Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

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

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by SimL »

Hi aokh,

What a wonderful goal you are setting yourself! I congratulate you and wish you every success.

My goal has some parallels, namely, I want to try and get my Hokkien to a level where I can function comfortably in it - at least for basic conversation (which is not the case at the moment, mostly because of the huge number of words that I don't know).

But this is a longer term goal for me. For me, mastering basic Mandarin is more important, at the moment. [A statement which might get me banned from this Forum :mrgreen:.] But along the way, new characters I learn in Mandarin do throw light on Hokkien, so this contributes to that other goal as well.

All 3 of your points appeal to me a lot.
1. Record (voice) words spoken in daily life by older generation.
I have done something slightly similar with my parents and uncles and aunts (all in their late 70's and early 80's nowadays), except that the emphasis in my "research" was less on the language itself, and more on the actual events and conditions of their lives, when they were young in the 1930's to 1960's. But in that process, the way they speak has also of course been recorded.
2. Document them with proper romanisation - to start educating younger generation.
This one particularly strikes a chord with me. As I've said a number of times on this Forum, I *cringe* when I see the "subtitling" under many Hokkien (karaoke) songs, where they use pinyin "b-" and "g-" for POJ "p-" and "k-". I really can't understand how the people who use this system don't see that if one does this, then there's no letter that can be used for the POJ "b-" and "g-"! That people from outside of Malaysia/Singapore might do this is to a certain extent understandable (they have few other models than pinyin), but that people in Malaysia/Singapore do it is (IMHO) totally unreasonable, when they have a perfectly adequate example of Malay/Indonesian, where the (POJ) letters "b-" and "g-", and "p-" and "k-" (and "t-" too) correspond very much to the Malay ones, and only the ""ph-", "th-", "kh-" need to be added for Hokkien.
3. Look up for the right or reasonable characters, may not be pun-ji.
I like the compromise position on this. I agree that one should strive to find and use pun-ji where possible, but in many cases, it's just too obscure to work out, and one can spend hours and hours arguing about which character to use, whereas it's much more important to just choose one and try and get everyone to use it.

Do you know "the other Sim", who studies at SOAS in London? Andrew knows him too, and I think his goals (and dedication) are very similar to yours.

PS. Don't you people think that the current flood of spam here is really weird? It's not even advertising products, but appears to be incoherent fragments of English mixed with utter nonsense.

Mark Yong
Posts: 684
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:52 pm

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by Mark Yong »

A quick post (stealing some office time!)...

The rhetorical connotation appears to hark back to Classical Chinese:

子曰: 學而時習之、不亦悅乎。 - 論語
Confucius said: Is it not a joy to regularly practise what [we] have learnt? - The Analects

Cantonese also uses the rhetorical ma with exactly the same tone - however, current usage tends to append the copula after it, i.e. [嘛]係 ma-hai, often contracted as mai.

The Southern dialects of , and 客家 all have negatives with m- initials, cf. the Central dialects, e.g. which have v- initials and the Northern dialects with p- initials (see Jerry Norman Chinese (1988) and S. Robert Ramsey The Languages of China (1989)). To digress, the extended argument from Edwin Pulleyblank is that even the negative historically did not have a b- initial, but rather f-.

Anyway, my point is that the m- initial in Southern negatives appear to lend support to the "fusion of negative+copula => rhetorical question" theory.

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

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by SimL »

Hi Mark,

Re-assuring to know that you're still following the Forum. :mrgreen:.

aokh1979
Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:32 pm
Location: George Town, Malaysia
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Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by aokh1979 »

Hi Mark Yong:
Your example is absolutely fabulous. That didn't cross my mind. The greatest example ever...... Thank you ! :lol:

Hi SimL:
About the motivation to master Mandarin, you will not be banned from this forum. Come on, we're all trying to learn something together here. However your future comments may be ignored. :twisted:

The other Sim is a good friend of mine. We have been working together on a revitalisation programme for Penang Hokkien. :P

SimL
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:33 am
Location: Amsterdam

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by SimL »

aokh1979 wrote:The other Sim is a good friend of mine. We have been working together on a revitalisation programme for Penang Hokkien. :
Ah, good. In that case, *I* - not he - am probably "the other Sim" :mrgreen:.

Ah-bin
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Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by Ah-bin »

To digress, the extended argument from Edwin Pulleyblank is that even the negative 不 historically did not have a b- initial, but rather f-.
How historical are you getting here Mark? I can't remember what Pulleyblank calls the Chinese spoken before Middle Chinese (is it Archaic Chinese?, I thought only Karlgren used that term). As far as I know, all the [f] initials in other Sinitic languages developed from [p']some time during the T'ang.

I don't think 不 has EVER had a initial in any Sinitic language, it usually has/had a [p]. If it were originally a the tone would be upper entering pút instead of lower entering put that it is in literary Hokkien.

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

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by Mark Yong »

Ah-bin said:
How historical are you getting here Mark? I can't remember what Pulleyblank calls the Chinese spoken before Middle Chinese (is it Archaic Chinese?, I thought only Karlgren used that term).
I am referring to that stage before Middle Chinese - I think Pulleyblank calls it Old Chinese (unfortunately, I do not have my copy of Pulleyblank's book on me at the moment, so what I am posting here is entirely from memory - any errors is regretted).
Ah-bin said:
I don't think 不 has EVER had a initial in any Sinitic language, it usually has/had a [p].

Oops, sorry! I meant p-. Darn, Mandarin pinyin-ism is starting to gain its evil grip on me! I really should be more careful - especially when dealing with discussions on dialect groups that retain three-way dental stops b-, p- and p', e.g. .

Ah-bin
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Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by Ah-bin »

"Damn TV, it ruined my imagination" - Bart Simpson

Damn Pinyin it ruined my ability to transcribe the sounds of Sinitic languages! :lol:

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

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote:
子曰: 學而時習之、不亦悅乎。 - 論語
Confucius said: Is it not a joy to regularly practise what [we] have learnt? - The Analects
In this case, it is actually asking for a confirmation, equivalent to
敢毋是?

On to another point....

Is my cantonese rusty ? I have never heard of proper cantonese using 嘛係 before. It could be one of those rojak malaysian cantonese that only a few uses.

Proper cantonese use 亦 (yik) or 都 (tou).
Last edited by xng on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by xng »

Mark Yong wrote:
Oops, sorry! I meant p-. Darn, Mandarin pinyin-ism is starting to gain its evil grip on me! I really should be more careful - especially when dealing with discussions on dialect groups that retain three-way dental stops b-, p- and p', e.g. .
That's the problem with using a communist romanisation that only caters to mandarin.

I think when we discuss about phonetics, we should have a common romanisation that applies to ALL the major chinese languages ie. mandarin, hakka, hokkien, wu and cantonese.

amhoanna
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Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by amhoanna »

I think when we discuss about phonetics, we should have a common romanisation that applies to ALL the major chinese languages ie. mandarin, hakka, hokkien, wu and cantonese.
I use the Vietnamese alphabet for Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese and Hoklo when I'm in a mood to romanize. Works like a charm, and those low tones look sexy as hell too. :oops: :mrgreen:

amhoanna
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Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by amhoanna »

Going back to what Aokh said... Aokh, what did you do with your blog? I came across it a couple of years ago (http://amhoanna.tawa.asia/2009/10/tolon ... k-goa.html) during a "Hokkien -mee" search. I was struck by how you wrote in pure tnglangji, even the Malay loanwords. Even Penang / Pinang = 庇能!

I know a few people who post on Facebook in genuine Hoklo (not 挖嘸系公安吶 Hoklo), mostly with an academic flair. It would be cool to have some Bengs and Lians posting in Hoklo in my "面本" feed.

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

Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by Mark Yong »

xng wrote:
I have never heard of proper cantonese using 嘛係 before. It could be one of those rojak malaysian cantonese that only a few uses. Proper cantonese use 亦 (yik) or 都 (tou).
It's not a Malaysian peculiarity. You hear it very often in Hong Kong movies and serials, too. The context is different from and , both of which just mean 'also/too'. 嘛係 also carries the same meaning, but uses a negative to state the obvious for added impact ("is it not so, too?").

aokh1979
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Re: Wa ma tsai ! (I also know...)

Post by aokh1979 »

amhoanna wrote:Aokh, what did you do with your blog?
OMG. Who are you ? How do I contact you in Facebook ? Add me aokh1979@gmail.com...... ^^

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