Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Ancient Imperial Language of China

My friend, Lynn Lee, from Kuching, Sarawak, sent me the email below. This is something new to me and I am proud to be a Hokkien speaking Chinese! (Wa si Hokkien lang!)

Wow! Hokkien is the surviving language of the Tang Dynasty! I had all the time
thought that Mandarin was used in the courts of old, but instead it was Hokkien that
was being spoken!

I am even more thrilled that as a Straits Settlement Chinese, papa and mama had taught us to speak Hokkien because many Nonyas and Babas speak only Malay and English. Hokkien is a unique dialect and it could sometimes be difficult to translate some of the sentences into other languages, eg. English.

For example, we say, m sar m see (not three, not four) but in Hokkien it means neither here nor there, not in proper standing.

Or in Hokkien we say, boh tua boh suay (not big, not small) meaning someone who is
not being respectful.

"This is interesting if you're a Hokkien, do you know...

Ancient Imperial Language of China - 2,000 Years Ago.

If you're a HOKKIEN Take Note !!


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.

Note: 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 in stance, Hak Seng (student), Tua Ok (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) (Hokkien)

Sin Mun (Korean)

Shinbun - newspaper (Japanese)

Cheng Hu (government) (Hokkien)

Chong Bu (Korean)

ang (room) (Hokkien)

Pang (Korean)

Chhia (car/vehicle) (Hokkien)

Ch'a (Korean)

Mui/M'ng (door) (Hokkien)

Mun (Korean)

P'hio (ticket) (Hokkien)

P'yo (Korean)

Eng Wan (eternal) (Hokkien)

Yong Won (Korean)

Chaek (book) (Hokkien)

Ch'ae (Korean)

Ki (flag) (Hokkien)

Ki (Korean)

Ki (Japanese)

Kang river) (Hokkien)

Gang/kang (Korean)

Poh Hiam (insurance) (Hokkien)

Poh Ham (Korean)

Sio Sim (caution) (Hokkien)

Cho sim (Korean

Mo Kui (demon)

Ma gui

Cham (attend/join/mix) (Hokkien)

Ch'am sok ((Korean)

Kantan (simple) (Hokkien)

Gan Dan (Korean)

Sin Sei Kai (new world) (Hokkien)

Shin Sae Gae (Korean)

Kok Ka (nation) (Hokkien)

Kuk Kka (Korean)

Hya (elder brother) (Hokkien)

Hyaeng (Korean)

Choon Pi (prepare) (Hokkien)

Jun Bi (Korean)

Si Kan (time) (Hokkien)

Si Kan (Korean)

Kam tong (emotion, feeling) (Hokkien)

Kam Jon (Korean)

Kanjoo (Japanese)

Kamsia (gratitude, thanks) (Hokkien)

Kam Sa (Korean)

Kansha (Japanese)

Keat Hoon (marriage) (Hokkien)

Kyol Hon (Korean)

Kekkon (Japanese)

Oon Tong (exercise) (Hokkien)

Un Dong (Korean)

Undoo (Japanese)

Tua Ok (university) (Hokkien)

Tae Hak (Korean)

Daigaku (Japanese)

Aun Chuan (safety) (Hokkien)

An Jon (Korean)

An Zen (Japanese)

Mua Chiok(satisfaction) (Hokkien)

Man Jok (Korean)

Manzoku (Japanese)

Ai Lang (lover) (Hokkien)

Ae In (Korean)

Aijin (Japanese)

Seng Kong (success) (Hokkien)

Song Kong (Korean)

Seikoo (Japanese)

Chhiu Sat (suicide) (Hokkien)

Cha sal (Korean)

Jisatsu (Japanese)

Pu Do (grapes) (Hokkien)

P'o d'o (Korean)

Budoo (Japanese)

Chin Por (progress) (Hokkien)

Chin bo (Korean)

Shinpo (Japanese)

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.!

Gan Cao

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