Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Penang Hokkien Dialect

Kennard: What are you doing these days?
Me: Im reading PHD recently...
Kennard: Huh? You're studing PHD? *unbelievable*
Me: No lar... Penang Hokkien Dialect
Kennard: Swt... =.="

I first came to notice this book was when im listening to Penang Hokkien Podcast. I've forgotten which particular episode of podcast it is when John Ong (though i prefer to address him as Miku), introduced the book to dear audiences. Being the curious me, i went to MPH and check it out two weeks ago. As soon as i found it, i was like standing there for 5-10 minutes reading the book. Seeing me so drown to it, my dear brought it for me at the price of RM23.

*Thanks John Ong, that episode of podcast can be found here.

Penang Hokkien Dialects For Penangties & Tourists
Author: Tan Choon Hoe

So... whats so special about it? Despite the lame name of using PHD, this book is enriched with fruits of Penang Hokkien dialect that we used daily. Ranging from how it is being cocktailed with 'mangled' English plus slang words to Penang Hokkien dialect rhymes/ditties.

Some words from the author;
"In the last ten years or so, there are emerging signs that Penang Hokkien dialect (PHD) is moving towards the direction of becoming an 'endangered' dialect. This could be due to the emergence of China as a global economic power and the prominence given to Mandarin and English as languages with economic value.

More and more parents are conversing with their children in either Mandarin or English and Penang Hokkien dialect is only used in conversations between grandchildren and grandparents themselves would have to adapt to Mandarin or English to ensure the younger ones understand them!

The signs are evident when i speak to many children who are losing their grasp on the dialect. Some of them do not know simple Hokkien words, and there are others who speak with a noticeable accent, oblivious to the fact that PHD is indeed their parents' mother tongue."

I, as a Penangites, i strong agree with it. Cause i too can feel how my mother tongue is being slowly jeopardized by other means of languages and mediums. I love my dialect. Wa su ka kong Hokkien wa. But do bear in mind that just because i speak in Hokkien, that doesnt mean that i have a poor command in English. Yea, i may be a banana-man, but thats not too much of a big deal, and im not afraid to admit it. Gosh... i sound like trying to pick up a fight. =x

They said we're like singing when we're talking, see, Penang Hokkien is authentic and truly unique in its own culture and region. Where on earth could you find this cocktail dialect ever exists?

Okay back to Penang Hokkien Dialect, one of the many poetries that interest me most is The Firefly. This poetry is being frequently resides by John Ong in PenangHokkien.com, that i too found myself being drawn to it...

Huey kim chneh, chap goh meh,
Fireflies, Fifteenth night,

Chneah loo A koo wa, lie lim teh,
Invite your brother-in-law, come drink tea,

Teh seoh seoh, kneah lor bay keen cheoh,
Tea hot hot, take a stroll, buy some bananas,

Keen cheoh bay kee pek, kneah lor bay chheh,
Forgot to peel the bananas, take a stroll, buy some books,

Chheh bay kee thhak, kneah lor bay bark,
Forgot to read the books, take a stroll, buy some ink sticks,

Bark bay kee bua, kneah lor bay chua,
Forgot to grind the ink sticks, take a stroll buy some snakes,

Chua bay kee liak, kneah lor bay kha kiak,
Forgot to catch the snakes, take a stroll buy wooden clogs,

Kha kiak bay kee chheng, kneah lor bay ka leng,
Forgot to wear the wooden clogs, take a stroll buy some mynahs,

Ka leng koe, ka leng soh,
Brother mynah, sister mynah,

Chheah loo A koo wa, seoh ean toe!
Invite your brother-in-law, to a wrestling match!

I know those poetry probably sounds nothing fascinating, but it seems cool to me. Hahaa. Now i wonder why i didnt came across this poetry when i was small. Last but not least, Penang Hokkien Dialect should be preserved as a beautiful part of Penang's rich heritage.


Miku John said...


Dann said...

Miku John: Thanks for enlightening, im a big fan of yours. Kam Sia. *currently downloading the podcast #83*

Shu said...

i thought dear is cantonese? ur family are hokkien ppl meh?

Dann said...

The term mother tongue is abit of ambiguous, depends on how you look at it. To my understanding, mother tongue is the first language that you learned when you're born. Im cantonese, but i speak Hokkien.