新用戶自我紹介

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:31 pm

逐家好,我是這个論壇的新用戶,來自我紹介一下。我的中文名字叫馮習文,閩南語共我稱做阿文好啦^^ 我目前是德國漢堡大學漢學系的學生,抵抵仔咧寫我的出業論文。今年新正留學後第一擺去台灣看朋友,彼時嘛佇朋友兜蹛兩禮拜。彼位朋友就是佮阿媽、阿姑鬥陣蹛,厝內講的是台語,我就第一擺聽著閩南語,感覺足趣味。所以做為一个語言狂,我決定欲去學這點仔xD 可惜,我毋知欲按怎來開始。我佇德國無人會當予我教一下,而且南語的教材實在太少啦,所揣著的攏無路用,我踮佇台灣的時嘛無法度佮Maryknoll教會的人連絡,網絡頂揣著的物件嘛無偌好。所以,我干焦會當聽歹教科書的錄音,靠我的語感(毋過這个語感當然是華語的,所以我的閩南語肯定有一寡部份上親像華語,請逐家原諒、予我改正)。但是我猶是想欲骨力學習 xD 橫直,我誠歡喜揣著這个論壇,向望會當佮恁參詳,學著一寡關於閩南語的趣味代誌,嘛靠恁的經歷佮能力提高我家己的閩南語能力 :D

P.S.: 我用台灣教育部的漢字,毋是因為我相信是著的(我知影有誠濟無疑毋是本字),干焦是因為需要一个標準。而且,我感覺揣本字雖然足趣味,毋過毋是非常重要的問題,因為漢字本底就是寫詞的標記爾爾,毋是詞本身,華語的字嘛有真濟佮古早無仝款(例如華語今仔日寫做「你」的詞,看語源就是古早寫做「汝」(抑是「女」)的詞,華語nǐ佮rǔ兩種發音就是佮閩南語的文白異讀仝款的現象爾爾。所以,若是看本字就應該共nǐ寫做「汝」抑是「女」。但是今仔日中文寫「你」猶是會當看明白,我嘛未捌聽過人想欲共「你」改做是原本的寫法。按呢中文會使用毋是本字的漢字,閩南語敢袂使按呢做?)。有人看法無同,歡迎你參詳^^


Ta̍k-ke hó, guá sī tsit-ê lūn-tuânn ê sin iōng-hōo, lâi tsū-ngóo siāu-kài--tsi̍t-ē. Guá-ê Tiong-bûn miâ-jī kiò Pâng Si̍p-bûn, Bân-lâm-gí kā guá tshing-tsò A-bûn hó--lah^^ Guá ba̍k-tsîng sī Tik-kok Hàn-pó tāi-ha̍k hàn-ha̍k-hē ê ha̍k-sing tú-tú-á leh siá guá-ê tshut-gia̍p lūn-bûn. Kin-á-ji̍t sin-tsiann liû-ha̍k āu tē-it pái khì Tâi-uân khuànn pîng-iú, hit-sî mā tī pîng-iú tau tuà nn̄g lé-pài. Hit-uī pîng-iú tō-sī kah a-má, a-koo tàu-tīn tuà, tshù-lāi kóng--ê sī Tâi-gí, guá tō tē-it pái thiann-tio̍h Bân-lâm-gí, kám-kak tsiok tshù-bī. Sóo-í tsò-uī tsi̍t-ê gí-giân-kông, guá kuat-tīng bueh khì o̍h--tsit-tiám-á xD Khó-sioh, guá m̄-tsai bueh án-tsuánn lâi khai-sí. Guá tī Tik-kok bô lâng ē-tàng hōo guá kà--tsi̍t-ē, jî-tshiánn Bân-lâm-gíê kàu-tshâi si̍t-tsāi thài tsió--lah, sóo tshuē-tio̍h--ê lóng bô lōo-īng, guá tiàm tī Tâi-uân--ê sî mā bô huat-tōo kah Maryknoll kàu-huē--ê lâng liân-lo̍k, bāng-lo̍k (m̄-tsai internet--ê tsìng-khak sû, sóo-í guá tshìn-tshái kā huâ-gí--ê 網絡 huan-i̍k--kuè-lâi--ê) tíng tshuē-tio̍h--ê mi̍h-kiānn mā lóng bô-guā hó. Sóo-í, guá kan-tann ē-tàng thiann pháinn kàu-khò-su--ê lo̍k-im, khò guá-ê gí-kám (m̄-koh tsit-ê gí-kám tong-jiân sī Huâ-gí--ê, sóo-í guá-ê bân-lâm-gí khíng-tīng ū tsi̍t-kuá pōo-hūn siōng tshin-tshiūnn Huâ-gí, tshiánn ta̍k-ke guân-liōng, hōo guá kái-tsìng). Tān-sī guá iáu-sī siūnn-bueh kut-la̍t ha̍k-si̍p xD Huâinn-ti̍t, guá tsiânn huann-hí tshuē-tio̍h tsit-ê lūn-tuânn, ǹg-bāng ē-tàng kah lín tsham-siông, o̍h-tio̍h tsi̍t-kuá kuan-î Bân-lâm-gí--ê tshù-bī tāi-tsì, mā khò lín-ê king-li̍k ka̍h lîng-li̍k thê-ko guá ka-kī-ê Bân-lâm-gí lîng-li̍k^^

P.S.: Guà iōng Tâi-uân kàu-io̍k-pōo--ê hàn-jī, m̄-sī in-uī guá siong-sìn sī tio̍h--ê (guá tsai-iánn ū tsiânn tsē bô-gî m̄-sī pún-jī), kan-tann sī in-uī su-iàu tsi̍t-ê piau-tsún. Jî-tshiánn, guá kám-kak tshuē pún-jī sui-jiân tsiok tshù-bī, m̄-koh m̄-sī hui-siông tiōng-iàu--ê būn-tê, in-uī hàn-jī pún-té tō-sī siá sû--ê piau-kì niā-niā, m̄-sī sû pún-sin, Huâ-gí--ê jī mā ū tsin tsē kah kóo-tsá bô kâng-khuán (lē-jû Huâ-gí kin-á-ji̍t siá-tsò “你”--ê sû, khuànn gí-guân tō-sī kóo-tsá siá-tsò “汝” (iah-sī “女”)--ê sû, Huâ-gí “nǐ” kah “rǔ” nn̄g-tsióng huat-im tō-sī kah Bân-lâm-gí--ê bûn-pe̍h-ī-tho̍k kâng-khuán--ê hiān-siōng niā-niā. Sóo-í, nā-sī khuànn pún-jī tō ing-kai kā “nǐ” siá-tsò “汝” iah-sī “女”. Tān-sī kin-á-ji̍t Tiong-bûn siá “你” iáu-sī khuànn bîng-pi̍k, guá mā buē-bat thiann-kuè lâng bueh kā “你” kái-tsò sī guân-pún--ê siá-huat. Án-ni Tiong-bûn ē-sái iōng m̄-sī pún-jī--ê hàn-jī, Bân-lâm-gí kám bē-sái án-ni tsò?) Ū lâng khuànn-huat bô-tâng, huan-gîng lí tsham-siông xD


Hi everybody, I’m new to this forum, so I guess I’ll introduce myself first. My Chinese name is 馮習文 (rendering Pâng Si̍p-bûn in Hokkien, at least I have yet to hear of a variant pronouncing it differently), so I guess it would be appropriate to nickname me A-bun^^ I am a student at the University of Hamburg, Germany, currently in the process of writing my bachelor thesis. After finishing my semester abroad around New Years (the Chinese one), I went to Taiwan to visit some friends and also stayed at a friend’s place for two weeks. That friend lives with her a-ma and a-má and a-koo and they usually speak Taiwanese at home, so I came to hear Hokkien for the first time and found it really interesting. So, being a language-maniac, I decided to learn it xD Unfortunately, I didn’t (and still don’t) quite know where to start. In Germany I don’t have anybody to teach me and there doesn’t really seem to be any material either, the things I found were all pretty useless. I also didn’t manage to get in touch with the people from Maryknoll Institute while staying in Taiwan, and the things I found on the internet weren’t that good, either (btw, does anybody know the Hokkien word for "internet"? I couldn't find it anywhere, so I just transliterated Mandarin 網絡 as bāng-lo̍k, but I'm pretty sure at least taiwanese people either have a sino-japanese borrowing or use the Mandarin word, considering there was no internet during japanese occupation, my money would be on the latter). So I can only listen to some tapes that came with the bad material I found and rely on my linguistic feeling (however, this feeling is based on my feeling for Mandarin of course, so my Hokkien will most definitely be much too “mandarinized”. So please forgive me for that and feel free to correct me). But I’m still willing to study xD Anyways, I’m really happy to have found this forum and hope to be able to discuss with you, learn some more interesting stuff about Hokkien and be able to rely on your experience and proficiency to improve my own Hokkien :D

P.S.: As you might have noticed, I’m using the Taiwan MoE characters. That’s not because I think they’re the “correct” ones (I’m very much aware that a lot of them are not pún-jī), it’s simply because I feel the need for a standard. Plus, while finding the search for pún-jī very interesting, I feel it’s not the most important thing to do because after all the characters are only symbols representing words and not the words themselves. There are quite a few characters in Mandarin that are different from their original form as well (for example, if you look at the etymology of the word we now spell “你”, it is actually the same as the one that used to be spelt “汝” (or “女”). The two pronounciations “nǐ” and “rǔ” that we find today are merely the same phenomenon as the difference literary and colloquial readings in Hokkien. So if we consider pún-jī most important, we would have to write “nǐ” as “汝” or “女”. But I have never encountered anyone having a problem with the spelling “你” or wanting to change it back to the original form. So if there’s no problem with that in Mandarin, why can’t we do that in Hokkien as well?). Happy to hear your opinions^^
Last edited by Abun on Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:07 am

Sorry for posting about the same stuff twice, I was getting nervous that something had gone wrong, so I reposted. Considering I had more time to tweak it a little more, this one one should be the better (at least the more elaborate one), so I would delete the other one if I knew how^^' Anyways, sorry for the spam
Last edited by Abun on Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:55 am

A-Bûn, Wá chi-lê A-bîn hoan-êng lú lâi chham Hokkien forum!

Wá pêng-siông-sî tòa chit-pêng iōng Penang Hokkien khah-chē kòe Tâi-oân ê Hok-kiàn-ōa. Sui-jiân bat tòa kòe Tâi-oân, Tâi-oân ê Hok-kiàn-ōa bat óh kòe pún, būn-tê sī kì-tî bô án-ne• hó liáu, koh ē-hiáu thák kà-liáu lú siá ê oā, tapi ka-kī í-keng siá bē chhut khì... Só• wá iōng Penang Hokkien ìn lú, hi-bāng kóng lú ū heng-chhù thák tâm-póh bô-siâng-khoán ê Hok-kiàn-ōa. Pát-táu lú ē kiò wá kái-sek lú bô bêng-pék ê. Penang Hokkien kā Tâi-oân-ōa ū chin-chiàⁿ chin-chiàⁿ chē bô-siâng ê kóng-hoat, tapi bān-bān-lâi lú ē liáu-kái i lâng ê bô-siâng tòa to-lóh.

Lú sī Tek-kok-lâng lâi ô? Óh Hok-kiàn-ōa ê âng-mô• tī sè-kài chin-chiàⁿ chió, siâng kā lú án-ne• gâu kóng ê âng-mô• koh-khah chió!

Kóng kàu Tn̂g-lâng-jī, sit-chāi wá siāuⁿ pûn-toāⁿ phah án-ne• chē, tē-ít bô su-kah ê sī ták-ták-pái tióh-beh siāuⁿ chhut Tn̂g-lâng-jī ê Hôa-gú ê im ka ē phah chhut! Siá Tn̂g-lâng-jī ê-sî, wá khah su-kah iōng 汝, in-ūi i ê lék-sú khah kú kòe 你.

Abun, this Ah-bin welcomes you to the Hokkien forum!

I usually write in Penang Hokkien here rather than Taiwanese. Even though I have lived in Taiwan and studied Taiwanese, the problem is my memory is no longer so good any more. I can still read what you write, but I have become incapable of writing it myself. So I'll answer you in Penang Hokkien, in the hope that you will be interested in reading some different kinds of Hokkien. Later you can get me to explain the bits you don't understand. Penang Hokkien has very many different ways of saying things from Taiwanese, but eventually you will come to understand where the differences lie.

Are you German? There are not many westerners who learn Hokkien in the world, and even fewer who can speak it as well as you! (That's judging from your writing ability btw.)

As far as Chinese characters are concerned, I'm actually too lazy to type them a lot, and the thing I hate most is having to think of how to pronounce the character in Mandarin before being able to type it out! When I do write characters, I prefer to use 汝, because it has a longer history than 你.

Ah-bin
Posts: 830
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 8:10 am
Location: Somewhere in the Hokloverse

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:58 am

Abun wrote:Sorry for posting about the same stuff twice, I was getting nervous that something had gone wrong, so I reposted. Considering I more time to tweak it a little more, this one one should be the better (at least the more elaborate one), so I would delete the other one if I knew how^^' Anyways, sorry for the spam


Actually, you just reminded me - a warning for the uninitiated! Make sure to save a backup copy of what you are going to post in a document before pressing the "submit" button. This forum has the habit of logging you out after a certain time, and you can often lose a whole carefully-constructed post!

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:03 am

Hello Ah-bin, very pleased to meet you.
Actually, I wasn’t aware that there’s another member (and a quite active one as well) going by the Name of Ah-bin or I would have chosen another name to avoid confusion… but I hope the different vowels are enough to prevent that.
I’m always interested in other varieties of languages (which makes me even more sad that I speak my own native dialect, Plattdeutsch (wiki says the English word is “Low German”… somehow sounds awkward to me, like it’s the opposite of “High German”…) so bad… There are of course quite a few words I didn’t know, but together with the English text and a bit imagination what the matching characters to the Hokkien words might be, I’m able to understand most of it I guess (except for a few words of which, I guess one or two might be malay (for example “tapi” which I guessed from the context must mean “but”, right?)).
Yes, I am âng-môo (well, not in the literal sense, only in the sense of “westerner”) xD but actually my Hokkien really isn’t that good, especially in an actual conversation I would probably be lost right now, considering I can only learn for myself right now and have no one to practice with.
As far as the characters are concerned, I actually don’t have any real preferences on that. I don’t see any good reason why one should write “你” instead of “汝“, but then again, I also don’t see why writing “你” would be worse than “汝“. But I do think Hokkien community would do itself a favor if they managed to overcome their bickering over what is the correct pún-jī for a certain word and settle for some standard way to write, thus enabling people to actually compose literature and view their language as such and not as a mere variant of Mandarin. If you ask me, such a thing can only be done by not only using characters but some kind of phonetic script as well to write loanwords, too. Personally, I’d opt for something in the style of Hangeul, although more for aesthetic reasons because it fits better with characters than Latin script.
As for character input methods, I used to use the MoE input software (http://www.edu.tw/pages/detail.aspx?Node=3683&Page=15638&Index=6&WID=c5ad5187-55ef-4811-8219-e946fe04f725) as well, until I discovered a post by amhoanna a few days ago in the childhood games thread which introduced another one which, although being a little less user friendly in my eyes, fits my needs better because it can handle both Tailo and POE and can convert whole words to the correct transcription without having to type every syllable by itself:

And here are the input plug-ins, for those that's ready and willing:

"The FHL one"
http://taigi.fhl.net/TaigiIME/

"The MOE one"
http://140.111.34.54/MANDR/download.aspx?download_sn=3015

Either is capable of outputting either MOE-style romanisasi or Hoklo kanji. The first is also capable of outputting Church-style romanisasi. I have found the FHL one to be a slightly slicker install, overall. But the MOE one seems to be more popular. Pick your poison.

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:45 am

Hi A-bun,

A very warm welcome to you too :P :P :P.

As with Ah-bin (but even less so), I cannot comment on Taiwanese (except perhaps to occasionally say what the Penang Hokkien equivalent is, FWIW).

Thank you also for writing in both POJ and English - my reading abilities in POJ (and hanzi) are quite poor...

As it happens, I was at a sinology all-day seminar on Friday (http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/symposium-bth-programma.pdf). The content was fascinating, but in addition, I met an undergraduate student of Mandarin who is also learning Taiwanese. He's much further behind that you though - he only knows the name "POJ", and he has started to master some of the sounds. He didn't yet know that POJ stands for "peh-oe-ji".

I imagine you're already aware of these two books by Henning Kloeter:

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=8719204219&searchurl=an%3Dkloter%2Bhenning%26bsi%3D0%26ds%3D30

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=10359169560&searchurl=an%3Dkloter%2Bhenning%26bsi%3D0%26ds%3D30

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:05 am

Hello Sim,

many thanks for the welcome^^

as a matter of fact, during my considerations on where to go for my master, I also looked into Leiden but gave that up when I saw the tuition I would have to pay there... And as it so happens, the place I eventually picked ended up to be Göttingen, precisely because Henning Klöter is teaching there^^ So of course I have heard of his works (although I still have to read the latter book) and hope to be able to benefit from his experience in research on Hokkien.
Last edited by Abun on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:11 am

Hi Abun,

I proofread both his books for him, so you'll find my name mentioned in the introduction. The sad thing is that the Sangleys book cost more than 150 euros. I suppose this is normal for books on specialist subjects, but it means that only very dedicated amateurs will ever buy it. Undoubtedly you'll be able to get hold of a copy at the Göttingen Uni library.

Are you in Hamburg or Göttingen at the moment?

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:58 am

I am currently at Hamburg, writing on my thesis, but will be moving to Göttingen during the late summer or early fall (provided that I do get my BA and that Göttingen accepts me of course). But at least the book on Written Taiwanese is available at our library here as well.

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:23 am

Great. Good luck, though I'm sure everything will be fine.

Can you put in a request for Hamburg Uni Library to get the Sangleys book as well? Even if you're not there to read it, it would be good if it was available there, for other future Hokkien enthusiasts :P.

I guess Henning will eventually tell you about EATS, if you don't already know:

http://eats-taiwan.eu/

The most interesting is: http://eats-taiwan.eu/conference/archive

If you click on each of the conference years, and then on the "Programme" box in the right column, you can see the range of topics (=titles of papers) presented each year.

In the old days (2005-2008), they used to have 2 strands: politics/business/economics and history/literature/arts. But in the last 3 or 4 conferences, the call for papers (and the papers presented) have almost exclusively been in the first strand only, much to my disappointment. I guess in these times of financial crisis, it's hard to get funding for the second strand areas.

Abun
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:02 pm

Filled out the request, but I don't know whether or not they'll really buy it, it is pretty costly after all...

No, I had not heard of the EATS yet. My interest in Taiwan (it had always seemed like a "more westernized China" to me before I made friends with some people from there) is also rather recent and I have never written any papers about it before, so I didn't have much reason to look for symposia, yet :lol: but it seems quite interesting

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:43 pm

Abun wrote:Filled out the request, but I don't know whether or not they'll really buy it, it is pretty costly after all...

True, and fair enough, if they dont. But thank you for putting in the request anyway :P.

I've been fascinated by Taiwan ever since my father told me, when I was a little boy, that they spoke "Hokkien" there. For me, with my very strong sense of "Hokkien identity", anything related to Hokkien immediately blipped on my radar screen.

Abun wrote:No, I had not heard of the EATS yet. [...] I have never written any papers about it before, so I didn't have much reason to look for symposia, yet :lol: but it seems quite interesting

I've been to 4 of the annual EATS conferences. I'm the (really) odd one out: 1. I'm the only person present (even among the huge number of Westerners) who doesn't speak Mandarin! Not only don't I speak it at all; everyone else speaks it fluently! 2. I'm the only non-academic. In fact, there are hardly ever even undergraduate students of Chinese. The vast majority are Phd students, with some Masters students, and some lecturers (i.e. all the organizers, and a couple of people coming to give moral support to the students they're supervising).

But I've loved the papers which have been presented there - many as intellectually stimulating as the all-day symposium I went to last Friday. I just noticed that even the 2013 one had "The Different Faces of Nezha in Taiwanese Mass Culture". If I had realised that paper was being given, I probably would have gone!

And (but you - because you're surrounded by academics - probably wouldn't notice this as dramatically as people like me, who live in the "normal world"), it's always a bit daunting to see how smart some people can be. Suddenly, I'm surrounded by 30-40 Phd students and lecturers, and I see how quickly they think about, and how well they can zoom in on flaws in reasoning, or methodological weaknesses (or alternative explanations etc for some observed linguistic or sociological phenomenon). After a paper has been given, and the panel challenge the giver of the paper, or the audience ask their questions, the arguments fly back and forth at an amazing speed - it's staggering how quickly these people can think on the run. In my working life I'm considered "reasonably intelligent", but in this sort of company, I'm only very, very average (probably, to be honest, quite far down on the scale! :mrgreen:).

Abun wrote:My interest in Taiwan (it had always seemed like a "more westernized China" to me [...]

In some ways they are a lot more "modern" (democratic ideals, freedom of the press, etc) than the PRC, but in other ways (also good ones IMHO, but that's a matter of one's perspective), they are a lot more traditional. For example, all the temples seem to work the same way they work in Malaysia, i.e. with lots of people worshipping in them, burning incense and paper money. I saw one religious procession on the street which I found completely awesome: brightly painted, 3-4 metre figures of "gods" or "immortals" (persumably made of paper-mache or cardboard, or something light), each with a human being inside (doing the "animation"), paraded down the street, to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals, with support-staff carrying banners and other religious symbols. They "danced" a sort of (slow!) dervish dance, with the arms of the immortals swinging freely (the arms themselves were made of cloth, with again clay or paper-mache hands at the end, to provide the weight), as the immortals turned around, in slow graceful circular motions. I was completely entranced by the procession - it looked as if the gods had really descended from Heaven, and were walking for a short while among humans. I may be wrong (I've never been to the PRC), but I imagine that 50 years of Communism has "secularized" society to the extent that these sorts of religious ceremonies are no longer performed there.
Last edited by SimL on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Abun
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Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:59 pm

SimL wrote:In some ways they are a lot more "modern" (democratic ideals, freedom of the press, etc) than the PRC, but in other ways (also good ones IMHO, but that's a matter of one's perspective), they are a lot more traditional. For example, all the temples seem to work the same way they work in Malaysia, i.e. with lots of people worshipping in them, burning incense and paper money. I saw one religious procession on the street which I found completely awesome: brightly painted, 3-4 metre figures of "gods" or "immortals" (persumably made of paper-mache or cardboard, or something light), each with a human being inside (doing the "animation"), paraded down the street, to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. They "danced" a sort of (slow!) dervish dance, with the arms of the immortals swinging freely (the arms themselves were made of cloth, with again clay or paper-mache hands at the end, to provide the weight), as the immortals turned around, in slow graceful circular motions. I was completely entranced by the procession. I may be wrong (I've never been to the PRC), but I imagine that 50 years of Communism has "secularized" society to the extent that these sorts of religious ceremonies are no longer performed there.


That's exactly what struck me as the most obvious cultural difference from the PRC (and even from Korea where I had been before, in last August). Especially the street temples are fascinating. In the PRC it's unimaginable to go through the streets and see little temples (some consisting of only one room and a buddha/immortal statue, some bigger, comprising several stories). Most impressing was one in Tamsui where there was actually a neon board on the front announcing numbers (wasn't able to stop long enough to see what exactly, though, might have been visitor numbers or something). But not only public temples, also private shrines are something I can't really imagine in the PRC (not sure about Korea in this case because I wasn't able to visit private homes there, but judging by the things shown on TW, at least some families do have ancestor shrines). The family I was staying with had a shrine with a big statue of Kuan-im 觀音 right before the guest room and the older family members would go pài-pài 拜拜 first thing every morning :)

SimL
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Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:12 pm

Abun wrote:That's exactly what struck me as the most obvious cultural difference from the PRC (and even from Korea where I had been before, in last August). [...] But not only public temples, also private shrines are something I can't really imagine in the PRC (not sure about Korea in this case because I wasn't able to visit private homes there, but judging by the things shown on TW, at least some families do have ancestor shrines).

Well, one program I saw on TV (or perhaps it was an article I read) talked about how "trance possession by gods/spirits" was alive and well in South Korea, but that there was considerable pressure from the government "not to talk about it" (because they were "ashamed" of it, as reflecting "supersitious nonsense"). Trance possession is one of my favourite topics :P, as it's also a very important part of Hokkien culture.

One of the EATS conferences had a paper on "communicating with one's ancestors" (in particular, dead parents and spouses). Apparently, this was a growing "movement" in Taiwan. And one which was very interesting from a historical-sociological point of view. This is because (according to the presenter, from memory), such rituals were completely unknown in "traditional" Chinese society. When a spirit medium was possessed, it was traditionally only done by a major god. (This is indeed the way I know it too.)

The presenter of the paper had some ideas that this new phenomenon was a result of "individualization / Westernization" in Taiwanese society. That is: instead getting messages and information from an impersonal god, whom everyone already knew, one could get the same from a specific individual, whom only you or your family knew (and who already knew you personally). He presented this argument a lot more coherently than I'm able to do here (I'm not even sure if I got it exactly right). But it was certainly fascinating to learn about.

Abun wrote:But not only public temples, also private shrines are something I can't really imagine in the PRC [...]. The family I was staying with had a shrine with a big statue of Kuan-im 觀音 right before the guest room and the older family members would go pài-pài 拜拜 first thing every morning :)

Again, many parallels to Malaysia. Certainly, in my youth, almost every single Chinese family that I knew in Penang had a small ThiN-kong altar attached to a pillar at the very front of the house. That's all that my grandparents had though - there was no shrine or altar inside the house, to a specific "family god". But more than half of the homes I knew would have a "Koan-Im", "Koan-Kong", "Tua-Peh-Kong" (or, very occasionally, Monkey King) statue and altar in the living room, as the family god. And there would be oil burning from a wick dipped into it (never constantly incense, as that would smell out the house and be unhealthy I think).

[The only Chinese people I knew without any elements of Chinese Folk Religion in their homes were the "young urban professionals", who had gone to university and got "Western Scientific Ideas". People like my parents, uncles and aunts, for example! The fact that my mother had a Christian background also played some role in this, I guess, but even many of my aunts who were married to men from backgrounds which followed Chinese Folk Religion, and many of my uncles who were married to women from similar backgrounds, all didn't have ThiN-kong altars outside the house (which I consider the barest minimum to qualify as being still a follower), "just because" they considered themselves more enlightened, with their scientific and Western ideas. In fact, in my youth, among that group of people, it was even common to mock the Sin-SEN (TCM practitioner), saying that "bong-mEh" (feeling the pulse) was just mumbo-jumbo. So, what bits of exposure I had to Chinese Folk Religion were from the "non-professional"/"normal" members of my extended family (including my grandmother). Even my father taking me to temple on the birthday of a god was not so much because of any belief in or devotion to the god, and much more just to expose me to "cultural richness and diversity". The Cheng-Beng ceremonies at the grave, and death-day worship in the home were however taken reasonably seriously, even by my parents, including my mother, who just followed what the rest of the family did, because she had no knowledge of this sort of stuff from her own Methodist childhood.]

Another parallel is the roadside shrines in Penang. In fact, I think there were even more of them in Penang than in Taiwan (though I can't say for sure, as I was only 10 days in Taiwan). I imagine there are still countless Tua-Peh-Kong shrines everywhere in Penang (and the "Datok-kong" ones as well). These must be the two most common shrines in Penang - mostly just a small wooden structure, often no more than 0.5 m wide x 0.5 m deep x 0.75 m high, set up under a tree or rock, on some uncleared piece of ground, or on some small street corner. Often with just a tablet inside, with the name of the deity in Chinese characters (instead of an actual statue), and oil or incense burning in front of the tablet.

Ah-bin
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Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Ah-bin » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:18 pm

Wow...I have actually never met anyone from Germany who was a native Plattdeutsch speaker! I did meet some people who spoke Mennonite Plattdietsch in Thailand (of all places!). The only place I have come across much Plattdeutsch otherwise was in the fairytale "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru" in Grimms' Kinder und Hausmärchen. It was quite easy to understand for me, at least in a written form, partly because I learnt Dutch for so many years, and partly because Platt and English have some similarities in vocabulary ("lütte" is "little", I think?).

I often hear about Taiwan being westernised... PRC Chinese love to tell me how westernised they are, but the same PRC Chinese often do not know even which door to enter when visiting a temple.

I did my MA thesis on Taiwanese linguistic nationalism about 12 years ago, and I have some materials about Taiwanese Hokkien and Hakka that you may be interested in, depending on the focus of your thesis, I'd be happy to give you them, as I have moved on from Taiwanese studies in the last years to focus more on Penang Hokkien. Those materials have been sitting in a garage back in NZ with no-one to look at them, and I haven't been back there for three years. It is highly likely I'll be moving to Germany at the beginning of next year (to Dresden), so I can just send them with my other things when I ship them and pass them on to you then.

If you send me a PM with your email address I can send you some stuff I have scanned as well, such as Ong Iok-tek's basic Taiwanese vocabulary, and some materials on Chiang-chiu Hokkien.


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