Sunday, March 6, 2011

Basic Course: Lesson 8 Vocabulary

Let’s talk about the languages you speak! In lesson eight, you learn how to talk about Taishan/American/Chinese/English language, words and people.

  1. 幾妥呀? · gī họ* a? · how are you? how is it? in what way?
  2. 學 · hòk · to learn, study
  3. 教 · gao · to teach
  4. 講 · gōng · to speak, talk, say, tell
  5. 明白 · mïng-bàk · to understand, understandable
  6. 寫 · lhē · to write
  7. 台山話 · Höi-San wà* · Toishan dialect
  8. 美國話 · Mị-Gwōk wà* · American language
  9. 中文書 · Jung-Mün si · Chinese book
  10. 讀 · ùk · to study, read
  11. 英文書 · Ying-Mün si · English book
  12. 中文字 · Jung-Mün dù · Chinese character
  13. 抑或 · yīk-wàk (ngīk-wàk) · or, either… or
  14. 中國人 · Jung-Gwōk ngïn · Chinese person
  15. 英文字 · Ying-Mün dù · English word
  16. 美國人 · Mị-Gwōk ngïn · American person
  17. 曉(會)· hīau (wọi) · to understand, know how
  18. 屐 · kìak · they, them
  19. 英國話 · Ying-Gwōk wà* · English language

Most of these words have different pronunciations according to the Kaiping dictionary. Here are some of the patterns, most of which I’ve discussed before:

  • The vowel i in the Basic Course is often (but not always) given as e or ei in the Kaiping dictionary.
  • The vowel e (sometimes written as ia) in the Basic Course often corresponds to i in the Kaiping dictionary when it is not syllable-final, so 曉 is hīu, but 寫 is still lhē (or lhīa, depending on your accent).
  • Words that end in ing (or ik) in the Basic Course tend to end in en (or et) in the Kaiping dictionary.
  • Consonants b and w in the Basic Course are both pronounced as v in the Kaiping dictionary, so 白 and 或 sound alike: vàk.
  • There is one extra tone in the accent of the Kaiping dictionary, so 屐 “they” is pronounced as kịak (not kìak).
  • The Kaiping dictionary lacks the consonants gw and kw, so these are simplified to g and k.

Here are the different words, retranscribed according to the pronunciation in the Kaiping dictionary.

  • 美 · Mẹi · America, American
  • 英 · Yen · England, English
  • 人 · ngën · person
  • 國 · gōk · country, nation
  • 明白 · mën-vàk · to understand, understandable
  • 抑或 · ngēt-vàk · or, either… or
  • 曉(會)· hīu (vọi) · to understand, know how

As a last note, like 哦 ngọi “we, us” and 逽 nịak “y’all,” the character 屐 kịak “they, them” is a non-standard adaptation of the character for “clog” to denote a word that otherwise doesn’t exist in contemporary Mandarin or Cantonese.

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