Taiwanese Syllabry

I change this first post according to new stuff that happens later in the thread. Our syllabry is the old missionary writing from Maryknoll mixed with pinyin. Remeber kiddies: only 7 tones (notice the 6th one is no longer in use, so we have 7 out of 8).

Tone changes are easy: everything in a phrase changes tone except for the last word in the phrase. That’s why I put three '7’s in front of ‘1’ - because if you have a phrase of four different words and they are all 1st tone(1111), they will actually be read as 7771.

A phrase ends with a period (.). The last word in a phrase retains the original tone. (A phrase can also end with a question mark). Commas are out because they are a tone marker.

Consonants and vowels are as in pinyin except for:
nasal vowels are shown by doubling the vowel.
‘B’ and ‘G’ are those super Taiwanese ‘b’ and ‘g’ sounds.

4th tone ends in ‘p’ ‘t’ ‘h’ or ‘k’.
8th tone ends in ‘pp’ ‘tt’ ‘hh’ or ‘kk’.

You can use a dash to join syllables into a word if you want…
For instance, in a word that would be confusing without a dash, like the word for ‘Beijing’: bak-kiaa (someone might otherwise think it’s bakk-iaa)

7771 do (doxia:)
1112 Goa’ (Goa’ m: zai:)
2223 zai, (zai,Gen,)
2224 Beh (Beh-zapp)
7775 Bo" (Bo")
3337 m: (m: zai:)
3338 hakk (hakkxeng)

Here’s my sample text. It’s a little ugly. But it works. It’s the second lesson from the first Maryknoll book. Looks kind of like Vietnamese, but uglier…

Gao" za’.
Gao" za’.
lin’ xi: hakkxeng. xi: Bo"?

xi:. Goan’ xi: hakkxeng. li’ xi: xin" hu:. xi: Bo"?
m: xi:. Goa’ m: xi: xin" hu:. Goa’ xi: Bokksu. qiaa’ lin’ ze:.
doxia:
lin’ ai, jahh xim’mih? Goa’ qiaa’ lin’ jahh goe’ ji’.
doxia:. Bokksu. Goan’ ai, koaa, ceh. li’ u: ceh Bo"?
u:. ze xi: ceh. qiaa’ lin’ koaa,.
Bokksu. li’ ai, koaa, ceh Bo"?
ai,. lin’ ai, jahh bng: Bo"? yoan’ u: bng:
doxia:. Bokksu. zai,gen,.
zai,gen,. qiaa’ goh lai: ze:.

So the first Taiwanese word of the day is:

No money! = Bo" jii"

If you’re not familiar with the Maryknoll tones:

7771 do do do do
long mid to high

1112 do’ do’ do’ do’
high to falling

2223 do, do, do, do,
falling to ‘eat it’ low tone (so low, it sounds like it’s in the bottom of your throat)

2224 doh doh doh doh
falling to ‘matter of fact’ tone (short mid)

7775 do" do" do" do"
long mid to the falling-rising tone (similar to Mandarin third)

3337 do: do: do: do:
‘eat it’ low tone to a long mid.

3338 dohh dohh dohh dohh
‘eat it’ low tone to a…
…in some dialects, the 8th tone is a short high tone…in other dialects the 8th tone is pronounced as a long mid (I think the latter is actually more prominent?). But in all dialects, the 8th will change to the 3rd ‘eat it’ tone.

Here’s another new word before bed time:

u: iaa’ Bo"? = Really?

u: means ‘have’
iaa’ means ‘shadow’
Bo" is the questions word like 有没有 (vo" is often written as 無)

So, ‘Really?’ means ‘Is there a shadow to it?’ (because only ‘real’ things have shadows…)

[quote=“Sinister Tiddlywinks”]

So, ‘Really?’ means ‘Is there a shadow to it?’ (because only ‘real’ things have shadows…)[/quote]

i’m sure that’s not the etymology of it ST :slight_smile: just a homophone.

nice thread! i will try to contribute, but use my own bastard pinyin-lomaji, with your tone marks.

zan’ - great!

How are nasals represented?

[quote=“Chris”]How are nasals represented?[/quote] I think you draw a little picture of a nose over the consonant or vowel which is supposed to be enunciated through the nostril …

excellent idea! mods, could we have a nose smiley?

ST seems to have represented them with a reduplicated vowel, as in qiaa’ and koaa’ in the op. My preference is a capital N making qiaN’ and koaN’.

Anyone know where I can see a list of the Taiwanese syllabery. I’d like to invent my own modified Hanyu Pinyin for Taiwanese.

I can read about half your conversation ST, but I don’t knwo if the bits I am missing are because I don’t know the words, or because I can’t make out your pinyin. How abotu a translation.

My ‘phrase for the day’, which anyone who has studied even a little bit of Taiyu will know, but is the most useful thing you could learn (in my modified HP without tones)

Jia ba bwei? (Eaten yet?)
Jia ba! (Yep)

Jia ba bwei? (Eaten yet?)
A bwei (not yet)

One of only two things (besides ‘paisei’) I’ve dared to say in Taiwanese in public.

Brian

Yes, I am a student. Are you a priest?
No, I’m not a priest. I am a professor. Please sit.
Thank you.
What would you like to eat? Have some fruit.
Thank you professsor. I like reading. Do you have any books?
Yes. This is a book. Please read it.
Professor, do you like to read?
Yes. Are you hungry? I have food.
Thank you professor. Good-bye.
Good-bye. Please come again.

[quote=“Tempo Gain”][quote=“Sinister Tiddlywinks”]

So, ‘Really?’ means ‘Is there a shadow to it?’ (because only ‘real’ things have shadows…)[/quote]

I’m sure that’s not the etymology of it ST :slight_smile: just a homophone.

nice thread! I will try to contribute, but use my own bastard pinyin-lomaji, with your tone marks.

zan’ - great![/quote]

My teacher at Maryknoll taught me that u- iaa’ bho" is 有影無…

That first passage from the Maryknoll book was just to see how the phonetic system looked… Pretty ugly :bravo:

Nasals are doubled vowels!

They always write paai’se, 歹勢 in the movies.
paai’ means ‘bad’. It’s second tone, right?
‘ugly’ is paai’koaa,
So ‘That’s ugly.’ is…
jin paai’koaa,. (真歹看, I guess…)
paai’koaa, are both nasal! They got the double vowels!

Here’s a cool word. President Chen used it in his inaugural speech:
o-lo’ (阿咾 according to my Taiwanese dictionary). It means ‘praise’ or ‘讚美’. According to my friend’s father, it’s a very eloquent word that’s now pretty much only used by the older folks…

Yep, those are the characters! 影 is just a sound loan though.

o-lo’ is a cool word.

here’s one: ak-zap–in a bad mood, out of sorts

if we ever meet for diplomacy the others are gonna have a heck of a time understanding us ST :slight_smile:

God damn, and I thought Taiwanese was confusing before reading this thread.

Although, from what little I can make out, the more “Chinese-y” parts of it sound kinda close to Cantonese, which just makes me more interested to learn about it really…

akzap sounds like…

hok:zap:
複雜 (complicated)

Nice job, Sinister. Just a few things:

  • That comma really throws me off. Can’t help but see it as a punctuation mark.

  • Even though it’s easy enough to figure out, maybe it would help to throw an ‘i’ in words like xeng and jah:. I think there should also be one in the gen, of zai,gen, right?

  • I don’t think gh and bh are obvious choices for those sounds (but it’s easy enough to get the hang of that notation). Maybe mb and ng…?

Final point, I still have trouble reading systems like this, because I haven’t yet mastered the tone changes to the point where I can look at the original tone and instantly translate that into it’s changed tone. That zhuyin system by 陳殿冠 (aka the Taichung Dentist) just writes everything with it’s final tone, so you don’t have to think about it at all. This might not be as good for your development as a Taiwanese speaker, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to read. Or the Maryknoll system that writes both the original and changed tones, but I think that would be a mess. But maybe once I get the hang of your tone symbols, it won’t be so bad…

[quote=“Sinister Tiddlywinks”]akzap sounds like…

hok:zap:
複雜 (complicated)[/quote]

thanks, damned if i can figure out 4th and 8th tone :slight_smile:

They’re both 8th tone, man.

Sinister Tiddly :wink: s

One advantage of using the final/changed tones would be that we could use a variation of TOP instead of tone marks. But maybe TOP would be too hard to do with so many tones. And actually Sinister’s choice of tone marks is pretty intuitive.

[quote=“the Brain in a Vat”]Nice job, Sinister. Just a few things:

  • That comma really throws me off. Can’t help but see it as a punctuation mark.

  • Even though it’s easy enough to figure out, maybe it would help to throw an ‘i’ in words like xeng and jah:. I think there should also be one in the gen, of zai,gen, right?

  • I don’t think gh and bh are obvious choices for those sounds (but it’s easy enough to get the hang of that notation). Maybe mb and ng…?

Final point, I still have trouble reading systems like this, because I haven’t yet mastered the tone changes to the point where I can look at the original tone and instantly translate that into it’s changed tone. That zhuyin system by 陳殿冠 (aka the Taichung (Taizhong) Dentist) just writes everything with it’s final tone, so you don’t have to think about it at all. This might not be as good for your development as a Taiwanese speaker, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to read. Or the Maryknoll system that writes both the original and changed tones, but I think that would be a mess. But maybe once I get the hang of your tone symbols, it won’t be so bad…[/quote]

I like ‘ng’ and ‘mb’ better than ‘gh’ and ‘bh’… The symbol they use with the Taiwanese zhuyin looks kind of like an ‘m’… OK, I’ll change it.

The comma’s weird. The point is that the tones are usually read in their ‘changed’ form. You just need to watch out for the period. It’s pretty much the only punctuation. I’m used to reading the comma as third tone. I think it makes sense because it hangs low at the end of the word, and the third tone is the low tone before a period, and it’s falling otherwise…

[quote=“Sinister Tiddlywinks”]
I like ‘ng’ and ‘mb’ better than ‘gh’ and ‘bh’… The symbol they use with the Taiwanese zhuyin looks kind of like an ‘m’… OK, I’ll change it.

The comma’s weird. The point is that the tones are usually read in their ‘changed’ form. You just need to watch out for the period. It’s pretty much the only punctuation. I’m used to reading the comma as third tone. I think it makes sense because it hangs low at the end of the word, and the third tone is the low tone before a period, and it’s falling otherwise…[/quote]

I agree the comma makes sense, but then what do you do when you really want to write a comma? Double comma?

I meant to link to the Taiyu Zhuyin site. They’ve already started writing elementary school textbooks using the system. I really like it, but again, it doesn’t tell you what the original tone of the word is, only the changed tone.

台語: 台灣鶴佬話
台灣文藝出版

I changed the phonetics on the first post to ‘ng’ and ‘mb’… It’s more aesthetic… but if you combine words you might need more dashes…which would mean a different tone marker for the seventh… Actually, the word I put below for ‘county hick’ needs a dash… must find a new seventh tone marker…

I’ll put in some 'i’s later, too. Vowels are cute… but the ‘i’ on gien, can be confusing… some might pronounce it too hard. Maybe not necessary.

Here’s a fun word that will get you beaten up. If you wish to be beaten up, or you think you’re a bad ass at kung fu and want to show off, please go to a pub in Hsinchu and say:

to" bao a’
土包子 (country hick)

I missed your point: the only punctuation is the period. So you just have to learn to ignore the comma as a punctuation mark. But that sort of rules out using using it as a full-blown writing system, doesn’t it? I mean, you need punctutation, don’t you?