Vocabulary questions

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Vocabulary questions

Post by SimL » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:35 am

Hi,

I started this topic, which has probably been started (and had topic drift) many times in the history of this Forum. It's for asking how so say "X" in Hokkien, where "X" is an English word or concept. Or, conversely, to ask what a particular Hokkien word means or what its benzi might be, etc.

This is because I was talking to a Hokkien speaker the other day and he used the word "hau-lian". I tried to get the tones from him, but it seemed a bit different each time he said it, particularly the first syllable. The second syllable is almost definitely "lian2". As he has absolutely no linguistics background, he didn't understand what I meant when I tried to get from him either the meaning or pronunciation of the "hau" in isolation. Perhaps he didn't know anyway, but I had difficulty conveying to him even the *concept* of what I wanted, separate from whether he knew what the first syllable was.

He says it means "proud", but English is definitely not his first language (more his 4th or 5th), so the meaning could just be in the general semantic area of "proud" or it could mean exactly "proud". I couldn't find it in the electronic Douglas/Barclay by searching for "proud". Writing just the sandhi tone for the first syllable, it sounded something like "hau1-lian2".
Yeleixingfeng
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:50 am

Re: Vocabulary questions

Post by Yeleixingfeng » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:50 pm

In Penang, Hau-lian is an adjective, meaning - disapprovingly - arrogant. The English idea of proud is neutral (I am proud of you.) Hau1-lian2 is how we pronounce it here. The punji for hau is 囂; lian, I don't know.

Sometimes though, it acts as a verb.
Lu ka i u chhengchha mie? Lu hau-lian ha mi? 汝共伊有程差咩?汝囂lian何物?
Are you different from him? What are you so arrogant about?
You and him got difference meh? So proud for what? - Manglish.

(From now on I will try to incorporate Manglish translations - it is the only language that can correctly convey the various nuances of Hokkien, unless you guys have any other opinions.)

Comparing hau-lian to ten2(展), hau-lian is more of an attitude, while ten2 is the exact act of showing off. Broadly-speaking, they are interchangeable, but the subconscious meaning is different.

A: I hau-lian ha-mi? 伊囂lian何物?
B: Bo la, i hau-lian i oo'-chhia liao. 無喇, 伊囂lian伊學車了.
A: What is he so proud of?
B: Nothing much, he is proud because he can legally drive now.
A: He so proud for what?
B: No la, he proud 'cuz he learning car liao.

In this case, he does not swagger around with his car license, instead he feels good about himself - to the extent that it becomes annoying.

Well, that is the Penang usage of the word. It's quite common even non-Hokkien speakers like me. Surprised that you've never heard of it...
SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Vocabulary questions

Post by SimL » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:58 pm

Hi Yeleixingfeng,

Thanks very much for your explanation, and detailed examples, to try and illustrate fine shades of meaning. Very much appreciated.

Strange that I don't know the word. I'll have to ask my parents about this. BTW, when you write "hau1-lian2", you mean the sandhi tone "hau1" right? Don't be shy about Manglish. If it conveys what you want it to convey, please feel free to use it :mrgreen:.
Yeleixingfeng
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:50 am

Re: Vocabulary questions

Post by Yeleixingfeng » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:06 pm

Yeah. It's sandhied - which makes me think the punji shouldn't be 囂 at all.
amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Vocabulary questions

Post by amhoanna » Sat Apr 28, 2012 4:46 am

Strange, but I've come across this word several times and simply took it for granted as part of the Sing-Ma lexicon. Curious to see what U guys find on this, and what Ah-bin has to say. I'll bet a few baht that this is a loanword from Teochew.
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