multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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amhoanna
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multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:31 pm

I've noticed that this kind of topic can generate heated debate between strangers, so I'd like to start by saying that this is mostly just for fun. There's already a pretty good multi-dialect system out there for writing Hoklo: hànjī.

So here's what's interesting: Hoklo pe̍h'oējī as it is commonly used, and definitely Vietnamese quốc ngũ, both maintain contrasts that don't exist in all dialects, but are generally observed in writing. So, for example, nobody ever seems to write "hànlī". Instead, they might write hànjī but pronounce it hànlī.

There is no dialect of Vietnamese that observes all the contrasts that exist in the written standard. Instead, people just read the orthography according to their own dialect(s). Sometimes, such as in karaoke in general, everybody uses the Hànội pronunciations. Other times, such as when singing the southern delta types of music (is it called quê), everybody uses the quê pronunciation.

But since POJ has come down to us mostly as an Amoy thing or an urban Taiwan thing, the system isn't equipped to deal with the central vowels. It also isn't equipped to deal with 8-tone dialects of Hoklo.

What's interesting is that the Vietnamese writing system seems almost tailor-made for this pan-Hoklo-Hokkien. We could even throw Teochew into the mix.

First, the tones. The writing system allows us six.

o ò ỏ õ ó ọ

Plus our checked tones: oh ọh (or pick any of the others)

We could also build in the distinction between the two types of 4th tones. There's the kah with a running tone that falls, and the kah with a high, even running tone.

Vowels-wise, the Vietnamese orthography is vowel-rich.

e i u o a
ê ô
ư ơ
ă â (not needed)

This system could accommodate the o / o͘ split in Hoklo as well as the two "e" sounds in Ciangciu Hoklo, not to mention the central vowels in Coânciu and Tâng'oaⁿ Hoklo. The awkward "-ere" diphthong could easily be written ơe.

That said, much of the variation is simply too complex to be captured in a writing system w/o totally sacrificing ease of learning. 間 keng vs kaiⁿ vs kuiⁿ, for example. Hànjī are just naturally strong in this area.

After all these yrs, tho, I have to say, I still haven't gotten used to the hàn-lô writing system that mixes hànjī w/ POJ. It still looks as ugly as it did at first sight.

Hangul are great b/c they mesh with hànjī. They don't really work "out of the box" b/c there's no way to indicate tones or nasalization. But what's really interesting is that the vowel inventory also seems to be almost tailor made for "pan-Hoklo". Here they are with their equivalents in POJ and quoc ngu:


i
i/y



ir
ư


u
u


o
ô


er
ơ


e
ê


e (open e, with the dot)
e


a

Missing: no open o; some diphthongs aren't available, such as -iau, which would have to be written using 얄 -ial or some similar compromise.

So'í, nạ sỉ bơh iọng Oạtlảm ể "kokgứjị" (KGJ) lải siá Họkló bủn, i ệ sêⁿ cồ ánnê. Kồh ụ cịt ể hốchù: tữ nuíthế hongbịn, KGJ kỉsịt pí POJ khah hố chúlí.

Cit cụn sịtcãi sĩ siuⁿ ẻng 'a. :P
Ah-bin
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin » Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:33 pm

I quite like the idea, probably Quon Ngu would fit Hokkien better than it does Vietnamese. A lot of the spellings make no sense whatsoever ong is pronounced as om, học as họp and so on.

One of my fellow students travelled around China annotating Mandarin in Quoc Ngu, and got very good results being understood when he read it out. I've also seen a Vietnamese book for teaching Cantonese which I stupidly did not buy when I was in Hanoi.

How would you write the glottal stop entering tone though?
So, for example, nobody ever seems to write "hànlī". Instead, they might write hànjī but pronounce it hànlī.
Nowadays I've only ever heard Amoy and Coan-chiu people say it like that. I thought everyone in Taiwan kept the j, but I have only spent time in Tai-tiong and Tai-lam with Taiwanese speakers.

I'm guessing that when Douglas wrote his dictionary, Amoy speakers could still distinguish l and j, but who can tell. I didn't pay enough attention when I had access to some of those old Hokkien-Dutch dictionaries last year.

There was actually a Hangul based system for writing Taiwanese syllables in boxes, but I can't remember where I saw it now.


I also used to have a copy of Animal Farm in Tai-lo style, but I lent it to someone.
AndrewAndrew
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by AndrewAndrew » Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:15 am

As well as the -ng/-uinn difference you've identified, a far bigger problem is the fact that the 陽上 tone maps inconsistently into 陽去 and (I think) 陰上 in dialects other than Chinchew.

But I do like the idea of a square form of hanggul or zhuyin for Hokkien that can fit into Hanji text. Also we need some way of marking literary vs colloquial pronunciations, etc.
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by aokh1979 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:30 am

Hi amhoanna:

Open O in Hangul will be ㅓ......
amhoanna
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:20 pm

Open O in Hangul will be ㅓ......
But then what do we do for the "er" sound in Coảnciu / Tảng'oaⁿ dialects?
As well as the -ng/-uinn difference you've identified, a far bigger problem is the fact that the 陽上 tone maps inconsistently into 陽去 and (I think) 陰上 in dialects other than Chinchew.
Interesting. I've been using the UCLA 當代泉州音字彙. The distribution btw 阳上 and 阳去 is way different from how it is in 白話 Cantonese. So maybe the mapping btw Coảnciu and Tiỏciu, for example, isn't consistent either?

Also——and this would be easy for you Penangites——a lot of times I don't know where to use the open e vs the higher e. My rule of thumb is that if the Cantonese or Mandarin cognate features /-a-/, then it's probably open e; if Mandarin has /-i/ and Cantonese /-ai/, then Ciangciu probably has the higher e. So would 八 be with the open E? Pretty abstract for me. :P

But I do like the idea of a square form of hanggul or zhuyin for Hokkien that can fit into Hanji text. Also we need some way of marking literary vs colloquial pronunciations, etc.
Yeah, I also think it would be the ideal solution, in a perfect world. Marking literary vs colloquial pronunciations is an interesting idea, esp considering that some hànjị have three or four pronunciations.

Maybe little hangul on the side, like the zhuyin in kids' textbooks in Taiwan, or the way the Japanese do it?

I also used to have a copy of Animal Farm in Tai-lo style, but I lent it to someone.
You mean the Orwell novel? In Holo?
There was actually a Hangul based system for writing Taiwanese syllables in boxes, but I can't remember where I saw it now.
I think Prof Ảng Uỉjỉn 洪惟仁 worked on one. It's still floating around somewhere. Ảng kàusiụ himself seems to say, "Forget it, forget it."
Nowadays I've only ever heard Amoy and Coan-chiu people say it like that. I thought everyone in Taiwan kept the j, but I have only spent time in Tai-tiong and Tai-lam with Taiwanese speakers.
Right, most do. In Tákáu you also hear the g- reflex. The l- reflex is still in style in Bángkah and Toạtiũtiảⁿ, the old neighborhoods of Tảipak. Also probably in small towns on the west shore. But I think many if not most speakers in my/our generation mix the two or three reflexes, depending on the vocab, e.g. "Hin lāité cūliân tō cin joa̍h". Give us a few good centuries and we'll probably turn them into separate phonemes. :P
How would you write the glottal stop entering tone though?
The final "-h" would still work. I think the apostrophe would be nice too. It's what the Hawai'ians use. I notice that people from the Straits of Melaka tend to use "-k" for the glottal stop, even people that probably don't speak a lot of Malay (i.e. Singaporeans).
I've also seen a Vietnamese book for teaching Cantonese which I stupidly did not buy when I was in Hanoi.
That's interesting. Cantonese and quoc ngu is another match made in heaven. You just have to redefine ư and ơ as front rounded vowels. Also Thai and quoc ngu. Phonologically, I think Thai, Cantonese, and VN are triplets. Maybe Hainamese too? Maybe this goes back to that whole western Kwongtung area being Tai-Kadai-speaking up until Ming times. (Going back to our discussion on the videoclips thread.) Aren't there dialects of Cantonese with voiced stops, the whole works?
A lot of the spellings make no sense whatsoever ong is pronounced as om, học as họp and so on.
Right. I think that's b/c they're actually pronounced ong and hoc in northern VN. Central and southern folk just have to learn to make the adjustment. So I guess multi-dialect romanization can get tricky. :mrgreen:
Ah-bin
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin » Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:17 pm

You mean the Orwell novel? In Holo?
Yes, I bought it at 台灣个店 back in 2000. It was translated by a group called the 5% Translation Project, or something like that.
Phonologically, I think Thai, Cantonese, and VN are triplets. Maybe Hainamese too? Maybe this goes back to that whole western Kwongtung area being Tai-Kadai-speaking up until Ming times. (Going back to our discussion on the videoclips thread.) Aren't there dialects of Cantonese with voiced stops, the whole works?
Yes there are, but I can't remember exactly where. Actually, perhaps I'm getting confused with Hainanese.

That phonological similarity of all three has been noted as the feature of a spracbund (I'm too lazy to explain the term, so I'll let WP do it instead, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprachbund

One interesting sentence from that article is:
The idea of areal convergence is commonly attributed to Jernej Kopitar's description in 1830 of Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian as giving the impression of "nur eine Sprachform ... mit dreierlei Sprachmaterie", which has been rendered by Victor Friedman as "one grammar with the three lexicons"
I think that Baba Malay, Kristang and Penang Baba Hokkien also were getting close to this sort of thing.
Interesting. I've been using the UCLA 當代泉州音字彙. The distribution btw 阳上 and 阳去 is way different from how it is in 白話 Cantonese. So maybe the mapping btw Coảnciu and Tiỏciu, for example, isn't consistent either
I think might be the Cantonese that preserves the original distinction between 陰上 and 陽上, while in most other languages some have been absorbed into one or another tone class. In Amoy and Chiang-chiu, all the 陰上 and 陽上 except for about ten words were absorbed into a single 上 tone, the ten words from the colloquial stratum 想己雨蟻 (can't remember the rest) that didn't get absorbed were from the 陰上 class. I see Choan-chiu has lost the distinction between the two 去 tones instead, and kept the others.

I can't comment much for Choan-chiu though. I usually keep as far away from Choan-chiu as I possibly can, not because I don't like it, I just think it's going to confuse me big time.
AndrewAndrew
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by AndrewAndrew » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:27 pm

I'm going to use PSQR and -/+ to represent 平上去入 and 陰/陽 in future, for discussions about tones across dialects.
Ah-bin wrote:
You mean the Orwell novel? In Holo?
I think might be the Cantonese that preserves the original distinction between 陰上 and 陽上, while in most other languages some have been absorbed into one or another tone class. In Amoy and Chiang-chiu, all the 陰上 and 陽上 except for about ten words were absorbed into a single 上 tone, the ten words from the colloquial stratum 想己雨蟻 (can't remember the rest) that didn't get absorbed were from the 陰上 class.
Could you elaborate on this? 已 is -S in Choanchiu and S in Chiangchiu, which is normal for -S. 想雨蟻五有兩 are (-)S in literary but +S in colloquial Choanchiu and +Q in colloquial Chiangchiu.

All the other examples of +S tones I can find are all +Q in Chiangchiu: 重伴是但件站後在會下夏治丈近簿動市在社. So it seems to me that Choanchiu +S -> Chiangchiu +Q is the norm, rather than the exception. Can you name any +S words that have become S in Chiangchiu?

The difference between literary/colloquial in the words cited is shared by both Chiangchiu and Choanchiu, and seems to boil down to a -/+ split in the S tone rather than an S/Q split.
I see Choan-chiu has lost the distinction between the two 去 tones instead, and kept the others.
Apparently in Choanchiu the Q tones are still distinct in sandhi form: see http://www.tadpolenese.com/theory/runni ... ed-default
amhoanna
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:13 am

Thanks, Andrew and Ah-bin. Tadpolenese's essay on this is pretty chim. I might have to come at it some other time with a fresh mind. Apparently there are two kinds of Tiôciu with different tone patterns. Now THAT'S confusing.
Yes, I bought it at 台灣个店 back in 2000. It was translated by a group called the 5% Translation Project, or something like that.
I remember that Project. I read their Ióngkám ê Aukele. I wonder if they're still up and running.
I can't comment much for Choan-chiu though. I usually keep as far away from Choan-chiu as I possibly can, not because I don't like it, I just think it's going to confuse me big time.
:P Lú tī Pin'eng khiā ci̍t cāmmá lagi tō bián kiaⁿ confuse liáu!

Goá kòjîn ciâⁿ sukah Coânciu Ho̍kló. The high-level standing contour on the -S tone is usually good for a friendly laugh in Taiwan. I mean, imagine being in Klang and telling someone, "Hey, let's go get drunk", and they say, "ho 55!" :lol: That just sounds funny to (at least) TW ears.

Another story I used to entertain my friends in TW with ... was this time in Penang when a carload of people asked me "Jalan XXXX XXXXX hai bindou a" on a pitch black street at night. Long story short, I understood the question w/o reacting to the fact that their spokesperson was speaking Cantonese, so I just said, "Goá m̄ cai'iáⁿ, goá m̄ sī cāitēlâng." After the fact, I realized it's probably normal to answer Cantonese w/ Hokkien in Penang, but to Taiwanese minds, the whole thing sounds like a parallel universe. :mrgreen:
Phonologically, I think Thai, Cantonese, and VN are triplets. Maybe Hainamese too? Maybe this goes back to that whole western Kwongtung area being Tai-Kadai-speaking up until Ming times. (Going back to our discussion on the videoclips thread.) Aren't there dialects of Cantonese with voiced stops, the whole works?
Yes there are, but I can't remember exactly where.
Maybe somewhere in SE Kwongsai?

Also, Ah-bin, have you looked into 廣西平話 and 儋州話 on Hainam?
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:51 pm

Actually, I think I was wrong to say that and I'm getting confused. I'll try to explain it better here.

Now I read it somewhere (in 王力 perhaps) that in pre-T'ang times 陽上 words with clear initials went over to 陰去, and those with muddy intials stayed as 陽上, eventually converging as a single 上 in most languages. In Cantonese the only 陽上 left are those with semi muddy initials 馬禮我

想雨蟻五有兩 all originally had muddy initials and stayed as 陽上 tones in the Amoy/Chiang-chiu colloquial stratum, presumably because they were a part of people's everyday speech resistant to outside change. By the time the literary pronunciations began to influence ordinary people's vocabulary, the 陰上 and 陽上 had already merged (in that stratum) to a single 上. The old 陽上 of the colloquial stratum began to sound like the 陰去 of both strata, leaving the ten or so words in the colloquial stratum looking like they belonged to a different tone class.
All the other examples of +S tones I can find are all +Q in Chiangchiu: 重伴是但件站後在會下夏治丈近簿動市在社. So it seems to me that Choanchiu +S -> Chiangchiu +Q is the norm, rather than the exception. Can you name any +S words that have become S in Chiangchiu?


All of these originally had muddy initials....and I've just though of an exception to the Cantonese rule in 近 - this has stayed a 陽上 tone in what is left of the older Cantonese colloquial stratum.

I remember Toishanese had a similar thing going on.
Maybe somewhere in SE Kwongsai?
The Watlam 鬱林 (commies write it 玉林) dialect was said to have initial b and d by Nobuhisa Tsuji, but perhaps it doesn't - I haven't heard it myself so I don't want to say. I think 化州 in Kwangting might have them too.
Also, Ah-bin, have you looked into 廣西平話 and 儋州話 on Hainam?


Oh yes, if anyone wants materials for these, just send me a message. I don't have much digitised on Ping, but I have a whole analysis of 儋州話.
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:10 pm

I think 化州 in Kwangtung might have them too.
I just checked, and they have initial b and d in 化州
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Re: multi-dialect romanization for Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:44 pm

Sorry for this "late-breaking response".

Tadpolenese points out that some morphemes are 阳去 in Coanciu vs 阳上 in Tiociu. He also says,
This discrepancy is a problem of Teochew, not a problem of Quanzhou.
(Without explaining why.)

http://www.tadpolenese.com/theory/quanz ... yang-shang
Now I read it somewhere (in 王力 perhaps) that in pre-T'ang times 陽上 words with clear initials went over to 陰去, and those with muddy intials stayed as 陽上, eventually converging as a single 上 in most languages. In Cantonese the only 陽上 left are those with semi muddy initials 馬禮我
So ... 馬禮我 would've been 阳上 pre-Tang, eventually converging w/ 阴上 in most languages.

What about Holo, then? 馬禮我 are 阴上 in Coanciu even though there is still a robust 阳上 category.

What about 在, for example? Was it "originally" 阳去, as it is in Cantonese today? Or was it originally 阳上, as in Coanciu?
All of these originally had muddy initials....and I've just though of an exception to the Cantonese rule in 近 - this has stayed a 陽上 tone in what is left of the older Cantonese colloquial stratum.
Would 市 and 會 also be part of that group? Also, wouldn't 近 have had a muddy initial?
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