Bungieen kab peqoe

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Bungieen kab peqoe ๐Ÿ”Š / Bunpek ixthok ๐Ÿ”Š (ๆ–‡็™ฝ็•ฐ่ฎ€; Literary and colloquial readings of Chinese characters)

Literary vs colloquial


The following examples show differences in literary and colloquial readings in Taiwanese Hokkien.

Harnji Readings

Harnji Thag'ym Gwym/โ€ kayseq Engguo
็™ฝ pek ๐Ÿ”Š peh ๐Ÿ”Š white
้ข bien ๐Ÿ”Š bin ๐Ÿ”Š face
ๆ›ธ sw ๐Ÿ”Š zw ๐Ÿ”Š book
็”Ÿ sefng ๐Ÿ”Š svef, svy ๐Ÿ”Š student
ไธ pud ๐Ÿ”Š m ๐Ÿ”Šโ€  not
่ฟ” hoarn ๐Ÿ”Š tngr ๐Ÿ”Šโ€  return

The following chart illustrates some of the more commonly seen sound shifts:

Colloquial Literary Example
[p-], [pสฐ-] [h-] ๅˆ† pwn hwn divide
[ts-], [tsสฐ-], [tษ•-], [tษ•สฐ-] [s-], [ษ•-] ๆˆ cviaa seeng to become
[k-], [kสฐ-] [tษ•-], [tษ•สฐ-] ๆŒ‡ kie cie finger
[-รฃ], [-uรฃ] [-an] ็œ‹ khvoax khaxn to see
[-ส”] [-t] ้ฃŸ ciah sit to eat
[-i] [-e] ไธ– six sex world
[-e] [-a] ๅฎถ kef kaf family
[-ia] [-i] ๅพ›โ€ก / ไผ khia khix to stand


Sorji (ๆ•ธๅญ—; Numbers)

This feature extends to Chinese numerals, which have both literary and colloquial readings. Literary readings are typically used when the numerals are read out loud (e.g. phone numbers), while colloquial readings are used for counting items (see sorji and tiexn'oe).

1 2 3 / ไธ‰ 4 / ๅ›› 5 / ไบ” 6 / ๅ…ญ 7 / ไธƒ 8 / ๅ…ซ 9 / ไน 10 / ๅ
Peh ๐Ÿ”Š cit (่œ€) nng (ๅ…ฉ) svaf six go lak chid peq kao zap
Buun ๐Ÿ”Š id (ไธ€) ji (ไบŒ) safm sux gvor liok pad kiuo sip

More details

In Hokkien, reading pronunciations (thag'ym ๐Ÿ”Š ่ฎ€้Ÿณ) differ from spoken pronunciations/explications (gwym ๐Ÿ”Š ่ชž้Ÿณ / kayseq ๐Ÿ”Š ่งฃ่ชช). Hokkien dictionaries in Taiwan often differentiate between such character readings with the prefixes ๆ–‡ (buun) for literary readings, and ็™ฝ (pek / peh) for colloquial readings (see Taioaan Banlamguo Siong'iong-Suu Sutiern).

The bulk of literary readings (bunthak ๐Ÿ”Š ๆ–‡่ฎ€) are based on pronunciations of the vernacular during the Tang (Toong) dynasty and mainly used in formal phrases and written language (e.g. philosophical concepts, surnames, and some place names). For example, see Most Common Surnames in Taiwan and Laixgoaxkhรธf Kharnhoxhak. Literary readings tend to be more similar to the pronunciations of the Tang standard of Middle Chinese than their colloquial equivalents. The colloquial (or vernacular) readings (peqthak ๐Ÿ”Š ็™ฝ่ฎ€) are basically used in spoken language and vulgar (ordinary/common) phrases.

The divergence between literary and colloquial is due to several strata in the Min lexicon. The earliest, colloquial stratum is traced to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE, Haxn); the second colloquial one comes from the period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 - 589 CE, Lampaktiaau); the third stratum of pronunciations (typically literary ones) comes from the Tang Dynasty (618 โ€“ 907 AD, Toong). (Note: this could be why literary readings sound closer to Mandarin than colloquial. With names and numbers often being read in Mandarin, it has been suggested that Mandarin is effectively replacing literary Hokkien in Taiwanese.)


See also