Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Ah-bin
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Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin »

I've discussed with Sim sometimes about how to write the word khí-hōng "to get angry", and my instinct when I heard it was to write 起風, but Sim pointed out that the tone is different, (hòng or hōng, not hong) and so I changed my mind and began to think it must be 氣放 instead, (hòng is the literary reading for pàng) sort of like "ch'i given vent to or released".

I haven't been able to find the word in any other Hokkien dictionary I own, so it seems to be a term peculiar to the Hokkien of Malaysia (don't know about Indonesia).

Then, after looking through the glossary of Raymond Kwok's "Malay Echoes from the Past", I found the Baba term "naik angin", meaning "to lose one's temper". Where the "naik" corresponds to the Hokkien "khí" meaning "to rise up". So now I think it's actually 起風 again, just like "makan angin" is chiáh-hong 食風, another word calqued from Malay and not found in China or Taiwan.

Why is the tone of 風 altered? I think it's to do with the fact that in Penang Hokkien you often 起風共儂 khí-hng kah lâng, (get angry WITH people), and it causes the tone of "hong" to sandhi to "hōng". Phrases with "kah" are so common that the sandhied tone has become the ordinary tone on the end of the word as well. This is a documented phenomenon in the Teochiu spoekn in Cambodia, but if I am right about khi-hong, it is the first time I've come across it in Penang Hokkien.

aokh1979
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by aokh1979 »

I personally think there's a character for it.

It should be something to do with 火 or 心 as it relates to an emotion. If I am not mistaken, the pronunciation is exactly the same as 發癀, "swell". So it should be something to with 黃 or 皇 in Chinese.

惶 is what I choose, it means worry, fear. I dunno if it makes sense......

Ah-bin
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin »

It's another possibility, but I see 癀 is also a different tone (hông) as well, so it could be 氣癀 with a changed tone as well.

niuc
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by niuc »

I had never heard of 起風 with that meaning. However, my mom says that there is a phrase 無風起風波 'bo5-huang1 khi2-hong1-pho1' to mean getting angry without any [apparent] reason. 'huang1' is colloquial reading for 風 in my variant (also in Cuanciu variants & Teochew).

Andrew

Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by Andrew »

We also sometimes just say khi2 by itself as short for khi-hong. Does anyone else do this?

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

Ah-bin wrote:I haven't been able to find the word in any other Hokkien dictionary I own, so it seems to be a term peculiar to the Hokkien of Malaysia (don't know about Indonesia).
Hi Ah-bin. I wonder if it mightn't be confined to even just Penang Hokkien? My Amoyish sin-kheh side of the family never said "khi-hong", but always "siu-khi". Would this be 修氣? Niuc has confirmed that he didn't know it in Indonesia. Mark, did you know the term before learning Penang Hokkien? (Hmmm... perhaps you didn't know any Hokkien, before you learnt Penang Hokkien, so the question might be silly.)
Andrew wrote:We also sometimes just say khi2 by itself as short for khi-hong. Does anyone else do this?
Hi Andrew. No, I'm not familiar with this usage.

Ah-bin
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by Ah-bin »

I've started to think that as well. But then again, the speaker of the Buddhist sermons uses khi-hong, and he does things sometimes that aren't entirely Penang-style (uses sioN for siauN 想 and so on)

Taiwanese books usually write 受氣 for siu-khi

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

Ah-bin wrote:Taiwanese books usually write 受氣 for siu-khi
Ah, thanks!

Funny, when I'm angry I (often!) yell at people. So, I would write this 授氣 rather than 受氣 :mrgreen:. [Just for clarity, I'm not doubting the correctness of the character you gave, just making a joke...]

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

I've too have always wondered about that the characters for "khi-hong" are.

One of my wild speculations was that it might be 起兇, with "hiong5" corrupted to "hong5".

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

Ah-bin,

Sorry for "kidnapping" your topic with an off-topic comment, but I'm reluctant to have a proliferation of topics with only 3-4 posts per topic. So, I'm posting my question here.

I've been wondering about this since I started learning Mandarin a few years ago.

In Mandarin, the word 句 ju4 covers multiple characters - from a compound word, to a phrase, to a sentence. The equivalent in Hokkien is ku3, but my usage of it is quite different. In my perception, Hokkien ku3 is only a single syllable.

- "gua kio i ka gua kong cit le kO su, tapi i liam kui na ku liau toh cau liau"

i.e.

- "I asked him to tell me a story, but he after muttering a few syllables, he left"

For me, "kui na gu" would be just a few syllables (say 3-4), definitely not a few "sentences", not a few phrases, and probably not even a few di-syllabic compound words.

So for me, in Hokkien, 句 "gu3" is simply the "spoken/aural/verbal" equivalent of the "visual" 字 "ji7". One writes or reads a few "ji7" on paper or on a computer screen, and one speaks or hears a few "gu3", each "gu3" corresponding to one "ji7".

Is this the usage of other Hokkien speakers, of have I misunderstood this completely?

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

Ah-bin wrote:Why is the tone of 風 altered? I think it's to do with the fact that in Penang Hokkien you often 起風共儂 khí-hng kah lâng, (get angry WITH people), and it causes the tone of "hong" to sandhi to "hōng".
I'm not sure this is the reason (i.e. I'm still not sure it's from 風). If we look at "khi kiaN ka i" (起行共伊) - "go and walk with him", or "khi ciah ka i" (起食共伊) - "go and eat with him", then we don't see any tone-sandhi on the 行 and 食. Now, I do acknowledge that these may be grammatically (but primarily semantically) slightly different from the proposed 起風共儂, but I still think that this should be taken into consideration.

niuc
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by niuc »

SimL wrote:For me, "kui na gu" would be just a few syllables (say 3-4), definitely not a few "sentences", not a few phrases, and probably not even a few di-syllabic compound words.

So for me, in Hokkien, 句 "gu3" is simply the "spoken/aural/verbal" equivalent of the "visual" 字 "ji7". One writes or reads a few "ji7" on paper or on a computer screen, and one speaks or hears a few "gu3", each "gu3" corresponding to one "ji7".

Is this the usage of other Hokkien speakers, of have I misunderstood this completely?
Sim, you said it well. I also came to realise that about 句 ('ku3' in my variant) when I learned its meaning in Mandarin. However, if we are to scrutinize it, even in daily Hokkien it can mean something more than a syllable, e.g. 一句話 'cit8-ku3-ue7' can be one word/syllable, one phrase or one sentence (may be in short: one utterance). So I guess its meaning depends on its context. Nevertheless I still share the same feeling about 句 as primarily means a syllable. May be this is "colloquial meaning" vs "standard meaning"?

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

Hi Niuc,

Thanks for confirming my suspicion about "ku3". Indeed, I was vaguely aware of the phrase 一句話 'cit8-ku3-ue7' too, and saw it as not fitting what I was talking about. Perhaps one can see it as functioning as a "measure word" in that particular case, with a slightly different meaning than when it functions as a noun.

aokh1979
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by aokh1979 »

Hi SimL:

This is very new to me. I grew up in a Hokkien speaking family in Penang, I was educated in Chinese. 句 to me does not mean just a syllable. It means a sentence, a phrase. In your example, I would say that person said a few lines and left, not just a word. That's what I understand from it.
:P

Besides, regarding the khi being used as "angry". I do use it often, especially when I try to emphasise the level of anger, eg: 氣徦挴死, khi-ka-bue-si. Literally, "angry until die".

徦 = until (according to 康熙字典)
挴 = to want (my understanding from the phonetic and meaning in 康熙字典 where it means 貪也)

Does it make sense ?

SimL
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Re: Getting angry in Penang Hokkien

Post by SimL »

Hi aokh1979,

Wonderful to get your input - thanks very much!

Well, it's good to have a dissenting voice about the use of 句 in Hokkien. I'll ask my parents what their impression is when I next speak to them. There could of course be two different usages among (sub-)cultures in Penang, e.g. "Baba" vs "Sin-khek". Is your family Baba or Sin-khek (in as much as the terms mean anything nowadays)? If 1979 is the year of your birth, then the fact that you were educated in Chinese may not say anything about your Baba or Sin-khek roots. In my youth, it would have - Babas practically never went to Chinese school in the 1950's to 1970's.

What you said makes perfect sense. However, the "khi-hong" thing wasn't so much whether the first syllable was 氣, but rather whether the second syllable was 風.

Hope to see lots more postings from you in the future! :P

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