" (伊是賣肉个儂), does that sound more natural, or do people just use the verb-object phrase? Sentences like "I lâng kà-liáu sī bē-bah" sound ungrammatical to me, I guess there would at least have to be an ê on the end to create a noun phrase. Perhaps I am too influenced by Mandarin grammar in this case?

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Malaysian Hokkien Occupation Words

Postby amhoanna » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:30 am

Ilâng kàliáu thóhái--ê.
伊人 kà 了討海 ·个。

My guess for N M'sia. The Taiwanese version would be "In lóng thóhái--ê".

"--ê" is also vested w/ some kind of copula function. I wouldn't say it's wrong to include a "sī", but it's often a sign of interference from Mandarin or English, used in speech by the "Mandominant", or in writing by the Manducated -- and the Hoklo-literate are mostly Manducated -- b/c people tend to over-extrapolate the quirks of their first-learnt written language to all other languages.

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Malaysian Hokkien Occupation Words

Postby amhoanna » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:32 am

I would not be surprised if many or most N M'sian speakers have that "sī" in there. If that's the case, I would chalk it up to the Cantonese influence.

Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Malaysian Hokkien Occupation Words

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:29 am

This makes a lot of sense. and it is also the sort of thing that gets missed when people are explaining how to say things in Hokkien. recently I came across "chi-le si ichit-hang e kheh-lang e chiah" (= This is a kind of Hakka food) in a site purporting to teach a kind of Hokkien (I'll let you guess which one) and realised that although I may sometimes translate English "a" as "chi-le" where it is not needed: i.e. "Che si chi-pun chhe·h" instead of "Che si chhe·h" for "this is a book". I notice

I think the ê might even be dropped in Penang-style Hokkien, a lot of people gave definitions for words like "stonemason" as "phah-chioh", without the ê. Unfortunately they didn;t put it in a sentence, so i couldn;t tell whether they prefer the copula or not….pity English and Mandarin both insist on it, because it is a tough job to find someone online who was educated neither in Mandarin nor English to find out if they use it or not!


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