Penang Hokkien lessons

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:26 am

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Post by timothytye »

Mm33si33 wah4 cit3 lang2 tai33et1-eh2 nia33.

If you want to talk about being "tāi-iát", you should go look in the mirror before applying it on others. The problem is there's now an Eliza Doolittle who insists on saying lovely as loVERly, and is telling the stuck-up Professor Higgins to take his upper crust writing system and go shove it. And you don't like it one bit. How you wished I would fail, right?

If I were so "tāi-iát", there would be nobody in my Learn Penang Hokkien Facebook Group now.

When I demonstrate that I can use my writing system to write Penang Hokkien, and write very precisely too, you question my Penang Hokkien. In short, you are so negative towards it that if there's a fault to find, you would find it. Even when all I did is make a typo, or forget to add an "n" for a nasal sound, you would pick it up and condemn it. But I can demonstrate to you that even you make similar typos. Because we are human. Rather than condemn, you should learn to edify. If you don't understand why I do what I do, you ask, and you do it nicely; you don't straightaway dismiss it based on what you regard is the ONLY right.

It is a pleasure to have a whole forum thread dedicated to you. I'm not being "tāi-iát" here. I am just stating a fact. That a group of people will pay so much attention to you. I will screenshot it for the amusement of people. When they ask me, "Were there naysayers?" I will show it to them and say, "Of course there are, take a look at what they wrote." It is a case study of people who think positively and those who don't.

Go through this thread. Not everybody on it was negative. The opinion expressed at the start was incredibly positive. But once the trolls took over and began to push their opinion, the initial contributors stopped engaging. I also realized that it's not worth engaging with people who are not open to new horizons. And soon it's just the trolls going on and on, for months on end, a very small group of obnoxious know-it-all's talking to themselves and listening to themselves.

Someone said something at the beginning of this thread that aptly describes the bunch:


Until you have created your own orthography for your own mother tongue, and faced the attacks from people like you that I have faced, you have not gone through what I have gone through, so don't go about saying I am "tāi-iát".

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

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Post by amhoanna »

What can I say? First, kudos to everyone for working on behalf of "the Hokkien language".

There is good, free information on Tye's website, just unfortunately filtered through an irregular and unreliable "system" of spellings, if it can be called that. Nothing personal, just that irregular "systems" of spelling are dicey enough at the best of times (see Thai, English, French), let alone for languages that are already practically not being used in written form.

As for:
History has shown that the new is often ridiculed and dismissed.
In this case, the idea that Hokkien, inc. Penang Hokkien, can be written using a regular, systematized Roman orthography of its own IS the [in practical terms] new idea which is often ridiculed and dismissed.

I think Tye himself has pointed out that his countrymen tend to find systematically Romanized Hokkien ridiculous or otherwise dismiss it, which is what led him to go back to the old idea of "writing Hokkien in English" in a non-systematic, idiosyncratic fashion. This kind of "Hokkien in English" is by definition unreadable and unsustainable. That is why there are so many Malaysian blogs that started out in Hokkien but turned into all-English-all-the-time blogs.

On some pages on Tye's site: ... -water.htm

... sound is included! As a beginner, I would just listen to the Hokkien, read the English, and ignore the rest. Once U develop a good "sense" for Hokkien, or if U're a native or fluent speaker already, U can try to decipher the sentences. Not for the faint of heart. Satu Malaysia, as they say. :mrgreen:

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Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Penang Hokkien lessons

Post by Ah-bin »

Okay... point taken on the sound files, but I am going to keep going on to expose Timothy Tye because I think it's important for people to know shoddy teaching materials and steer clear from them.

First. the fact is that Timothy Tye (or is his name Eliza Doolittle now? Seems to suit) cannot speak Hokkien properly, and his "Hokkien" sentences largely consist of phrases that are translated word for word from English. His pronunciation is shonky and native speakers from Penang itself tell me it is no good, and some laugh out loud when they hear some of the silly sentences he comes out with. This is not a question of looking down on Penang Hokkien, or criticising "someone who is trying to preserve his mother tongue", it is simply calling out inaccurate and bad Penang Hokkien, and showing up the "expert" for the charlatan that he is. Some of the words in his dictionary are just pulled from Taiwanese or Amoy Dictionaries or just made up by himself.

Second. Timothy Tye cannot read Chinese and he has to go begging others for help all the time, because he can't even read the definitions provided in the online Taiwanese dictionaries he copies from. But he still dares to pose as an authority on Chinese characters in Hokkien. Now technology has got so good that even someone like that can pretend to know Chinese by cutting and pasting, but it doesn't stop lots of mistakes from creeping in.

Third. I would have been happy to help out, but there is no benefit in helping Timothy Tye for anyone else but Timothy Tye himself, he never gives any recognition to any contributions from others even when hundreds of words and many characters were supplied by other people. The whole thing is a scheme to give himself exposure as some kind of expert in a language he can barely construct a good sentence in. Note that every time you click on one of his pages, he gets money from advertising.

Fourth, I have yet to find anyone who is well-versed in Hokkien who doesn't think the spellings (you can't call it a system, because there is is nothing systematic about it) are a huge joke.

If anyone else finds him objectionable and doesn't want to contribute to the Timothy Tye retirement fund, you can just google search anything with "Penang Travel Tips" by title and then click on the little green arrow at the right hand side of the result to get the cached version. Or use a blank search to get the whole thing, and then copy it off for your own use.