新用戶自我紹介

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:14 am

Hello Ah-bin,

I wish I could call myself a Plattdeutsch native speaker, but unfortunately I have never even met anybody younger than my grandparents who actually is a native speaker... My grandfather was, he had to learn Standard German in School (and struggled with things like using the correct article for his whole life because in Plattdeutsch you usually only differentiate utrum (m or f) and neutrum, only when using pronouns you see which word is feminine and which is masculine genus). But during his generation, Plattdeutsch seems to have suffered a huge loss of prestige, only being viewed as a dialect that uneducated people from the countryside use. Plus, parents apparently feared that their children would not learn Standard German properly if their first language was Plattdeutsch (which actually seems to have been true to a certain extent, though it usually only ever surfaced in written texts where even native speakers tend to make mistakes if the sentences get long or the actual gender differs from the grammatical genus ("das Mädchen" --> es). Anyways, the result was that hardly anybody from my parents' generation spoke Plattdeutsch at home. My mother has no problems of understanding it because the elders were using it amongst themselves when they were visiting her grandparents (my grandfather's parents), but when talking to the kids everybody only ever used Standard German, so my mother's speaking skills, while existent, are pretty limited. Consequently, my generation can speak it even worse. The Plattdeutsch we would use at home is limited to a few set phrases or "spells" (I remember one in particular which my mother told us would make wounds stop hurting when we were little :D). Personally, I can still understand pretty much everything in Plattdeutsch because it's really not that difficult to make the connection between their representations in Standard German and Plattdeutsch if you've discovered the pattern, though I'm often lost when it comes to words that are really different in Standard German (for example, I only recently learnt the word for "match" (the one you light a fire with), Standard German: Streichholz, but Plattdeutsch is "Rietsteken" (literally "Reißstecken", "ripping stick")). And when it comes to speaking myself, my Plattdeutsch is definitely much worse than my English, probably even worse than my (Mandarin) Chinese.

Well, I feel that while it would probably be valid to say Taiwan is more westernized if comparing it to PRC as a whole (that is, not just looking at the really big coastal cities like Siōng-hái, Kńg-tsiu and so on), the reverse conclusion that PRC is more traditional definitely is not true, probably largely because of the Cultural Revolution. If somebody asked me to describe it roughly, I would say that Taiwan, much like Korea and Japan is more of a synthesis of Western culture and traditional Chinese one, where you can find a lot of elements from both cultural areas. In the PRC on the other hand, the government has spent a lot of time to eradicate as many traces as possible from both traditional Chinese culture and Western culture, which I guess led to the much-heard phrase that today's PRC doesn't have any culture. While this is of course not true, I would say that PR-Chinese are still more unsure about their cultural identity and in the process of rebuilding it.

Actually, because my interest in Hokkien is pretty recent (like the end of last year), I had already decided on the rough topic for my BA-thesis and discussed it with my professor, so I'm not writing about that at the moment but about queer literature in Taiwan (which is a pretty interesting topic as well). But nonetheless, I'd of course be happy for anything you have, as long as you don't need it anymore of course. Thanks a lot!

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby amhoanna » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:52 pm

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.

I agree with U strongly.


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)

网路 bãng-lō͘ (bang6-loo7)
Tâi'oân sek: bāng-lō͘ (bang7-loo7)

(He tē it imcat sĩ tē la̍k tiāu ‧ê, tē la̍k tiāu tĩ‧ Tâi'oân kah tē chit tiāu kap còhóe; bãng >> bāng.)

越南話,mạng.

KADRI--
bô su-kah ê sī ták-ták-pái tióh-beh siāuⁿ chhut Tn̂g-lâng-jī ê Hôa-gú ê im ka ē phah chhut!

Hăⁿà? Lí‧ phah Bânlâm bûn iōng Hôagí‧ ê suji̍p kesi? Lí‧ sĩ tōatiâu ha̍kciá ‧neh! Ná ẽcòe ánne!


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“.

The Hoklo word is in the class of syllables where Coanciu has lí‧ (high unrounded vowel), Ciangciu has lí, and Penang/Medan and some Tâng’oaⁿ dialects have lú. So does 你 really fit etymologically?


按呢中文會使用毋是本字的漢字,閩南語敢袂使按呢做?

官話文(MANDARIN)、日語、越南文等等,無論天下 XX 語 áncóaⁿ 做,he 攏干焦 ẽ 通参考但定。

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:44 pm

amhoanna wrote:(He tē it imcat sĩ tē la̍k tiāu ‧ê, tē la̍k tiāu tĩ‧ Tâi'oân kah tē chit tiāu kap còhóe; bãng >> bāng.)


Ooh, guá it-ti̍t kiò-sī Tâi-gí--ê tē la̍k tiāu sī kah tē jī tiāu kap tsò-hué (guá kám-kak bat khuànn-tio̍h lâng kóng "bé-á"--ê "bé" (kah i-ê bûn-tho̍k "má") pún-té sī tē la̍k tiāu, tān-sī guá m̄-tsai sī tī tó-uī khuànn-tio̍h--ê). Tān-sī Tâi-gí--ê tē la̍k tiāu nā-sī kah tē tshit tiāu kap tsò-hué, án-ni guá tō tsiong-î tsai-iánn uī-siánn-mi̍h ū tsiah tsē sû Kok-gí (Kuan-uē-gí) sī tē sann tiāu (siōng-siann 上聲), Tâi-gí suah sī tē la̍k tiāu (khì-siann 去聲, lē-jû "ū 有", "hōo 雨", iah lí sóo thê-kàu--ê "bāng 網"). Guân-lâi--ê tē la̍k tiāu ū--ê kin-á-ji̍t kui tē tshit tiāu, ū--ē kui tē jī tiāu, kám sī in-uī tsìn-ji̍p bân-lâm-gí--ê sî-tsūn put-tông? Pí-jū-kóng, tn̂g-lâng pún-té bē-hiáu khiâ bé, sī àn pak-pîng--ê bîn-tso̍k (hôo-tso̍k 胡族? guá bē-kì--ah) o̍h--ê. Hok-kiàn hit-ê tē-thâu mā m̄ sik-ha̍p tshī bé, án-ni Bân-lâm--ê lâng khó-lîng sī pí-kàu uànn tsiah khuànn-tio̍h bé-á--ê, sóo-í guá ioh "bé-á" tsit-ê sû khó-lîng sī phīng "ū", "hōo" iah "bāng" khah sin. Kám sī tsit-ê guan-in?

amhoanna wrote:
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“.

The Hoklo word is in the class of syllables where Coanciu has lí‧ (high unrounded vowel), Ciangciu has lí, and Penang/Medan and some Tâng’oaⁿ dialects have lú. So does 你 really fit etymologically?


按呢中文會使用毋是本字的漢字,閩南語敢袂使按呢做?

官話文(MANDARIN)、日語、越南文等等,無論天下 XX 語 áncóaⁿ 做,he 攏干焦 ẽ 通参考但定。


I couldn't figure out what 但定 is (nā-tīng? tān-tīng?) which seems kind of crucial for understanding your point...

About the 你-thing: Was I wrong about the etymology of 你? I always lived under the impression that it was only a new way of writing a mandarin colloquial reading of 汝. I don't have any rhyme dictionary here, so I can only resort to 漢語大字典, whicht cites the reading as 乃里切 according to 集韻 and I indeed don't think that 里 rhymes with the high unrounded vowel in Hokkien. But then again, the 集韻 was compiled in the 11th century where there might well have been significant differences between the rhymes in Hokkien and the language that the 集韻 described (開封-Chinese I presume, as that was the Song-Capital at the time in question).

Whatever the case may be, my point was that while I of course prefer to have pún-jī (because it's easier to read if both meaning and pronounciation match, and of course because it's interesting to know the source of a word), the purpose of characters is being able to write. However, right now there are quite a lot of words in Hokkien that no one knows the correct pún-jī for (partly because there simply is none, e.g. for words of non-sinitic origin, contractions ect.) and seemingly everybody writes them in his own way which significantly impedes reading. The result is that the average Hokkien person doesn't write their language, which can only contribute to the influence of Hokkien shrinking ever further. For this reason, I believe that it would be good to settle on a standard way to write, even if that means some words end up not being written the way we personally think is the correct pún-jī. So, if I were to decide the standard, I would choose 汝 over 你 to write lí/lú/lí‧, because no matter whether 你 is a variant of 汝 (and thus semi-correct) or not (and thus wrong), 汝 is the right pún-jī for all I've heard. But since people would have no problem in understanding 你, either, I would not have a big problem with conceding with this character in order to settle the argument and find a standard way of writing.

But maybe you were agreeing and I just didn't understand it because of 但定 :lol:

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:40 am

tsiong-î

kui

And other assorted Mandarisms. Ho̍hló ōe bô ánne kóng--ê. Koaⁿōe ê ZHŌNGYÚ, Ho̍hló ōe bô ci̍t ê tùitâng ê sû'á.

M̌kò, lí íkeng cin cán--a.

kám sī in-uī tsìn-ji̍p bân-lâm-gí--ê sî-tsūn put-tông?

kám sǐ in'ūi ji̍p Bânlâmgí ê sî bô kâng?

Khòpún, sianseⁿ téngténg ti̍tthàu kóng "T2 = T6", kóng cin--ê sǐ chògō͘--ê.

For this reason, I believe that it would be good to settle on a standard way to write, even if that means some words end up not being written the way we personally think is the correct pún-jī.

Well said. In fact, it would be insane to advocate all punji all the time, although many a knave attempts just this -- b/c sometimes THERE IS NO punji.

I'm no fan of borrowing glyphs from Mandarin. Literary Chinese from the "pre-vernacular" era is fine. But if we're going to use characters like 你 and 的 and 個 just b/c that's how it's done in Mandarin, to me that kind of partly defeats the whole point of writing in Hoklo.

I don't go for "synthetic punji" (artificial punji) either. If there is no punji, a lot of people will go digging in kanjictionaries for kanji with a meaning that's "kind of" related and a sound that's "kind of" close. I say cut it out with the sloppiness. If there is no punji, let's just 馴用 or 借音 and make a note that there is no known punji.

但定 = nãniā

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:54 am

amhoanna wrote:And other assorted Mandarisms. Ho̍hló ōe bô ánne kóng--ê. Koaⁿōe ê ZHŌNGYÚ, Ho̍hló ōe bô ci̍t ê tùitâng ê sû'á.

To-siā lí hōo guá tsí-tshut! Guá tsit-ê bô sian-senn, kan-tann ē-tàng tshâ sû-tián lâi tshuē sin sû, sóo-í guá tsiânn gâu huān kíng khah tshin-tshiūnn Kuann-uē--ê sû tsit-ê tshò-ngōo... Án-ni Kuann-uē--ê "zhōngyú 終於" kah "guī 歸(=屬於)" Tâi-gí bueh án-tsuánn kóng--nih?

amhoanna wrote:Khòpún, sianseⁿ téngténg ti̍tthàu kóng "T2 = T6", kóng cin--ê sǐ chògō͘--ê.

Án-ni guân-lâi sī T6--ê sû kin-á-ji̍t kám lóng sī T7? Lē-jû, sòo-sû "gōo" thiann--khí-lâi sī T7, Kuan-uē sī T3, sóo-í Tâi-gí ing-kai pún-té m̄-sī T7, sī T6, tio̍h-m̄-tio̍h? Án-ni i-ê bûn-tho̍k (文讀) ing-kai mā sī T7<T6, tān-sī suah sī T2: ngóo.

amhoanna wrote:I'm no fan of borrowing glyphs from Mandarin. Literary Chinese from the "pre-vernacular" era is fine. But if we're going to use characters like 你 and 的 and 個 just b/c that's how it's done in Mandarin, to me that kind of partly defeats the whole point of writing in Hoklo.

I don't quite see the difference in quality between borrowing Mandarin characters or those from Literary Chinese. If we borrow a character for a word without a punji, then it's the "wrong" character, whether we borrow it from Mandarin or Literary Chinese (for example, I don't see why writing ê as 之 would be better than 的), it's both a borrowing, the only difference would be that writing would look like Literary Chinese and not Mandarin.
What I find much worse than monosyllabic borrowings like 你, 的 and 個, are polysyllabic ones (like writing án-tsuánn as 怎樣), not only because it defeats the point of it, but also because you then get even more readings for each character than we already have, and because it often completely ignores the way a word is composed. The distinction between 的 and 個 may be artificial for Hokkien, but at least both funtions (attribute particle and measure word) are both there, whereas if we were to write án-tsuánn as 怎樣, it would suggest that 怎 is án and 樣 is tsuánn, which would be wrong not only in etymology but in semantics and syntax (lost a word here... I mean the way that words are formed, which is at least closely related to syntax, though of course not quite it), too.

amhoanna wrote:I don't go for "synthetic punji" (artificial punji) either. If there is no punji, a lot of people will go digging in kanjictionaries for kanji with a meaning that's "kind of" related and a sound that's "kind of" close. I say cut it out with the sloppiness. If there is no punji, let's just 馴用 or 借音 and make a note that there is no known punji.

I would have understood a "synthetic punji" as a newly created character such as 亻因. I'm ok with that, especially for very common words such as this one. But I agree with you that looking for an already existing character to force upon that word is trying to preserve a notion of an unbroken history of Chinese writing. I would be ok with a few 馴用 or 借音 characters, but harbouring the ideal that people can read and write Hokkien without any more difficulty than mandarin, I would try to keep the necessity of making footnotes out of it by borrowing characters that are otherwise not used or at least have the same reading in other places. Or of course, as already mentioned, by creating a way of transcription that fits more smoothly with Chinese script (if going for something in the style of Hangeul, one could for example end up spelling ê as 에 with some kind of tonal mark).

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:19 pm

Án-ni guân-lâi sī T6--ê sû kin-á-ji̍t kám lóng sī T7?

Ce tio̍h mūi AH-BIN.

Lí íkeng cai, ǔ--ê sǐ tha̍kcheeh im piaⁿ ji̍p tē 2 tiāu. "T2 = T6" ê hongsiaⁿ, bô tiāⁿ sǐ cū ánne puh--chutlâi--ê.

The "tha̍kcheeh im" in Hoklo is like the Classic Latin layer in English -- arguably not part of the core of the language.

I don't quite see the difference in quality between borrowing Mandarin characters or those from Literary Chinese.


I see a huge difference. Literary Chinese, which is not really "a language", but more of a tradition, serves and has served as a high language for a wide swathe of languages up and down Pacific Asia. It plays the role that Literary Arabic plays in the Islamic world, esp. in the so-called Arab area from the Gulf west to Morocco. Latin and Greek have played this role in Europe. Sanskrit and Pali have played this role in South and Southeast Asia.

Mandarin, on the other hand, is "just another language", as is Cantonese, as is Vietnamese, as is Japanese. As is Siamese Thai, although Thai is not Sinitic, and has no kanji to lend.

Mass borrowing from other languages is not bad in itself. But when all the borrowing is from one language, esp. from a language imposed through government fiat, nationalistic thought, and threat of force, then maybe it's time to ask questions. :oops:

Imagine if modern-day Normans overran the Mediterranean, then brainwashed the Castilians and Catalans into borrowing tens of thousands of Norman words and constructions. And when Castilian Joe complains, Castilian John stands up and says, "We borrowed from Greek and Latin all the time. Why can't we borrow thousands of words from Norman too? What's the difference?"

You can argue, going further, that Hoklo should stop borrowing from Lit. Chinese, or Maghrebi Arabic should quit borrowing from Classical Arabic, or Thai should stop borrowing from Pali. Personally, I wouldn't go that far. The key thing for me is that borrowing from Lit. Chinese does not much (if at all) damage the viability of Hoklo as a fully independent language.

I would have understood a "synthetic punji" as a newly created character such as 亻因.

Yes, your usage of "synthetic" is better. But 亻因, 𨑨迌, etc., don't pretend to be punji.

I guess I should've called the others (揣 for chōe etc.) "imitation punji".

harbouring the ideal that people can read and write Hokkien without any more difficulty than mandarin

Reading and writing shouldn't be too hard, but why use Mandarin as the benchmark? Why not Japanese? Why not harbor an ideal that people should be able to read and write Hokkien w/o any more difficulty than Tagalog? :P

creating a way of transcription that fits more smoothly with Chinese script (if going for something in the style of Hangeul, one could for example end up spelling ê as 에 with some kind of tonal mark)

Amen.
Last edited by amhoanna on Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby amhoanna » Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:36 pm

As for the Mandarisms in your Hokkien, U will need to make a mental adjustment, one that I made in the past.

Knowing Mandarin and leveraging it for Hoklo has allowed U to get to this point with Hoklo at a lightning speed. But at this point, it has started to hold U back, and the holding will only get stronger.

U must realize that Mandarin and Hoklo are separate languages, and not even very similar the way Teochew and Banlamese are, or Mandarin and 21st century Shanghainese. U must realize that U can't just take a Mandarin utterance and convert it to Hoklo pronunciation and voila, instant Hoklo. (This often works for Cantonese, though.)

Once U realize that, U realize that there is so much U don't know how to say in Hoklo.

Then, instead of just using dictionaries, U'll need live materials such as stories written in Hoklo, or videos in Hoklo. Fortunately, unlike when I was learning, there is a ton of info on the web. There is so much Hoklo stuff on the web now that none of us could go through it all before we die.

Koaⁿōe sǐ góa ê búgí. When I started learning Cantonese and Hoklo, I thought I could get them for free. I had grown up hearing ignorant adults say that all the "fangyan" were the same and used the same kanji, but with different pronunciations. Once I got into it, I found that Mandarin only gave me a discount: a big discount in Cantonese, and a little discount in Hoklo. (Although, as my Hoklo got better, knowing Hoklo gave me an even bigger discount for Cantonese.)

For the first few years, whenever I didn't know how to say something in Hoklo, I would just take the Mandarin and swap out a few words and go with that. But the results were surprisingly bad. I had underestimated the distance btw languages. After the first few months, I would say this approach was only slowing me down.

On the other hand, since Koaⁿōe sǐ góa ê búgí, I never had to work hard at it, and it was easier for me to put it aside. Mandarin may have cost U much sweat and toil. Partly out of sympathy for the speakers of your target language, you may have come to like the "one tongue to rule them all" that Mandarin has become. And, as an extension, you may (or may not) find yourself agreeing with the idea that "Hoklo should be as Mandarin-like as possible".

Good luck finding the best materials for you. Góa bô "cia̍hkàu", but I always recommend the 紅皮新約聖経 b/c the translation is dead-accurate and you can use it side by side with, say, a German version so that U can work w/o a dictionary and save time.

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 am

amhoanna wrote:
harbouring the ideal that people can read and write Hokkien without any more difficulty than mandarin

Reading and writing shouldn't be too hard, but why use Mandarin as the benchmark? Why not Japanese? Why not harbor an ideal that people should be able to read and write Hokkien w/o any more difficulty than Tagalog? :P

Sure. I was just speaking from the Taiwanese point of view, since they're mostly reading Mandarin. I meant as easy as any other language people might be able to read and write fluently^^

amhoanna wrote:
I don't quite see the difference in quality between borrowing Mandarin characters or those from Literary Chinese.

I see a huge difference. Literary Chinese, which is not really "a language", but more of a tradition, serves and has served as a high language for a wide swathe of languages up and down Pacific Asia.

I like to believe that literary Chinese used to be a living language maybe around Confucius' time (if it wasn't, how could people get the idea to write something down which was completely different from what they were saying? And how did it occur that Chinese characters do have a phonetic component?) But of course at least from Han dynasty or so onward, this language was probably dead and had indeed become a mere tradition (which one can see in the increasing number of formulations that would probably have been considered a mistake in classical times).
But I was talking about character borrowings, not loanwords. Since there are only approximate reconstructions of the sounds in classical Chinese, loaning words would only work by coining new words of existing characters and read them with their Hokkien reading, anyway, the same thing which Chinese languages (and other languages in East Asia) have done for quite some time (cf. the "lightning-brain" or the "net-route" that came up earlier in Mandarin (or were they coined in Japan?)), although I don't know how productive the direct loaning from classical Chinese is in Hokkien, right now...
Borrowing characters for their meaning in classical Chinese in order to write Hokkien words without a punji (for example writing tshuē as 求 or gōng as 愚) however seems a different thing to me. I'm not opposed to this, but I don't think this is much different in quality from loaning characters from Mandarin (e.g. 找 and 傻 for the same words as above). In both cases we would use characters that originally have nothing to do with the Hokkien word. Which I would be ok with as long as there are not many of these borrowings and if no confusion arises from it.

As for loanwords, I agree with you that one should be careful to loan too much from a single other language, especially if the loaning reaches an extent where it affects not only vocabulary but grammar too, otherwise there really is a danger of the loaning language to be reduced to merely a different way of pronouncing the language it loans from. However, at my stage of learning, I guess it'd be better to first learn and speak the way the locals do, even if that speech is scattered with loanwords, in order to be understood (which is why at least now, I won't call Mandarin kuan-uē because I'm most Taiwanese say kok-gí, although I find your argument for kuan-uē convincing) and learn the "proper" words that nobody uses anymore, later.
This of course brings me back to the problem that I don't have anyone to talk to but I will go and find some of the material you mentioned in the later post as soon as I have the time. After all, your argument that Mandarin knowledge will from a certain level begin to become a hinderance rather than an advantage is very true. I can see it even when I try to speak Plattdeutsch (Low German). In those rare cases, I usually end up merely changing Standard German words to Low German pronounciation, adorn it with a little Low German grammar. However there are of course a lot of things you would say differently in Low German than the standard language, only I, hardly ever being exposed to the former, don't know them... But maybe the material you mentioned will help me avoid that problem with Bân-lâm-gí (I'm not much of a bible fan either, but well... it's for a good cause :lol:)
By the way, much of my motivation to advocate a standard way of writing even if that means a certain degree of deviation from what we personally consider correct stems precisely from my wish to avoid that very problem by talking to people. I learnt much of my colloquial Mandarin by chatting on the internet with friends but this is rendered nearly impossible in the case of Bân-lâm-gí because none of my Taiwanese friends can write Tâi-gí, not even in transcription, which kind of startled me.

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby amhoanna » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:52 am

I like to believe that literary Chinese used to be a living language maybe around Confucius' time

It lives on yet. What language is used for contracts and legal code in Taiwan? But it has changed beyond any semblance of natural mutual intelligibility, compared to the writings of 2000+ yrs ago. That's why I say it's not "a" language, nor even a series of languages, but a continuum, a tradition, if U will.

Borrowing characters for their meaning in classical Chinese in order to write Hokkien words without a punji (for example writing tshuē as 求 or gōng as 愚) however seems a different thing to me. I'm not opposed to this, but I don't think this is much different in quality from loaning characters from Mandarin (e.g. 找 and 傻 for the same words as above).

Is that the Mandophile in U talking? Why not borrow from Japanese? Or Vietnamese?

because I'm most Taiwanese say kok-gí

They do so b/c of their political beliefs. I mean, what "kok"? And many others call it Hôagí.

But anyway, why not learn Penang Hokkien too? Penang Hokkien learners have more fun. :mrgreen:

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby Abun » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:33 pm

amhoanna wrote:
I like to believe that literary Chinese used to be a living language maybe around Confucius' time

It lives on yet. What language is used for contracts and legal code in Taiwan? But it has changed beyond any semblance of natural mutual intelligibility, compared to the writings of 2000+ yrs ago. That's why I say it's not "a" language, nor even a series of languages, but a continuum, a tradition, if U will.

I'm sorry, I phrased it imprecisely, by "living language" I mean "spoken language". In this understanding, I of course shouldn't speak of "literary Chinese" anymore, but rather "the language whose written form we now call literary chinese".

amhoanna wrote:Is that the Mandophile in U talking? Why not borrow from Japanese? Or Vietnamese?

I kind of have the feeling that we're talking past each other. I am still talking about the characters to write Hokkien language with (that is, something completely unrelated spoken Hokkien) and my point was precisely that I find it equally good or bad to borrow unrelated characters, no matter which language they come from.
I can't speak Japanese, but as far as I know, original Japanese kanji (that is characters developed in Japan, I believe they call them kokuji 国字) while existent, are pretty scarce. Of course, there is no reason against borrowing those (for example one could use 鰯 for sardine if a punji in that word is unclear). Then, among the non-kokuji kanji, there are simplified ones (of which some, such as 国, are the same as in simplified Chinese, whereas others, such as 駅(cf. 驿) are not) and those that are still the same as in traditional Chinese. As for the latter group, we could of course borrow it, but I guess the result would usually be the same as if it was borrowed from literary chinese (unless the Japanese meaning differs from the one in literary Chinese). As for the simplified forms, I see no reason why they should not be borrowed.
The case with Vietnamese is probably somewhat similar, although I have even less knowledge of it than Japanese. I have no idea if there are a lot of characters in Vietnamese (if you were to write sino-vietnamese words with their corresponding characters) whose meanings differ from literary chinese, for those whose meanings are the same, again there would be no difference if we borrowed from literary Chinese or Vietnamese. What I do know is that there is something called Chữ-nôm, a system in which Vietnamese people created new characters to write original Vietnamese words. Just as Japanese kokuji and simplified character variants, this is a source one could draw from if one wants to borrow a character for a certain Hokkien word. Why not. The only problem might be that there don't seem to be too many people who know Chữ-nôm anymore, but I guess if one wants to, there should be no problem in finding one of those^^
The same goes for Korean btw, although the Korean-coined characters may be even fewer than the Japanese kokuji.

What I have the feeling you are talking about, is mainly loanwords (that is actual utterances in spoken language, not just characters used to spell utterances). In this question I agree with you that one should be careful not to borrow too many words from Mandarin in particular, but I feel I personally am not yet in a position to be even able to distinguish if a word has existed in both Hokkien and Mandarin ror a long time already or if it is a Mandarin borrowing. Even if I were, I would probably for the moment block out that question and go for the more commonly used word to get understandable and worry about the socio-linguistic implications of loanwords when I have reached a level where I am understood and thus have the leisure to worry about more subtle problems :)

amhoanna wrote:
because I'm most Taiwanese say kok-gí

They do so b/c of their political beliefs. I mean, what "kok"? And many others call it Hôagí.

Of course it is, I'm well aware of that. But actually if you ask me, calling it Huâ-gí is even less pc, as it implies that it's the only valuable language not only of a certain "kok" but of all "huâ", that is, the whole ethnic Chinese community. But again, I guess my priority should first be to make myself understood, and while I think your kuan-uē is the best term I have heard so far in terms of defending Hokkien as a distinct language, that won't help me if nobody else uses the term. If I began to use it, I suppose people would ask back "Kuan-uē sī siánn-mih tāi-tsì--ooh?" and I would end up having to explain what I mean and why I use this word, which simply isn't possible for me to do in Hokkien, yet. So if TWese people say "kok-gí", I will temporarily go along^^

amhoanna wrote:But anyway, why not learn Penang Hokkien too? Penang Hokkien learners have more fun. :mrgreen:

Being a non-native speaker, I guess you speak from experience, I'd be interested in hearing it :mrgreen: But whether they have more fun or not, I guess it would be best to first stick to one variant, get that straight and then look at the variants spoken at other places^^

AndrewAndrew
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:26 am

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby AndrewAndrew » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:32 pm

The difference I think one can recognise is that Hokkien is at least descended from Old Chinese. It is not descended from Mandarin. Plus, words such as 之 would have been familiar to Hokkiens from generations past, so there is historical continuity in usage. That said, I think we should at least try to avoid obscure words that would cause confusion because they have a totally different meaning in Mandarin.

amhoanna
Posts: 912
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby amhoanna » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:05 pm

Plus, words such as 之 would have been familiar to Hokkiens from generations past, so there is historical continuity in usage.


Yes. Well said.


I'm sorry, I phrased it imprecisely, by "living language" I mean "spoken language".

OK, so you meant that there was no diglossia btw spoken and written forms in the time (and place) of Confucius. They wrote it just the way they said it.

There is much evidence out there to disabuse U of this notion. In fact, vernacular (白話) compositions have existed in the East Asian tradition for over 2000 yrs. I believe at least parts of the 詩経, for example, were written in some type of vernacular. Ah-bin would know more about this.


I kind of have the feeling that we're talking past each other. I am still talking about the characters to write Hokkien language with (that is, something completely unrelated spoken Hokkien) and my point was precisely that I find it equally good or bad to borrow unrelated characters, no matter which language they come from.

Yes. EXACTLY the same thing I was talking about.

The word "tshūe" has been a thorn in the side of anyone who wants to write Hoklo using just kanji. In the 20th century, scholars such as 王育德 assigned the glyph 尋 to it. (He may or may not have gotten this from older texts, such as stage scripts.) The reasoning was that 尋 is the glyph meaning TO SEEK in Lit. Chinese, and we would 馴用 it for Hoklo, consistent with centuries of 馴用 tradition. Moreover, 尋 is otherwise pretty much un-used in Hoklo.

In recent decades, others have more or less proposed the glyph 找 for "tshūe". The reasoning is that 找 is the glyph meaning TO SEEK in Mandarin, and we would 馴用 it for Hoklo. While there is not such a well-developed tradition of 馴用-ing kanji from vernacular languages (which is what Mandarin is), we could simply "pretend" that Mandarin had entered the "canon" of Lit. Chinese and was no longer "just" a vernacular language. Moreover, 找 is only rarely otherwise used in Hoklo, for the word cãu (TO GIVE CHANGE).

aBun is saying that both assignments are equally good, or equally bad. I'm saying that 尋 is far superior to 找.

I'm also saying that we should borrow "kanji usage" (not loanwords) from other vernaculars equally, if we do it at all. If we're open to picking 找 over 尋 -- and I don't think we should be -- we should also be open to picking 揾 instead, b/c it's the kanji for TO SEEK in Cantonese. And if we've already borrowed a lot of kanji usage (not loanwords) from solely Mandarin, then we should be all the less pre-disposed to continuing to do so.

I offer this reasoning up for anyone who may come across this on the WWW. I have not stated the case very well. I think Andrew put it much more eloquently in just one sentence. Apologies to aBun for writing so much English, which is non-native for him... I would gladly write in Hoklo, but Sim and Andrew and others tend to fade out when I do that.

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 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:26 pm

Somewhere (I'm not quite sure where) I came across the idea that the script was already quite different from the spoken language it was representing even in the time of Confucius, and that the one-character-to-one-syllable rule that developed in the writing system actually ended up influencing the way compound words were created in the spoken language. There is a nice detailed discussion of this question in the Columbia History of Chinese Literature[/] which I don't have time to dig into just yet. Perhaps it was Jerry Norman's [i]Chinese where I read it?

Another thing that I noticed is that written Chinese (in characters) is highly resistant to change in a way that alphabetic scripts are not. If there is no character for a word it will often just get left out of dictionaries until a character comes along, and it is the written character that bestows "word" status upon the chaos of speech. Sometimes a word has to be attached to a character that is similar in sound 喝 (in Mandarin) for example or sometimes it has to be attached to a character with a similar semantic range like "bah" in Hokkien, which is completely unrelated to any of the Sinitic words for "meat" (ròu, yûk, even the loan niku in Japanese) or a new character has to be invented. This means that unless a new word in speech becomes absolutely essential for communication in writing, it is usually parsed or ignored until there is a way to write it. I've always conjectured that in a few hundred years they will have to have another 白話 movement to make writing and speech one again, because spoken and written Chinese will have diverged so much again.

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:57 pm

amhoanna wrote:Apologies to aBun for writing so much English, which is non-native for him... I would gladly write in Hoklo, but Sim and Andrew and others tend to fade out when I do that.

Thank you for taking my limitations into account. I can't speak for Andrew, but you're dead right when it comes to me. I think only Mark, niuc and Ah-bin can really read POJ and/or hanzi with any degree of ease.

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

Re: 新用戶自我紹介

Postby SimL » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:13 pm

Ah-bin wrote:Another thing that I noticed is that written Chinese (in characters) is highly resistant to change in a way that alphabetic scripts are not. If there is no character for a word it will often just get left out of dictionaries until a character comes along, and it is the written character that bestows "word" status upon the chaos of speech. Sometimes a word has to be attached to a character that is similar in sound 喝 (in Mandarin) for example or sometimes it has to be attached to a character with a similar semantic range like "bah" in Hokkien, which is completely unrelated to any of the Sinitic words for "meat" (ròu, yûk, even the loan niku in Japanese) or a new character has to be invented. This means that unless a new word in speech becomes absolutely essential for communication in writing, it is usually parsed or ignored until there is a way to write it.

Agreed. And the "problem" is made many times worse with the advent of the computer age. It was least serious in the purely handwritten age, where a "new/dialect" character (or several competing forms) could just arise from informal usage (personal correspondence, etc), until "statistics / society" settled on one form, by an organic process. Even in the age of woodblock printing, any press could just carve a new character if they felt like it. Once movable metal fonts were common, this obviously became much more of a problem. And now, with the Unicode Consortium, you would have to first convince some *national* body that a new character is desired, then wait 3-5 years while that national body submits it to the Unicode Consortium and the Consortium approves it, then wait several more years before font designers implement it so that it can be displayed, and even then, you have to wait yet again, until "input method programs" support it. [Even just the example of "gâu" we had here recently already illustrates this last point.]

The Vietnamese and the Koreans solved this problem some time back :shock:.

[Is that a coded plea for the abolishment of characters? I leave it in the air. I probably have a schizophrenic approach to Chinese characters. On the one hand, I constantly bewail their disadvantages, and on the other hand, I'm VERY attached to them. For the way they have survived for 2500 years; for the (illusion of???) "continuity" of Chinese civilization they have produced; for the way they "unite" all the Sinitic languages (or perhaps more accurately, "unite the shared Sinitic layer of the Sinitic languages"!); for their ability to convey meaning more directly (note, I'm not falling into the "Chinese is an ideographic script" fallacy; I'm sure most readers will know what I actually mean when I say this). Over and over again, I mutter prayers of thankfulness that the mid-1950's plans to first introduce pinyin and then eventually abolish characters never actually managed to reach the end goal.


Return to “Hokkien (Minnan) language”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests