Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
vaskimies
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:46 pm

Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by vaskimies »

Hey everyone,

So I've had my eye on Spoken Amoy Hokkien by Nicholas Bodman (http://www.amazon.com/Spoken-Amoy-Hokki ... 0879504501) and another forum member told me that it was a good resource... for the variant of the language spoken in Malaya. 6 decades ago.

Are there are any books or resources for the variant of the language as it is spoken in China's Fujian province? I really am not looking to learn Taiwanese, which is a shame because most resources for this language seem to focus on the Taiwanese variant.

Or would you say that Fujian Amoy and Taiwanese are close enough for a book on Taiwanese to suffice?

Actually, would that book by Bodman suffice?

Thanks.

xng
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by xng »

A. "variant of the language as it is spoken in China's Fujian province"

Basically, there are 3 main variants of 'hokkien' ie. minnan that have significant differences from each other but still intelligible to a large extent.

1. Quanzhou
2. Amoy/Xiamen/Taiwan
3. Zhangzhou

I am tempted to put in Chaozhou/Teociu as the fourth option but I think I am going to be shot if I say this. :lol:

Note: Malaya has two main variants ie. Zhangzhou and Quanzhou.(not the amoy variant). Malaya doesn't have a 'standard variant' as everybody thinks there is.

B. If you are thinking of standard Minnan language, then it is the amoy variant.

Taiwanese hokkien and amoy hokkien are almost identical. It is safe to learn the Taiwanese version.
Taiwanese and amoy hokkien has the same relationship as Guangzhou and HK cantonese, only very slight variance and more for native speakers only.

vaskimies
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:46 pm

Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by vaskimies »

Thank you for the informative response.

So, if I wanted to learn "standard" Amoy, then a book on the Malaya variant (be it either Quanzhou or Zhangzhou) is not a good idea, am I correct?

Hmm, tough situation here...

Ah-bin
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by Ah-bin »

Well, actually there is no such thing as "standard" Hokkien, only Hokkien that is widely understood, and Hokkien that isn't. Taiwanese is widely understood because Taiwan is the heartland of Hokkien cultural production, even adults in Amoy can understand it.

I learn Penang Hokkien because I like it, but you won't get far with it in Amoy or the surrounding cities, because it contains many Malay words and older expressions that Chinese Hokkien speakers no longer understand and is spoken mainly in northern Malaysia and some places in Sumatra (I bumped into someone from Borneo who spoke something similar once), but not in China or Taiwan.

If you can read Chinese then try Lin Baoqing's 林寶卿 Minnanyu jiaocheng 閩南話教程, if you're in Amoy you can find it in the big bookshop upstairs on the corner of Yanwu Road and Siming South Road. This will teach you what is spoken by middle-aged people in Xiamen. There are plenty of good dictionaries that have just been published in China that show three different kinds of pronunciation Chiang-chiu (Zhangzhou) Choan-chiu (Quanzhou) and Amoy. The big one is called Minnanhua da cidian 閩南話大詞典.

If you learn what is in Bodman's book you can't really go too far wrong, especially if you only can read English as it is the only detailed textbook that isn;t about Taiwanese.

Also search further down on the forum for threads on online resources, there was a bit of discussion there last year about them.


Vaskimies, oletko Suomelainen?

vaskimies
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by vaskimies »

jopas nyt jotaki! joku toinen suomea-osaava kaveri haha hauska tavata. en itekää oo suomalainen vaan semmonen suomee-opiskeleva ulkomaalainen (amerikkalainen täsmälleen) ja oon asunut aikoinani suomessa ja nyt olen parisuhteessa suomalaisen miehen kaa ja myö puhutaa vain suomee keskenämme. entäs sie? suomalainen vai australialainen vai..?

Thanks for the helpful words by the way! I think I'll just suck it up and buy Bodman's book. I hear he uses his own romanization though which kind of puts me off but I might as well get the book since I found it for a decent price (that is, under 100 bucks ahahah).

edit: I read this in another thread
None of the English books that use the terms "Amoy Hokkien" actually teach what is spoken now in Amoy.
Would you guys agree with this? :\

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

Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by xng »

vaskimies wrote:Thank you for the informative response.

So, if I wanted to learn "standard" Amoy, then a book on the Malaya variant (be it either Quanzhou or Zhangzhou) is not a good idea, am I correct?

Hmm, tough situation here...
It really depends on where you want to use it.

For foreigners ie. non native speakers, it is better to learn the standard version that is acknowledged by most parties (maybe not some of the forummers here who thinks their version is standard :lol: ). You can pick up the various differences between the amoy version and the rest if you decide to use it in Malaya.

Eg.

In Zhangzhou hokkien, two is pronounced as 'Noh' which will get you blank faces if you speak it in Taiwan, Singapore, Southern Malaya or Xiamen which pronounce it as 'Neng'.

Ah-bin
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by Ah-bin »

En ole Suomalainen, olen Uusi-seelantilainen, mutta olen oppinut Viron kieltä, siis ymmärrän vähän Suomen kielestä.

It was about fifteen years ago, so I can;t remember much any more....kaikki on nyt muutunut (changed?) Viron kieleksi! :D
In Zhangzhou hokkien, two is pronounced as 'Noh' which will get you blank faces if you speak it in Taiwan, Singapore, Southern Malaya or Xiamen which pronounce it as 'Neng'.
I've tried this on Taiwanese, and some could understand. The northeast coast of Taiwan speaks something very close to Chiang-chiu Hokkien, so anyone who had anything to do with that area won't give you a blank look.

vaskimies
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Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:46 pm

Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by vaskimies »

xng wrote:
vaskimies wrote:Thank you for the informative response.

So, if I wanted to learn "standard" Amoy, then a book on the Malaya variant (be it either Quanzhou or Zhangzhou) is not a good idea, am I correct?

Hmm, tough situation here...
It really depends on where you want to use it.

For foreigners ie. non native speakers, it is better to learn the standard version that is acknowledged by most parties (maybe not some of the forummers here who thinks their version is standard :lol: ). You can pick up the various differences between the amoy version and the rest if you decide to use it in Malaya.

Eg.

In Zhangzhou hokkien, two is pronounced as 'Noh' which will get you blank faces if you speak it in Taiwan, Singapore, Southern Malaya or Xiamen which pronounce it as 'Neng'.
Oh grrrr. That's the problem, is that I want to learn Amoy Hokkien the way it is spoken in Xiamen, not Malaya. If only this guy had written his book on that dialect instead of the other!! How very frustrating. Oh well. That's why I started the thread is because I want the variant spoken in Fujian, more specifically in Xiamen. Not Taiwanese, no way.
Ah-bin wrote:En ole Suomalainen, olen Uusi-seelantilainen, mutta olen oppinut Viron kieltä, siis ymmärrän vähän Suomen kielestä.

It was about fifteen years ago, so I can;t remember much any more....kaikki on nyt muutunut (changed?) Viron kieleksi! :D
Suomenkieli sujuu sinulta hyvin, ottaen huomioon se, ettet oo reilusti opiskellu suomee vaan viroo! Hehe. Ite ymmärrän viroo surkeesti mutta lukiessani viroks niin ymmärrän enemmän. Changed = muuttunut, siis kaks teetä. ;)

AndrewAndrew
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by AndrewAndrew »

Bodman specifically teaches the Amoy variant. It is just the dialogues that are set in Malaya. Occasionally he points out how the Amoy variant is different from that spoken in south Malaya/Singapore. The north Malaya variant is largely ignored.

xng
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by xng »

vaskimies wrote:Not Taiwanese, no way.
As I have mentioned before, Taiwanese and Xiamen have very minor differences for a large part of the language.

It is just like american and canadian English, are there any communication problems between these two dialects ?

vaskimies
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by vaskimies »

AndrewAndrew wrote:Bodman specifically teaches the Amoy variant. It is just the dialogues that are set in Malaya. Occasionally he points out how the Amoy variant is different from that spoken in south Malaya/Singapore. The north Malaya variant is largely ignored.
Really? Okay, well that sounds good. Well I guess I should stop being so worrisome and order the damn book, haha. I'm moving away on Wednesday but once I get settled into my new place I'll go ahead and place my order before the price shoots up (*knock on wood*).

Thanks for the wonderful feedback, all of you. :-D

aokh1979
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by aokh1979 »

Hi vaskimies:

Do you live in Xiamen ? I do. (>_^)/

Basically variances between the few Hokkien dialects are not a big deal, you will get along well if you start to hold conversation with the locals. People who live and speak Hokkien in Xiamen are not 100% Xiamenese, there are more people migrated from Zhangzhou or Quanzhou than you could have imagined. Xiamen is basically, I would say, about 30 years old, most of the population you see on the street speaking Hokkien today may be the 2nd or even 1st generation of migrants from Zhangzhou and Quanzhou (including some other smaller cities in Fujian).

I have lived here for 8 years now. I can tell very easily when someone speaks Xiamenese and Taiwanese. They can be quite different, but you will be able to pick up very easily, too. I grew up in Penang saying "noo uann puinn" for "2 bowls of rice" instead of "n'ng uann p'ng". I say "noo" to almost everyone in Xiamen since 2003, and I never get a blank face because most people here are exposed to Zhangzhou variant, it's just an hour driving distance. Do not worry, there's no standard of Hokkien. I love Penang Hokkien, it's just the standard for my home-town, not anywhere else (maybe Medan......) and I believe millions of Hokkiens out there are not connected by any standard but spirit and respect they hold dearly to their heart. Learn Xiamen variant if you prefer it that way, and speak it anywhere you go. You will be understood. Some confusions may arise along the way, but which language on earth can be picked up without any confusion during prelim stage ?

xng
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by xng »

vaskimies,

Just ignore the stubborn ramblings of those who hold on to their dialect. read here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_Nan

"As Xiamen is the principal city of southern Fujian, the Xiamen dialect is considered the most important, or even prestige dialect."

Before Xiamen was well established, the prestige dialect was Quanzhou variant. It may not be 'officially' standard but neither is HK cantonese but we all know the HK/Guangzhou cantonese is the unofficial or de facto standard due to the HK movies, location etc.

While it is true that there are many migrants to Xiamen, the same is happening to HK and Guangzhou but that doesn't mean that Mandarin or Taishanese is considered 'standard cantonese' there. Another example if there is a lot of british who migrate to america, it doesn't mean that British English will replace the standard there. I have trouble listening to British accent as I grew up understanding American accent.

For a newcomer to the hokkien language, it is wise to learn the defacto standard which is the taiwanese/amoy version.

I grew up in southern malaya and a lot of my friends/relatives who hear northern malaya version do get blank faces the first few times they hear them due to the different tones and sounds(until they explain what it means in a different language). Of course, after a few months of learning the variants you get used to it and will slowly understand but that is more for native speakers who is willing to learn the 3 versions.

AndrewAndrew
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by AndrewAndrew »

As with most language learning, we rarely have the luxury of choosing the exact dialect variant that will be appropriate for our future dealings, e.g. few people in the West will have access to anything other than Modern Standard Arabic, or at a push Gulf and Egyptian Arabic. It is best to stick to the dialect variant of your teacher or language CD and to master that rather than getting confused by other dialect variants. May I ask what you intend to do with your Hokkien once you have learnt it?

SimL
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Re: Variant of Amoy spoken in Fujian province - Resources??

Post by SimL »

Hi vaskimies,

Great to have another Hokkien enthusiast on board. Welcome!
aokh1979 wrote:Learn Xiamen variant if you prefer it that way, and speak it anywhere you go. You will be understood. Some confusions may arise along the way, but which language on earth can be picked up without any confusion during prelim stage ?
Agree with this totally.

If I may be allowed one personal story about people understanding variants...

Regular readers of the Forum may remember that my father's family are Penang Hokkien speakers, and my mother's side more Amoy-ish. What I've never said is that my father's side of the family is rather weak in languages, while my mother's side is particularly good at them. [For example, when my parents came to visit me here in Holland, my mother had a great time trying to read signs in Dutch and trying to work out what they meant, whereas the idea would never have crossed my father's mind. (Fortunately, I inherited interest and abilities in language from my mother's side!)] In any case, my parents told me that in the initial years of their marriage, when their parents met one another, my father's parents had practically no idea what my mother's parents were saying - they just smiled politely and pretended that they did :mrgreen:. But, the other way around, my mother's parents had a reasonable idea what my father's parents were saying because 1) (as explained above) they are linguistically more gifted anyway, 2) they had been exposed to Penang Hokkien from Penang people they had met earlier, whereas my father's people had had hardly any exposure to non-Penang Hokkien (Chinese on mainland peninsular Malaysia are known for being better at other dialects than Penang Chinese anyway). This sorted itself out after a number of years of exposure, so that when I was old enough to remember my grandparents' interaction, I never noticed anything other than that they understood one another perfectly well.

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