Monday, December 10, 2007

Penang Hokkien

I watch TV news whenever I have the time. What endears me to interviewees who appear in the idiot box is the Penang Hokkien that they speak.

Penang Hokkien is peculiar to Penang as Hokkien people from other states in Malaysia do not speak Hokkien the way Penangites do. Firstly, Hokkien people in Penang end each sentence with a specific tag and each tag sounds differently, depending on the sound at the end of each sentence. I will show you what I mean through the examples below. [PH and E are used here to mean Penang Hokkien and English respectively.]

Example 1

PH: Yi bo kong hor lu tiya meh?

E: Didn’t he tell you that?

Tag: meh

Example 2

PH: Lu chai ooh?

E: Do you know it?

Tag: ooh

Example 3

PH: Ma chai lu kar lai lah.

E: Please come tomorrow.

Tag: lah

Example 4

PH: Lu eh cho ha mi ni?

E: What can you (to me)?

Tag: ni

Secondly, Malay is mixed with Hokkien in the conversation. Besides lah in example 3 above, here are some other examples.

Example 5

PH: Gua balu kong hor yi tiya nieh.

E: I just told him about it.

Malay word used: balu (should be baru but Hokkien people pronounce ‘r’ sound as ‘l’ sound)

Tag: nieh

Example 6

PH: Yi balu hor lokun khuah niah.

E: He has just seen the doctor.

Malay words used: balu and lokun (should be dukun to mean the doctor but Hokkien folks pronounce ‘d’ sound as ‘l’ sound)

Example 7

PH: Takkan ar ne pun beh hiau meh.

E: Don’t tell me you don’t know a simple thing such as this.

Malay words used: takkan and pun.

Tag: meh

So much for Penang Hokkein for today.

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