"Sampai" in Penang

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

"Sampai" in Penang

Postby Ah-bin » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:52 pm

I've heard "sampai" many times in Penang Hokkien, and from a list of Malay words in Penang Hokkien I collected from the old Penang Hokkien Podcast forum, someone has translated it as "nearly" or "almost", however, I think I have heard it used differently at the beginning of a sentence with the meaning "to the extent that" or "until"

It was from one of the talks given by Ven. Dhammavuddho Thero about the life of the Buddha, and he was talking about how the Buddha originally tried to cut his eating down to a grain of rice a day. Then he got so weak he couldn't walk. The results of not eating (skin going dark, becoming weak etc.) were introduce with the word "sampai" at the beginning of the sentence.

I'd be very interested to know about some different uses of this word. Can it be used for "nearly" and "almost" as well? How about the other meaning that I heard, or was it just me misconstruing the meaning?

Could someone please give me some example sentences?
Thanks in advance

Mark Yong
Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:52 pm

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby Mark Yong » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:33 am

Hi, Ah-bin,

From my personal experience, sampai in Penang Hokkien has always been - as you mentioned - the equivalent of the Modern Standard Chinese 甚至 ("to the extent that/of..."). Don't think I have ever heard it used in the context of "almost/nearly" (but then again, being a non-native speaker myself, I could be wrong! :oops: )

Cheers,
Mark

Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby Ah-bin » Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:25 am

Great! Just as I suspected! It's another Malay word like tapi, balu, and pun, that has become a core grammatical particle in Penang Hokkien vocabulary. I think sentence final koh may also be a crossover from sentence final "lagi" in Malay too.

AndrewAndrew
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:26 am

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby AndrewAndrew » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:23 am

Might be more of a baba thing - I don't recall my family ever using the word. We would just say kau-ka.

Mark Yong
Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:52 pm

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby Mark Yong » Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:41 am

I have regularly heard and used kău-kā in Penang, but in the context of 到/至 "up to / until", not for the specific context of "to the extent of..." (where sampai is used).

My father-in-law is of Eng-Ch'un descent, spent a number of years in Kedah, and now resides in Ipoh. He says 甚至 săm-chî. I suspect the săm should really be sim, the former likely a corruption from Cantonese influence.

SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby SimL » Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:47 pm

I was very curious about this, because I like to think of myself as coming from a thoroughly Baba family, but I was completely unaware of this borrowing.

I asked my parents on the weekend, and my dad confirmed the (very specific) usage that Ah-bin first gave, and which Mark confirmed. I mused to him that it was strange that I didn't know it at all, and my mother chimed in to confirm that - although she thoroughly mastered Penang Hokkien after she married my dad (and speaks it without an accent) - she too was not aware of this word at all (as a borrowed word into Penang Hokkien, of course she knows it as a Malay word). My father mused that it was rather old-fashioned, even in Baba usage, but I have no way of verifying this one way or the other.

Were the people who used it on the podcast all younger people, Ah-bin?

Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby Ah-bin » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:21 pm

I think it's mostly Ven. Dhammavuddho Thero who I've heard using it, but I think I did hear some young person on the podcast use it too, but I can't remember who. I'll listen out for it again....

AndrewAndrew
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:26 am

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby AndrewAndrew » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:28 pm

Could one not just use 'ka' for 甚至?

Mark Yong
Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:52 pm

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby Mark Yong » Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:18 am

Andrew,

Strictly speaking, no. ka carries just the generic meaning of 'till', 'to', etc. 甚至 or sampai (to use the borrowed Malay term) has a specific meaning of "to the extent that / so much so that" (with an emphasis on the 'extent', hence ).

aokh1979
Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:32 pm
Location: George Town, Malaysia
Contact:

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby aokh1979 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:20 am

Actually, there's a character in 康熙字典 for ka.

徦,至也。

Oh, I misunderstood Mark. Ha.

AndrewAndrew
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:26 am

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby AndrewAndrew » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:48 am

Perhaps I need some examples. I'm used to hearing people say "i gong ka ..." (he is so stupid that ... / he is stupid to the extent that ...), etc.

SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby SimL » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:26 am

Hi Andrew,

Indeed, the usage you are familiar with is how I use it. In my case, it goes even further, and the standard collocation in my case is "<adjective> ka puaN si" (= "to half dead").

E.g.:

- i gong ka puaN si (= "he's as stupid as hell")

- ca mE, wa kuaN ka puaN si (= "last night, I was as cold as hell")

Some other phrases I might use "ka" in are:

- ca mE, wa kuaN ka be tin-tang (= "last night, I was so cold that I couldn't move")

- ca mE, wa kuaN ka ti-ti cun (= "last night, I was so cold that I couldn't stop shivering")

- i co e kue teng ka bo lang e ciah (= "the cakes he makes are so hard that no-one can eat them")

xng
Posts: 386
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby xng » Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:41 am

Mark Yong wrote:My father-in-law is of Eng-Ch'un descent, spent a number of years in Kedah, and now resides in Ipoh. He says 甚至 săm-chî. I suspect the săm should really be sim, the former likely a corruption from Cantonese influence.


Yes, you're correct, it is 'Sim Chi', I have watched enough taiwanese hokkien shows to verify this.

aokh1979
Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:32 pm
Location: George Town, Malaysia
Contact:

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby aokh1979 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:58 pm

I also hear sim-tsi all the time, including Korean. Taiwanese programmes may not always say the right thing, as things may change in Taiwan. Like 牽掛 - I dunno why it's pronounced tshian-kua...... Hm......

niuc
Posts: 734
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:23 pm
Location: Singapore

Re: "Sampai" in Penang

Postby niuc » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:51 pm

aokh1979 wrote:I also hear sim-tsi all the time, including Korean. Taiwanese programmes may not always say the right thing, as things may change in Taiwan. Like 牽掛 - I dunno why it's pronounced tshian-kua...... Hm......

Good observation, Aokh! 甚至 is sim7-tsi3 in some dictionaries I checked. However, none of them, including Taiwanese dict, have 牽掛 as tshian1-kua3. This came as a "shock" for me, as I always assume that is the "standard" pronunciation. May be that is Taiwanese influence upon my variant, my mom also says that tshian1-kua3 sounds more "correct" than khan1-kua3. Personally I feel that the latter sounds like doing divination.


Return to “Hokkien (Minnan) language”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 30 guests