Grammar points

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

Grammar points

Post by Ah-bin » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:20 am

Chapter 16 of the Spoken Hokkien course had this sentence pattern. it made me think that Taiwanese grammar is much closer to the Mandarin constructions with 得 in them.

Lí ê jī siá liáu chīn súi.
Your hand writing is very nice.
→ Lí ê koa chhiù liáu chīn hó (thiaⁿ).
You sing very nicely.
→ Lí ê chhài chú liáu chīn hó (chiáh).
Your food is very nice.
→ Lí ê koa chhiù liáu be-pháiⁿ thiaⁿ.
Your singing is very nice to listen to.
→ Lí ê chhài chú liáu be-pháiⁿ chiáh .
Your cooking is very nice to eat.

My instinct now, from listening to lots of Penang Hokkien, would be to say instead for both patterns:

Lú siá jī chin-chiàⁿ súi
Lú chhiàuⁿ-koa chin-chiàⁿ hó thiaⁿ
Lú chú ê míh-kiàⁿ chin-chiàⁿ hó chiáh

With perhaps a double-up of the chin-chiàⁿ if empahsis was required. These would be more natural in Penang, wouldn't they?
SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Grammar points

Post by SimL » Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:29 pm

Hi Ah-bin,

You're quite right - the original pattern you quoted doesn't sound like Penang Hokkien at all. The amended forms you give are fine. The pattern of the last one. (with "e") will work for the others too: "lu sia e ji", "lu chhioN e kua".

That was in fact the construct which first came to me while reading the "non-PgHk" ones.

Another way of expressing it would be: wa/lu/i chin-nia gau <X> (= I//you/(s)he is very good at <X>). This can also be used for negative things as well: i chin-nia gau kong phien ua (= he tends to lie a lot).
amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Grammar points

Post by amhoanna » Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:31 pm

且慢! :P U can only use the "liáu" construct when the underlying action is, by nature, something that can be judged or critiqued.

Otherwise, Mand. 得 often translates into "kà" in TaiHok. This seems parallel to Canto. 到 tóu (with the rising tone).

Mand: 他們吃得很爽。
TaiHok: *In 食了真爽。 (wrong)
TaiHok: In 食 kà 真爽。
Canto: 佢哋食到好爽 / 爽嗮。(?? passable, I believe, if not outright correct...)
Canto: *佢哋食得好爽。(?? not sure if this is passable)

Ah-bin and Sim's other structures work in TaiHok too. The nuances are different, esp. Sim's. But this "comparo" seems to suggest that, once again, PgHok is more learner-friendly and so, in a way, more universal.

All this said, well-educated (Manducated! :oops: ) TWnese are heavily influenced by Mand. when WRITING Hoklo**. A lot of them, it almost seems like they're trying to write Hoklo that's as similar to the Mandarin as poss., syntactically and lexically. Goá tō beh kóng kàu cia. [RETCHING]
Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Grammar points

Post by Ah-bin » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:50 am

Thanks Sim! I had also thought that about the second ones, and was going to suggest that gâu was used more in Penang than in Taiwan, but I ran out of time.

I am quite pleased with myself that I make Penang-type sentences naturally now, and that I can pick out what doesn't sound quite right!
SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Grammar points

Post by SimL » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:44 pm

Hi Ah-bin,

Yes, congratulations! I've always thought that you were extremely gifted linguistically, so it's no surprise to me that you've managed to develop a feeling for the idiom so well. [Which isn't to deny my other realisation that learning *any* language takes in the first instance an incredible amount of *work* - talent or no talent!]

Good luck to you, Ah-bin, who are already so advanced, and also to FutureSpy, who is just beginning. Impressive, both of you, and way better than what I'm managing to do for Mandarin.

Though, even in that area, there is some light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel for me. I found - on the web - a translation into English of the "Preface to the Kangxi Zidian":

- https://seguecommunity.middlebury.edu/v ... de/4226261

I already knew of this about 3-4 years ago, but at that stage my ability to read characters was so bad that I simply *read* the English text, and ignored the character text completely (after which I forgot all about the article / translation).

A few of the regular readers will know from private correspondence that my current hot topic is the Kangxi Dictionary (I bought my own copy 2 weeks ago). So this time round, I re-found the translation, and I managed to read the Chinese text, parallel to the English text. And I can actually understand (80%) *how* the characters correspond to the English translation. Now, I know that's still miles away from being able to *do* the translation myself, but it's at least a long way further ahead of where I was 3-4 years ago. [Note: One very nice thing about the internet article with the translation is that the author has also punctuated the original character text. The original doesn't even have (Chinese) full-stops ("。"), to say nothing of commas!]

An MA student in sinology (he's in his final year now, and will be progressing to a PhD in Classical Chinese!) is coming to visit me on Wednesday evening, to help me work out further bits of the dictionary. I'm very excited about that.
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