words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
amhoanna
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words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:24 pm

Seems like this is also a hotbed for variation. What do you guys use in Penang and Bagan?

"Cin" and "ciâⁿ" seem to be universal. "Ū kàu" might be too?

"Síbē" or "sípē" (which is right? or both?) is used at least in Sg and Melaka. Do you guys use it in Bagan and Penang?

"Iá" is used by maybe some people in Hokkiàn. I think it's also used in Hokciu. I've never heard it in TW. I vaguely recall hearing it in Klang, but I could be wrong.

Other words used in TW:

"Putcí'á" / "putlí'á"; maybe these are used elsewhere too?

"Kài" is common in the Ēkáng parts of TW (I think esp Tâilâm, Kohiông).

"Cìn" is heavily used in Gîlân, northeastern TW, but nowhere else.

"Sò͘" (open O) is used by some people in TW, possibly just Bengs of a certain age. I picked it up and started using it, but a lot of people don't understand it. Could be from English "so".

"Ciok" / "cok" is common throughout TW. It's milder than the other words.
AndrewAndrew
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by AndrewAndrew » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:19 am

amhoanna wrote:Seems like this is also a hotbed for variation. What do you guys use in Penang and Bagan?

"Cin" and "ciâⁿ" seem to be universal. "Ū kàu" might be too?
Haven't heard ū kàu, but we do use kàu-giȧh
"Síbē" or "sípē" (which is right? or both?) is used at least in Sg and Melaka. Do you guys use it in Bagan and Penang?
I haven't heard it in Penang. It is actually 死爸 and quite vulgar.
"Iá" is used by maybe some people in Hokkiàn. I think it's also used in Hokciu. I've never heard it in TW. I vaguely recall hearing it in Klang, but I could be wrong.

Other words used in TW:

"Putcí'á" / "putlí'á"; maybe these are used elsewhere too?

"Kài" is common in the Ēkáng parts of TW (I think esp Tâilâm, Kohiông).

"Cìn" is heavily used in Gîlân, northeastern TW, but nowhere else.

"Sò͘" (open O) is used by some people in TW, possibly just Bengs of a certain age. I picked it up and started using it, but a lot of people don't understand it. Could be from English "so".

"Ciok" / "cok" is common throughout TW. It's milder than the other words.
I haven't come across any of these.

(Edited to fix the quotation levels.)
Last edited by AndrewAndrew on Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SimL
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by SimL » Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:27 am

Same here. I'd have no idea how to say "fairly" in Hokkien.

To say "fairly good" / "ok", I say "e7-sai2" (which translates to "can do" in Malaysian English). I've always wondered if the slang term "no can do" comes from Malaysian English - it's certainly much more widespread than that nowadays - google gives heaps of hits, and one of the etymology hits says it was first recorded in 1914 (but doesn't give any additional information). Alternatively, I could say "be7-phaiN2" (literally "can't be bad", freely translated "not bad").
niuc
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by niuc » Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:44 pm

In Bagan Hokkien:
cin1 真 = very, the most common.
cin1-cia*3 真正 = truly, very, with emphasis, more than just 'cin1'.
cia*5 成 = very, "so" in "so good", with a hint of surprise, can be positive or negative (sarcasm).
u7-kau3 有夠 = enough / quite / very (meeting or surpassing expectation), depends on context.

As Andrew has noted, si2-pe7 is vulgar/impolite. Usually it has become si2-be7/si2-bue7 that sounds less vulgar. My Singaporean friends often use it. It is used in Bagan also, especially by "less educated".

I never knew about "Iá", "Putcí'á" / "putlí'á", "Sò͘". Amhoanna, do you know their TLJ (Tng-lang-ji/hanji)?

"Kài" and "Ciok" / "cok" 足 often used in Taiwanese tv programs, Bagan-lang can understand them but to use them will make the speech sounds very Taiwanese. :mrgreen:

Sim, "fairly" in my variant is 'cham1-to1', short form of 'cha1-m7-to1' 差呣多.
cham1-to1-tua7 = fairly big, moderately big
The other one is 'cha1-put4-to1' 差不多 -> cha1-put4-to1-tua7, less used as it's more mouthful.

'Cha1-bo5-cue7' = not much different, related to both but not an adverb.

Bagan Hokkien also has 'be7/bue7-phai2' (phai2, phi7= nose / to smell; both not nasal in my variant). Due to Taiwanese tv programs, many people (including me) sometimes use 'be7/bue7-bai2' to mean "quite good". In our usage, bai2 is bad/ugly without moral connotation; while phai2 is much broader, it can be = bai2, or broken or evil. It just dawned upon me now that this "Taiwanese" bai2 is most probably the same as "Bagan" bai2 in sue1-bai2 (unlucky). :idea:
amhoanna
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:16 pm

"Putcí'á" should be 不止囝.

"Putlí'á" should be derived from putcí'á, poss with an in-between "putjí'á" form.

As an aside, there are a lot of Taiwanese who can't pronounce the IPA z sound. They replace it with l. So they "try" to pronounce English the, that, there as ze, zat, zere, but it comes out as le, lat, lere. The only explanation for this would seem to lie in Hoklo phonology.

I saw iá written as 野 in an 厦門方言誌 Amoy Dialect Gazette from the '90s. But I'm guessing that's not the púnjī.

I don't think sò͘ has a púnjī or has ever been written with kanji. I've never seen it in a dictionary. At one pt I thought maybe I imagined the word, but then I heard a random Beng use it somewhere.
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:59 pm

I can confirm that si-be is used in Penang now by people in their twenties for emphasis meaning "extremely". It might be losing its vulgarity, rather like "bloody" and "damned" did in Australia and NZ. Or it might just be a slangy term like "shit hot" that comes in and out of fashion.

To digress, I remember a story I was told of an Estonian refugee who had been invited to a church dinner in the 1950's and praised the dinner she had just eaten with the same high praise she had heard from her co-workers on the factory floor: "Dat vos BLOODY good!" Which I'm sure made some of the more delicate women at the table feel faint. No-one would call it vulgar now, I think.

Chiok is commonly used in Taiwan, but apart from Chin/Chin-chiaN/ChiaN I haven't heard any of the others.
amhoanna
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:53 am

"Cin" kámsiā ta̍kgê ê "ínphut"!
aokh1979
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by aokh1979 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:37 pm

Sípē is indeed a very common word now, in Penang. I hear people use it all the time. It's even in the newspaper, critics column where some writers tend to say 4896 instead.

死父夠力!
niuc
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by niuc » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:50 pm

Aokh, glad to see you back. It's an interesting way to write it as 4896. There are some others but I can only remember 2266 for 'li2-li2-lak4-lak4' (falling down here and there). :mrgreen:
SimL
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by SimL » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:06 pm

When I was young in Penang, 584 "gO7-peh4-si3" 五八四 was used to mean a randy person, or a person who constantly talked about sex. A related expression was "gO7-ki1-chiu1" 五支鬚.

I was *sure* there'd been some discussion about these expressions on the Forum before, but the search didn't give any hits (as so often the case). Aurelio's trick of using Google with the additional keyword "Minnan" did the trick though! Apparently, Andrew was also familiar with 五八四, with this meaning, see:

http://www.chinalanguage.com/forums/vie ... a&start=15

At the time, no conclusion was reached on these, but now, re-reading the above thread (around the beginning of 2007), the meaning of the first expression has dawned on me! 猪八戒 was famous for being very randy all the time, and if 五八四 was the number sequence representing him in gambling, then it seems reasonable to think that the meaning of "randy" got transferred from 猪八戒 to 五八四. I'm amazed I didn't see this connection at the time.

The motivation for the other expression remains unclear, however.
amhoanna
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Wed Nov 03, 2010 2:19 am

Do any of you guys use the word "gō͘sìsaⁿ" (5-4-3)?
SimL
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by SimL » Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:13 am

I don't know this phrase. What does it mean?
amhoanna
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:45 pm

To the best of my knowledge, it means "random, inconsequential or irrelevant stuff". Kind of like "ū--ê bô--ê".

Kind of makes sense in "Hoklo numerology": used together, 3 and 5 have a connotation of "here and there", "random", "who cares, I guess". Besides being a cousin of sí, 4 also has a strewn-about connotation as seen in sìsoàⁿ and sìkoè/sìkè...

So maybe gō͘sìsaⁿ was coined in TW, but using "raw, unadulterated" Hoklo.
amhoanna
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Mon May 21, 2012 5:31 am

A Luzon update. "Iá" seems to be the standard, neutral word for VERY in Luzon Hokkien, although (unless I'm mistaken) "cin" is used too.

A stronger word for VERY in Philippines Hokkien is "bantài". It's like "sípē" minus the vulgarity. I listened close last time I spoke to a Tsinoy and it was ban˧ tai˥; running T1 is ˧ and running T3 is ˥ in [his] Manila dialect.

Like other Tsinoys from Tagalog-speaking areas, this guy thought the word came from "original" Hokkien and not Tagalog -- there's a word "bantay" meaning WRISTWATCH in Tag., but nothing with a related meaning. He was not impressed w/ my theory that it comes from Ilokano, which has a word "bantay" meaning MOUNTAIN. Words for MOUNTAIN are often related to words for A LOT OF, and words for A LOT OF in turn are often tied to words meaning EXTREMELY. In late pre-Spanish times, there seems to have been a lot of links between the Hokkien-Teochew coast and the Lingayen / Southern Ilokos area. Even today, the premier Tin Hau (Mácó·) temple in the Phils is the one in La Union.
amhoanna
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Re: words for QUITE, FAIRLY, VERY, etc. in Hoklo-Hokkien

Post by amhoanna » Mon May 21, 2012 6:13 am

And not to be outdone, TWese Hoklo has an equivalent for "sípē" too: iau siū 夭寿, e.g. 夭寿好, 夭寿 suí, etc. The "iau" bucks sandhi rules and takes citation tone; "siū" may as well, but I don't know. This term is also vulgar as the literal meaning means "dying young" or something like that.
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