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!


  1. thank you for the information or korean ...
    I've learn new word from here :D
    Thank you very much ...
    Keep in touch XD

  2. Glad there are some readers out there! Thanks Snowy. Whenever I come across a new word and has some sounds very similar to teochew, I'll write them down and then put them here to share my "discoveries". I like BoA's new song "Only One" very much!