Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
PPK

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by PPK » Fri Sep 20, 2002 2:19 pm

dun worry, they still have the 'official coxford dictionary of singlish' for reference...
Mark
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Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Mark » Sun Sep 22, 2002 5:35 am

yes PPK ;)

I was going to buy the print version of that, but wepsite version valley useful lah!

However somehow I doubt they care about Singlish at all, they seem over-ambitious here. If Thailand's GM suddenly says "ok people, Thai isn't a very good way of speaking English, we have to speak English correctly so that it is no longer Thai" is strange, Thailand has a national language unique to its own country, but they have no problem with international business.

And while I can sort of understand why they may want to promote "proper English" (vs proper Singlish), there's no need to make the language die. Many other campaigns have hurt languages in similar ways: The old Spanish dictator tried to promote Spanish at the expense of Galician, Catalan, Asturian, Valencian, &c (but if I recall correctly he did promote Basque for Basques) so far that he even tried to ban speech of these languages! Surely if you are killing a language and realise what you are doing you must be evil? But then I don't believe in absolute morals... hm...
Mark
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Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Mark » Tue Sep 24, 2002 5:45 am

James, you're wrong here. The politically correct usage of Taiwanese means Hakka, Hokkien, and aboriginal languages, I've heard Taiwanese people say it themselves and I've seen it written all over. It does make sense, doesn't it? When we say "Chinese", we don't refer just to Mandarin but to all the dialects? But we don't refer to Zhuang, Tibetan, etc. because we like to consider these their own nationalities even though PRC has tried to integrate them.
Ken

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Ken » Thu Oct 31, 2002 5:58 am

Hi all,

The term 'Taiwanese' naturally refers to Minnan language. But if the question is 'what are the Taiwanese languages?', then they include Minnan, Hakka & Aboriginal languages.

The frequent reference to Minnan language as 'Taiwanese' is a phenomenon that has become more popular in the last 12 years or so.
When I was in Taiwan in 1990, the use of term 'Minnan' was still common.
This could be due to the growing influence of the pro-Independance forces.
James Campbell

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by James Campbell » Thu Oct 31, 2002 7:16 am

Mark,

Li mai ka goa cha-boo-kiaN ka lao-bu tng-chai anne la!!

Li chitma teh to-chit kokka? Li kui kang, tak kang long ka tai-oan lang cho-hoe bo? Goa m siong-sim.

Goa kui-kang long teh kong-si ka cho seng-li e tai-oan lang cho-hoe. Li sui-si mng sia tai-oan oe si simmih, chhiaN in ka li kong tai-oan oe, in bo kho-leng beh ka li o-beh kong simmih khekka-oe, simmih hoanna-oe, long m-si. In chiah e ka li kong tai-oan oe chiah tioh a. Ni-chhia, chit-e tai-oan oe chiu si li so-kong e banlam-oe. Hoan-tsai, chit-e msi hiahni phaiN liau-kai e taichi, a-m?

Kok-ji u kho-leng khah chheng-chho. Ka-su li kong 臺灣話, tong-jian chit-e si ka 閩南話 kang chit-e boo iuN. Na-bo, kasu li kong 臺灣的語言, chit-kiaN taichi long si bo kang-khoaN e. Bun-te si anne-hoh: li so-iong Taiwanese chit-e eng-bun-ji bo chheng-chho. Li eng-khai iong tai-gi lai kai-sek la!!

Li kam-u liao-kai?

Goa chhiaN tai-ka lai to-to chi-kao!

James
James Campbell

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by James Campbell » Fri Nov 01, 2002 7:16 pm

Mark? u ti le bo?
Mark
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Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Mark » Fri Nov 08, 2002 6:55 am

uhh... right...

Didn't I say somewhere else, 我袂曉講台文。 = ( 'wà vwěi hiào gòng dȁi vún.)
James Campbell

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by James Campbell » Sat Nov 09, 2002 5:53 pm

Mark what you wrote in characters is contradicting what you wrote in romanization.

The characters say you want to be able to speak it, but your romanization (though scrambled) I make it out as saying you can't speak it. By the way, people don't say 台文.
James, you're wrong here. The politically correct usage of Taiwanese means Hakka, Hokkien, and aboriginal languages, I've heard Taiwanese people say it themselves and I've seen it written all over.
So, since you not only do not know Taiwanese, you don't even really have a basis to make the claim above and tell me I'm wrong. The fact that you can't even answer my questions in the Taiwanese post above goes to show that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Na Ren

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Na Ren » Tue Jan 28, 2003 5:13 am

A language is only living if there is a sizable population that speaks it and can transmit it to their children who continue to speaking. As far as I gather, even though Singaporeans are being forced to learn Mandarin, Hokkien is still used even if unofficially. It is no different than Mainland China or Taiwan where the populace must learn Mandarin; the speakers of dialects are still around and continue to survive. Government policy might be harsh, but I think it was brought to unite the different Chinese populations--whether they be Teochew, Hokkien, Hainanese, Mandarin, Cantonese or even Shanghaiese--and promote greater unity with the other Chinese countries. Most African nations speak several if not hundreds of languages, but use an official language for commerce and government. To keep Hokkien alive, it must be done at home just like in Africa and other countries. I do not speak Teochew because my ancestors did not want me to, but I feel at loss. In America, mostly Cantonese, learn Mandarin at "Chinese School" but still retain their Cantonese. If other Chinese people outside of Singapore can hold on to their native dialects, then I have faith that Hokkien will still be a viable resource for future generations even under the "Speak Mandarin" campaign.
panoo
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Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by panoo » Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:57 am

I recognise that speaking Mandarin gives Chinese Singaporeans access to a wider world, and gives the Mandarin speaking world access to Singaporeans, which is a good thing, but I still lament the loss of Hokkien in Singapore.
xng
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Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by xng » Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:50 am

panoo wrote:I recognise that speaking Mandarin gives Chinese Singaporeans access to a wider world, and gives the Mandarin speaking world access to Singaporeans, which is a good thing, but I still lament the loss of Hokkien in Singapore.
The biggest problem with Hokkien is that there are NO standard unlike cantonese which uses the guanzhou as the standard.

Each of the hokkien subgroup speak with their own variations ie. zhangzhou, quanzhou, xiamen, taiwanese. And even the 'mixed rojak' dialect like Penang and Singaporean hokkien.

If there's a standard where everybody agrees to use (including teochiu), then it will ensure a better survival for hokkien in the future.

If not, everybody will be speaking mandarin in the future and hokkien will be a dying language.
Andrew

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Andrew » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:06 am

Seems like the Chinese/Fujian/Xiamen governments are really recognising the political and economic value of Hokkien due to Taiwan across the straits...
Minnan dialect, culture introduced into Xiamen classroom
Updated: 05 Oct 2009
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A cultural campaign, which is aimed at introducing Minnan dialect and culture into classroom, was launched in Xiamen recently. 13 middle schools, 10 elementary schools and 8 kindergartens are made pilot schools for the campaign.

Xiamen Education Bureau said those pilot schools should capitalise on its own strengths and make detailed plans to integrate Minnan dialect and culture into their course and practice, offer Minnan dialect and culture courses regularly.

At the same time, these schools are required to organize activities in and out of class so that students can master Minnan dialect and communicate in Minnan dialect.

Xiamen Education Bureau said other schools are also encouraged to conduct this cultural campaign and the second batch pilot schools will be announced in the first half of 2010.
niuc
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Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by niuc » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:58 pm

Thanks, Andrew, for the good news :-)
Andrew

Re: Is Hokkien A Living Language?

Post by Andrew » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:22 pm

An older article:
Minnan dialect or Hokkien is China's global Fujianese connections
Updated: 20 Aug 2009
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BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - China is hoping to make big money from supporting a once marginalized and repressed regional language which is widely spoken in affluent Taiwan and many Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, including Singapore.

Hokkien, which is termed a dialect in China but cannot be understood by Mandarin speakers, comes from southeastern Fujian province and, due to centuries of immigration, is the native tongue of around 80 percent of Taiwanese.

In Taiwan, where Hokkien is usually called Taiwanese, its public use was once suppressed by the Nationalist government, which pushed Mandarin as the official language. But it is now widely used once again, as an expression of national pride.

Now, China is hoping to make some money from those linguistic links and the Hokkien cultural renaissance. In China itself, where the government has also tried to remove dialects from the official arena, Hokkien is being given greater prominence.

"Cultural industries in the whole province are increasingly important, and Hokkien opera and other folk operas have deep roots," Luo Jian, the Fujian government's deputy general secretary, told a news conference.

Fujian's first cross-strait culture expo last year saw some 5 billion yuan ($US732 million) of contracts signed, and the second one to be held later this year hopes to build on that, he said.

"There is a vast amount of space for cross-strait cultural exchange and cooperation," Luo added.

The expo will feature traditional Hokkien singing competitions as well as other aspects of the native culture.

"Everyone knows, Fujian and Taiwan are separated only by a narrow strip of water, and blood is thicker than water," said provincial government spokesman Zhu Qing.

The event will give Taiwan companies a chance to sell their television shows and cartoons to a wider audience, Luo added.

"Though these industries are quiet well developed in Taiwan, their market is limited, and they need to develop outside and sell abroad," he said.

China and Taiwan have for decades promoted Mandarin as their national languages, seeing it as a unifying force in a culture with thousands of mutually unintelligible dialects.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island in 1949 ahead of the advancing Communists, and has vowed to bring Taiwan under mainland rule, by force if necessary.

Yet since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office last year, the China-friendly leader has eased tension through trade and tourism deals.

Part of China's recent policy toward Taiwan has been to encourage cultural exchanges. Taiwanese actors and singers are hugely popular in China, where they are seen as cooler and more sophisticated than their mainland counterparts.

In the past, Taiwanese pop stars have been banned from singing in Hokkien in China and films and soap operas have been dubbed into Mandarin, though that is starting to change as the language policy eases and government ties warm.

SOURCE: Reuters by Ben Blanchard
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