I’ve had a chance to take a longer look at the Ministry of Education’s new Taiwanese dictionary. If you can read Mandarin well, you’ll find, in addition to the dictionary itself, lots of other good material on the site, including:
–A dictionary of proverbs (sample here)
–Pronunciation for hundreds of family names (sample here)
–Taiwan place names (including old names, MRT stations, rivers and streams, mountain peaks and ranges, and railroad stations)
–Family relations (this might be my favorite)
–Regional differences in pronunciation and vocabulary
–Body parts (sample here)
–Traditional seasonal terms
Bí-kok se-chong — tōa su
Literally: (It’s like) an American suit: a big set (of clothes) [tōa su], which rhymes with “a big defeat” [tōa su].
These are called kek-kut-ōe or giat8-khiat-ōe (歇後語 in Mandarin), which my dictionary calls “two-part allegorical sayings.” Very common in Chinese languages. I’ve always thought of them as Fat Albert jokes. As in, “Rudy, you’re like school in July … [wait for it...wait for it...] … no class!”
On Friday, the Ministry of Education released its third and final “official” list of recommended Hanzi for writing 700 common Taiwanese words. I could quibble with some of them, but they’re mostly good, common-sense choices.
The second tranche is here, and the first here. You can even print out a one-sided or two-sided handout.
Chiung Wi-vun is one of a very small group of people using Taiwanese to write non-fiction essays and books. He’s also a super-nice guy, and a Maverick. If you’re interested in reading some real, living academic Taiwanese, he has made his latest book available for free in PDF form.
Khah lú-sèng-hòa ê kóng-hoat
And its opposite:
Khah lâm-sèng-hòa ê kóng-hoat
Speak in a masculine manner
A note for those learning to read peh-oe-ji: when you see a double hyphen in a peh-oe-ji sentence, it means that the preceding word is pronounced in its original tone, and the subsequent word or words with a neutral tone (or ‘toneless’). Sometimes there are three word linked by double hyphens:
Kiâⁿ — chhut — khì (walk out)
In which case Kiâⁿ is pronounced in the fifth tone, with chhut and khì both neutral.
Tâi-gú lām-chham tio̍h8 chîaⁿ chōe gōa-lâi gí-giân.
Taiwanese has mixed in a lot of languages from outside Taiwan.
[Note: for some reason, I can't get the eighth-tone markers to show up, so I've added the numbers.]
A: Lâng kóng iù-jî kàu-io̍k8 chin iàu-kín. Gí-giân thàn-chá, khah ū hāu-kó.
A: Só·-í goán sun tha̍k siang-gí iù-tī-hn̂g.
B: Chán oh, thàn chá o̍h8 Eng-gí.
A: M̄-sī Eng-gí…
…sī Hôa-gí kap kheh-gí.
B: Koh khah chán!
A: “People say that childhood education is very important. If you study a language while young, it’s more effective.”
A: “Therefore, our grandson studies at a bilingual preschool.”
B: “That’s great, studying English while still so young.”
A: “It’s not English…
…it’s Mandarin and Hakka.”
B: “Even better!”
(C) 2007 Tân Gī-jîn, and used with his permission.
Tē-it gí-giân, tē-jī gí-giân
Só∙-kóng ê tē-it gí-giân sī kí lán-lâng chhut-sì liáu tē-it ê o̍h – khí – lâi ê gí-giân.
The so-called first language is the language that we learn first after being born.
(Chiung, Wi-vun Tiaffalo. Gí-giân, Bûn-ha̍k, kap Tâi-oân Kok-ka Chài-sióng-siōng. Tainan: National Cheng Gung University Press, 2007. Page 48).
Posted in G, Linguistics, T