Help with a few words

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
SimL
Posts: 1407
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Location: Amsterdam

Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

Hi FutureSpy
FutureSpy wrote:
SimL wrote:All the more so for non-standardized languages like Hokkien / Taiwanese (though undoubtedly the Taiwan Ministry of Education is working in this too).
I'm not sure if they're trying to establish a single standard form. MOE's dictionary actually gives a lot of variations for each word, what comes in very handy. Sometimes, they even give what words people in each region use hte most.
Ah, thanks for correcting my ignorance on this issue. Without knowing any facts at all, I simply assumed that all governments want to standardize! Perhaps it's in line with the Taiwanese attitude of "respecting individuality" which makes them accept and record all this variation.
FutureSpy wrote:What they did was to establish a character for the cases where there was no known 本字. However, they also replaced some not very widespread 本字 for what has been already in use in Taiwan (你, 人, etc.), even if it wasn't etymologically correct. While I don't agree completely with that, I've following it 'cos this way I no longer have to worry about what character to use, at least at this stage.
I agree with every aspect of your attitude. I too would find it (extremely) sad not to use 汝 for "you". But simply accepting their chosen character, the way you explain, ties in with what I was saying in the other topic about the value of standardization... Stated in a "too extreme" form: It doesn't matter what you pick, as long as you pick something and consistently use it!

PS. Thanks for your kind words on my stories. You may be shocked to hear that that long piece that I wrote most recently took a total of about 9 hours work (spread over Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) to write. That's because I really polish my words over and over again - each comma or semi-colon, the choice of this or that word, the order of explaining something - they are all very carefully weighed up, before I'm satisfied with a piece that I write. Every single paragraph was proof-read probably 10-15 times, and went through probably 5-6 major edits and 10-15 minor edits - an extra word here, an additional sentence there, brackets to qualify or explain some sub-aspect, etc, etc.

It's exhausting, but I do enjoy words and writing :P.

FutureSpy
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Help with a few words

Post by FutureSpy »

SimL wrote:You may be shocked to hear that that long piece that I wrote most recently took a total of about 9 hours work (spread over Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday) to write.
Sim, you should write a book! I wonder if nobody had this idea before: inviting a few Penangities to write some stories about old times' Penang. Publishing that would be another story, but still... The result would be quite interesting, I guess! :mrgreen:
SimL wrote:Without knowing any facts at all, I simply assumed that all governments want to standardize!
Now it's just my opinion, but I don't think Taiwanese government want to raise Hokkien to a higher level. Hence why they don't seem to be worried about creating a Standard Taiwanese. But naturally, the medias might do the job without conscientiously pushing a standard on them :mrgreen:

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

Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

FutureSpy wrote:Sim, you should write a book! I wonder if nobody had this idea before: inviting a few Penangities to write some stories about old times' Penang. Publishing that would be another story, but still... The result would be quite interesting, I guess! :mrgreen:
Hmmm. It's certainly a nice idea. Niuc and Ah-bin have also mentioned it. Let's wait until I'm 80 (less than 15 years away - what an amazing thought!!!). By then, all the things I describe will certainly have that "exotic, rosy and romantic glow" of ancientness about them (I think they are beginning to do that already).

It's a very strange phenomenon actually... When I was young: A. colour TV's, casette players, (and later) CD-walkmen, floppy-disks, electric typewriters, PC's with 8" black-and-white character-cell screens were the cutting edge of technology - they were amazingly exciting things, which few people had, and only the more advanced sorts of people got for themselves; B. fridges, washing machines, black-and-white TV's, landline phones with dials which turned were "normal everyday objects", which everyone just took for granted; C. Chinese opera and puppet shows, having a bath by scooping water out of a well, doing your homework at night using a candle or a carbide lamp were things which had an "exotic, rosy and romantic glow" of ancientness about them.

I guess when my father was a young man, all the things on my C-list (exotic and romantic), were for him just "normal" everyday things; the things on my B-list (normal for me) were for him, cutting edge of technology; and the things on my A-list were simply undreamt of.

And - parallelling that - now, as time goes on, the things on my A-list (for me, so exciting and cutting-edge in my youth), are, for the new generation, just "normal", and all the things on my B-list (for me, so normal), are, for the new generation, getting an "exotic and romantic glow"!

So, I guess it'll happen to you too, FutureSpy. A time will come when you will speak to young people about 3-D films, 3-D printers, YouTube, Wikipedia, smartphones, and they will look at you in amazement, and be surprised that they can actually speak to a human being who actually used such primitive objects and systems :shock:!

niuc
Posts: 734
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Location: Singapore

Re: Help with a few words

Post by niuc »

SimL wrote: Let's wait until I'm 80 (less than 15 years away - what an amazing thought!!!).
Sim, do you mean this literally? Hmmm, how did I get the impression that you were in your late 40s?
B. fridges, washing machines, black-and-white TV's, landline phones with dials which turned were "normal everyday objects", which everyone just took for granted;
In early 1980s, these were still luxury items in Bagansiapiapi.

So, I guess it'll happen to you too, FutureSpy. A time will come when you will speak to young people about 3-D films, 3-D printers, YouTube, Wikipedia, smartphones, and they will look at you in amazement, and be surprised that they can actually speak to a human being who actually used such primitive objects and systems :shock:!
Indeed! The progress of technology is very impressive (and we are too pampered...). However, isn't it still true that ancient Egyptian and Mayan people were very advanced in architecture (building pyramids) and astronomy (calendar), more than many nations after them (including some today)? Hopefully there will be no 3rd world war etc that will prevent the progress and continuity of technology... or the next generations may fall back on more primitive technology. Otherwise, Star Trek will be a reality (though I still doubt about teleportation) quite soon!

SimL
Posts: 1407
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Location: Amsterdam

Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

Hi Niuc,
niuc wrote:
SimL wrote: Let's wait until I'm 80 (less than 15 years away - what an amazing thought!!!).
Sim, do you mean this literally? Hmmm, how did I get the impression that you were in your late 40s?
Yes, it is so.

I think it's a human tendency to "freeze" a person's age roughly at the age they were when you first met them (or when you first got to know them better), adjusted a little bit for the conscious perception of the passage of time. I have a friend who met me when I was in my mid-30's, and nowadays - more than 20 years later - on the occasions when my current age gets mentioned, he's always a bit surprised. He knows we've known one another for some time, so he tries to adjust for that, and then thinks I'm in my late 30's! Perhaps the same thing happened in your case...?
niuc wrote:
SimL wrote:B. fridges, washing machines, black-and-white TV's, landline phones with dials which turned were "normal everyday objects", which everyone just took for granted;
In early 1980s, these were still luxury items in Bagansiapiapi.
This could be a reflection of the fact that Malaysia was, for most of the 20th century, wealthier than Indonesia (perhaps that's still the case - when I went back for a visit to Malaysia, many people spoke of having "Indonesian maids" as domestic help). Or it could be that old phenomenon of "what I experienced counts for the rest of my world". I mean, I came from a relatively comfortable middle-class family. We weren't distinctly *rich*, but we were certainly very comfortable. A child then extrapolates that to the rest of society and thinks that "most people live like this".
niuc wrote:Hopefully there will be no 3rd world war etc that will prevent the progress and continuity of technology... or the next generations may fall back on more primitive technology.
My greatest concern is environmental pollution. Like the "Sea of Plastic" the size of Spain, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean :x .

SimL
Posts: 1407
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Location: Amsterdam

Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

Hahaha!
SimL wrote:Hi Niuc,
niuc wrote:
SimL wrote: Let's wait until I'm 80 (less than 15 years away - what an amazing thought!!!).
Sim, do you mean this literally? Hmmm, how did I get the impression that you were in your late 40s?
Yes, it is so.
Actually, it's NOT so!!! I miscalculated. I will be 70 in less than 15 years.

FutureSpy
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Help with a few words

Post by FutureSpy »

SimL wrote:Actually, it's NOT so!!! I miscalculated. I will be 70 in less than 15 years.
For a sec I was really shocked to read you'd be 80 in less than 15 years, as I myself had done my own calculations from some temporal references on your stories and it'd be really impossible :mrgreen:

Ah-bin
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Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Help with a few words

Post by Ah-bin »

SimL wrote:Hi Niuc,
niuc wrote:
SimL wrote: Let's wait until I'm 80 (less than 15 years away - what an amazing thought!!!).
Sim, do you mean this literally? Hmmm, how did I get the impression that you were in your late 40s?
Yes, it is so.
Actually, it's NOT so!!! I miscalculated. I will be 70 in less than 15 years.[/quote]

Unker Sim án-ne• iân-tâu, khoàⁿ liau° siâng-kà sì-cháp-kúi hòe niā! Tòa cheng wá ê bat tú tioh° i ê pêng-iú pún sī kóng án-ne•! :D (É•...chhìo-bīn ê smilie chò-hâ-míh-sū bē chhut-hiān ni? Lú-lâng khoàⁿ 'ē tioh° á bô?)

SimL
Posts: 1407
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Location: Amsterdam

Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

Ah-bin: BLUSH!:oops:

Yeah, the smileys and blushies and frownies don't seem to be working at the moment...

FutureSpy
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Help with a few words

Post by FutureSpy »

BTW, how do you guys say orange juice in your variants?

Taiwanese seem to call it 柑仔汁 kam-á-chiap, but my teacher from Cebu uses chhiang-chiap 橙汁. Coincidentally, Cantonese also has 橙汁. It wouldn't be weird if they adopted that term from Cantonese, given it's the second Chinese group in the PH, even if very minority. Naturally, she also calls an orange chhiang 橙.

SimL
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Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

I'm on a Blackberry, so will keep this short.

Penang Hokkien makes a strong distinction between "kam1" (peelable, mandarin/tangerine) and "chhiam5" (non-peelable, orange). So orange juice is "chhiam5-chiap4".

They wouldn't say "chhiam5-a2-chiap4" because Penang Hokkien uses far fewer diminutives than (say) Taiwanese. And "kam1-chiap4" sounds funny because people hardly ever squeeze mandarins :-).

amhoanna
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Re: Help with a few words

Post by amhoanna »

Taiwanese for ORANGE is liu2-teng. TANGERINE / MANDARIN is kam5-a2. The two are clearly distinguished in daily life. I'm guessing oranges are new to the Hoklosphere, hence Taiwan has one loanword for it, and Cebu has another. ORANGE JUICE: liu2-teng-ciap. I could imagine someone saying "kam5-a2-ciap" instead, but they would probably get corrected a lot. If someone offered me "kam5-a2-ciap", I would assume it was artificial. If you go to a tea stand and see items with 柑 or 橘, you can be sure it's either the real thing (mandarins/tangerines), or artificial, but not oranges.

FutureSpy
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Re: Help with a few words

Post by FutureSpy »

Thanks Sim. Yeah, I found references for both your chhiâm or her chhiâng. :mrgreen:

Thanks for your explanations too, amhoanna. It's really weird that one of my textbooks does have kam-á-chiap 柑仔汁 translated as orange juice. Maybe they got it wrong? (some translations seem a little bit off, probably done by a non-English native) Anyway, I'll try to order an orange juice next time I go to a Taiwanese restaurant!

SimL
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Re: Help with a few words

Post by SimL »

Hi FutureSpy,
FutureSpy wrote:Thanks Sim. Yeah, I found references for both your chhiâm or her chhiâng. :mrgreen:
Are "chhiâm" and "chhiâng" variants of the "same character", or are they distinct morphemes/characters? The fact that they have the same tone makes me think the former.

FutureSpy
Posts: 167
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Re: Help with a few words

Post by FutureSpy »

SimL wrote:Are "chhiâm" and "chhiâng" variants of the "same character", or are they distinct morphemes/characters? The fact that they have the same tone makes me think the former.
I'd go for the former too, but I'm not the best one to answer this question. Well, both are in dictionaries, so... I was pretty sure to have heard her say chhiâng, but my teacher says it's chhiâm, same as you (her romanization is a little bit different, but at least her distinction between -ng and -m is the same as POJ).

She told me she uses phòng-ka (I think that's it, but I need to hear her pronouncing it to make sure the aspiration is there, as she never writes them), probably the same as phòng-kam 椪柑. I'm not sure if there are different kinds of tangerine, but at least here a "ponkan" (it's also the Japanese word, and what Brazilians use too) and a "tangerine" are actually different.

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