Retaining Hokkien Language

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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Mark
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Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark » Tue Jul 02, 2002 3:37 am

@PPK:

gahmen want all forget dialect lah

However one, got more Hokkien, lots more hokkien-speaking than got mandarin-speaking one, so why use Mandarin ah? 28.8 per-sen of people in S'pore talk Hokkien, if you consider all Minnan then is 45.9 persen of poperlashin what! Also best figger, 22 per-sen talk Mandarin, that also people who learn Mandarin foreign language one, many time Chinese always talk Hokkien to other Chinese they see, have no porblem cause so many Chinese speak Hokkien, however also this from Ah Beng types easy to spot in crowd leh.

I thin best solution is, kiasu gahmen stop worry an make Hokkien official with Malay, Tamil, Singlish, an English lah. I think it time for Singlish to recognise in S'pore as well what.

Mark
Chao Zhou Ren Pengyou

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Chao Zhou Ren Pengyou » Tue Jul 02, 2002 5:29 pm

Whatever the reasons for preserving one's mother toungue are, one thing I would urge you guys to aware is that by using the word "Min Nan Hua" it means a lot. It's not totally wrong to use "Min Nan" for "Taiwanese Hokkien", but it's not right to hesitate the existence of other "Min Nan Hua" subgroups.

"Chao Zhou Hua" or "Teochiu" (or called something else) is another important one in this group and widely spoken in both Mainland China's Guangdong and Southeast Asian countries, though not very prominent in the US (one reason is that they all can speak other dialect esp Cantonese since they are in Guangdong too!, so they only speak it at home).

I don't mean to oppose anyone's opinion, but just want everyone to recognise the diversity of so-called "Min Nan Hua" in which it contains many subgroups. Even Hokkien itself also has several sub-dialects, to be precise. The one spoken in Taiwan is somehow different from "those" Hokkiens spoken in Fujian province.

I am just playing a devil advocate, raising this issue in order to represent other Min Nan Hua speakers. They are also important in daily life of millions of people and full of culture passing from generation to generation, not different from Taiwanese Hokkien at all. Therefore, they should have the right to be inclusive when people using the word "Min Nan Hua" and should not be forgotten either (though they don't have any chance to claim for "independence" like Taiwan).

I hope everyone is understand and what I am trying to ask for is to be specific if you want to refer to Taiwanese Hokkien or other sub-dialects instead of using a very general term of "Min Nan Hua".

Thank you very much

Choa Zhou Ren Pengyuo
Mark
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Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark » Tue Jul 02, 2002 8:55 pm

Chaozhou Ren: I'm sorry if it has seemed to you than in our references to "Minnanyu" that it seemed like we thought that Minnanyu and Taiyu or Hokkien are the same thing, however we were simply using Taiyu and Hokkien as examples as they are the most prominent of the Minnan dialects. (however Teochew is also important, as is Chaozhou)
Mark Williamson

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark Williamson » Tue Jul 02, 2002 9:01 pm

Also, I've forgotten to say to Boon Hong: your figures for Singapore are incorrect, it's actually 45.9% of the total population of Singapore, and a very different figure for the percentage of the Chinese population, I think that percentage is about 60-65% (I'll calculate later)

From what I can see, you've made the same mistake for Malaysia (but most definetly not for Phillipines of Indonesia)

Just curious, perhaps somebody could give us the dialect stats for Vietnam, Thailand, and Brunei? From what I know Vietnam is actually mostly Cantonese (the Chinese population is what I'm referring to)
ppk

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by ppk » Wed Jul 03, 2002 7:12 am

mark:

the singaporean govt will be slapping their own cheeks if they allow dialects to come back :D. i am pretty sure they wont risk that.

vietnam is mostly canto and teochew. the 'hoa'(hua, ie. zhonghua) or chinese is around 1mil., largest minority group in vietnam.

chao zhou ren:

in the larger picture, teochew is a branch of min dialects. min dialects oso include min dong(east), min bei(north) besides min nan(south), and each had a few branches under them. taiwanese 'taiyu' accent is almost identical to quanzhou and xiamen(amoy). fuchow ppl usually dont see themselves as fujian(hokkien) ppl. if asked whether a fuchow guy is hokkien, esp the older generation, he'll probably say he's a 'fuchew nin', not a 'fukin nin'. for the south east asian ppl, mostly are associated with minnan and not the rest, so we tend to use minnan as a general term to equate hokkien dialects. all dialect speakers in mainland china add up to around 30+% of the population only(includes min, yue, zhe, su, gan, xiang and hakka). so mandarin(northern dialects, henan, hebei, sichuan, yunnan, beijing, shanxi, shannxi, hangchow and northeast/northwest china) is used as the common tongue.
Mark Williamson

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark Williamson » Wed Jul 03, 2002 7:25 am

ppk:

Come back? What do you mean, come back!?!? Hokkien may be losing ground to Mandarin, but soooo many people still speak Hokkien compared to Mandarin (although the gahmen would like us to think otherwise...)

However, seeing as they would be declaring themselves wrong which would lower the population's confidence in them which would reduce S'pore's ability to compete in the global market (or at least that's what they'd say rotflmao) then I doubt that'll happen any time soon :P

In Vietnam, most Chinese are Cantonese if I recall correctly with a smaller percentage of them being Teochew.

ppk: czr:

Well no, actually, if I recall correctly, Teochew IS a Minnan dialect. MIN dialects have been found to be languages on their own now (Nan, Dong, Bei and Zhong)

Xiamen (Amoy) and Taiwan (Taiyu) Minnan dialects are very similar. The Chaozhou dialect is what is known as Teochew, and is a Minnan dialect.

Hokkien is often used to refer to other dialects, I've seen Taiwanese Hokkien, Amoy Hokkien, Teochew Hokkien, and Chaozhou Hokkien used as words for these dialects.
Chao Zhou Ren Pengyou

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Chao Zhou Ren Pengyou » Thu Jul 04, 2002 3:51 pm

Hey guys

Thanks for your opinions. To clarify everything I think this website is useful for our discussion on this matter :D check it out

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=CFR

And it has an information on population of spakers of the language too. You will find it very useful lah! :D

Oki, and hope you guys understand why I raise that issue. Anyway, I am happy to hear from you guys again :D

Cheers
Choa Zhou Ren Pengyou
Mark
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Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark » Thu Jul 04, 2002 9:15 pm

Chaozhouren:

I'm surprised you linked that, that's actually the site I use as a reference for languages. I also have the print edition :)

Oso can i hep joo wiss enising else?
Yeo Boon Hong

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Yeo Boon Hong » Sat Jul 06, 2002 4:32 am

Mark:

My ppl figs. based on Asia, Inc. Research and published in Asia, Inc. Magazine sometime in 1996 and I suppose more up-to-date c/p figs. in the ethnologue site which are quite outdated. Figs. in Asia, Inc. separate Hokkiens and Teochiu (Chiuchow/Teochew) therefore the Hokkien ppl figs. quoted by me exclude Teochiu. Ethnologue site also contains some factual errors such as the dominant Chinese dialect in Philippines should be Hokkien and not Chaochow.

ppk:

U are right. Minnan used as a general term to equate Hokkien dialect more specifically the Southern Fujian dialect which Malaysians and Singaporeans refer to as Hokkien. In Fujian Province and Taiwan, reference to Minnan hua generally taken to mean Hokkien language of Southern Fujian. Teochew language eventhough classified by the West especially the Christian Missionary as part of the Minnan language group due to many similarities, is normally referred to as Choachow hua in China, Taiwan and Chinese communites in South East Asia and other parts of the world.

Choazhouren:

When I 1st suggested this Hokkien language forum, the administrator requested that I should be more specific to avoid undue debate on the definition of Hokkien which actually happened during the World Hokkien Congress in Langkawi Island, Malaysia some 4 years back. The Federation of Hokkien Associations in Malaysia include the Foochow and Henghua Associations and therefore the argument centred on whether it should be taken broadly to cover all the min language group or confine to minnan which generally refers to Southern Fujian language group. To avoid confusion, I therefore proposed to include 'minnan' in brackets to refer to Southern Fujian language. Anyway, Hokkien language is taken generally to refer to all the related Hokkien dialects in Southern Fujian excluding the Teochew dialect though it is quite closely related. I sincerely apologize on the general use of minnan hua to refer to Hokkien if it has offended you.

Best regards to all.
Mark
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Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark » Sat Jul 06, 2002 11:50 am

Boon Hong: So it was you who requested this forum... unfortunately, as you will notice, there aren't many posts here at all.
Chao Zhou Ren Pengyou

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Chao Zhou Ren Pengyou » Sat Jul 06, 2002 7:36 pm

Hi guys

I dont mean to bring this issue because of me being offended. I am not offended at all. I personally dont speak Chaozhou hua normally as it's not my mother tongue. I just have some sympathy to Choazhou people, perhaps because they are the big community here where I am.

I just have some idea that Chaozhou hua is supposed to be also in Minnan group. And I've experience many similarities between Chaozhou hua and Hokkien (mostly through Taiwanese Hokkien), which I think they are parts of Minnan and neither of them should be exclusive to Minnan when the general term is used. I am convinced more somehow after I have done some research both on the net and academic books. Therefore I raised the issue. It's just a brain exercise for all of us interesting in languages, esp. Minnan group, I think :D

All right, I am happy to hear some more information if you guys have, just to broaden my knwoledge. Thank you.

Regards
Mark
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Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark » Sat Jul 06, 2002 8:11 pm

Personally, I have troubles drawing the line between languages and dialects.

While to some, Beifang, Dunggan [Zhunyan?], Gan, Huizhou, Jinyu, Kejia, Minbei, Mindong, Minnan, Minzhong, Puxian, Wu, Xiang, and Yue (some will merge parts of that list, others will expand it a little, however essentially it stays the same) are dialects of Chinese, to me they are Chinese languages and:

Huabei, Xibei, Xinan, and Jinghai (Beifang)
Gansu, Shaanxi, and Yage (Dunggan)
Changjing, Yiliu, Jicha, Fuguang, and Yingyi (Gan)
Jixi, Xiuyi, Qide, Yanzhou, and Jingzhan (Huizhou)
Jinyu (Jinyu)
Yuetai, Yuezhong, Huizhou, Yuebei, Tingzhou, Ninglong, Yugui, and Tonggu (Kejia)
Minbei (Minbei)
Fuzhou (Mindong)
Xiamen, Leizhou, Chaoshan, Hainan, Longdu, and Zhenan (Minnan)
Minzhong (Minzhong)
Putian, and Xianyou (Puxian)
Taihu, Jinhua, Taizhou, Oujiang, Wuzhou, Chuqu, and Xuanzhou (Wu)
Changyi, Luoshao, and Jishu (Xiang)
Yuehai, Siyi, Gaolei, Qinlian, and Guinan (Yue)

are dialects of their respective Chinese (Sinitic) languages.

However, many of what I consider DIALECTS would be considered as LANGUAGES by some, and by others still they would have SUBDIALECTS (they do to me) such as Chaozhou, Hokkien, Taiwanese, + for Xiamen Minnan. (some would say Amoy and Fujian, with Chaozhou, Hokkien, and Taiwanese as sub-subdialects of Fujian...)
Yeo Boon Hong

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Yeo Boon Hong » Sun Jul 07, 2002 4:53 am

Mark:

There are few postings in this forum because it was created only in late April 2002. Moreover, perhaps not many know the existence of this site or are interested in this language which is fast losing its influence in the Chinese community not only in China but overseas. The fact that this site is in English which is not familiar to most Hokkiens in China and Taiwan also accounts for the few postings so far.

Hope more topics of interest could be added to increase participation and postings as in the Cantonese Language Forum.

Best regards.
Mark
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Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by Mark » Sun Jul 07, 2002 5:36 am

Boon Hong:

Well then, why not a Wu forum? There are plenty more Wu in the world than there are Minnan, let alone Hokkien.

Also, somebody has yet to publish online a database of character readings in Minnan (Hokkien variety), I was thinking of perhaps making a cooperative project in which people such as you could sign up to submit entries in a specified phonetic alphabet (a standard romanization, such as xiamen missionary, an adapted pinyin, or perhaps zhuyin) to a database. Personally, I think that this would really help people who are trying to push Hokkien, and in countries where somebody might want to know the Hokkien way of saying a word (perhaps a Hakka in Taiwan, a Cantonese in Singapore, etc.) especially if it were useable over a Chinese cellphone interface. (for example somebody is at the mall, and they need to ask for "jiaoza" in Hokkien, they can go to the database and search for the Hokkien pronunciation of "jiaoza" and say it, or perhaps if future technology permits, have their cellphone say it for them via audiofile)
James Campbell

Re: Retaining Hokkien Language

Post by James Campbell » Fri Jul 12, 2002 8:48 am

Mark,

The company that I co-founded, Glossika, is working with a group of companies where a lot of money has been invested in developing language technologies like you are mentioning. But more advanced. Basically, we're working towards the day that the world's peoples can speak any language on a telephone and have it interpreted into any other language, also complete with overlays for video broadcast (ie CNN broadcast live in your own language). The digitization and building of language databases is very important. Of course, it's a race against the clock to building massive broadband networks in order to handle the immense amount of data and calculations involved, but in a few years it will start to become more and more a reality. When language barriers are finally broken in this way, all languages will have the chance to flourish once again with a world-wide audience, without the threat of being replaced by languages like English (I feel silly using English to say that statement). Cellphone interfaces, like you mention, is too present, or even past technology.

Also, the Chinese section of the Ethnologue has a number of faults which I'm not going to go into detail about right now. I do not use it as a reliable source. Does anybody know when a new edition is expected?

Regarding languages and dialects: I would consider the difference of the several Mins as we do Catalan to Spanish or Provencal to French. They can be considered separate languages but are still grouped together with their respective major languages. Minnan acts as the major representative of the Min languages, so even though I consider a northern branch of Min a separate language (comprising of Minbei, Mindong, ...etc.) they are collectively grouped together as Min. I consider major regional variations, such as Xiamen, Chaoshan, Hainan, as separate dialects--pretty much following linguists in China. Then those differences such as between Quanzhou and Zhangzhou (representative of Taipei/Xiamen and Tainan/Kaohsiung, respectively) as accents. As a Quanzhou-accented speaker of Xiamen Minnan, speaking with people with these different accents is possible, but trying to communicate with people of different dialects, such as Chaoshan, is really hard.

According to my understanding, the Chaoshan dialect is spoken in Chaozhou and Shantou, two cities, and perhaps by other scattered groups of people throughout the world. It is just one dialect of Min. Yet, the speakers of this dialect blow it up to be like it is one of the major Chinese languages and one of the most important, on a level similar with Cantonese. I don't feel this is true. It is spoken by a minority of Minnan speakers, and its coverage is limited to these two cities. The Chaoshan speakers I have spoken with before will argue with me to no end that their "language" is not related to "Hokkien" Minnan.

And WHY NOT an WU forum? 我完全贊成. Wu has more speakers than any one of the other southern Chinese languages. It would probably be the first of its kind on the net. But I'm not sure how many people would be interested in using it. Maybe to get more attention, it should be called Shanghaiese.

James
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