Some more Hokkien words

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.

Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:01 am

The reason Hainanese sounds "chhau-leng-tai" that is because its history is a bit like that of Singlish. What I mean is that it was a language that was picked up and learnt by people who were not native speakers of the language - in the case of Singlish this was Hokkien speakers learning English, and in the case of Hainanese it was Hloi or Li speakers learning a kind of Hoklo.

They couldn't pronounce nasalised vowels so they just dropped them, and they substituted sounds they had trouble saying. Grammar and vocabulary were also affected to some extent, as far as I've read, but I can't track down any examples to quote here right now.

Lui-chiu (雷州) dialect is like Hainanese without most of the influence from Hloi, so it is more similar to Teochiu or Hokkien. I've only heard it once and it sounds like Hokkien but I couldn't understand more than a few words.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby niuc » Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:05 pm

Ah-bin wrote:The reason Hainanese sounds "chhau-leng-tai" that is because its history is a bit like that of Singlish. What I mean is that it was a language that was picked up and learnt by people who were not native speakers of the language - in the case of Singlish this was Hokkien speakers learning English, and in the case of Hainanese it was Hloi or Li speakers learning a kind of Hoklo.

Indeed Singlish is a kind of "chhau-leng-tai" version of English :lol: I don't know much about Hainanese, but if the sound shift is quite consistent, was it the only cause?

Lui-chiu (雷州) dialect is like Hainanese without most of the influence from Hloi, so it is more similar to Teochiu or Hokkien. I've only heard it once and it sounds like Hokkien but I couldn't understand more than a few words.

Thanks for the info. I got this from youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRWsrnQlK_8&feature=related
雷話 there (apart from introduction that is Cantonese) is quite similar to Hokkien/Teochew.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:56 pm

It does sound quite nice. Thanks for that link.

Perhaps I was wrong about the dropping of nasalised sounds though, because Lui-chiu drops them as well. Some of the sound changes are probably due to changes that occurred in isolation. It's interesting that Hainanese picked up an initial f- from ph- making it different from other types of Southern Min.

BTW if anyone is interested in Hainanese heritage, the best book to read is Edward Schafer's "Shore of Pearls" this is the best book written on early Hainanese history I have seen in any language, including Chinese.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby Ah-bin » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:25 am

I'll get back to the original topic now... I'll put something up about Hainanese POJ (yes it does exist!) on another thread in the next few days.

I'm interested to find out what words people use for "originally"

I know goân-lâi 原來 from Taiwanese, but I've never heard it used on the PGHK podcast.

Pún-chiâⁿ 本成 is a word Sim taught me. Is it used anywhere else except Penang? Perhaps this is the "original" Hokkien word, ousted by the more literary term goân-lâi?

Also how about 病囝 pÈⁿ kiáⁿ for pregnant? Do other places use this or use ū-sin 有身?

"Always" can be 恬恬 tiām-tiām as well in Penang? How to distinguish it from the tiām-tiām meaning "quiet"?

Thanks for any comments.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby aokh1979 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:48 am

原來 is not unique in Taiwan, it's a very common daily word in Penang. I can assure you.

本成 or sometimes 本來 are both very very common daily word in Penang, I also can assure that.

病囝 is definitely a usual word in Penang, we use it when we say someone's feeling unwell due to pregnancy, like vomit, dizzy, uncomfortable due to the baby......

恬恬 or 惔惔 sometimes can be a little confusing if you don't follow the conversation. Ha.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby niuc » Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:56 am

Ah-bin wrote: BTW if anyone is interested in Hainanese heritage, the best book to read is Edward Schafer's "Shore of Pearls" this is the best book written on early Hainanese history I have seen in any language, including Chinese.

Not many Chinese, even Hainanese, know about this, I guess. Are you a Sinologist by profession, Ah-bin?

aokh1979 wrote:原來 is not unique in Taiwan, it's a very common daily word in Penang.

原來 goân-lâi in my variant tends to be used as a realization of something previously unknown. E.g. Aokh, when you tell your Xiamen friends that you are from Malaysia, they may say 原來汝是馬來亞人. But if you want to say that you are originally from Malaysia (although now you're living in Xiamen), in my variant you would say 我原本徛馬來亞. So my variant differentiates between 原來 and 原本.

本成 or sometimes 本來 are both very very common daily word in Penang, I also can assure that.

Both are found in my variant too.

病囝 is definitely a usual word in Penang, we use it when we say someone's feeling unwell due to pregnancy, like vomit, dizzy, uncomfortable due to the baby......

Yes, this is the definition of 病囝 in my variant also, which is different from 有身 (pregnant).

恬恬 or 惔惔 sometimes can be a little confusing if you don't follow the conversation.

Both meanings also exist in my variant, but usually we use 定定 'tia*7-tia*7' for "always" to avoid the confusion.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby Ah-bin » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:48 am

原來 goân-lâi in my variant tends to be used as a realization of something previously unknown. E.g. Aokh, when you tell your Xiamen friends that you are from Malaysia, they may say 原來汝是馬來亞人. But if you want to say that you are originally from Malaysia (although now you're living in Xiamen), in my variant you would say 我原本徛馬來亞. So my variant differentiates between 原來 and 原本.


Thanks Niuc. I wonder if this is the same in Penang?

Are you a Sinologist by profession, Ah-bin?


I spend far too much time reading books like this...if that is what you mean!

I can also recommend "The Empire of Min" by the same author. It is a history of the Min 閩 Empire, that flourished between the T'ang and Sung(the only time when Chinese Hokkien had their own independent state), but it's not as much fun to read as the Shore of Pearls.

病囝 is definitely a usual word in Penang, we use it when we say someone's feeling unwell due to pregnancy, like vomit, dizzy, uncomfortable due to the baby......


So Penang does use 有身 as well?
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby niuc » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:14 am

Ah-bin wrote:I spend far too much time reading books like this...if that is what you mean!

Must be a good thing to be able to do that! I look forward to reading more sharings about interesting stuffs you have read. Thanks in advance! :mrgreen:
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby aokh1979 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:49 am

有身 is indeed widely used in Penang. I hear people say it. But in daily gossip, I think people tend to say 有囝 or 大-pat-肚 or 有 baby more often...... ^.^
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby xng » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:56 am

aokh1979 wrote:有身 is indeed widely used in Penang. I hear people say it. But in daily gossip, I think people tend to say 有囝 or 大-pat-肚 or 有 baby more often...... ^.^



Do you not know the correct chinese character or you are lazy to type it ?

大腹肚
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby hohomi » Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:34 am

tuā pak tóo 大腹肚
ū-sin 有身

We also say tuà-sin(帶身).
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby SimL » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:22 am

Ah-bin wrote:...
Are you a Sinologist by profession, Ah-bin?


I spend far too much time reading books like this...if that is what you mean!

Haha! I feel Ah-bin is being rather too modest about his credentials...

I think there would be very few sinologists (or members of this forum, for that matter) who could:

1. Meet a group of three Malaysians on a long-distance bus from Germany to Holland and speak Cantonese to one of them, Hokkien to the other two, and Mandarin to all three.

2. Go to the largest Chinese bookstore in Amsterdam, and speak to the proprietor in Cantonese, discussing the difference between two different variants of Cantonese, and the pricing policy in the shop.

3. Go to one of the neighbourhood Chinese take-away restaurants here in Amsterdam and speak (albeit basic) Hakka to the proprietor.

4. Decide during a long stay in Taiwan that he would have "Taiwanese-only days" where he would refuse to speak Mandarin to anyone he met, insisting that he only spoke Taiwanese.

5. Commute every day from Amsterdam to Leiden to do research at the Leiden University Library (the major library for East Asian studies in the Netherlands) with a 14th century Chinese novel in his knapsack for light reading*.

But even if there indeed are a handful of sinologists who can do all this (and the world is so large, and there are so many talented people in it (some of whom I met at the Taiwan conference) that I wouldn't like to claim that no other such person existed)... I still doubt if any of them besides Ah-bin can:

6. Take Dutch as a "minor", to complement his Chinese "major" at university, and then speak it so well on the streets of Amsterdam that I (and I'm sure most Dutch people) can't tell that he's not a native speaker.

7. Go for 3 days to Newcastle-on-Tyne in the north of England (a city which - as the name suggests - straddles the River Tyne) and come back saying: "I've worked out what one of the key differences between the people natively born north of the Tyne River and those born south of it is. One group pronounces <X> like "<this>", while the other group pronounces it like "<this>" (imitating and reproducing a tiny difference in the sound of the vowel).

8. Speak basic Estonian, German and Danish.

9. Speak Maori well.

So, there. I hope I haven't embarassed Ah-bin by revealing some aspects of his background, but I feel that because he poses his questions about (Penang and other forms of) Hokkien in such a modest way, people may not realise just how much he knows.

*: I call it a 14th century Chinese "novel" for ease of description, but strictly speaking, the novel as we understand it is a European late 18th century literary form. What I meant was that it was a (slightly) more "colloquial" work with exciting adventures of gods and demons, rather than one of the dry and refined "Chinese Classics" or some other literary work.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:28 am

Aiya!!!!! Phai-se kau si!

Hey, it wasn't very good Hokkien and Cantonese...and I assure you it was really, really terrible Hakka.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby SimL » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:02 pm

Ah-bin wrote:Aiya!!!!! Phai-se kau si!

Hey, it wasn't very good Hokkien and Cantonese...and I assure you it was really, really terrible Hakka.

Hehe! Ok, I mean, I knew just from your hesitations and the shortness of the conversation that the Hakka was quite limited, but still, it's quite an achievement to know all the other dialects and (even a little bit of) Hakka. Quite a number of Peninsular Malaysians might be able to do as much as that, but the number of Westerners must surely be quite small.
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Re: Some more Hokkien words

Postby xng » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:27 pm

SimL wrote:
Ah-bin wrote:Aiya!!!!! Phai-se kau si!

Hey, it wasn't very good Hokkien and Cantonese...and I assure you it was really, really terrible Hakka.

Hehe! Ok, I mean, I knew just from your hesitations and the shortness of the conversation that the Hakka was quite limited, but still, it's quite an achievement to know all the other dialects and (even a little bit of) Hakka. Quite a number of Peninsular Malaysians might be able to do as much as that, but the number of Westerners must surely be quite small.



I would love to practise my hokkien with taiwanese as the standard of hokkien in Malaysia/Singapore is only basic. I have practised my cantonese with Hong kong guys, and mandarin with China guys.

But I don't intend to learn hakka.. but thai. :lol:
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