Penang Hokkien lessons

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby amhoanna » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:18 am

Basically Mr Tai's reasoning is this:

"The "sacred" colonial Angmo spellings MUST be preserved, at all costs. These being English-based and thus irregular, PngHkn must of course be subjected to random irregular spellings as well. Irregular spelling systems are better than regular ones anyway. English is spelled irregularly, after all. PngHkn SHOULD be as Anglo-centric as possible to accommodate "casual learners" who may have been educated monolingually in English and are incapable of functioning in daily life in any other written idiom.

"To avoid inefficiency, Mr Tai will decree which spellings shall be considered sacred and which shall be discarded. The public may then internalize Mr Tai's whims by referring to Mr Tai's website free of charge."

I don't buy it, Mr T. 8)

the unique outstanding value of Penang Hokkien.

= ???

Pls enlighten us as best U can.

Penang Malay and Penang Tamil are not endowed with sacred Angmo spellings. So why does Penang Hokkien need them? In hope you're not implying that orang Hokkien are uniquely "phô͘ Ângmo lãn"!

TJ is meant to preserve the unique outstanding value of Penang Hokkien.

So then why do you keep referring to POJ using its Amoy/Taiwanese name, Pe̍h'ōejī? Why not use PngHkn to refer to POJ?

timothytye
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:26 am

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby timothytye » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:58 am

Dear amhoanna,

Thank you for your response, but I do want to know, are you writing to me? You refer to a Mr Tai.
My name is Timothy Tye. You may call me Tim or Mr Tye.

In your post to Mr Tai, you wrote, "Irregular spelling systems are better than regular ones anyway." That's your word, not mine. " PngHkn SHOULD be as Anglo-centric as possible to accommodate "casual learners" who may have been educated monolingually in English and are incapable of functioning in daily life in any other written idiom. " That too is your word, not mine.

Colonial Angmo "sukah-sukah" spellings is also your term, not mine. What I do is to tidy up what appears rather disorderly, by listing out in a table what you can expect each vowel sound, diphthong or consonant to sound like, which I share at http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien-spelling-pronunciation.htm I am still adding and refining this table.

The people of Penang are used to how some words are spelled. This includes the names of the dishes sold by the hawkers. Some people spell their surname Khoo, some Yeoh, and so on. Do we re-spell Khoo in POJ? I will not do it in TJ. The Khoos have been using it for all their lives. When we are used to something being spelled a certain way, we develop an attachment to it. Even if you are then told that you are misspelling it, or mispronouncing it, it doesn't matter. You respect the name and how it is spelled. It's like a kitchen knife that you've been using for many years. You've developed a fondness for it.

I feel it is very harsh to say that "Mr Tai will decree which spellings shall be considered sacred". Yes, it is my opinion, based on my knowledge, what are the words I find to be commonly used. And I teach it out of my passion to share my language to anybody who wants to learn it from me. Of course they don't have to learn from me, but if they do, they know they are learning what I have compiled, to the best of my ability, what I hope can be an accurate representation of the vernacular language, as found on the streets of Penang.

The Penang Hokkien that I am sharing with people is based on what I hear in Penang, what I say, and how I think when I write it out. If you don't appreciate it, and recommend it to anybody, it doesn't matter, I do it out of my own passion to share Penang Hokkien. But a person who does appreciate it can see right into the very mind of a Penang native, and he will say, "Penang Hokkien has largely been a spoken language, but if a native speaker does write it out, this is how it looks like."

You said that "The Timothy Tye System is what makes your site useless for learners." (Curious that here, you know how to spell my name correctly.) That's one person's opinion. Nonetheless learners should decide on his own, based on his own evaluation, that if learning from me will greatly impact his knowledge of Penang Hokkien in a negative way, then he should not learn from me. But if he feels that he will enjoy the insight I offer on Penang and Penang Hokkien, then he should.

It is also my hope that one day, someone who is a native speaker of Penang Malay can compile, share, and teach us the differences of Penang Malay compared to standard Malay. I do not know how different is Penang Tamil - if such a thing exists - from standard Tamil. If it does exist, then it would be good to document it, just like what I am doing for Penang Hokkien, as a native speaker. The person doesn't have to be a scholar or linguist, I would appreciate learning from a real native speaker the street language than from a linguist the language manufactured in the lab. This is what I mean by the "unique outstanding value" that I hope will not be lost. It all depends on whether there is that someone somewhere who is interested to do that, not so much creating a compilation that only scholars will be interested in, but rather lessons that helps people who don't speak understand their language.

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby AndrewAndrew » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:49 am

Timothy: one question. Until recently we used to have two members of the Penang Executive Council, one called Law Choo Kiang and one called Law Heng Kiang. How do you pronounce the surname Law?

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby Mark Yong » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:53 pm

Hi, Timothy,

First off, welcome to the ChineseLanguage.org Hokkien (Minnan) Forum! As you may have figured out, a number of us here have been active for quite a few years. I hope you can find useful information within its pages that may serve to supplement your work.

The members (old and new) and casual visitors of this Forum hail not just from Penang Hokkien-speaking background, but also from other Hokkien backgrounds, e.g. Singapore, Indonesia (Bagansiapiapi, Medan), the Philippines and Taiwan (although admittedly, the Penang Hokkien variety has tended to feature most often in discussion threads, due to the larger percentage representation of active members here).

As a result, discussions regarding vocabulary and syntax tend to cross borders, making comparisons between the ways in which things are expressed in different sub-dialects of Hokkien are often made, identifying any cross-pollination that may have taken place (point in context: Penang Hokkien is based upon the 漳州 Tsiang-Tsiu dialect, but is not 100% 漳州 Tsiang-Tsiu), and tracing the common etymological origins of words, are the norm. In this way, we celebrate our respective identities, yet at the same time acknowledge our part of the family of Hokkien languages, or to use the more correct term, the 「閩南」 Bân-Lâm language family.

In order to facilitate such a broad audience encompassing so many different strains of Hokkien, it is therefore natural that the Romanisation system(s) employed should be:
1. Consistent
2. Standardised
3. Widely-recognised in linguistic circles
4. Able to document with fidelity, the pronunciations of as many (if not all) of the different variants as possible

The effort that you have put in to create your own unique “TJ” Romanisation of Penang Hokkien is certainly commendable, as amhoanna has alluded to in the opening line of his comments, so I hope you take his and the others’ comments in a positive light (if we sound somewhat harsh, it is only because it reflects on our passion for the subject :P ). But by the same token, because of the large varieties of Hokkien discussed within this particular Forum, the use of a Romanisation system that is designed to only accommodate Penang Hokkien (complete with its own nuances and legacy of unique colonial-originated spellings) will be very limiting (and somewhat divisive, too). For instance, simplifying the number of tones from the standard eight (8) to just (4) in “TJ” is great for Penang Hokkien, but becomes a problem when comparing tone sandhi features vis-a-vis other variants that employ some or all of the other four (4) remaining tones. amhoanna has already spoken at lengths regarding the problems of colonial legacy-based spellings which, although taken for granted within Penang Hokkien itself, are totally alien to other variants of Hokkien, so I will not repeat his points here. Suffice to say, discussing only Penang Hokkien to the exclusion of the other variants of Hokkien, and the use of a Penang Hokkien-only Romanisation system to that effect, is certainly not in keeping with the ecumenical spirit and objectives of this Forum.

I myself was a newcomer to 「白話字」 Pɛh-Oa-Ji when I first joined this Forum in late-2005. Andrew can probably tell you, it was a bit of a learning curve for me. But long-term (and like most learning curves in life) the effort paid off - because now, those of us who use it when describing the pronunciations of words in our respective variants of Hokkien, can be certain that we are singing off the same songsheet, and there are no doubts or ambiguities. Furthermore, this being an English-language-medium Forum, where a number of the members are not educated in Chinese characters, an accurate and universally-recognised Romanisation system becomes even more important in transmitting the pronunciation of words correctly, especially given the homomyns and tonal nature of Hokkien (and just about any other Chinese dialect in general). Otherwise, there is no sure way of determining whether a certain word in Penang Hokkien is pronounced the same, slightly different, or totally different from, say, Kelanatanese Hokkien, Bagansiapiapi Hokkien or Medan Hokkien. I can testify that amhoanna’s Alor Setar friend's experience is consistent with mine: I, too, have encountered virtually no problems in transcribing the pronunciations and tones of Penang Hokkien using 「白話字」 Pɛh-Oa-Ji - Malay loanwords and all. If anything, my use of 「白話字」 Pɛh-Oa-Ji has increased both my awareness and discipline towards correct pronunciation and correct notation - Penang Hokkien or otherwise.

Last, but not least, please let me assure you that my use of 「白話字」 Pɛh-Oa-Ji notwithstanding, I, too, owe no allegiance to Taiwanese or Amoy Hokkien - apart from the profound appreciation of a shared common legacy with the greater corpus of the 「閩南」 Bân-Lâm language family. Beyond that, I identify myself as a speaker of orthodox Penang Hokkien. :)

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:25 pm

What I do is to tidy up what appears rather disorderly, by listing out in a table what you can expect each vowel sound, diphthong or consonant to sound like,

It's impossible to create a consistent writing system for Penang Hokkien using the principles of English-based spellings, b/c English-based spellings are not principled.

You represent TAPIOCA as "Chhoo3chu2". What sound is "ch" in your system? A scholar knows that in this case it's the "c-" sound in Malay. Someone who doesn't already speak Hokkien fluently (a.k.a. a "learner") would have no way of knowing. Yet, U say:
not so much creating a compilation that only scholars will be interested in, but rather lessons that helps people who don't speak understand their language.


You also use -oo- and -u- to spell the exact same sound, in the same word. This is a writing system that defeats the purpose of having a writing system.

Fortunately, I doubt U will see "chhoo chu" on any menu or shop sign in Penang or anywhere...

I would appreciate learning from a real native speaker the street language than from a linguist the language manufactured in the lab. This is what I mean by the "unique outstanding value" that I hope will not be lost.

I salute you on that. Whenever I go about learning a language, and that is often, I always go for the street version, the natural version.

B/c English spellings lack the "hardware" needed to represent the sounds of Penang Hokkien, any English-based spelling of Penang Hokkien will garble its sounds, like a bad audio recording. A Hokkien speaker with local knowledge will be able to de-code the garbling; a learner will not. The power of the street language is then lost, except maybe for a scholar who specializes in decoding garbled code.

U might wanna just stick to audio.

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:30 pm

Nonetheless learners should decide on his own, based on his own evaluation, that if learning from me will greatly impact his knowledge of Penang Hokkien in a negative way, then he should not learn from me.


How can a learner evaluate what they're trying to learn? Exactly -- they haven't learned it yet! Hopefully they'll be savvy enough to Google you and find this forum in order to see how others evaluate the Timothy Tye System for writing Penang Hokkien.

timothytye
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:26 am

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby timothytye » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:53 am

Dear Mark,
Thank you for the welcome! I am totally bogged down at the moment, so I haven't read anything. Will return when I am more time on my fingers.
Tim

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby Ah-bin » Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:02 am

amhoanna wrote:A Hokkien speaker with local knowledge will be able to de-code the garbling; a learner will not. The power of the street language is then lost, except maybe for a scholar who specializes in decoding garbled code.


Enter me!

Actually, as I've mentioned before, I am quite interested to see some of the spellings and what changes are happening in the pronunciation of some speakers. When there is no consistency it is hard to ascertain exactly what is going on, but a few things seem evident to me from the spellings of some words. Those in the first case have been confirmed by my own listening, and those in the second by that of non-native speakers.

1) the disintegration of the -h/-k distinction.

This has not resulted in a complete shift from -h (glottal stop) to (unreleased final) -k, as some of the final glottal stops have been dropped altogether or speakers have become unconscious of the slight difference in vowel length that indicates a dropped glottal stop. I have kept the stop in my spelling of 較 as khah, because I think i still hear a difference in length between this word and kha for foot/leg, but for most speakers the stop is no longer there.

2) the sporadic disappearance of nasalisation

I notice that some of the spellings in the TT wordlist are missing their nasalisation ("sia" for voice, etc.), and have been informed that in fact some people do drop this. This is not entirely unknown for related languages like Hainanese and Lui-chiu, but it doesn't seem to have become universal in Penang Hokkien as yet.

In my opinion these are features of pronunciation that need to be noted as occasionally occurring peculiarities, but I don't see the need for them to be recorded in the script, as the changes are not yet universal throughout Penang Hokkien. I've taken my cue for this from the various dictionaries I've looked through of non-standardised languages like Scots and Northumbrian.

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby AndrewAndrew » Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:21 pm

Ah-bin wrote:This has not resulted in a complete shift from -h (glottal stop) to (unreleased final) -k, as some of the final glottal stops have been dropped altogether or speakers have become unconscious of the slight difference in vowel length that indicates a dropped glottal stop. I have kept the stop in my spelling of 較 as khah, because I think i still hear a difference in length between this word and kha for foot/leg, but for most speakers the stop is no longer there.


Dropping the -h is a normal consequence of standard Minnan tone sandhi, isn't it?

I remember being corrected that lau-pEh was actually lau-pE, and that a-cheh was actually a-chek, so the distinctions are very much still alive.

A.

Ah-bin
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Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby Ah-bin » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:38 am

AndrewAndrew wrote:Dropping the -h is a normal consequence of standard Minnan tone sandhi, isn't it?


Not in any of the cases I'm talking about (all final syllables), I've already mentioned lau-joa elsewhere, and if people are hearing boeh as boey on a regular basis some people must be doing it with that word too.

But speaking of these endings, one of the changes I've noticed in the speech of many PGHK speakers is that the sandhi for im-jip 陰入 with final glottal stop is mostly the same as the sandhi for -k,-t,-p endings, i.e. it sandhis to a iang-jip 陽入, rather than a siang 上 as it does in other varieties of Hokkien.

So 肉粽 is realised as "bah44chang21" rather than "ba41-chang21"

and 客話 is realised as "khEh44-oa21" rather than "khE41-oa21"

I have once heard "ba44-chang21" with a lengthened vowel and no glottal stop.

Some of this may be due to the realisation of the siang tone as a rising, dipping or high tone in Penang.

AndrewAndrew wrote:I remember being corrected that lau-pEh was actually lau-pE, and that a-cheh was actually a-chek, so the distinctions are very much still alive.


Yes, and as a consequence, i have felt the need to keep it distinct in POJ, with a note that not all people seem to make this distinction any more.

Just edited to add that "Lau-pEh" is the product of a different process, in which a glottal stop is added to a syllable where it used not to belong. In this case it may be the influence of the pronunciation of 伯.

I'm not saying that everyone does one thing or another either, it's just an observation on the habits of some speakers.

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby Ah-bin » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:51 am

Someone wrote on the fb page:

I think when we wish to say the phrase " I want to.,,", we say "Wa boey......". But if we want to say "yes, I want", we say "Wa boeik". That is, if no other words follow after "boey", then it ends with an abrupt "boeik"
.

If this reflects general usage then it seems you are right, Andrew. I had no idea that boeh sandhied at all. However, I never hear a sharp falling tone like in Taiwanese when the glottal stop is elided.

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby amhoanna » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:01 pm

one of the changes I've noticed in the speech of many PGHK speakers is that the sandhi for im-jip 陰入 with final glottal stop is mostly the same as the sandhi for -k,-t,-p endings, i.e. it sandhis to a iang-jip 陽入, rather than a siang 上 as it does in other varieties of Hokkien.

I think this is in line with (modern) Coanciu dialects and all overseas dialects except for Taiwan and maybe some speakers in S M'sia. AFAIK the only dialects where T4 "sandhis" to high falling are Taiwanese, Amoy, and Ciangciu close to Amoy. I don't know about the rest of Ciangciu.

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby AndrewAndrew » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:49 pm

Ah-bin wrote:Someone wrote on the fb page:

I think when we wish to say the phrase " I want to.,,", we say "Wa boey......". But if we want to say "yes, I want", we say "Wa boeik". That is, if no other words follow after "boey", then it ends with an abrupt "boeik"
.

If this reflects general usage then it seems you are right, Andrew. I had no idea that boeh sandhied at all. However, I never hear a sharp falling tone like in Taiwanese when the glottal stop is elided.


Boeh in its sandhi form is boe44. But you are right that most -h Jip tones in Penang Hokkien seem to sandhi like -p/-t/-k. I have noted that before. But the glotal stop is often not very distinct.

Pier
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:53 am
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby Pier » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:04 pm

Interesting short video of learning Penang Hokkien'ua by a hawker aunty.

Learning Penang Hokkien at Mama's Wan Ton Mee shop

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEA1Fghv480

timothytye
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:26 am

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Postby timothytye » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:36 pm

Dear Mark,

I finally have some time on my hands to provide an update. I have more or less completed the first phase of refinement to my system for Penang Hokkien. I continue to search and weed out and improve on the spelling of words that require refinement. At this point in time, the system is still undergoing refinement and testing, but every chapter will continue to be improved over time. Similarly, some of the videos will be updated when I have the time to do it.

DICTIONARY
Penang Hokkien-English: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/penang-hokkien-english.htm
English-Penang Hokkien: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/english-penang-hokkien.htm

Words continue to be added to the dictionary almost daily, and some are re-spelled to get their spelling closer to the pronunciation.

GRAMMAR
International Phonetic Alphabet: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/international-phonetic-alphabet.htm
Spelling: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/spelling.htm
Intonation: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/intonation.htm
Tone Sandhi: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/tone-sandhi.htm
Sentence Structure: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/sentence-structure.htm
Nouns: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/sentence-structure.htm
Pronouns: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/pronouns.htm
Possessives: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/possessives.htm
Particles: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/particles.htm
Prepositions: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/prepositions.htm
Conjunctions: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/conjunctions.htm
Demonstratives: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/demonstratives.htm
Adjectives: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/adjectives.htm
Adverbs: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/adverbs.htm
Reduplication: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/reduplication.htm
Degrees of Comparison: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/degrees-of-comparison.htm
Verbs: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/verbs.htm
Auxiliary Verbs: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/auxiliary-verbs.htm
Passive Voice: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/hokkien/passive-voice.htm

All the lessons will be integrated to the travel information of Penang in Penang Travel Tips, so people wanting to know about Penang has in their finger tips information on over two thousand sights and hundreds of streets:

Sights: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/sight-index.htm
Streets: http://www.penang-traveltips.com/streets.htm

Knowing that visitors to Penang will want to know about its food, an extensive section deals with this.

http://www.penang-traveltips.com/food.htm

So far, there's still a lot of ground to cover, including the creating of more reading material in Penang Hokkien using the TJ system, so that people learning it have things to read in it.

I won't be able to visit this forum regularly, but I'll provide an update from time to time.


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