More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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SimL
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by SimL » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:00 pm

1) To correct (mistakes) I'm guessing this is ké• 改
Strictly, "kE2" is "to alter". Now, generally, one only alters what is wrong/incorrect, so by extension, I suppose it does sort of mean "to correct". Still, it's less directly equatable to "to correct", and more to "to alter".

I only used it in the context of tailor-made clothes, btw. When I was young, people (especially women) still bought cloth from a cloth shop and took it to a tailor (along with a design from a fashion magazine) and got the tailor to make that specific dress for them. Then they went back to "fit" it. And wherever it didn't fit, they would ask for alterations. Similarly for men's waist-size or length, for trousers.

So, it's not so much that the (say) length is *wrong* per se, and needs "correction". It's just wrong *for you*, so it needs "alteration". Perhaps that is the difference in emphasis.
4) Curtain (either one for windows or one for a stage)
Easy one: thang1-a2-pO7 窗仔布. But only for the ones in a window, obviously.

I wonder whether a Chinese-speaker would even consider the two (window curtains and stage curtains) to be two aspects of the "same thing".
5) Debt khiàm ê lui 欠个鐳 ?
Don't know this personally, but to me "khiàm lâng ê lui" seems slightly better. Mark?

7) Disaster
My circumlocution would be "tua7-cham2" (= "big terribleness").
8 ) Divided by (pun?) 分 I know to divide into halves is pun cho no• poaN, but how about "divided by five". I'm guessing mathematics hasn't been taught in Hokkien for a long time anywhere, so perhaps it is pun cho go• te "divided into five pieces" or something like that.
Seems ok to me, but is more a circumlocution than the technical term for division, IMHO.
9) To display (goods etc.) maybe hē• hō• lâng-khe•h khoàN 下與儂客看?
I wouldn't use just "lâng" instead of "lâng-khe•h", because things are displayed not just to guests, but to passing strangers as well. Also, I definitely say "pâi" (= "set out") rather than than the more general / vaguer "hē•" (= "put"). I wonder if it should be "pâi chút" rather than just "pâi", to emphasize the "set out" aspect, but this doesn't sound right either. "hō• lâng khoàN" sounds fine though.
Ah-bin
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Ah-bin » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:59 am

Thanks very much Sim, here are a few comments before I get on to the next round:

I have heard ké• also used in reference to altering one's behaviour for the better. This is a very old meaning of the word (used in Lûn-gú 論語) which I think Bhante Dhammavudho may have got from reading Buddhist Sutras.

I had another word for a kind of curtain or screen which was nî 簾 as in mûi-nî 門簾 a curtain over a door. I think this is a kind of bamboo curtain or screen though. That is what the character 簾 refers to in Japanese, at least.

As for putting the lâng in some circumlocutions, this is very useful for saying all sorts of things.

I am guessing there is no technical term for division generally used in Penang Hokkien any more. Even fluent Taiwanese speakers had trouble doing maths in Hokkien because they had only ever learnt to do it in Mandarin or Japanese (for the older ones).
Mark Yong
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Mark Yong » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:08 am

Ah-bin wrote:
To display (goods etc.) maybe hē• hō• lâng-khe•h khoàN 下與儂客看?
SimL wrote:
...I definitely say "pâi" (= "set out") rather than than the more general / vaguer "hē•" (= "put"). I wonder if it should be "pâi chút" rather than just "pâi", to emphasize the "set out" aspect, but this doesn't sound right either. "hō• lâng khoàN" sounds fine though.
Hi, guys,

Sorry for the long absence. As you probably know, I try not to write unless I really have something inspiring or useful, and that has been severely lacking for months!

Regarding ‘display’: There is a word that my wife uses (she spent most of her growing up years in Kedah), which is tien2. She often uses it in a mildly negative context, i.e. 『展予人看』 tien2 hO7 lang7 khuaⁿ1 (“to display (oneself) for all to see, i.e. to show off”). Another (unrelated) usage of the word is in the compound 發展 huat4 tien2 “development”.
Ah-bin wrote:
Debt khiàm ê lui 欠个鐳 ?
SimL wrote:
Don't know this personally, but to me "khiàm lâng ê lui" seems slightly better. Mark?
This is me pretending to be pedantic! :lol: If I had to say ‘debt’ as a noun, I would say 欠(个)數 khiam3 (e) siau3. My reasoning is that the siau3 specifically emphasises the quantity/sum being owed, rather than the monetary nature of the debt, which is already self-explanatory from khiam3 and therefore rendering the addition of lui1 somewhat redundant (unless we are referring to a debt of a non-material nature, in which case I would not even use siau3 to begin with!).

**UPDATE** After posting the above, I Googled 『欠數』 to see if such usage was really commonplace. Turns out, it’s listed in the Taiwan MOE’s online dictionary. (http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/holodict_new/r ... ount=13244)
Ah-bin wrote:
Bedding (phoe-toaN is sheet, does it have the extended meaning of bedding?) Blanket is missing from dG.
SimL wrote:
In my usage, "phue-tuaN" can only mean "blanket". A "bedsheet" is a "j(i)ok-a-ta", as "j(i)ok-a" is a "mattress".
Oops, looks like I have been misguided for years! :oops: For the longest time, I had the impression (or so the Penang Hokkien speakers I had been in contact me led me to believe) that phue7 tuaⁿ1 is ‘bed-sheet’. The funny thing is, if you input 『被單』 into Google Translate, the English translations come out as ‘sheet’ and ‘bed sheet’. By extension, I never figured out how to say ‘blanket’ (assuming, of course, that it is not 被單 phue7 tuaⁿ1!).
Ah-bin wrote:
Backwards (walk backwards)
SimL wrote:
This one is "to-the3/7". The "to" is probably "to2" (to collapse, topple over, lie down") - Mandarin "dao3/4" - also used in "upside down" = Hokkien "to-peng2". No idea what the "the3/7" is though.
Hi, Sim - Just hazarding a guess: 倒退? the3/7 as in 退步 the3-pO7 (“to retreat”).
SimL
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by SimL » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:33 am

Mark Yong wrote:Sorry for the long absence.
Always good to see you back here, Mark! You're a major source of knowledge about Penang Hokkien.
Mark Yong wrote:Oops, looks like I have been misguided for years! For the longest time, I had the impression (or so the Penang Hokkien speakers I had been in contact me led me to believe) that phue7 tuaⁿ1 is ‘bed-sheet’.
Hmm... Well, it's only my usage, which might be "incorrect" (or usage may have changed since the time that I was living there). Could you check with your wife?

Thanks for the "倒退". Seems very plausible to me.
Ah-bin
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Ah-bin » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:45 am

Thanks again both of you. Actually I found the characters for some of the words like 倒退 . I shall post them all up some time.

Here is the new batch. Some of these are very vague, and I am just putting down some ideas and guesses, and a few sentences, since it is sometimes easier to think of how to say a sentence than it is a single word.

1) Drawer/Drawers (as in a chest of drawers)

2) The tip of something - a pen or something like that

3) Extension (phone)

4) Extra - I suppose one could use leng-oa 另外 or something with koh to express this. An extra cost; they gave me five extra books perhaps "I lang leng-oa sang wa go• pun chhe•h"?

5) To decorate

6) Decoration

7) To defeat someone, beat someone at something. He beat me at chess. is it phah-pài perhaps (for war I suppose it might be)

8 ) Degree, level. I know kip 級 for levels of school or learning. Actually maybe this is the only one commonly used, as "not to the same degree as A" can be expressed by means of "bo A an-ne adj"

9) To delay. Hō• lâng bē-hù "Make someone late" perhaps

10) To fast. I'm sure there is one for this that is well-known. I know kìm-chhùi for not eating certain kinds of foods, but what about not eating anything at all?
Mark Yong
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Mark Yong » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:03 am

I am going to approach this from a purely spoken colloquial perspective (read: how I would normally say it, or how I foresee others would say it). Again, all open for correction from more native/savvy Hokkien speakers than myself! :oops:

The tip of something: I might settle for (object) cìam.

Extension (phone): Interesting one. Off the top of my head, I would probably phrase it interrogatively as 電話線幾號 tìan-ŭa-sŭaⁿ kūi-hò or just 幾號線 kūi-hò sŭaⁿ (if the reference to a telephone is already obvious from context).

Extra: 復加 kòh-kàe. So, your example sentence would become something like this: 伊人復加送我五本册i-lang koh-kae sang wa gO pu chaeh. (“On top of that, they also gave me five books.”) I would personally reserve 另外 leng-ua to specifically mean “separately” / “outside the existing scope”, which has a subtly different meaning from “extra”.

To decorate: 擺秀 pài-sûi (mind the provisional character for sûi).

To defeat someone, beat someone at something: I would settle for just 撲贏 phàh-iáⁿ. An alternative that I hear quite often is 撲倒(伊) phàh-tô (i).

To delay: 拖(較)久 thūa (khā) kû.

Of course, I am aware that there are much more elegant ways to say them in “pedigree” Hokkien, but in a daily “on-the-street” context, the average listener would probably find them contrived and artificial (to note that my usual standard points of reference are coffee-shop conversations among old Penang Hokkien uncles, currently in the 60’s to 90’s age group, and typically (but not necessarily) Chinese-educated).
Last edited by Mark Yong on Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ah-bin
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Ah-bin » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:10 am

Of course, I am aware that there are much more elegant ways to say them in “pedigree” Hokkien, but in a daily “on-the-street” context, the average listener would probably find them contrived and artificial (to note that my usual standard points of reference are coffee-shop conversations among old Penang Hokkien uncles, currently in the 60’s to 90’s age group, and typically (but not necessarily) Chinese-educated).
Thanks Mark, these are exactly the sort of words I'm interested in. I am not interested in literary style ones for the dictionary, or anything remotely chhim. the dictionary is intended to be merely an entranceway to the delights that lie beyond. Now it's 213 pages long. Only 87 to go before I stop!
SimL
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by SimL » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:00 am

Thank goodness Mark was able to give some answers, because I'm afraid that my score on this list of 10 is the lowest of all of them so far.

The only one I can do is "tuah4", which means (a single) "drawer".

For "delay" I would use a number of circumlocutions, all based on "tan2" (= "wait").

E.g.

1. I was going to buy that book tomorrow, but now I think I'll delay that a bit => wa thau-seng si siauN kong ma-cai be khi be hi-pun cheh, tapi tong-kim kha siauN kong tan ma-nia ku cia be; literally: I head-born(?) is think say tomorrow want go buy that book, but now more think say wait little long-time only-then buy.

2a. He was going to come tomorrow but has been delayed => i thau-seng si ma-cai be lai e, tapi tong-kim be tan ma-nia ku cia be lai; literally: he head-born(?) is tomorrow want come, but now want wait little long-time only-then want come.

2b. [If the delay is imposed from outside, rather than a choice of the person] He was going to come tomorrow but has been delayed because his car is not working => i thau-seng si ma-cai be lai e, tapi tong-kim be liau, in-ui i e chia phaiN; literally: he head-born(?) is tomorrow want come, but now can't anymore, because his car broken.

So, sorry, but no real word for "to delay".
Ah-bin
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Ah-bin » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:29 am

So, sorry, but no real word for "to delay".
No need to be, sometimes there aren't exact words for things, just different ways of expressing the same concept. That is also the kind of thing I am looking for. Thank you so much for your sentence examples too!
SimL
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by SimL » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:35 pm

Hi Ah-bin,

Glad the sample sentences are of some use. I always find them very useful for Mandarin, so I try to supply them for Hokkien as well.
SimL wrote:The only one I can do is "tuah4", which means (a single) "drawer".
I meant to write "thuah4". I'm definitely doing TOO MUCH Mandarin (i.e. pinyin) these days. :shock:.
Ah-bin
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Ah-bin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:23 am

Since things are going so nice and quickly now, I might try another ten!

1) Ferry - I think in most cases the English loan "ferry" is used

2) Fortress - siâⁿ 城 perhaps, as in Âng-mô•-siâⁿ 紅毛城 for Fort Cornwallis?

3) To frown

4) To guess - siāuⁿ-khoàⁿ 想看?

5) Fungus - kó• 菇 - I guess this is a general term for any kind of fungus?

6) To go on strike

7) ice cream

8 ) To greet somebody - I know chheng-ho• 稱呼 which is more like "to address" than "to greet", then there is the greeting of someone off a train or plane, which is chih 接

9) To guarantee, a guarantee - this will be pó- (保-) something I am sure!

10) To hinder, or block - suppose this could be paraphrased with "hō• lâng mài chò" i.e. "to stop someone from doing something"

Thanks again to everyone for all your help!
Mark Yong
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Mark Yong » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:03 am

SimL wrote:
…because I'm afraid that my score on this list of 10 is the lowest of all of them so far.
Not at all, Sim. We all complement one another to provide insights. Up until you provided the word for ‘drawer’, I had absolutely no idea how to say it in Hokkien! (I might have guessed it was something along the lines of (something).

It is interesting to know that the Taiwan MOE’s assigned character for writing thuah4 is , i.e. the word for ‘drawer’ in Standard Chinese – though, I am not sure how they reconciled the 反切 reading for the character, i.e. 他計切, which would have come out as theh/thueh. Perhaps it is one of those cases of gradual phonetic evolution.
SimL wrote:
… tan ma-nia ku…
This is an interesting insight, Sim. Because I nowadays consciously think of 目𥍉(仔)久 băk-nî-(a)-kû as just that – literally “in a blink of an eye” – I tend to reserve its use in much shorter temporal contexts, e.g. ‘in a second’, ‘in a moment’, ‘in a short while’. For protracted time periods, I would tend to use 較晚 khā-băn.
SimL wrote:
Well, it's only my usage, which might be "incorrect" (or usage may have changed since the time that I was living there). Could you check with your wife?
I asked my wife. She is not entirely sure, but she reckons ‘blanket’ is either 毛氈 mÒ-tsīen or just phŭe.
Ah-bin wrote:
Fungus - kó• 菇 - I guess this is a general term for any kind of fungus?
On that note, there is a specific term for ‘moss’, i.e. 青苔 tshàe-thí.
Last edited by Mark Yong on Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ah-bin
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by Ah-bin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:42 am

Number nine I just happened upon a minute ago in the Johnny Chee book. It's pó-ke• 保家!
AndrewAndrew
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by AndrewAndrew » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:25 am

Ah-bin wrote: 8 ) To greet somebody - I know chheng-ho• 稱呼 which is more like "to address" than "to greet", then there is the greeting of someone off a train or plane, which is chih 接
The normal word in my family would be simply 叫 kio7 for greeting elders.
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Re: More words...about 300 I can't track down.

Post by AndrewAndrew » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:26 am

Ah-bin wrote: 4) Extra - I suppose one could use leng-oa 另外 or something with koh to express this. An extra cost; they gave me five extra books perhaps "I lang leng-oa sang wa go• pun chhe•h"?
Extra in the sense of excess would be chhun1. Otherwise 加 kE1, or 復加 koh4-kE1, as Mark has said.
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