Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm Proud To Be A Hokkien Lang!

Serena recently sent me this forwarded email which I find rather interesting.
Do read this article below before you continue to hear my rambling. :)

Ancient Imperial Language of China – 2,000 Years Ago

How Did it Sound Like? (
Mind you, it's no way similar to Mandarin)
Has this Ancient Language Survived?
Who Speaks it Today?

You'll be Surprised. You have heard it. You, your parents, or grandparents may still be speaking this ancient, archaic language!

Yes, it's HOKKIEN (Fujian/Minnan Hua)

Hokkien is:

1. The surviving language of the
Tang Dynasty (618-907AD), China 's Golden Age of Culture.
The Hokkien we hear today may have "evolved" from its original form 2,000 years ago, but it still retains the main elements of the Tang Dynasty Language.

2. Hokkiens are the surviving descendants of the Tang Dynasty -- When the Tang Dynasty collapsed, the people of the Tang Dynasty fled South and sought refuge in the Hokkien ( Fujian ) province. Hence, Hokkien called themselves
Tng-lang (
Tang Ren or People of the Tang Dynasty) instead of Hua Lang (Hua Ren).

3. Hokkien has 8 tones instead of Mandarin's 4. Linguists claim that ancient languages tend to have more complex tones.

4. Hokkien retains the ancient Chinese pronunciation of "K-sounding" endings (for instance, Ha
k Seng (student),
Tua O
k (university), Thak Chek (read a book/study) -- the "k" sounding ending is not found in Mandarin.

5. The collection of the famous "Three Hundred Tang Dynasty Poems" sound better when recited in Hokkien/Teochew if compared to Mandarin.

6. Consider this for a moment: Today, the Hokkien Nam Yim ochestral performance still has its roots in ancient Tang dynasty music. Here's the proof: The formation of today Nam Yim ensemble is typically seen in ancient Tang dynasty paintings of musicians.

More Astonishingly:

Although not genetically-related, Hokkiens, Koreans and Japanese share many similar words (which are different from Mandarin).

That's because Hokkien was the official language of the powerful Tang Dynasty whose influence and language spread to Japan and Korea (just like Latin – where many words were borrowed by the English, French, Italian, etc). Here are just a few words in Hokkien, Japanese & Korean for your comparison:




Sin Boon (news)

Sin Mun

Shinbun - newspaper

Cheng Hu (government)

Chong Bu

Pang (room)


Chhia (car/vehicle)


Mui/M'ng (door)


P'hio (ticket)


Eng Wan (eternal)

Yong Won

Chaek (book)


Ki (flag)



Kang (river)


Poh Hiam (insurance)

Poh Ham

Sio Sim (caution)

Cho sim

Mo Kui (demon)

Ma gui

Cham (attend/join/mix)

Ch'am sok

Kantan (simple)

Gan Dan

Sin Sei Kai (new world)

Shin Sae Gae

Kok Ka (nation)

Kuk Kka

Hya (elder brother)


Choon Pi (prepare)

Jun Bi

Si Kan (time)

Si Kan

Kam tong (emotion, feeling)

Kam Jong


Kamsia (gratitude, thanks)

Kam Sa


Keat Hoon (marriage)

Kyol Hon


Oon Tong (exercise)

Un Dong


Tua Ok (university)

Tae Hak


Aun Chuan (safety)

An Jon

An Zen

Mua Chiok(satisfaction)

Man Jok


Ai Lang (lover)

Ae In


Seng Kong (success)

Song Kong


Chhiu Sat (suicide)

Cha sal


Pu Do (grapes)

P'o d'o


Chin Por (progress)

Chin bo


To all 49 Million Hokkien Speakers:

Be Proud of Your Ancient Hokkien Heritage & Language! Speak it Loud and Clear. Teach Your Future Generation this Imperial Language, Less it Fades Away.

Be Proud Children of the Tang Emperors.

To all Mandarin-speaking friends out there -- do not look down on your other Chinese friends who do not speak Mandarin – whom you guys fondly refer to as "Bananas". In fact, they are speaking a language which is much more ancient & linguistically complicated than Mandarin.

Keep in mind that Mandarin is just:

1. A Northern Chinese dialect (heavily influenced by non Han Chinese) that was elevated to the status of National Language by Sun Yat Sen for the sake of China 's national unity.

2. Mandarin was never spoken by your proud, imperial Tang Dynasty ancestors. It was probably spoken by the Northern (Non-Han) Jurchen, Mongols and Manchu minority.
Start speaking the language of your ancestors today.

Oh well, I guess most of you would have already known what I'm about to talk about in this post.
But first, I'd like to admit that I'm an English educated girl with very limited Chinese/Mandarin knowledge.

I do speak my native language which is Hokkien, with my family and friends every now and then.
At times, some of my friends who know that I hardly speak Mandarin, will tend to converse in Hokkien when I'm around.
Isn't that very thoughtful of them? :)

However, I encountered this situation where I was in a group with everybody else who speaks Mandarin except for me and we were working on the same project.
So, what happened was they were discussing something so intensely in Mandarin and I was in a position where I felt like telling them right on their face and go, "Hello, I'm still here and I'm part of the group. Do you mind speaking in a language which everybody understands?"

It's really devastating to see how those Chinese educated people often stereotype people like me, who speak mostly in English and could not totally understand the Mandarin words they were saying.
In the end, they finally gave in and started to talk in English instead. :)

I know some of my friends feel inferior when they have to speak in English especially to those like me, but I still think it's one of the most effective ways to improve one's English.
Because it doesn't matter whether you speak good or bad English, soon enough you'll be conversing in English as fluent as those in the western countries!

And I know it goes vice versa as well.
As for me, I took the initiative to learn Mandarin during my first year of uni and I think it did help me, though not a lot because I have some Mandarin basics back when I was in primary.

However, since most of friends are from Penang, if not Kedah and they understand Hokkien, so I tend to speak in Hokkien without thinking of trying to improve my Mandarin.
I know it's bad...but actually, to be frank, my English has been deteriorating ever since I came to uni because I've been speaking Hokkien more than English and obviously Mandarin as well.
I will be taking English class (University level, mind you) next year, so I wouldn't want my English to be of a lower level than it should be.
That's why I need to practice more in English than Mandarin. :)

Hence, you see this blog is updated very often because it's one of my ways to hinder my English from worsening.

Suddenly, I feel so proud to be a Hokkien lang. :)

ps: Attached in the email, for more information about Hokkien, you might wanna visit:


Jaryn said...

wa suka ji leh post!!

chia li ho liao!!

Kokd said...

chin ho thak ji li xia ae ji.
wa boon xi hokkien lang!

adri-enne said...

hokkien uar jin khan khor thak la.

Maybe the pin yin version for hokkien should be thought. I'd say we abolish Pendidikan Moral in school and teach either Chinese (Hokkien/Canto/Mandarin) or Indian (Tamil/Punjabi etc) Hmm Is punjabi even a language?

wa suka chiak hokkien mee.

CL said...

HAHAHAHA. OMG i love you guys' comments in HOKKIEN! HAHHA. Kam siah lu lang oh...but KOKD, I don't understand your hokkien uah laaa. HAHAHAHAH.

Adrienne : Erm..punjabi language..i think so there is but i'm not really sure,. HAHA. good idea! let me become a billionaire first before we can change the current education system! HAHHAHAH.
wa suka chiak LAKSA! :)))

kangrui said...

wa pun si penang eh hokkien lang!
wa pun sukak ciak laksa lar!!

wa ai tui ki penang ler...


Simple Simon said...

guan lai hokkien aneh ho liao eh..
wa balu sipeh PROUD A!!

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