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Mua5huan5 gah bbeh4 si2 (was: Blue grass and skies)

From:DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>
Date:Thursday, August 10, 2000, 20:29
From: "H. S. Teoh"

> > > Hmm. "Gold" in Hokkien is "Kim", derived from the Mandarin "qing"
> > > or tsing, in the older romanizations). > > > > No, Mandarin is "jin1" (chin, tsin). Hokkien is "gim1" (I'll buy "kim", > > depending on the orthographic system). > > Hmm.... I always find it rather awkward that orthographic systems for > Chinese dialects tend to render unvoiced consonants with a letter that's > voiced in English. In Hokkien, the velar in "gim1" (I prefer "kim") is > _unvoiced_. Well, even if some variants of Hokkien (Taiwanese perhaps?) > actually voice it, it's not as strongly voiced as the English "g", AFAIK.
It's a trade-off really. It may be phonetically inaccurate (though it gets English speakers at least close), but the voiced letters are there for the using, and if you don't use them, then you have to come up with a scheme like k, k', t, t' à la Wade-Giles (which leads to weird, though not insurmountable, examples for the average English speaker like "pronounce Tao 'Dow'") or like k, kh, t, th à la someone else.
> Plus, the word for child in my mothertongue is "gina", and the "g" here is > strongly voiced, like the g in the English word "get". So how would an > orthography differentiate between this g and the unvoiced velar in "gim1" > and the hard, aspirated velar in "ki" (the word for "go")? (Perhaps use > 'q' for the latter?)
Hokkien has a three-way distinction: voiced; unvoiced, unaspirated; unvoiced aspirated. My mainland Hokkien dictionary deals with it this way: gg, g, k; bb, b, p. My Taiwan Hokkien dictionary: q, g, k; v, b, p (which I think is a little misleading)(the author is off using his own system, creates his own romanization, adds his own symbols to Bopomofo, and whips up his own characters for indigenous Hokkien words - a great resource, but you have to play by his rules which are used no where else). The textbooks we used back when I was studying Hokkien used a romanization developed by missionaries and dealt with it this way: g, k, kh, b, p, ph; okay, I guess, but you also ended up with things like chh (chhiong - gee, how handy) and pheh. Overall, far too many h's floating around IMHO (also used to mark final glottal stops) and very hard to read. So: ggin2a2 "child" gim1 "gold" ki3 "go" or qin2a2 gim1 ki3 or gin2a2 kim1 khi3 Ranked in my not so humble order of preference. That's what's out there, take your pick.
> But of course, I could be pulling this out of nowhere, since "gina" is > probably not a proper Hokkien word but assimilated from the local > Malaysian dialects. (I'm originally from Malaysia.)
No, no, that's the word for it. Kou