Sunday, July 6, 2008

More about Penang Hokkien

I am proud to be a Penang Hokkien. We speak Hokkien peculiar to Penang only. One of the characteristics of this dialect is the inclusion of Malay words in the lingo. For example, we refer to stone as ‘batu’, soap as ‘sabun’, proud as ‘sombong’, and just now as ‘balu’ (the correct Malay is ‘baru’).

There are words whose pronunciation cannot be written in Chinese. These words include ‘ta ma’ (a few moments ago), ‘ta por’ (male), ‘cha bor’ (female), ‘ta lok’ (where in ‘where are you going?’) For example, ‘Ta Ma Lu khi ta lok?’ (Just now you go where (literal translation) or Where did you go just now?) ‘ham ban’ which means ‘slow in learning’ is yet another word which cannot be rendered in Chinese.

Sex discrimination appears in Penang Hokkien too. For instance, the Penang Hokkien refers to daughter as ‘Chau Wa’ (the one the run away, meaning she will leave the family once she gets married,) and ‘Hau Sneah’ (literally ‘good born’ meaning a good offspring who will bring fortune to the family).

1 comment:

ankur said...

hey i am living in india and even we use sabun for soap . Thats strange