Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:03 pm

Hi Ah-bin,

Congratulations on the completion of your dissertation. Good to see you back here. Good to see all the replies too - I was starting to get (very slightly) concerned.

Just a very quick and short(-ish) reply, as I'm not in the office, and am doing this from a not-hanzi-enabled Blackberry.

I too say "toh4-kha1" for "under the table".

"song5" in my usage is "dowdy", "unsophisticated", "countrified", "provincial", "dimwitted", "stupid". Rather close to niuc's usage.

Water chestnuts are "bE2-ciN5", which looks to me like a very "colloquial pronunciation" :-).

Curry is definitely voiced "gu5-lai2", not "ku-lai". [Perhaps a suitable character for "gu5" might be "cow", as this cuisine/word is borrowed from Malay, where beef and not pork would be one of the natural things to cook in curry...]

Wantan (or, if you're American, wonton) I pronounce "uan1-than1" or "uan5-than1" - the sandhied form of both tone1 and tone5 sound the same to me: tone3 or tone7. I think I prefer "uan5" as I then associate it with "ball"/"lump", as in "bah4-uan5" or "hu5-uan5". Curiously, the "than1" DOESN'T sandhi, in the combination "uan5-than1 mi7", perhaps because it's borrowed from Cantonese... (but that also seems weird)?

As for that strange brownish dried-and-then-re-hydrated squid (which I love eating), I've always (mis-)pronounced it "ju-hu". [lLike fresh lotus roots: I've always pronounced this "leng5-ngau7" (perhaps believing in some connection to dragons, as with "liong5-an2"), and it was a total surprise to me to learn (from Douglas) that the first syllable is simply the "lian5" of "lotus"!.

I've never pronounced it "iong-tau-Hu", always "iong-tau-Fu", hence revealing it as a borrowing from Cantonese. Perhaps it has since integrated to the extent of the "fu" changing to the more native "hu". [BTW, are you all aware of the claim that Hokkien "really IS special, compared to the other forms of Sinitic", in that it split off from the main body much earlier than any other form (and this is supposed to be the reason that it's the only form without "f-": because the "f-" sound only evolved in the main body after the Hokkien split-off). I recall reading this on English Wikipedia, and I've just tried to find the article again, but it proved too difficult on a Blackberry. I'll have another look when I have a decent screen and keyboard again.] So the character for "iong" should probably be looked for in Cantonese...

I'll soon be posting my long-promised investigations into radical names. It's taken quite a while to do, and it's *long*.
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:26 pm

Oops, just checked the link which Andrew posted (thanks!), and apparently, yong-tau-fu is Hakka, not Cantonese.
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:04 pm

Hi Mark,
Mark Yong wrote:What a great way to make a come-back... by my usual *bitching* about 本字! :lol:
Haha! I can't see the TLJ, but from context I imagine it's your favorite topic of correct character usage.

You're possibly still less of a pain than me, because I'm soon going to be complaining about the very *nature* of Chinese [if not the language itself, then certainly the "frame of mind" of its speakers ;-)]. I had an earlier version which was even more "whiney", but a friend read it and made me tone it down!
niuc
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by niuc » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:17 am

Sim, glad to see you posting again. I look forward to reading yours about the very *nature* of Chinese! 8)
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:22 pm

Hi niic,

Yeah, I was really happy to see your reply too.

Well, I've done it. I just hope nobody gets fed up with my "complaining"...
Ah-bin
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by Ah-bin » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:27 am

Thanks for all your answers. I have many more questions, of course. I’ve done as much work as possible so no-one has to do much work to answer them, unless the answers are difficult

None of these are in de Gijzel:

1) Mosquito repellent, the smokey kind – Taiwanese has báng-hun 蠓薰

2) A lid – Taiwanese has kòa 蓋

3) A carpet – Taiwanese has thán-á 毯仔 (this is more like a rug than a wall-to-wall carpet, but wall-to-wall ones are yucky in the tropics, so I think the word for rug will be better-known)

4) A cupboard to store dishes – Taiwanese has oáⁿ-ti-tû 碗箸櫥 might this be oáⁿ-tū-tû?

5) A palanquin – Taiwanese has kiō-á 轎仔 I guess this would be simply kiō in PGHK

6) A pipe, for water – Taiwanese has chúi-tò 水道 which I think is from Japanese

7) Railway Station – Taiwanese has chhia-thâu 車頭

8) Bank account – Taiwanese has kháu-tsò口座 , also from Japanese

9) Bank note (money) – “paper money” as opposed to coins.

I guess these last three will be the same as Taiwanese, but you never can tell….

10) A (Chinese) chess piece – kî-chí 棋子

11) Ma-Jhong – bâ-chhiok 麻雀

12) A (Chinese) chess board – kî-poâⁿ 棋盤


13) Is an urn for putting joss-sticks in called a hiauⁿ-lō•? 香爐

14) Is a tombstone a bōng-pâi? 墓牌

15) Is a persimmon an âng-khi? 紅柿

17) Is a wine cup called chiú-au or chiú-poe? 酒甌 酒杯

A final teaser:
How many different types of spoon can you think of – the âng-mô• kind made of silver, the porcelain one for soup, the scoop for rice and the large wooden spoon for stirring a pot of something.
Mark Yong
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:21 am

Hi, Ah-bin,

My little stab at some of them...

Mosquito repellent – I normally hear 蠓香 bàng-hìoⁿ. Could be Cantonese influence, I don’t know.

Train station – I normally hear people say 火車站 hôe-chīa cĭam or 火車頭 hôe-chīa tháu, probably to disambiguate it from other types of 車頭 chīa tháu.

Bank account – Discounting the 紅毛屎 àng-mÒ-sâi’s who tend to conveniently fall back on the English word ‘account’ :mrgreen:, I normally hear 戶口 hŎ-khâu.

Bank note – This is a tricky one! In the very few instances I have encountered where the distinction between notes and coins had to be made, I believe I heard simply 紙鐳 cûa-lūi. On that note (no pun intended), does anyone know the 本字 for tā-lī-kiâⁿ ‘coins’?

In my experience, Penangites seem to have an aversion for using the word pōe for ‘cup’, preferring to use (the only exception I know of is 銀杯 gĭn-pōe ‘trophy’). One possibility could be that in the particular case of Penang Hokkien, it is a homonym with . I guess such ‘homonym taboos’ also exist in other dialects, too.

Spoons - As far as terminology is concerned, I only know one: 調羹 thăo-kiōng :P . That said, a couple of my Teochew-descent Penang friends sometimes say 湯匙 thng-sí and get away with it.

Please mind my tone marks. I’m still sh*t at them.
Mark Yong
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:47 am

SimL wrote:
...perhaps believing in some connection to dragons, as with "liong5-an2"
Just out of curiosity, Sim - Do you belong to the group that pronounces 龍眼 as lèng-gêng or gèng-gêng? In one of the late Khor Cheang Kee's books, he quotes the Hokkien saying: 食龍眼,好尾景 Chiak Geng Geng, Ho Boey Keng (Eat dried longans and have a good ending).

The full set of couplets can be found here:
http://nonyalife.blogspot.com/2011/08/h ... tties.html

Just curious to know how far back in time did lèng-gêng morph into gèng-gêng...
Ah-bin
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by Ah-bin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:34 am

Thanks for those Mark.
Bank note – This is a tricky one! In the very few instances I have encountered where the distinction between notes and coins had to be made, I believe I heard simply 紙鐳 cûa-lūi. On that note (no pun intended), does anyone know the 本字 for tā-lī-kiâⁿ ‘coins’?
Ah, actually I already had this word but just forgot it. It should be choá-jī 紙字

Somewhere I found out that tâ-li-kiáⁿ is a corruption of tâng-lui-kiáⁿ 銅鐳囝, I can't remember where.
Bank account – Discounting the 紅毛屎 àng-mÒ-sâi’s who tend to conveniently fall back on the English word ‘account’ :mrgreen:, I normally hear 戶口 hŎ-khâu.
This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. If Taiwanese has a Japanese word for it, and PGHK has a Mandarin-style compound and English pair, it probably means the word and concept in Hokkien is not very old.
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:57 pm

Mark Yong wrote:
SimL wrote:
...perhaps believing in some connection to dragons, as with "liong5-an2"
Just out of curiosity, Sim - Do you belong to the group that pronounces 龍眼 as lèng-gêng or gèng-gêng? In one of the late Khor Cheang Kee's books, he quotes the Hokkien saying: 食龍眼,好尾景 Chiak Geng Geng, Ho Boey Keng (Eat dried longans and have a good ending).

The full set of couplets can be found here:
http://nonyalife.blogspot.com/2011/08/h ... tties.html

Just curious to know how far back in time did lèng-gêng morph into gèng-gêng...
Hi Mark,

I say "geng5-geng2".

I was totally amazed to find out that the first syllable was "dragon"! Up to that point (in as much as I thought about it at all), I thought it was just a "repetition" syllable, like "ko-ko" for "elder brother" or "ban-ban" for "slowly". Once I "knew" otherwise, I realised that it couldn't possibly be a "repetition" syllable, because the second syllable is a tone2, which would not have a tone3/7 as a sandhied tone in the first syllable. The word "dragon", being tone5 would indeed fit, having as sandhi-tone tone3/7.

This was the term for as long as I can remember, so it must have been current by the mid 60's.
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:37 pm

Mark Yong wrote: Mosquito repellent – I normally hear 蠓香 bàng-hìoⁿ. Could be Cantonese influence, I don’t know.
I say bang2-hiauⁿ1 (IIRC, Ah-bin has noted that Penang Hokkien is known to have some variation between "-io" and "-iau").

When I was young, we had a great type where there were *two* coils per "disk". That is to say, there were two "interlocking spirals" cut into the one flat disk, sort of like a complicated version of the yin-yang symbol. One had to carefully "push" the two apart - carefully, in order not to break either one. It's one of the tasks I loved doing as a child! And they were always a dark green. Perhaps they are still quite common nowadays?

[After writing the preceding, I found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_coil. This is what we had when I was a child (except for the colour, I only ever saw green ones). Even the small metal "stand" which came with each box of 5 or 6 disks looks exactly the same: it comes flat, and you push out the middle bit, to make the vertical part of the stand, while the surrounding bits give it stability for standing on the floor or other flat surface. Also, "mosquito coil" was the standard term for it, in Malaysian English.]

Why do you suspect a Cantonese influence?
Mark Yong wrote:Bank note – This is a tricky one! In the very few instances I have encountered where the distinction between notes and coins had to be made, I believe I heard simply 紙鐳 cûa-lūi. On that note (no pun intended), does anyone know the 本字 for tā-lī-kiâⁿ ‘coins’?
My usage is "cua2-lui1" for notes, and "suaN2-lui1" for coins (copper or silver).
Mark Yong wrote:In my experience, Penangites seem to have an aversion for using the word pōe for ‘cup’, preferring to use
My experience as well.
Mark Yong wrote:Spoons - As far as terminology is concerned, I only know one: 調羹 thăo-kiōng :P . That said, a couple of my Teochew-descent Penang friends sometimes say 湯匙 thng-sí and get away with it.
In my usage, thao1-kiong1 for the metal "Western" spoons, and thng1-si5 for the "porcelain, Chinese" spoons (the ones one gets with noodle soup from a hawker stall, along with the chopsticks). Oh, and I always mispronounced thao1-kiong1 as khao1-kiong1, perhaps under the mistaken belief that it was related to "scraping" the food off the plate (i.e. "khao1" = "scrape").
Mark Yong
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:41 pm

SimL wrote:
Penang Hokkien is known to have some variation between "-io" and "-iau").
My adopting the -ioⁿ ending for words like , , and started off life by emulating the speech of my ex-manager in Penang. Much later, through the influence of dictionaries (the main one being the 《閩南語漳腔辭典》, I discovered that the ‘correct’ 漳州 Ciang-Ciu pronunciation of such words is with the -ioⁿ ending. The habit has stuck thereafter.
SimL wrote:
Why do you suspect a Cantonese influence?
Oh, it was just in response to Ah-bin pointing out the Taiwanese use of 蠓薰 báng-hun, making me wonder whether the Penang version was Malayan-ised. I mean, even the pronunciation for 雲吞麵 wan-than miⁿ is, strictly-speaking, partially-Cantonese. But to be fair, even the Cantonese speakers adopt the Hokkien pronunciation for 粿條, bastardising it into gwai-diu! Restaurant menus all over Sydney have it written as 貴刁. :cry:
SimL
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by SimL » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:47 am

SimL wrote:[...] BTW, are you all aware of the claim that Hokkien "really IS special, compared to the other forms of Sinitic", in that it split off from the main body much earlier than any other form (and this is supposed to be the reason that it's the only form without "f-": because the "f-" sound only evolved in the main body after the Hokkien split-off). I recall reading this on English Wikipedia, and I've just tried to find the article again, but it proved too difficult on a Blackberry. I'll have another look when I have a decent screen and keyboard again. [...]
Found it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical ... _phonology

The relevant quote is:

"Most modern varieties can be viewed as descendants of Late Middle Chinese (LMC) of c. 1000 AD. For example, all modern varieties other than Min Chinese have labiodental fricatives (e.g. /f/), a change that occurred after Early Middle Chinese (EMC) of c. 600 AD. In fact, some post-LMC changes are reflected in all modern varieties, such as the loss of the chongniu distinction (between e.g. /pian/ and /pjian/, using Edwin Pulleyblank's transcription). Other changes occurring in most modern varieties, such as the loss of initial voiced obstruents and corresponding tone split, are areal changes that spread across existing dialects; possibly the loss of chongniu distinctions can be viewed in the same way.

Min Chinese, on the other hand, is known to have branched off even before Early Middle Chinese (EMC) of c. 600 AD. Not only does it not reflect the development of labiodental fricatives or other LMC-specific changes, but a number of features already present in EMC appear never developed. An example is the series of retroflex stops in EMC, which developed from earlier alveolar stops followed by /r/, and which later merged with retroflex sibilants. In Min, the corresponding words still have alveolar stops. This difference can be seen in the words for "tea" borrowed into various other languages: For example, Spanish te, English tea vs. Portuguese cha, English chai, reflecting the Amoy (Southern Min) /the/ vs. Standard Mandarin /tʂha/."

Not to be too chauvinistic or anything, but hurrah for Hokkien being special :mrgreen:!
amhoanna
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by amhoanna » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:13 pm

That is to say, there were two "interlocking spirals" cut into the one flat disk, sort of like a complicated version of the yin-yang symbol. One had to carefully "push" the two apart - carefully, in order not to break either one.
Is there any other kind?? :shock: Besides the electric kind?
Train station – I normally hear people say 火車站 hôe-chīa cĭam or 火車頭 hôe-chīa tháu, probably to disambiguate it from other types of 車頭 chīa tháu.
For the record, (hoé)chiacạm seems to be the regular word for TRAIN STATION in (authentic, not Mandarized) TWnese Hoklo as well. (Hoé)chiathảu seems to be a special term for big stations where a lot of trains start. The only station I know to be a "chiathảu" is the main station in Taipak...
Bank account – Discounting the 紅毛屎 àng-mÒ-sâi’s who tend to conveniently fall back on the English word ‘account’ :mrgreen:, I normally hear 戶口 hŎ-khâu.
I am strictly Hoklophone during most of my bank visits in Taiwan (and Amoy -- I told U guys that story, right? :lol: ). Interesting but true, most of the ladies that work in TWnese banks do not understand the word kháucọ 口座. About 1/3 of them understand it with hesitation, and reply to double check that I do mean họ·thảu 戶頭. Ah yes, a Mandarism. These "OL" bancarias range in age from 22 to 45. I would say the ones that understand it at all are usually at least in their 30s.

The VNmese word is tàikhoản 財款. In this case, maybe Hoklo would do better to adopt the Vietnamism: cảikhoán. VN > Mod Std Chinese > JP > English.
BTW, are you all aware of the claim that Hokkien "really IS special, compared to the other forms of Sinitic", in that it split off from the main body much earlier than any other form
Maybe "Sinitic" here should be qualified with word "urban", or "major"... Great secrets lie in wait in the hills of the south, amigos. And then there's Vietnamese. Just today I've been re-reading John Phan's paper on the origins of the Sino layer in VNmese, and "the split" is one of the foci of the analysis. Sino-VNmese, or most of it anyway, also "split off" kind of early...

VNmese and Hoklo also share a lot of semantics, syntax and vocab. (esp. semantics!), often things that even Canton Cantonese doesn't share. The evidence seems to point to these being shared retentions. I come across these on a daily basis and haven't found a good way to record them all as I go along. I mean, guess what songsinh 双生 means? TWINS. No big deal, U say? Well, how about ôngbà for Hoklo kóngmá? Coincidence? Possibly... Language contact is a minefield for the unwary.
Not to be too chauvinistic or anything, but hurrah for Hokkien being special :mrgreen:!
8)
amhoanna
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Re: Penang Hokkien Vocabulary Questions

Post by amhoanna » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:19 pm

Well, how about ôngbà for Hoklo kóngmá?
I mean kongmá... And the punji for ôngbà should be 翁婆, but, in traditional written VNmese (using kanji), punji usually weren't used for "pẹ'oẹ" (白話)*, colloquial* words like ôngbà.

* In the "Hoklological" sense of the word.
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