Comparisons

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Comparisons

Postby Abun » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:19 pm

Hey everybody,

I remember having read something on this topic hidden somewhere deep within threads about other stuff, but apart from being unable to find it again, I also vaguely remember the answers were mostly on Penang Hokkien (and possibly other variants from Malaysia or Indonesia), so I'm opening a new thread for this.

While skimming through my old Mandarin textbook looking for vocab I should look up and learn in Hokkien, I stumbled upon a grammar question which, although pretty basic, I found I didn't know the solution for in Hokkien: Comparisons. I mean, I know Hokkien forms the comparative with khah (MoE character 較), superlative with siōng (上) and excessive with siunn (傷), but I don't know how to introduce the reference of a comparison (comparable to english "than" or Mandarin "bǐ" 比).

The only time I heard such an expression in Taiwanese is a songtext which reads (in the usual Mandarin style of taiwanese songtext spelling):
滿腹的怨氣 不知從那掏
日子的傷痕 給我強欲哭
敢是我的命像一支草
安怎打拼攏無比人較敖

as far as I can tell that's in POJ:

muá-pak--ê uàn-khì m̄-chai tùi tòe (tó-ūi?) tháu,
ji̍t-chí--ê siong-hûn hō͘ góa kiông beh khàu,
kám sī guá-ê miā chhiūⁿ tsi̍t ki tsháu,
án-chóaⁿ phah-piàⁿ lóng bē pí lâng khah gâu.
(伍佰&China Blues: 少年耶安啦)

However, there are several words in there which seem pretty untypical to me, in one instance (tháu) I couldn't even find it in the dict, and also the comparison with pí 比 at the end seemed pretty Mandarin to me. So I asked a Taiwanese friend of mine whether she really uses 比 in Taiwanese, too. The answer was that she does, but that she'd pronounce it as ㄆㄧㄥˇ (pǐng in Pinyin), by which I think she means POJ phēng, whose 7th tone after being sandhied to 3rd tone (low falling in her variant) does indeed sound like a Mandarin 3rd tone which is followed by another syllable (other than 3rd tone). The MoE-dict lists this as 並 (which may or may not be the pún-jī, but let's set that question aside for now) and its meanings do indeed seem to include a function comparable to Mandarin 比, but apart from never having heard that word by myself, I also don't recall having seen it in your earlier discussions about comparison.
So I'd like to ask you if anybody of you uses phēng in the sense of Mandarin 比 or how else you express comparison?

To give examples, how would you say the following sentences?
1. This one is better.
(I am 100% sure this should be 這个較好(hit-ê khah hó))

2. This one is better than that one.
(if phēng is correct, then I guess this would render 這个並彼个較好(Chit-ê phēng hit-ê khah hó), but I seem to recall some of your previous answers going into a direction like 這个較好(過)彼个(Chit-ê khah-hó (kòe/kè) hit-ê))

3. This one is not as good as that one.
(no idea about this one... in Mandarin I would say 這個沒有那個好, but I have the strong feeling that it would be wrong to just exchange 沒有 for bô 無 and be done with it)

4. I like this one better than he likes that one
(pretty clueless about this one as well...)

Happy to hear your responses (especially if you know anything on Taiwanese variants of course, but I'm interested to hear other variant's solutions as well)^^
Last edited by Abun on Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

FutureSpy
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Comparisons

Postby FutureSpy » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:26 pm

Welcome, Abun! It's great to see more people asking questions here besides me :lol:

I'm nowhere close to your level (I still have a lot of trouble at creating my own sentences), but one of my Taiwanese textbooks actually teach the pattern "A pí B + khah adjective"A比B較(形容詞). Here are some examples extracted from it:

chit ê ha̍k-seng pí hit ê khah khiáu.
這个學生比彼个較巧。
This student is smarter than that one.

góa bô pí i khah tōa.
我無比伊較大。
I'm not as big as him.

tâi-ôan ê mi̍h-kiāⁿ pí ji̍t-pún khah sio̍k.
臺灣的物件比日本較俗。
Taiwanese stuff are cheaper than Japanese ones.

kin-chio pí kam-á khah kùi.
弓蕉比柑仔較貴。
Bananas are more expensive than tangerines.

kin-á-ji̍t bô pí cha-hng khah kôaⁿ.
今仔日無比昨昏較寒。
Today isn't colder than yesterday.

I also remember having learned "A pí-kàu B + khah adjective"A比較B較(形容詞), which seems to be a synonym to it. Anyway, others should be able to help you better :mrgreen:

Not sure if that's the pattern you were looking for (I have no clue of Mandarin), so in case it isn't, please bear with my ignorance, dude!

PS: Sim, I'll reply you after I'm done with my finals... xD

Ah-bin
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Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Comparisons

Postby Ah-bin » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:54 pm

Yes, the pí...khah... construction is the usual way of making a comparison in Taiwanese. Penang Hokkien has this construction as well, but another Cantonese-like construction with khah...kòe 過 or kà is also used, meaning this sentence

FutureSpy wrote:chit ê ha̍k-seng pí hit ê khah khiáu.
這个學生比彼个較巧。
This student is smarter than that one.


In Penang would become:

Chí-lê ha̍k-seng khah gâu kòe/kà há-lê.
I write the characters as 此嚟學生較gâu過許嚟 or 此嚟學生較gâu共許嚟

I can't enter the character for gâu on my computer.

FutureSpy wrote:kin-á-ji̍t bô pí cha-hng khah kôaⁿ.
今仔日無比昨昏較寒。
Today isn't colder than yesterday.


This one I would say in Taiwanese (and Penang Hokkien) as

kin-á-ji̍t bô cha-hng án-ne kôaⁿ.
今仔日無昨昏按呢寒。

FutureSpy wrote:góa bô pí i khah tōa.
我無比伊較大。
I'm not as big as him.


and this one as
góa bô i án-ne tōa.
我無比伊按呢大。

But for Penang Hokkien I might even go as far as to add siâng kà before the object of pí, but perhaps I am wrong:

Wá bô siâng kà i án-ne tōa. or
Wá bô i án-ne tōa siâng kà i

These ones sound somewhat creolised though, especially the last one, which mirrors English syntax rather well.

FutureSpy
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Comparisons

Postby FutureSpy » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:17 pm

Thanks, Ah-bin. It's always great to see how other variants say things ;)
BTW, are email notifications working again for everyone?

Oops...

FutureSpy wrote:I'm not as big as him.

I was mislead by the Japanese translation. The sentence actually meant "I'm not bigger than him", I guess :mrgreen:

Besides the constructions with án-ne/án-ni, they also give another similar pattern with hiah-ni̍h and chiah-ni̍h.

kin-á-li̍t ê thiⁿ-khì bô cha-hng hiah-ni̍h koâⁿ.
今仔日的天氣無昨昏遐爾寒。

kin-chio bô èng-kai hiah kùi.
弓蕉無應該遐貴。

And I also found this one without pí ... khah.

gún kiáⁿ bô lín kiáⁿ koai.
阮囝無恁囝乖。

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: Comparisons

Postby Abun » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:22 am

Thanks FutureSpy and Ah-bin for your quick answers (and FutureSpy, I feel the same way as you about my own level. Apart from very simple sentences like Guá-ê miâ kiò... I don't feel like I can actually say something... but I hope that would come with a little practice (as soon as I get that)).

I'm surprised that at least non-Penang Hokkien is so similar to Mandarin in that sense, the "pí...khah" expression being almost exactly the same (except that you have to exchange "khah for "gèng" (更) or leave it out altogether) and the patterns "X無比Y較adj" (X is not adj-er than Y) and "X無Y(按呢)adj" (X is not as adj as Y) mirror "X不比Y(更)adj" and "X沒有Y(這麼/那麼)adj" respectively. Considering these are two pretty different patterns ("X is not adj-er than Y" being only the negation of "X is adj-er than Y", so that leaves us with "X is adj-er than Y" and "X is not as adj as Y"), I wonder how that came to be... After all, Classical Chinese at least for sure did not use the first pattern ("X is adj-er than Y" would be expressed as "X adj於Y", literally "X is adj in relation to Y"), and although I'm not completely sure about the second one, I seriously doubt it. Since it seems unlikely to me that both languages independently change two so closely related patterns in exactly the same way, this would suggest either that proto-Hokkien and proto-Mandarin weren't devided until the new patterns had developed, or (what I would tend to think) that one got influenced by the other so much that the grammar changed accordingly (maybe through one of the imperial settlement programs in Fujian? I don't know when the new pattern evolved in Mandarin...)

I wonder though... what kind of grammar does my friend use if she says phīng instead of pí? I mean, if I looked at your sentences using 比, it can't have been because I asked my question in a suggestive way or something (I asked her to confirm the sentence 蘋果比弓蕉較好食(phōng-kó pí king-tsio khah hó-tsiah))...

As for the character for gâu, I was living under the impression that it was probably a non-sinitic word which lacks a pún-jī. But I guess you mean the character the MoE (and I don't know who else) uses: 𠢕 (敖 over 力). Both of the inputting softwares amhoanna posted can write that character, if you can't desplay it, it's probably a font or unicode problem. The MoE has a file with some additional characters, I'm not quite sure if you need that to display this character (you can find it if you click on 資料下載 on the MoE dict page and then click on the first link)

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

Re: Comparisons

Postby amhoanna » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:39 pm

aBûn--

You have a very good friend, the one who taught U "phẽng" (poss. 並). Yes, this is a common usage in TW. I hear it much less than "pí", though. The usage for comparisons is identical, although both words have other meanings and usages, some of which have bled into TW Mandarin.

I believe phẽng is the relatively "native" usage. "Pí" is most likely a Mandarism. People who use phẽng tend to be older, less educated, or both. People who've "enjoyed" 15 or more years of ROC education are overwhelmingly more likely to use "pí" instead.

I am a non-native speaker, and my "core dialect" is Mainstream Taiwanese. Outside of a TWese context, including here, I mix dialects and bring in elements from Penang, the Philippines, etc. But below I will comment from a TWese perspective.

1. This one is better.
(I am 100% sure this should be 這个較好(hit-ê khah hó))

Cit ê khah hó.
OR Cit ê hó ‧kóa.

2. This one is better than that one.
(if phēng is correct, then I guess this would render 這个並彼个較好(Chit-ê phēng hit-ê khah hó), but I seem to recall some of your previous answers going into a direction like 這个較好(過)彼个(Chit-ê khah-hó (kòe/kè) hit-ê))

CORRECT:Cit ê phẽng hit ê khah hó. ("khah" seems optional)
OR STILL Cit ê khah hó.
OR Cit ê khah hó hit ê. (hó takes the so-called sandhi tone here)
OR Nā cit nñg ê ‧hoⁿ, cit ê khah hó.
OR Cit ê khah iâⁿ hit ê.
OR Cit ê hó kòe hit ê. (This I believe is a native Hoklo construction, but U won't hear TWese using it, unless maybe if they're very old.)

3. This one is not as good as that one.
(no idea about this one... in Mandarin I would say 這個沒有那個好, but I have the strong feeling that it would be wrong to just exchange 沒有 for bô 無 and be done with it)

Cit ê khah-su hit ê.

IF THEY ARE BOTH ACTUALLY QUITE GOOD:
Cit ê bô hit ê hiah hó.

"This one is not QUITE as good as that one."
Cit ê khah bô hit ê hiah hó.

IF ONE IS QUITE GOOD AND THE OTHER IS OKAY:
"Hit ê bẽbái, cit ê phó͘phó͘." (TWese males tend to avoid using extremely positive wording. :mrgreen: )

4. I like this one better than he likes that one
(pretty clueless about this one as well...)

Something this complex would just be asking for humor, in TWese culture.

U might say:
Góa kah'ì cit ê chiaukòe i kah'ì hit ê.

And then your audience will be like, "Hăⁿ? Lí kóng saⁿh?" Or turn to each other and say, "Hăⁿ, i kóng saⁿh?" :lol:

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

Re: Comparisons

Postby amhoanna » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:54 pm

Besides the constructions with án-ne/án-ni, they also give another similar pattern with hiah-ni̍h and chiah-ni̍h.


This one I would say in Taiwanese (and Penang Hokkien) as

kin-á-ji̍t bô cha-hng án-ne kôaⁿ.
今仔日無昨昏按呢寒。


In TW and Amoy, I think ciahni̍h / hiahni̍h are mandatory. U cannot resort to just using ánne / ànne for this. I believe that's a Sengma-ism (Malayan Hokkien). The similarity btw hiahni̍h and ánne would've been conducive to this. Also the fact that in Cantonese and Hoisan (AFAIK, but not Siamese and Malay), there is only one word corresponding to Hoklo ciahni̍h / hiahni̍h.


And I also found this one without pí ... khah.

gún kiáⁿ bô lín kiáⁿ koai.
阮囝無恁囝乖。

Right, yes. F-Spy, U probably got this out of a TWese book, and this is something the TWese would say. This construction may or may not work with aBun's examples (pronouns and the word "hó" being so common and so "functional" as to create ambiguity).


Wá bô siâng kà i án-ne tōa. or
Wá bô i án-ne tōa siâng kà i

These ones sound somewhat creolised though, especially the last one, which mirrors English syntax rather well.

Kadri, is that really kà? I thought it would've been kā.

I agree they sound creolized, with Siamese and Malay on the creolizing side. 8)


"A pí-kàu B + khah adjective"

No, I don't think so. But U could use "A píkāukhah ADJECTIVE". Also a Mandarism, I think.

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

Re: Comparisons

Postby amhoanna » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:57 pm

I can't enter the character for gâu on my computer.


With Windows 7 and Vista machines, I was able to type that glyph in 倉頡. Now, with my Mac (Mountain Lion), I can display but not type that glyph. And many other glyphs as well. Kind of frustrating -- the Mac actually runs a newer, more "evolved" version of 倉頡, but with a relatively restricted library.

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: Comparisons

Postby Abun » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:21 pm

Hello amhoanna,

thanks for the information, very detailed, very useful!

amhoanna wrote:I believe phẽng is the relatively "native" usage. "Pí" is most likely a Mandarism. People who use phẽng tend to be older, less educated, or both. People who've "enjoyed" 15 or more years of ROC education are overwhelmingly more likely to use "pí" instead.

Actually she is exactly that generation :lol: But as I understand it, her use of Hokkien is pretty much restricted on talking to her grandmother who might very well be counted among your older people, although I don't know anything about her educational background.

amhoanna wrote:
1. This one is better.
(I am 100% sure this should be 這个較好(hit-ê khah hó))

Cit ê khah hó.
OR Cit ê hó ‧kóa.

Of course, my bad, I decided to use a different sentence halfway through writing several times. In the end I got lazy and just copied stuff back and forth, apparently I didn't notice I had changed a 彼个 to 這个...

amhoanna wrote:
4. I like this one better than he likes that one
(pretty clueless about this one as well...)

Something this complex would just be asking for humor, in TWese culture.

Figures. Even in German you would probably get weird looks if you said so (in English it seems ok though, although I fail to imagine a situation where you might possibly say something like that :lol:). I was just asking because I wasn't sure about how I would best construct the sentence even in Mandarin (I guess I'd do something like 我喜歡這個喜歡得比他喜歡那個更多 but it sounds very awkward. So it's good there hardly ever is a situation where you'd say that :lol:)

amhoanna wrote:
kin-á-ji̍t bô cha-hng án-ne kôaⁿ.
今仔日無昨昏按呢寒。

In TW and Amoy, I think ciahni̍h / hiahni̍h are mandatory.

Do you mean you have to use tsiah-ní/hiah-ní and can neither use án-ni nor drop them? Because you didn't seem to find dropping it in 阮囝無恁囝乖 irritating...

amhoanna wrote:With Windows 7 and Vista machines, I was able to type that glyph in 倉頡.

You can write 倉頡! I never got the hang of that (then again, I never got in a situation where I would have needed it, either, and I always found the thought of possibly breaking characters into parts that only look like radicals but really aren't (such as the 亻 part in 隹) kind of misleading), but I have to go look some day how it works. For entering Mandarin Chinese, I started with PY of course, as most learners do, but changed to ㄅㄆㄇㄈ later because it angered me that you cannot enter tones in PY input. I didn't know at that time that there is not a single input method for ㄅㄆㄇㄈ with a software that can recognize structures above word level, let alone get comparable to stuff like 搜狗. But I still stuck with ㄅㄆㄇㄈ because it made me learn the tones properly.
Last edited by Abun on Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Comparisons

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:15 am

Do you mean you have to use tsiah-ní/hiah-ní and can neither use án-ni nor drop them?

Let me rephrase... Malayan (Sengma) Hoklophones just don't use ciahnĩ/hiahnĩ, besides immigrants from Taiwan or "ye Olde Country". Instead, they replace it w/ "ánne". To the best of my knowledge, this is not done in TW.

What people do do in TW is use just ciah/hiah, dropping the nĩ; or add an á, i.e. "ciahnĩ'á".

You can write 倉頡!

Three out of four doctors recommend it.

Pier
Posts: 93
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Comparisons

Postby Pier » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:29 am

I found this while viewing the YouTube.
Wish to share with other forum readers on comparison of the different dialects pronunciations for the same meaning. Actually, I found out that Teochew and Taiwanese Hokkien pronunciation sounds almost 95% the same.

Chinese dialects: Comparison between Mandarin, Teochew, Cantonese & Taiwanese (Minnan)

Ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh4J1brg7ws

SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Comparisons

Postby SimL » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:21 am

Abun wrote:
amhoanna wrote:
4. I like this one better than he likes that one
(pretty clueless about this one as well...)

Something this complex would just be asking for humor, in TWese culture.

Figures. Even in German you would probably get weird looks if you said so (in English it seems ok though, although I fail to imagine a situation where you might possibly say something like that :lol:). I was just asking because I wasn't sure about how I would best construct the sentence even in Mandarin (I guess I'd do something like 我喜歡這個喜歡得比他喜歡那個更多 but it sounds very awkward. So it's good there hardly ever is a situation where you'd say that :lol:)

LOL! This made me almost burst out laughing :mrgreen: because I recall posting this some time back: http://chineselanguage.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1497

It involves the "quantifiers" all, many (of), some, few (of), none, and asks how to say things like:

- All the people I know like none of the cats I feed
- Some of the people I know like some of the cats I feed
- None of the people I know like all of the cats I feed
(and lots of other even more outlandish combinations)

They're also sentences which few people would ever say in real life.

But does it reflect on the strength of the English language that these concepts are so easy to express, if you should ever need to say them? I.e. it's very easy and clearcut how to express these basic concepts in all their combinations, however unlikely such combinations might arise in reality. Anyone can say them, and anyone hearing what is said can also easily understand what is being expressed. Surely quite an admirable quality in a language!

A situation such as Abun describes might be when two women complain about their boyfriends, to one another. One might say that her boyfriend likes soccer too much (and hence watches it all the time and never talks to her), and the other might respond that the first woman's boyfriend doesn't like soccer to anywhere near the extent that her own boyfriend likes tennis, and that she hence has an even larger frustration.

SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Comparisons

Postby SimL » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:38 am

Pier wrote:I found this while viewing the YouTube.
Wish to share with other forum readers on comparison of the different dialects pronunciations for the same meaning. Actually, I found out that Teochew and Taiwanese Hokkien pronunciation sounds almost 95% the same.

Chinese dialects: Comparison between Mandarin, Teochew, Cantonese & Taiwanese (Minnan)

Ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh4J1brg7ws

Hi Pier,

Thanks for posting this. Quite interesting to listen to, though I do wish that they would keep the camera a bit more stable, and that they would have practiced a bit more (or done more re-takes) so that there were fewer mistakes in the final clip.

The idea itself is quite nice, though perhaps some regulars here will grumble that these sorts of lists emphasize the commonalities between the Sinitic languages (which we all know and "believe" anyway), while quietly sweeping under the carpet the huge differences. E.g. "zheme duo vs. an-ni choe vs. kum tO", "zheli vs. chit-peng / chia vs. li pin", "nali vs. hit-peng / hia vs. kO pin", "ta vs. i vs. khuei" (sorry, I don't know Yale or any other Cantonese romanization, so I'm just doing the bits of Cantonese I know in POJ).

Indeed, Teochew and Taiwanese are the closest together. Enough to quality as "mutually intelligable", I think. There was a Forum member a while back who felt that Teochews were just making a fuss, and should be seen as just another variant of Hokkien (my paraphrasing of his words). In so doing, he was leaving out the whole issue of identity, which is of course just as important, when trying to determine if something "is just a form of" something else.

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

Re: Comparisons

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:30 pm

But does it reflect on the strength of the English language that these concepts are so easy to express, if you should ever need to say them?

Once in a while, in real life, I'll hear somebody say:

"Oh, __________ (insert name of more dominant language) is just clearer / more flexible / more powerful than __________ (insert name of less dominant language)."

Well, I say that can be both true and untrue, but mostly or typically untrue.

What we saw here with aBun's example was something that could equally well be expressed in either language. It's just that the Anglophone mind is better attuned to hearing such an utterance -- more "open-minded", an thou willest. That is anthropology and sociology.

SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Comparisons

Postby SimL » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:39 pm

Moved to after next reply, because too many typos needed correcting.
Last edited by SimL on Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:10 pm, edited 5 times in total.


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