Friday, October 19, 2012

Chair and magazine - mandarin

Well today I just listened to an online video and apparently chair and magazine sounds the same to Mandarin (or Chinese putonghua, ie. common language). Putong means "common" or "ordinary". Hua means language. Well you have to pronounce it correctly, so the tones are "pu2 tong1 hua4". I like to think that any foreigner (non-Asian) who wants to learn or even explain some stuff in Asian languages MUST pronounce it correctly. Why? Because Beijing has been Beijing for ages, until the British came (with negative intention) and seemingly unable to pronounce the city and thus romanised it into Peking.

So Chair is ui ja. 의자 or in chinese 椅子 (yi3 zi)
And Magazine is  잡지 (jab ji) or in chinese 杂志 (za2 zhi4)

In teochew, chair is "kau ii" and magazine is (I don't know, anyone can help?).
Here's an additional story about "kau ii".

500 years or so ago, traders between regions took large boats and ships to trade their goods all over Asia. The central region between the West and Middle is the peninsula of Malaya and places such as Bangkok which is sheltered from the monsoon winds (see map of the Gulf of Thailand to see the shape) are top trading ports. Before I continue, in the olden times, "West" means region of "India or beyond the mountains (the Himalayas) and "Middle" is the vast land that people called as China but the original people here just say it as Middle Kingdom hence Zhong Guo. There is no such concept of Chinese. Because the chinese themselves are called "Tang ren" or "hua ren" (the people within the Tang dynasty people. And the "East" is the region of Japan/Korea.

So back to the story: the traders landed in Bangkok. And upon seeing them unload a unique wooden structure, the Bangkok traders asked "what are those?" - the traders from Middle Kingdom said "these are kai ii" in their own dialect which is Teochew. Hence from that day onwards the term kau ii is absorbed into the Thai language as meaning a chair!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dark blue or nam saek or 푸른

Some time ago, I mentioned "saek" or colour, the general term for colour in both languages. Today I was taking a quick look at a Talk To Me In Korean video about the colours of the rainbow. So one of the colours itself is similar. Nam saek. Dark blue colour. 푸른.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hilarious video rhyme rap for Teochew speakers

This is the most hilarious rap/rhyme that I've ever heard. If you are a teochew speaker, there's very high chance you will be laughing until your belly and cheeks ache!

Chicha hor chior. (chinca is also Korean for "really" or "truly" - see my previous posts)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Meaning of flag or guggi or 국기

Flag in korean script is 국기. Guggi.

In teochew, it is "kok gii". Sounding very similar. Many years ago, I watched a korean movie titled "Taegukgi". It is about the Korean War. I like it a lot because it talks about the enemy is not North or South, or West or East (maybe West!). But about the war itself, and the commanders or leaders. It is not just ideology, or alien. But the regular people are just farmers, and when the other group comes and take their food and vegetables, they are labelled as enemy, traitor, or "the others". It was a sad movie. I hope Koreans will watch it and feel the real meaning. Because I told the air stewardess that was on my plane (UA flight) that this is a movie about peace for Koreans.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Red colour in Teochew - here the word saek

Colour or saek or 색

Colour is saek in Teochew language.
The basic wording for colour is saek. 색.

But that's about it. The individual colours itself are not similar.
Example green colour is "chae saek" in Teochew but in Korean it is nuuk saek (녹색 ).

This time I am featuring a small photo of Korea along with the entry. This is the most common convenience store GS25. It has everything you need. And very inexpensive. You can have a proper meal for just 1500 Won (1.5 USD) to 3000 Won at the First World standard of living, this is a super bargain. Just imagine can you get a meal in Norway, Australia, or Japan for such a low price?

Sometimes it includes a free drink!

This pack cost 3000 Won. The top left corner of the box there is a sticker. It says "Take one" either an orange drink or peach. The RRP of the drink it 1000 Won.

Take either a peach or orange drink that retails for 1000 Won

Meal cost is 3000 Won - minus drink 1000 Won = 2000 Won for a full packed meal

Photos of Korea 2012

Haven't been updating with new vocabulary. While a recent trip to Korea presents the opportunity for some photography. Enjoy them!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Travel or yeohaeng or 여행

Well this entry is slightly tough. First I cannot really recall if my word for "travel/holiday/vacation" in teochew is correct. (Any teochew readers, feel free to add/comment/correct).

Teochew word: you-haeng or lii-haeng. In chinese, "Lǚxíng " 旅行.
Korean word: Yeohaeng or 여행

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teochew people and language

Came across this very well written article by Ernie Diaz.

The article is from website, due credits to this site. Link to original article -

 Here are some excerpts: They’re Han, Chaozhou people, but not if you ask them. Not Zhong guo ren, but Tang ren are the Teochew. Not people of the Middle Kingdom but of the coast, they’ll tell you, and their home is the mountain on the sea. The “People of the Tang Dynasty” appellation intrigues, for it was the much later 12th century Jin invasion of Northern China that pushed today’s Hokkien and Teochew south to Fujian and Guangdong. Tellingly, the Hokkien and Teochew dialects are quite similar, not only to each other but to Korean, itself a vassal state of the Tang Empire. Even more tellingly, a Teochew will forgive you for calling him Han, but will start wetting the kitchen cleaver if you call him Hokkien.

So if you're a Teochew, a person of Teochew descent it is indeed and interesting discovery to know your roots and its various connections. Ya, even connection with Korean Hangul language!

And pretty true about some Hokkien and Teochew tension! No offence (again a Teochew trait of non-confrontational and endurance) but Hokkien is much a stiffer, rougher, louder language and seems to always lord over Teochew people (e.g. in Malaysia and Singapore). Teochew people often relent and will mingle and speak in Hokkien or Cantonese. In a starting conversation, it is often sort of "enforced" to speak other than Teochew. And the teochew just picks up the language.

But I never ever seen a Hokkien nor Cantonese being humble and want to learn or speak. Or listen! It is almost certain the protagonist will give a weird look if we do not speak their lingua franca.

Only yes alas, once when I was in Hong Kong the land of Cantonese. And I was at a department store shopping centre. There was a bunch of presumably wealthy teochew businessmen. They could be from Shantou or elsewhere or another country I don't know. But they went to this shop and started asking price and questions in teochew. The sales girl can't speak but obliging helped and listen. Never "enforcing" another language upon them.

That massive migrant Teochew population provides an air duct through which to sneak back to our theme of knowing less and less the farther you travel. For only by truly stepping into their alien identity, and paradoxically assimilating around the globe, did the Teochew transcend as a subgroup.

Wui hiam or danger or 위험

Wui hiam or ngui hiam (or ui hiam). It simply means danger. Or dangerous. Korean script 위험.