Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Language emphasis

I'm not sure about other people, but here's something that tickled me funny when hubby first heard it and his reaction to it. Being a teochew (our dialect group), and although we tend to mix our dialect with hokkien, there are some phrases which I've been happily using, unaware that it actually made no sense to other people (even those of the same dialect group).

Here's my all time favourite one:
cik bao cik bao mee, or in mandarin, yi bao yi bao mian.
Can you guess what I'm referring to?
Instant noodles! maggie mee (more popularly known as) although maggie is one of the brands of instant noodles. The phrase I had always used was a direct translation of 'packet noodles' as these instant noodles are commonly found in a packet.

Hubby was stunned by my interpretation and explanation.


heh heh heh.

A few days back, in the middle of a conversation, I brought up the phrase jiat ji qua. This one is quite commonly used, as in ... it's not something invented by me. I never did thought of the words itself, and upon approaching mom, she explained that ji is actually money in teochew, whereas the more commonly used word for money lui is actually hokkien. Wow. I never knew that! So the literal translation is eat money officers, and mom started: long ago, in far away China .... blah blah blah ... officers who took bribes are known as 'eat money officers', which actually means 'corrupted officers'. See, how interesting learning a dialect is. :)

A few years back when I went to visit my Grandparents (when my Grandfather was still alive), I was actually trying to learn some teochew words. Words like sun and moon and stars etc. I don't think I actually knew them, and till now, I don't really know what they are in my dialect! I'm still able to communicate with my grandmother (father's side, since mom's mother is sadly unable to communicate with anyone anymore), although they say I have a weird accent. And I cannot speak or understand cantonese at all. That's really quite a disadvantage when I go for dim sum! The waitress would rattle off in high speed canton leaving me totally stunned. That's where Wen comes in useful sometimes. heh

Reading headlines in the newspapers recently, I saw that a certain someone said to improve mandarin, one must speak mandarin at home. I quote someone: He farts and it's on national news. heh. I thought most people speak mandarin at home?. Almost all my kids come from mandarin speaking families, and they don't have problems communicating in their mother-tongue. Oh, perhaps he meant the upper class echelon huh? I don't know, I never did read the article. Should I? :P

There's a war going on at re-m's blog. If nothing, it sure makes for an interesting read on a dull and hot afternoon. The issues are exactly the same thing all over again. I'm not sure I totally sympathise with re-m at all (the war I mean, not his rants). Afterall, he did start it first someplace else. No? heh heh. I think he has fallen into the trap of being in spore, i.e, Spores complain, grumble and rant all the time. There isn't much else to do ... except shopping and sleeping like a cat, and eating and growing fat like a sheep. bleat bleat.

PM is unable to come today as she has acquired some strange malady or rather some allergy. Ah well ... no further chess moves too. Time to sleep again? :P

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