Benzi/Original character

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
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xng
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Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

I have looked at the list of the taiwanese govt standard characters and some of them are wrong !

I will list the benzi here which was found after much research and are different from common usage in both Mandarin and Cantonese.

Although cantonese use 行 but mandarin use 走, minnan use 行(Kia) so this is not listed because cantonese uses it commonly.

Character - Sound / Meaning

汝 - Lu, Ly / You
伊 - Ee / He,she
毋 - Mm / Not
使 - Sai / Can
拍 - P'ak / Hit
逐 - Tak / Every (day etc)
掠 - Lia / Catch
寒 - Kua / Cold
偌 - Lua / How (much, big etc)
濟 - Cay / Many, numerous
較 - K'a / Compare
緊 - Kin / Fast
箸 - Tu / Chopstick
鼎 - Tia / Wok
著 - Tiuk / Correct
抹 - Bua / Apply (medicine etc)
呸 - P'ui / Spit
拭 - C'it / Wipe with cloth
扛 - Keng / Lift with shoulders
飼 - C'i / Feed
凊 - C'in / Cold (water)
厝 - C'u / House

戇 - Gong / Stupid
枵 - Iau / Hungry
晡 - Po / Afternoon
糜 - Muei / Porridge
與 - Ho / Give
共 - Ka(ng) / Together, with
蟳 - Cim / Crab
烏 - O / Black
吼 - Hau / Cry
疼 - T'ia / Painful
愈 - Nu / More
曉 - Hiau / Understand, Know
炊 - C'ui / Steam (food)
歕 - Pun / Blow (wind)
摻 - C'am / Mix (food etc)
沃 - Ak / Pour water, irrigate
懸 - Kuan,Kui / Tall
冗 - Ling / Loose
拄 - Tu / Meet (somebody)

犭肖 - Siau / Mad
刣 - T'ai / Kill

綴 - Tue / Follow
恬 - Tiam / Silent
轉 - Teng / Go back
縛 - Pak / Tie (a string etc)
歇 - Hio / Rest
睏 - K'un / Sleep
頂 - Ting / Last (time), Upper (floor)
潐 - Ta / Dry (quote from modern dictionary 水盡)
趖 - Sou / Walk or do things very slowly similar to dragging the feet
捋 - Lua / Comb (hair)
捍 - Hua / Uphold
故 - Kou / Again
褪 - T'eng / Remove
芳 - P'ang / Fragrant
曝 - P'ak / Dry by sun (clothes etc)
翁 - Ang / Husband or Old man
姥 - Bo / Wife or Old woman
囝 - Kiann / Child

毋會 - Bay (Combination of Mm and Ay) / Cannot
毋通- Mm T'ang / Don't
毋愛 - Mai (combination of Mm and Ai) / Don't want
相同 - Siang (combination of Sio and Tang) / Same
許 - Hi, Hy / That
許一 - Hit (combination of Hi and It) / That
之一 - Cit (combination of Ci and It)/ This

否 - P'ai / Bad
否勢 - P'ai Say / Sorry
暗瞑 - Am Mi / At Night
合意 - Ka Ee / To like
臭焦 - C'au Ta / Burnt, scorched
攏總 - Long Cong / All
灶骹 - Cau K'a / Kitchen
夭壽 - Iau Siu / Short life (for scolding people)
跋倒 - Pua To / Fall down
淡薄 - Tam Puk/ A little
細膩 - Say Li / Careful
閃開 - Siam K'ui / Move away
目屎 - Bak Sai / Tears
底時 - Ti Si / When
雞婆 - Kay Po/ Busybody
逐遍 - Tak Pien/Everytime
土骹 - T'ou K'a/Floor
湊陣 - Tau Tin/Together
漏氣 - Lau K'uui/ Lose face
見笑 - Kien Siau / Shameful

尻川 - K'a C'eng / Buttocks
卵 - Neng / Egg
卵鳥 - Lan Jiau / Penis
卵脬 - Lan P'a / Scrotum (陰囊袋 - Sack containing sperms)

Some was based on classical chinese and example verses can be found in

http://solution.cs.ucla.edu/~jinbo/dzl/lookup.php

Any further words are welcome.
Last edited by xng on Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:51 pm, edited 62 times in total.

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

Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

xng,

If you don't mind, I have to dispute a couple of entries from your list:

這一 - Cit (combination of Cia and It) / This
This is quite unlikely, as for "this" is a late 假借 borrowing in Mandarin from a character that originally meant "to go towards".

卵鳥 - Lan Jiau / Penis
The Hakka pronunciation for lan is lin (I am convinced that both share a common Chinese character), which does not quite square with , which is pronounced lon in Hakka. There is an entry in Kangxi [尸+粦] in which the fanqie and meaning comes closer (it makes a direct reference to the Minnan definition for 'penis').

Counter-arguments welcome. :roll:

tadpole
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by tadpole »

xng wrote:I have looked at the list of the taiwanese govt standard characters and some of them are wrong !
They have a forum, too. You can bring up your findings with them there.

http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/testforum/forums/list.page

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

Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote:xng,

If you don't mind, I have to dispute a couple of entries from your list:

1. 這一 - Cit (combination of Cia and It) / This
This is quite unlikely, as for "this" is a late 假借 borrowing in Mandarin from a character that originally meant "to go towards".

2. 卵鳥 - Lan Jiau / Penis
The Hakka pronunciation for lan is lin (I am convinced that both share a common Chinese character), which does not quite square with , which is pronounced lon in Hakka. There is an entry in Kangxi [尸+粦] in which the fanqie and meaning comes closer (it makes a direct reference to the Minnan definition for 'penis').
1. If we look at the modern sound and meaning, this is the right character. We don't know when the ancient meaning was changed and when the hokkien borrowed the new meaning.

I got this from http://solution.cs.ucla.edu/~jinbo/dzl/lookup.php and I agree with that entry as the sound and modern meaning is correct.

2. There are ancient (colloquail) and modern (literary) sounds for the character 卵 so Leng (lin), Lan (lon) is quite close. Please check http://solution.cs.ucla.edu/~jinbo/dzl/lookup.php for example verses in classical chinese.

【備註】金瓶梅‧第二回:聽信你兄弟說,空生著'卵鳥'嘴,也不怕別人笑耻

Although that UCLA website doesn't have everything correct, but most of it are correct and it substantiates it with classical chinese verses. Anyway, I can't find that Kangxi character anywhere on the internet and I suspect that the one who compiled the kangxi dictionary didn't know the original character and simply make it up with a new character (body radical and phonetic 'lun')

If you think about it, 卵 means sperm or ovum, so
卵鳥 would mean the birdie/penis carrying the sperm outside.
卵核 would mean the testicles ie. nut of the sperm.

So the meaning is quite correct.

3. Do you know what's the original character for 'Ti' meaning which. eg. Ti Si

In the ucla website, it writes as 底時 but the modern meaning is wrong and they didn't substantiate with classical chinese verses. The MOE taiwan uses another character which is doubtful too.

PS. I have added a few more entries that I left out in my first post. If you have any other contributions please do so. I've avoided putting those doubtful characters which are not substantiated.
Last edited by xng on Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

tadpole wrote:
They have a forum, too. You can bring up your findings with them there.

http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/testforum/forums/list.page

I hate to read all those postings, can you please help out by posting there for me instead ?

Mark Yong
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

xng wrote:
Anyway, I can't find that Kangxi character anywhere on the internet and I suspect that the one who compiled the kangxi dictionary didn't know the original character and simply make it up with a new character (body radical and phonetic 'lun')
You will find it in Page 303 of 康熙字典 under the radical and 13 residual strokes. Quoting the entry:
[字彙] 良慎切音吝閩人謂陰也 [正字通] 按方俗語有音無字陰不必別名(尸+粦).

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote:You will find it in Page 303 of 康熙字典 under the radical and 13 residual strokes. Quoting the entry:
[字彙] 良慎切音吝閩人謂陰也 [正字通] 按方俗語有音無字陰不必別名(尸+粦).
Quote '有音無字', it means the person compiling the dictionary doesn't know the correct character, so I suspect it's a make up character during that time.

Anyway, contrary to popular belief, 'Lan' doesn't mean penis but sperm/ovum similar to the original meaning of egg in 'old' chinese. It is "jiau" 鳥 that mean penis. There's another phrase for penis which is 'Ku ku jiau' so there are no 'lan' here.

Minnan use 卵 for egg and not 蛋.

The modern character of 精子 means 'essence' and not sperm in 'old' chinese.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

I have been watching a lot of taiwanese shows with theme songs and it's a pity that many of the words printed on the screen are not the original character. :cry:

They just simply find another character with similar sound or meaning alone and substitute for it.
eg. 彼甲 and other new characters like 'bay' .

Imagine these are taiwanese and not overseas chinese who are supposed to know more about chinese language than us.

Onto another topic, I suspect that all these new characters that taiwanese are inventing such as In, Gun etc are actually these:

Gun / We = 我人 (combination of Gua and Lang ie. Gu-ng)
In / Them = 伊人 (combination of Ee and Lang ie. I-ng)

Ah-bin
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Ah-bin »

I have been watching a lot of taiwanese shows with theme songs and it's a pity that many of the words printed on the screen are not the original character.
Unless it's for a song, the Taiwanese shows usually just translate the Hokkien into Mandarin and don't make any attempt to translate it.
Gun / We = 我人 (combination of Gua and Lang ie. Gu-ng)
In / Them = 伊人 (combination of Ee and Lang ie. I-ng)
Robert L. Cheng had an article about this called "Sub-syllabic morphemes in Taiwanese" 1985 Journal of Chinese Linguistics. 13.1, 12–43. Can't remeber his conclusion though.

Even if they are contractions, the Chinese writing system demands that one character represent a single syllable, so these new characters are a necessary invention if Hokkien is to be written completely in characters.

New characters or new meanings for old characters is not so unusual even in Mandarin. 也 and 都 have nothing to do with their original meanings and 們 is a relatively "new" character, not found in Classical Chinese texts.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Ah-bin wrote:
I have been watching a lot of taiwanese shows with theme songs and it's a pity that many of the words printed on the screen are not the original character.
Unless it's for a song, the Taiwanese shows usually just translate the Hokkien into Mandarin and don't make any attempt to translate it.
They do translate it (eg. Chu for house) but not all are translated correctly.

Mark Yong
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

Ah-bin wrote:
Even if they are contractions, the Chinese writing system demands that one character represent a single syllable, so these new characters are a necessary invention if Hokkien is to be written completely in characters.

New characters or new meanings for old characters is not so unusual even in Mandarin. 也 and 都 have nothing to do with their original meanings and 們 is a relatively "new" character, not found in Classical Chinese texts.
Two examples of contractions in Mandarin vocabulary in common use would be for 不要 and for 不用. In Edwin Pulleyblank's "An Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar", he suggests that even such a fundamental "building block" character as could be a very early contraction of 不惟.

This then begs the fundamental question: Should we or should we not, with equal propriety, accept such corresponding contractions and new meaning adoptions in Hokkien, and derive new characters or adapt existing characters for new meanings? There are implications for either choice:

If we choose the more conservative approach of retaining only characters from the classical canon, then:
1. Despite the contractions in the spoken word would still retain their distinctions in written form, i.e. gun for "we" would have to be written as 我人 rather than . The advantage of this is that the etymology is retained (to note that not all sub-dialects of Hokkien use gun as the contraction for gua-lang - Penang Hokkien being an example).
2. There would be no means of writing words of non-Sinitic origin using Chinese characters.

I feel that part of the answer depends on whether we want the end-result of codifying Hokkien to be that the dialect is "locked" or "static" (in the way that Classical/Literary Chinese remained static while the spoken languages evolved and diverged from the written form), or whether we want to allow the written form of Hokkien to evolve the same way written Mandarin has by the creation/adaptation of characters to suit the new usages and contractions over time, per the examples above).

My personal opinion is that using the Mandarin example to justify the 假借字 is not entirely a fair choice. The reason being, Mandarin had the all-important advantage of being chosen and promulgated by the Chinese government as the written standard, so any creation or adoption of characters (be they in Ming/Qing vulgar literature or later) would have had to be accepted by the masses as standard after the May 1919 Movement, anyway. The other dialects do not share such a status in written language, let alone the 'right' to create or adapt characters (Hong Kong would be an exception in this case - though many of the characters used in Hong Kong for Cantonese words are etymologically-incorrect, anyway... but that is a subject for a different forum thread).

So, before I get harangued for going in circles, here is my own conclusion:

Firstly, I have to say that I have a more conservative view of the written language. For this reason, I personally do not condone the contractions and adaptations found in pre-modern Mandarin vulgar literature that - for better or worse - have now made their way into Standard Modern Chinese (e.g. I would not be caught dead using for 不要 - in fact, I always use for the negative imperative). They fall outside the general canon of Chinese characters that have bridged the various spoken forms of Chinese for 2½ millennia. And for Hokkien and the other dialects (if they so could) to follow suit and derive their own adaptations and contractions would further serve to drive a wedge between the dialects, making them even more as separate languages (in both spoken and written form) than they already are now.

That said, despite the complexity of the various strata of developments of the Southern dialects (e.g. the absorption of the Zhuang and Malayo-Polynesian words), they remain essentially a part of the family of Chinese languages, they have been kept bonded together using Chinese characters for two millennia even as they diverged (Min developed as a dialect around the 1st century CE), and I see little reason for the introduction of Romanisation or other artificialities to fill the gaps, unless it is absolutely necessary.

My conclusion would be that in writing, creations/adaptions for writing in the Hokkien dialect can be allowed, but only when there is absolutely no known way of writing the words using the etymologically-correct Chinese characters for them. I would not put the contractions under this "allowable" category, as one can almost always trace back the original individual "pre-contracted" components (also for the reason stated above, that contractions are sometimes specific to a particular branch of the dialect only), so there is no logical reason to have to create an artificial character for phonetics' sake, but at the expense of intelligibility. That way, when a Beijing native reads a Hokkien text, he/she would have a higher chance of deciphering 伊人 for i-lang/in (contracted) as the 3rd person pronoun, rather than a local contraction such as + or something. And when such local creations/adaptations are used, commentaries in fine-print should be added alongside to explain them (in the spirit of the traditional practice as found in old Classical Chinese texts). The nett result is, we still get to write Hokkien using the etymologically-correct characters where possible, and yet intelligibility of the written text is retained - not just for the Hokkien readers, but also to as many Chinese-educated non-Hokkien readers as is feasible - because recourse can ultimately still be made to dictionaries using the Classical Chinese canon.

To me, in the first place, Standard Modern Chinese has already adopted way too many Northern creations that have totally (and, if I may add, imperialistically) alienated the Southern tongues. It would be a shame to make it even more of a mess with the Southern dialects turning the other cheek and doing likewise. Unless and until, of course, we see the day when the "Chinese dialects" as we call them today are officially acknowledged as truly separate languages in the same way that Chinese, Japanese and Korean are separate languages, then everyone is free to do their own thing with Chinese characters. And if that day ever comes, and all the dialects start going ballistic with their own localised character creations (which is part of the reason why today we have a few tens of thousands of characters, the bulk of which are either local creations or obscure variants of the same character), the compilers of the next edition of the 漢韓大辭典 from Korea (at a whopping 60,000 characters encompassing virtually every conceivable use of Chinese characters (and their variants), including all dialects and East Asian languages, this 30-year dictionary project now surpasses the 大漢和辭典 and 漢語大辭典) will have a field day tacking on an extra few hundred more locally-invented, etymologically-incorrect characters for each dialect. Don't get me wrong - I am not against the concept of language evolution. But the Chinese language and its dialects (and here, perhaps we should also include Japanese - having adopted and still actively use Chinese characters) is a unique case for which the complexities involved probably have no direct comparison with the other languages of the world.

tadpole
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by tadpole »

Mark Yong wrote:
Ah-bin wrote:
Even if they are contractions, the Chinese writing system demands that one character represent a single syllable, so these new characters are a necessary invention if Hokkien is to be written completely in characters.
There are quite a few other contractions in the Hoklo language. For instance:

loq kyc = 落去 --> loeq
example: "jiaq`loeq. jiah zai koul;" = 吃下去才知道苦 = only after swallowing it did he find out it was bitter

dioq i, dioq he = 著伊 --> dio
example: "knuac dio veurl solngkuaic;" = 看到了會不舒服 = seeing it makes me feel uncomfortable

These types of subtleties are still best elucidated in alphabetical writing.

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

tadpole wrote: They have a forum, too. You can bring up your findings with them there.

http://twblg.dict.edu.tw/testforum/forums/list.page
I had a look at this forum and found some good original characters that has been eluding a lot of us.

潐 - Ta / Dry (quote from modern dictionary 水盡)

卵孢 - Lan P'a / Scrotum (陰囊袋 - Sack containing sperms)

袛 - Tay / Short (needs confirmation as I can't find the modern dictionary entry and current meaning to confirm this)

Mark Yong
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by Mark Yong »

xng wrote:
潐 - Ta / Dry (quote from modern dictionary 水盡)
In 林寶卿's "閩南方言與古漢語同源辭典", she also cites an almost similar character, i.e. (note the absence of the water radical ).
xng wrote:
卵孢 - Lan P'a / Scrotum (陰囊袋 - Sack containing sperms)
This is interesting. 康熙字典 quotes the 正字通 definition provided as 孕也 'to be pregnant'.

In 林寶卿's "閩南方言與古漢語同源辭典", she gives an alternative character for pā, i.e. . Citations provided:
1. <金瓶梅詞話> 第五三回: "自家又沒得養, 別人養的兒子又去強遭魂的掗相知呵卵脬."
2. <二十年目睹之怪現狀> 第六六回: "除了呵除了外國人的卵脬, 便是拍大人先生的馬屁."

康熙字典 quotes the 說文解字 definition of as 膀光也 'the bladder'.

Both the fanqie seem to match (I have not considered the tones, though). Perhaps someone more astute on tones than me can shed some light. :lol:

xng
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Re: Benzi/Original character

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote:xng wrote:
i.e. (note the absence of the water radical ).

In 林寶卿's "閩南方言與古漢語同源辭典", she gives an alternative character for pā, i.e. . Citations provided:
1. 焦 (as in 臭焦) is for scorched/burnt while 潐 means dry. Same sound but different meaning just like 膽and 擔.
潐 is definitely the right meaning and original character. That dictionary you quoted might have 'guessed' the wrong character.

2. 孢 or 脬 ?
脬 means 'bladder' which could mean a sack (which holds water) in ancient times. So a 'sack holding sperms' could mean the scrotum.

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