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Teochew
Chaozhou, Chaoshan, Teo-Swa
潮州話 / 潮汕話 / 潮語[1]
Native toChaoshan
RegionEastern Guangdong (Chaoshan), Thailand, Southern Vietnam and Cambodia, Indonesia (Jambi and West Kalimantan), Singapore
EthnicityTeochew people
Native speakers
About 14 million in Chaoshan (2004)[2]
more than 5 million overseas[citation needed]
Early forms
Dialects
Chinese characters
Teochew Romanization
Peng'im
Language codes
ISO 639-3(tws is proposed[6])
Glottologchao1238
Linguasphere79-AAA-ji
  Teochew (Teo-Swa) within the Southern Min languages
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Teochew Min
Traditional Chinese潮州話
Simplified Chinese潮州话

Teochew[ii], also known as Teo-Swa (or Chaoshan)[iii], is a Southern Min language spoken by the Teochew people in the Chaoshan region of eastern Guangdong and by their diaspora around the world. It is sometimes referred to as Chiuchow, its Cantonese rendering, due to English romanization by colonial officials and explorers. It is closely related to Hokkien, as it shares some cognates and phonology with Hokkien.

Teochew preserves many Old Chinese pronunciations and vocabulary that have been lost in some of the other modern varieties of Chinese. As such, Teochew is described as one of the most conservative Chinese languages.[7]

History and geography

Historically, the Teochew[iv] prefecture included modern prefecture-level cities of Chaozhou, Jieyang and Shantou. In China, this region is now known as Teoswa[v]. Parts of the Hakka-speaking Meizhou city, such as Dabu County and Fengshun, were also parts of the Teochew prefecture and contain pocket communities of Teochew speakers.

As Teochew region was one of the major sources of Chinese emigration to Southeast Asia during the 18th to 20th centuries, a considerable Overseas Chinese community in that region is Teochew-speaking. In particular, the Teochew people settled in significant numbers in Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, where they form the largest Chinese sub-language group. Additionally, there are many Teochew-speakers among Chinese communities in Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia (especially in the states of Johor and Selangor) and Indonesia (especially in West Kalimantan on Borneo). Waves of migration from Teochew region to Hong Kong, especially after the communist victory of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, has also resulted in the formation of a community there, although most descendants now primarily speak Cantonese and English.

Teochew speakers are also found among overseas Chinese communities in Japan and the Western world (notably in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France and Italy), a result of both direct emigration from Teochew to these nations and secondary emigration from Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, Teochew remains the ancestral language of many Chinese Singaporeans, with Chinese of Teochew descent making up second largest Chinese group in Singapore, after the Hoklo. Despite this many Teochew people, particularly the younger generations, are shifting towards English and Mandarin as their main spoken language. This is due to the Singapore government's stringent bilingual policy that promotes English as the official language of education, government and commerce and promotes Mandarin at the expense of other Chinese languages. Some Teochew assimilated with the larger Hokkien community and speak Hokkien rather than Teochew due to Hokkien's prominent role as a lingua franca previously among the Singaporean Chinese community.

Classification

Teochew is a Southern Min language. As with other Sinitic languages, it is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, Cantonese or Shanghainese. It has only limited intelligibility with Hokkien. Even within the Teochew dialects, there is substantial variation in phonology between different regions and between different Teochew communities overseas.

The dialects of Teochew include:[8]

Some classifications consider the Hai Lok Hong dialect a part of Teochew (as the third branch), while others consider it a part of Hokkien or an independent Southern Min variety.[9]

In the Namoa island, there are two dialects, both distinct from the mainland Teochew, with Western Namoa dialect inclining towards the Northern Teochew, and Eastern Namoa dialect showing Hokkien influence, as this part of the island was included in Zhangzhou prefecture in 16—19 centuries.[10]

Chawan dialect, spoken in Fujian along the Guangdong border, is quite different from other southern dialects of Hokkien. It has some lexical influence from Teochew and relatively higher mutual intelligibility with it, yet in other aspects it clusters more with Hokkien than Teochew.

The main criterion in the classification of Teochew dialects is the presence or absence of the vowel /ɯ/. It is found in Northern Teochew in words like hṳ̂he5 "fish" and sṳ̄se7 "thing; matter". Southern Teochew has /u/ instead (hu5, su7). Hai Lok Hong and Eastern Namoa dialects have /i/ or /u/ instead, depending on the etymology of the word (hi5, but su7), similarly to the Chiangchew Hokkien. Southern Teochew may be further divided into Huilai—Puning dialects and Teoyeo dialects, based on their tone contours.[8]

Major dialect groups of Teochew
  Northern Teochew
  Southern Teochew
  Hai Lok Hong Min (sometimes included in Teochew)

  Hokkien-Teochew transitional dialects

The prestige dialects of Teochew all belong to the Northern branch. The Northern Teochew dialects are mutually intelligible between each other, but less so with the Southern branch.[11]

Various stereotypes and cultural traits are associated with different Teochew dialects. For instance, within the Shantou city, the urban Swatow dialect is perceived as "energetic", "gentle", but also "snobbish" or "pretentious" by speakers of other dialects; the Chenghai dialect (similar to urban Chaozhou dialect) is perceived as "soft", "cute", and "high-pitched"; the Teoyeo dialect is perceived as "harsh", "aggressive" and "countrified".[11]

Writing system

Written Southern Min is known since at least the 16th century. The earliest known work is a 1566 edition of the Tale of the Lychee Mirror, a folk drama written in a mixture of Teochew and Chinchew Hokkien.

Teochew writing is neither standardized nor is widely used. In Imperial China, most writing was conducted in Classical Chinese, while vernacular writing was only used in novels, songbooks and opera scripts. After the Xinhai revolution, only written Mandarin was supported by the government, while speakers of other Sinitic languages, including Teochew, remaining largely illiterate in their own tongues.

Teochew rime dictionaries appeared relatively late, the earliest of them being "Fifteen consonants of Teochew language" (潮語十五音, 1911) by Chio Ju-lim (蔣儒林) and "Fifteen consonants of Teochew sound" (潮聲十五音, 1913) by Teo See-tiang (張世珍).

Chinese characters

Most of the Teochew vocabulary can be traced back to Old Chinese, and thus can be written using Chinese characters. There are different ways to write words that do not have a clearly associated etymological character, including:

Teochew shares characters with Hokkien for cognate words, but it is also influenced by the Cantonese written tradition.

Word Possible spellings
Semantic Phonetic Invented
character
Presumed
original character
pak / bag4 "to know" , 𧧸
tiâng / diang5 "who" , 𫢗 [底儂]
tsōi / zoi7 "many" , ,
thâi / tai5 "to kill"
/ m6 "not"
tse̍k / zêg8 "one" ,
kûiⁿ / guin5 "tall; high"
tshâng / cang5 "field" ,

Romanization

Main articles: Peng'im and Pe̍h-ūe-jī

There are two principal romanization systems for Teochew:

While Peng'im has some presence in academic works published in PRC, many publications on Teochew use their custom IPA-based romanizations.

Phonetics and phonology

Consonants

Teochew, like other Southern Min varieties, is one of the few modern Sinitic languages which have voiced obstruents (stops, fricatives and affricates); however, unlike Wu and Xiang Chinese, the Teochew voiced stops and fricatives did not evolve from Middle Chinese voiced obstruents, but from nasals.

The voiced stops [b] and [ɡ] and also [l] are voicelessly prenasalized [ᵐ̥b], [ᵑ̊ɡ], [ⁿ̥ɺ], respectively.

The voiced affricate dz, initial in such words as ri7 (/dzi˩/), ri6 (/dzi˧˥/), jiâng riang5 (/dziaŋ˥/), jia̍k riag8 (/dziak˦/) loses its affricate property with some younger speakers abroad, and is relaxed to [z].

Teochew consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Voiced
(no frictions)
nasal m n ŋ
plosive or lateral b l 來/內 g 鵝/牙
Voiceless stops aspirated
plain p t k ʔ
Voiceless affricates aspirated tsʰ 菜/樹
plain ts 書/指/食
Fricatives s 士/速 h 海/系
(d)z 爾/貳

Unlike in Hokkien, nasal initials in Teochew are not generally considered allophones of the voiced plosives, as nasals are relatively more common in Teochew and have less usage restrictions. For example, Teochew allows for syllables like nge̍kngêg8, which are impossible in Hokkien.

In Southern dialects of Teochew, labial initials (/p/, /pʰ/, /b/, /m/) have labiodental allophones ([pf], [pfʰ], [bv], [mv~ɱ]) before /-u-/.

Character Pe̍h-ūe-jī Peng'im Swatow dialect Teoyeo dialect
bu3 [pu²¹²] [pfu⁵²]
puaⁿ buan1 [pũã³³] [pfũã³¹]
phuâ pua5 [pʰua⁵⁵] [pfʰua²³]
phuè puê3 [pʰue²¹²] [pfʰue⁵²]
bhu2 [bu⁵²] [bvu⁴⁵]
bué bhuê2 [bue⁵²] [bvue⁴⁵]
muē muê7 [mũẽ¹¹] [mvũẽ⁴³]
滿 muá muan2 [mũã⁵²] [mvũã⁴⁵]

Syllables

Syllables in Teochew contain an onset consonant, a medial glide, a nucleus, usually in the form of a vowel, but can also be occupied by a syllabic consonant like [ŋ], and a final consonant. All the elements of the syllable except for the nucleus are optional, which means a vowel or a syllabic consonant alone can stand as a fully-fledged syllable.

Onsets

All the consonants except for the glottal stop ʔ shown in the consonants chart above can act as the onset of a syllable; however, the onset position is not obligatorily occupied.

Finals

Teochew finals consist maximally of a medial, nucleus and coda. The medial can be /i-/ or /u-/, the nucleus can be a monophthong or diphthong, and the coda can be a nasal or a stop. A syllable must consist minimally of a vowel nucleus or syllabic nasal.

Nucleus -a- -ɛ̝- -- -ɯ-[a] -i- -u- -ai- -au- -oi- -ou- -ui- -iu- ∅-
Medial ∅- i- u- ∅- i- u- ∅- i- ∅- ∅- ∅- ∅- u- ∅- i- ∅- ∅- i- ∅- ∅-
Coda -∅ a ia ua e [b] ue o io[b] ɯ i u ai uai au iau[b] oi ou [b] ui iu
-◌̃ ã ĩã ũã [b] ũẽ ĩõ[b] ɯ̃ ĩ ãĩ ũãĩ ãũ ĩãũ[b] õĩ õũ [b] ũĩ ĩũ
-ʔ iaʔ uaʔ [b] ueʔ ioʔ[b] ɯʔ auʔ oiʔ iuʔ
-m am iam uam im
-ŋ iaŋ uaŋ ieng[c] ueŋ ioŋ ɯŋ ŋ̩
-p ap iap uap ip
-k ak iak uak ek iek[c] uek ok iok ɯk ik uk
  1. ^ Only in Northern Teochew
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j /io/, /ĩõ/, /ioʔ/, /iau/, /ĩãũ/ are pronounced as /ie/, /ĩẽ/, /ieʔ/, /iou/, /ĩõũ/ in Chaozhou and Chenghai
  3. ^ a b /ieng/ and /iek/ are only found in Chaozhou dialect, while other dialects merge them with /iang/ and /iak/

In most dialects of Teochew, historical codas -n and -t are merged with and -k. They were still present in mainstream Teochew in the 19th century, but now they are found only in certain peripheral dialects of Teochew, as well as in Hai Lok Hong Min.[12]

Chaozhou /ieng/ and /iek/ are used in syllables that previously had /ien/ and /iet/, e.g. 顯 is different from 響 in Chaozhou (as /hieŋ˥˧/ and /hiaŋ˥˧/) and Hokkien (as /hien˥˧/ and /hiaŋ˥˧/), but not Swatow (both are /hiaŋ˥˧/).

Apart from the aforementioned rhymes, there are a few limitedly used finals with both glottal stop and nazalization, usually found in ideophones and interjections, e.g. he̍hⁿ /hẽʔ˥˦/ "agitated; confused", hauhⁿ /hãũʔ˧˨/ "to eat in large bites", khuàhⁿ-ua̍hⁿ 快活 /kʰũãʔ˨˩˨꜒꜔.ũãʔ˥˦/ "comfortable".

Tones

Teochew, like other Chinese varieties, is a tonal language. Like other Southern Min varieties, Teochew has split the Middle Chinese four tone into two registers (four "dark tones" and four "light tones"). The tones are numbered from 1 through 8, either in the "dark—light" order (the checked tones are 7 and 8) or in the "level—rising—departing—entering" order (the checked tones are 4 and 8). This section follows the second order, as used in Peng'im.

level

rising

departing

entering


dark
tone number
(Peng'im)
tone diacritic
(Pe̍h-ūe-jī)
none ́ ̀ none
(ending on -p, -t, -k, -h)
tone name 陰平
Im-phêⁿ
"Dark-level"
陰上
Im-siăng
"Dark-rising"
陰去
Im-khṳ̀
"Dark-departing"
陰入
Im-ji̍p
"Dark-entering"

light
tone number
(Peng'im)
tone diacritic
(Pe̍h-ūe-jī)
̂ ˘ ̄ ̍
(ending on -p, -t, -k, -h)
tone name 陽平
Iôⁿ-phêⁿ
"Light-level"
陽上
Iôⁿ-siăng
"Light-rising"
陽去
Iôⁿ-khṳ̀
"Light-departing"
陽入
Iôⁿ-ji̍p
"Light-entering"

Depending on the position of a word in a phrase, the tones can change and adopt extensive tone sandhi.

Northern Teochew

Northern Teochew dialects are not too different from each other in their tones. There are small differences in pronunciation of the tone ⑦, which can vary between low falling (21 ˨˩) and low level (22 ˨) among different dialects and individual speakers.[8][13]

citation tones post-sandhi tones

level

rising

departing

entering

level

rising

departing

entering
Chaozhou, Chenghai

dark

33 ˧

53 ˥˧

212 ˨˩˨

32 ˧˨
34 ˧˦ 35 ˧˥ 53 ˥˧ 54 ˥˦

light

55 ˥

35 ˧˥

21 ˨˩ ~ 22 ˨

54 ˥˦
23 ˨˧ 21 ˨˩ ~ 22 ˨ 23 ˨˧ 32 ˧˨
Jieyang

dark

33 ˧

53 ˥˧

212 ˨˩˨

32 ˧˨
33 ˧ 35 ˧˥ 53 ˥ 54 ˥˦

light

55 ˥

35 ˧˥

22 ˨ ~ 21 ˨˩

54 ˥˦
22 ˨ ~ 21 ˨˩ 21 ˨˩ ~ 22 ˨ 32 ˧˨
Shantou, Raoping

dark

33 ˧

53 ˥˧

212 ˨˩˨

32 ˧˨
33 ˧ 35 ˧˥ 55 ˥ 54 ˥˦

light

55 ˥

35 ˧˥

21 ˨˩ ~ 22 ˨

54 ˥˦
21 ˨˩ ~ 22 ˨ 22 ˨ ~ 21 ˨˩ 32 ˧˨

There are minor differences in tone sandhi among the Northern Teochew dialects:[13]

The light departing tone (⑦) after sandhi is usually merged with the post-sandhi tone ⑤ or ⑥, depending on the dialect. For convenience, since the difference between them is still not large, all three light tones after sandhi may be described as identical and equal to pre-sandhi tone ⑦. The sandhi rules for Northern Teochew may be simplified as follows:

citation tones post-sandhi tones

level

rising

departing

entering

level

rising

departing

entering

dark
[a] or [b]

light
  1. ^ Chaozhou, Chenghai, Jieyang
  2. ^ Shantou, Raoping

Southern Teochew

Southern Teochew tones are noticeably diverse. Based on their tones, the Southern Teochew dialects can be divided into two broad areas: Teoyeo and Hui-Pou.[8][14]

citation tones post-sandhi tones

level

rising

departing

entering

level

rising

departing

entering
Teoyeo (old)

dark

21 ˨˩

551 ˥˥˩

53 ˥˧

43 ˦˧
33 ˧ 53 ˥˧ 33 ˧ 5 ˥

light

44 ˦

=③

42 ˦˨

45 ˦˥
44 ˦ 21 ˨˩ 3 ˧
Teoyeo (new)

dark

31 ˧˩

55 ˥˥ ~ 35 ˧˥

52 ˥˨

32 ˧˨
31 ˧˩ 52 ˥˨ 23 ˨˧ 5 ˥

light

33 ˧ ~ 23 ˨˧

=③

43 ˦˧ ~ 44 ˦

45 ˦˥
33 ˧ ~ 23 ˨˧ 21 ˨˩ 3 ˧
Haimen

dark

31 ˧˩

551 ˥˥˩

51 ˥˩

43 ˦˧
33 ˧ 41 ˦˩ 44 ˦ 54 ˥˦

light

44 ˦

=①

441 ˦˦˩

45 ˦˥
44 ˦ 33 ˧ 43 ˦˧
Dahao

dark

21 ˨˩

24 ˨˦

52 ˥˨

3 ˧
21 ˨˩ 52 ˥˨ 33 ˧ 45 ˦˥

light

33 ˧

=③

31 ˧˩

45 ˦˥
33 ˧ 21 ˨˩ 3 ˧
Puning and Huilai

dark

34 ˧˦

53 ˥˧[a]
or 55 ˥[b]

31 ˧˩

32 ˧˨
33 ˧ 34 ˧˦ 55 ˥ 54 ˥˦

light

44 ˦

23 ˨˧

42 ˦˨[c]
or =③[d]
or =⑥[e]

54 ˥˦
31 ˧˩ 33 ˧ 32 ˧˨
  1. ^ Puning, Western Huilai, older speakers in Central Huilai
  2. ^ Eastern Huilai, younger speakers in Central Huilai
  3. ^ Puning, Eastern Huilai
  4. ^ Central Huilai
  5. ^ Western Huilai

Currently, a tone shift is ongoing in the Teoyeo dialect. There is a continuum between the "old accent" and "new accent". This shift is more advanced in urban dialects in Eastern Chaoyang (incl. Haojiang, especially the Dahao dialect), among female speakers, and in the younger generations (born after 1980s). The principal features of this shift are as follows:[8]

"Old" Teoyeo accent is notable for the fact that out of its five non-checked tones, four tones have falling contour.[15]

Hui-Pou dialects are more homogeneous in their tones than Teoyeo dialects. Puning and Eastern Huilai dialects have 8 tones, while Central and Western Huilai have 7 tones (tone ⑦ is merged with other tones). Some of the Huilai dialects undergo tone shift similar to that in Teoyeo dialects, but to a lesser extent (particularly, tone ② becomes high level 55 rather than high falling 53).

Neutral tone

Like Hokkien, Teochew has the neutral tone. In pronunciation, the neutral tone is considered to be identical to the light departing tone (⑦) in the respective dialect, but when the original tone of the syllable was dark rising (②), the neutral tone is identical to the dark departing tone (③), and when the original tone was an entering tone (④ or ⑧), the neutral tone is identical to the dark entering tone (④).

citation tones neutral tone

level

rising

departing

entering

level

rising

departing

entering

dark

light

Some works refer to the neutral tone as "left-dominant tone sandhi". However, unlike the general ("right-dominant") Teochew tone sandhi, which is a regular phonetic change, the neutral tone is lexical and its occurrence cannot be predicted. Compare the following examples with the morpheme ni5 "year", where some words have the neutral tone, while others preserve the original tone.[16]

tsâiⁿ--nî 前年 zain5 ni5 "year before last"
ău--nî 後年 ao6 ni5 "year after next"
tuā-tsâiⁿ--nî 大前年 dua7 zain5 ni5 "three years ago"
jĭ-káu--nî 二九年 ri6 gao2 ni5 "year 29"

but:

kim-nî 今年 gim1 ni5 "this year"
kū-nî 舊年 gu7 ni5 "last year"
mê-nî 明年 mên5 ni5 "next year"
jĭ-tsa̍p-ngŏu-nî 二十五年 ri6 zab8 ngou6 ni5 "25 years"

Grammar

The grammar of Teochew is similar to other Min languages, as well as some southern varieties of Chinese, especially with Hakka, Yue and Wu. The sequence 'subject–verb–object' is typical, like Standard Mandarin, although the 'subject–object–verb' form is also possible using particles.

Morphology

Pronouns

Personal pronouns

The personal pronouns in Teochew, like in other Chinese languages, do not show case marking, therefore ua2 means both I and me and i-nâng 伊人 i1 nang5 means they and them. The Southern Min languages, like some Mandarin dialects, have a distinction between an inclusive and exclusive we, meaning that when the addressee is being included, the inclusive pronoun náng nang2 would be used, otherwise uáng uang2 is employed. Outside Southern Min varieties like Teochew, no other southern Chinese variety has this distinction.[16]

Personal Pronouns in Teochew
Singular Plural
1st person ua2 I / me Inclusive náng nang2 we / us
Exclusive uáng uang2[a] we / us
2nd person lṳ́ le2 you nṳ́ng, níng neng2, ning2 you (plural)
3rd person i i1 he/she/it/him/her ing 𪜶 ing1
i-nâng 伊儂 i1 nang5
they/them
  1. ^ Also pronounced úng / ung2 in Chaozhou, ńg / ng2 in Chenghai
Possessive pronouns

Teochew does not distinguish the possessive pronouns from the possessive adjectives. As a general rule, the possessive pronouns or adjectives are formed by adding the genitive or possessive marker kâi gai5 to their respective personal pronouns, as summarized below:

Possessive Pronouns in Teochew
Singular Plural
1st person uá-kâi 我個 ua2 gai5 my / mine Inclusive náng-kâi 咱個 nang2 gai5 our / ours
Exclusive uáng-kâi 阮個 uang2 gai5 ours / ours
2nd person lṳ́-kâi 汝個 le2 gai5 your / yours nṳ́ng-kâi, níng-kâi 恁個 neng2 gai5, ning2 gai5 your / yours (plural)
3rd person i-kâi 伊個 i1 gai5 his / his; her / hers; its / its i-nâng-kâi 伊儂個 i1 nang5 gai5 their / theirs

púng

bung2

CL-books

tsṳ

ze1

book

si6

be

ua2

I

kâi

gai5

POS

本 書 是

púng tsṳ sĭ uá kâi

bung2 ze1 si6 ua2 gai5

CL-books book be I POS

"The book is mine."

As kâi gai5 is the generic measure word, it may be replaced by other more appropriate classifiers:[16]

ua2

I

tiâu

diao5

CL-clothes

kûng

gung5

skirt

uá tiâu kûng

ua2 diao5 gung5

I CL-clothes skirt

"my skirt"

Demonstrative pronouns

Teochew has the typical two-way distinction between the demonstratives, namely the proximals and the distals. The basic determiners are tsí zi2 "this" and hṳ́ he2 "that", and they require at least a classifier (generic kâi gai5, collective tshoh coh4, or another), which can be optionally preceded by a numeral.

The Teochew Demonstratives
Proximal Distal
General Singular tsí (kâi) 只(個) zi2 (gai5) this (one) hṳ́ (kâi) 許(個) he2 (gai5) that (one)
Collective tsí tshoh 只撮 zi2 coh4 these (few) hṳ́ tshoh 許撮 he2 coh4 those (few)
Plural (non-specific) tsió zio2 these hió hio2 those
Type tsiá zia2 this kind of hiá hia2 that kind of
Spatial tsí kò 只塊 zi2 go3 here hṳ́ kò 許塊 he2 go3 there
tsí lăi 只內 zi2 lai6 here inside hṳ́ lăi 許內 he2 lai6 there inside
tsí kháu 只口 zi2 kao2 here outside hṳ́ kháu 許口 he2 kao2 there outside
Temporal tsí tsûng 只陣 zi2 zung5 now; recently hṳ́ tsûng 許陣 he2 zung5 then
Degree tsiòⁿ zion3 this much hiòⁿ hion3 that much
Adverbial tsiòⁿ seⁿ (iōⁿ) 照生(樣) zion3 sên1 (ion7) like this hiòⁿ seⁿ (iōⁿ) 向生(樣) hion3 sên1 (ion7) like that
Interrogative pronouns
The Teochew Interrogative Pronouns
who / whom tiâng 𫢗 diang5
tī tiâng 底𫢗 di7 diang5
tī nâng 底儂 di7 nang5
what mih kâi 乜個 mih4 gai5
what (kind of) + noun mih mih4 + N
which di7 + NUM + CL + N
tī kâi 底個 di7 gai5
where tī kò 底塊 di7 go3
when tiang sî 𫢗時 diang1 si5
how, why manner tsò nî 做呢 zo3 ni5
state mih seⁿ iōⁿ 乜生樣 mih4 sên1 ion7
tsò nî iōⁿ 做呢樣 zo3 ni5 ion7
tsăi seⁿ (iōⁿ) 在生(樣) zai6 sên1 (ion7)
how many; how much kúi gui2 + CL + N
jio̍h tsōi 若濟 rioh8 zoi7 + CL + N

Numerals

Some numerals in Teochew have two variants: the literary one and the vernacular one.

Value Literary Vernacular Notes
0 lêng / lêng5 khàng / kang3 may also be written as .
1 ik / ig4 tse̍k / zêg8 is often considered the original character for tse̍k / zêg8.
When spelling numbers digit by digit, iau iao1 is also used for "one".
2 / ri6 / no6 / no6 may also be written as
The character has a literary reading liáng / liang2.
3 sam / sam1 saⁿ / san1 Literary reading is used in some set compounds.
4 sṳ̀ / se3 / si3 Literary reading is extremely rare.
5 ngóu / ngou2 ngŏu / ngou6 Literary reading is used in some set compounds.
Also pronounced as ngŏm / ngom6 in Southern Teochew.
6 la̍k / lag8 Only vernacular reading.
7 tshik / cig4 Only literary reading.
8 poih / boih4 Only vernacular reading.
9 kiú / giu2 káu / gao2 Literary reading is used in some set compounds.
10 tsa̍p / zab8 Only vernacular reading.
100 peh / bêh4 Only vernacular reading.
1000 tshoiⁿ / coin1 Only vernacular reading.
Also tshaiⁿ / cain1 (in Kekyeo and Southern Teochew).
10000 buāng / bhuang7 Only literary reading
Also buēng / bhuêng7 (in Chaozhou).
Also bāng / bang7 (variant in Southern Teochew).

Generally, vernacular variants are used, and literary readings are limited to certain set compounds and idioms, e.g.: Sam-kok 三國, ngóu-kim 五金, kiú-siau 九霄, ngóu-tsháiⁿ-phiang-hung 五彩繽紛, sam-sṳ-jṳ̂-kiâⁿ 三思而行, kiú-liû-sam-kàu 九流三教, etc.

However, literary forms of and are more commonly used, particularly in the following cases:

tsa̍p ik 十一 zab8 ig4 "eleven"
saⁿ tsa̍p jĭ 三十二 san1 zab8 ri6 "thirty two"
jĭ tsa̍p ik 二十一 ri6 zab8 ig4 "twenty one"
but:
tse̍k peh 一百 zêg8 bêh4 "one hundred"
nŏ tshoiⁿ 兩千 no6 coin1 "two thousands"
tŏiⁿ jĭ 第二 doin6 ri6 "second"
tsheⁿ khî ik 星期一 cên1 ki5 ig4 "Monday"
tsiaⁿ gue̍h tshiu ik 正月初一 zian1 ghuêh8 ciu1 ig4 "first day of the Lunar New Year"
jĭ-khàng-iau-poih-nî jĭ-gue̍h jĭ-hō 2018年二月二號 ri6 kang3 iao1 boih4 ni5 ri6 ghuêh8 ri6 ho7 "February 2, 2018"

Passive construction

In Teochew passive construction, the agent phrase by somebody always has to be present, and is introduced by the preposition khṳh keh4 or pung bung1, both literally meaning "to give". If the agent is not explicitly named, its position is taken by nâng nang5 (lit. "a person; one; somebody").

i

i1

s/he

pung

bung1

give

nâng

nang5

person

thâi

tai5

kill

掉。

tiāu

diao7

be lost

刣 掉。

i pung nâng thâi tiāu

i1 bung1 nang5 tai5 diao7

s/he give person kill {be lost}

"S/he was killed (by someone)."

While in Mandarin one can have the agent introducer ; bèi or ; gěi alone without the agent itself, in Teochew it is not grammatical to omit this dummy agent nâng nang5.

kâi

gai5

CL

pue

buê1

cup

pung

bung1

give

nâng

nang5

person

khà

ka3

break

掉。

tiāu

diao7

be lost

個 杯 敲 掉。

kâi pue pung nâng khà tiāu

gai5 buê1 bung1 nang5 ka3 diao7

CL cup give person break {be lost}

"The cup was broken."

(cf. Mandarin 杯子給打破了; bēizi gěi dǎ pòle)

The agent phrase pung nâng 分儂 bung1 nang5 always comes immediately after the subject, not at the end of the sentence or between the auxiliary and the past participle like in some European languages (e.g. German, Dutch).

Comparison

Comparative construction with two or more nouns

Teochew, like Cantonese but unlike Hokkien, uses the construction "X ADJ kuè guê3 Y", to express the comparison:

i

i1

s/he

ngiá

ngia2

beautiful

kuè

guê3

exceed

汝。

lṳ́

le2

you

伊 雅 汝。

i ngiá kuè lṳ́

i1 ngia2 guê3 le2

s/he beautiful exceed you

"She is more beautiful than you."

(cf. Cantonese 佢靚過你; keoi5 leng3 gwo3 nei5)

However, due to modern influences from Mandarin, the Mandarin structure "X Y ADJ" has also gained popularity over the years. Therefore, the same sentence can be re-structured and becomes:

i

i1

s/he

bi2

compare

lṳ́

le2

you

雅。

ngiá

ngia2

beautiful

汝 雅。

i lṳ́ ngiá

i1 bi2 le2 ngia2

s/he compare you beautiful

"She is more beautiful than you."

(cf. Mandarin 她比你漂亮; tā bǐ nǐ piàoliang)

Comparative construction with only one noun

The - or -construction must involve two or more nouns to be compared; an ill-formed sentence will be yielded when only one is being mentioned:

* 伊雅過 (?)

Teochew is different from English, where the second noun being compared can be left out ("Tatyana is more beautiful (than Lisa)". In cases like this, the -construction must be used instead:

i

i1

s/he

iău

iau6

comparatively

雅。

ngiá

ngia2

beautiful

伊 夭 雅。

i iău ngiá

i1 iau6 ngia2

s/he comparatively beautiful

"She is more beautiful."

The same holds true for Mandarin and Cantonese in that another structure needs to be used when only one of the nouns being compared is mentioned. Teochew and Mandarin both use a pre-modifier (before the adjective) while Cantonese uses a post-modifier (after the adjective).

比較

bǐjiào

漂亮

piàoliang

她 {比較} 漂亮

tā bǐjiào piàoliang

keoi5

leng3

di1

佢 靚

keoi5 leng3 di1

There are two words which are intrinsically comparative in meaning, i.e. iâⁿ ian5 "to win" and su su1 "to lose". They can be used alone or in conjunction with the -structure:

tsí

zi2

niá

nian2

kûng

gung5

su

su1

(過)

(kuè)

(guê3)

hṳ́

he2

領。

niá

nian2

只 領 裙 輸 (過) 許 領。

tsí niá kûng su (kuè) hṳ́ niá

zi2 nian2 gung5 su1 (guê3) he2 nian2

"This skirt is not as good as that one."

ua2

lăi

lai6

kâi

gai5

電腦

tiĕng-náu

diêng6 nao2

iâⁿ

ian5

i

i1

kâi

gai5

hoh

hoh4

濟。

tsōi

zoi7

我 內 個 電腦 贏 伊 個 好 濟。

uá lăi kâi tiĕng-náu iâⁿ i kâi hoh tsōi

ua2 lai6 gai5 {diêng6 nao2} ian5 i1 gai5 hoh4 zoi7

"My computer (at home) is far better than his."

Note the use of the adverbial hoh tsōi 好濟 hoh4 zoi7 at the end of the sentence to express a higher degree.

Equal construction

In Teochew, the idea of equality is expressed with the word pêⁿ bên5 or pêⁿ-iōⁿ 平樣 bên5 ion7:

tsí

zi2

púng

bung2

tsṳ

ze1

kah

gah4

hṳ́

he2

púng

bung2

pêⁿ

bên5

重。

tăng

dang6

只 本 書 佮 許 本 平 重。

tsí púng tsṳ kah hṳ́ púng pêⁿ tăng

zi2 bung2 ze1 gah4 he2 bung2 bên5 dang6

"This book is as heavy as that one."

i

i1

no6

nâng

nang5

pêⁿ

bên5

平樣。

pêⁿ-iōⁿ

bên5 ion7

伊 兩 儂 平 平樣。

i nŏ nâng pêⁿ pêⁿ-iōⁿ

i1 no6 nang5 bên5 {bên5 ion7}

"They are the same."

("They look the same/They're as good as each other/They're as bad as each other"; lit. "The two people are the same same way")

Superlative construction

To express the superlative, Teochew uses the adverb siăng siang6 or siăng-téng 上頂 siang6 dêng2. The latter variant is usually used with a complimentary connotation.

tsí

zi2

koiⁿ

goin1

mue̍h

muêh8

上頂

siăng-téng

siang6 dêng2

好食。

hó-tsia̍h

ho2 ziah8

只 間 物 上頂 好食。

tsí koiⁿ mue̍h siăng-téng hó-tsia̍h

zi2 goin1 muêh8 {siang6 dêng2} {ho2 ziah8}

"This (restaurant) is (absolutely) the most delicious."

伊儂

i-nâng

i1 nang5

tùi

dui3

ua2

siăng

siang6

好。

ho2

伊儂 對 我 上 好。

i-nâng tùi uá siăng hó

{i1 nang5} dui3 ua2 siang6 ho2

"They treat me best." lit. "The people treat me very well."

Vocabulary

Teochew vocabulary consists of several layers, including:

ì-kièng 意見 i3 giêng3 "opinion",
kok-ke 國家 gog41 "state; country",
kak-hung 結婚 gag4 hung1 "to marry",
khùng-nâng 困難 kung3 nang5 "hard; difficult",
seng-mĕng 生命 sêng1 mêng6 "life",
tāu-hū 豆腐 dao7 hu7 "tofu"
tiĕng-uē 電話 diêng6-uê7 "telephone",
tshuk-kháu 出口 cug4 kao2 "exit",
huang-uàⁿ 方案 huang1 uan3 "plan; scheme",
bûng-huè 文化 bhung5 huê3 "culture",
kāng-huâ-kok 共和國 gang7 hua5 gog4 "republic",
tiĕng-náu 電腦 diêng6 nao2 "computer"
lṳ́ le2 "you",
ma̍k mag8 "eye",
tṳ̄ de7 "chopsticks",
nâng nang5 "man; person",
saⁿ san1 "shirt"
ta da1 "dry",
khṳ̀ng keng3 "to hide",
khṳh keh4 "to give",
lim lim1 "to drink"
tàⁿ dan3 "to say; to talk",
ĭⁿ in6 "to sleep",
ngà nga3 "stupid; foolish",
jṳ̂ re5 "to wipe; to mop",
tsò-nî 做呢 zo3-ni5 "why; how"

Most of the Teochew vocabulary (around 70-80%) consists of the pan-Sinitic words. However, their proportion is much lower among the most basic words used in daily speech, as they tend to belong to the last three categories. This pattern is also seen in other languages of the Sinosphere, e.g. in Japanese, where the Sino-Japanese words constitute around 60-70% of total vocabulary, but only around 20% of words used in common speech.

Literary and vernacular readings

Main article: Literary and colloquial readings

In Teochew, like in other Min languages, it is common for a character to have at least two readings, called "literary" and "vernacular". The number of such doublets in Teochew is somewhat smaller than in Hokkien, due to Teochew being prone to use only vernacular readings and lose their literary counterparts.

Relationship with Hokkien

Teochew and Hokkien are both Southern Min languages. Hokkien, which is spoken in southern Fujian, shares many phonetic similarities with Teochew, but they have low lexical similarity. Although Teochew and Hokkien share some cognates, there are pronounced differences in most vowels with some consonant and tone shifts.

Teochew has only 51% intelligibility with the Tong'an Xiamen dialect of Hokkien (Cheng 1997), approximately the same as the percentage of intelligibility as between Russian and Ukrainian languages, while it has even lower mutual intelligibility language with other dialects of the Hokkien language.[citation needed]

Most Teochew people do not speak Hokkien and the majority of Hokkien and Teochew people both see themselves as a distinct groups. There are a minority of Teochew people who speak Hokkien as their mother tongue, most of whom have close contact or relatives in the neighbouring three originally-Teochew counties of what is now South Fujian, which were seceded to Fujian during the early Tang dynasty and subsequently assimilated into the Hokkien population. These Hokkien-speaking Teochews are more likely to treat Teochew simply as accented dialect of Hokkien. These people usually have a strong sense of Hokkien identity.[citation needed]

Pronunciation

In Hokkien, denasalization of initial consonants is extensive, and sounds [m], [n], [ng] are usually viewed as allophones of /b/, /l~d/, /g/ used with nasalized rhymes. In Teochew and Hai Lok Hong, denasalization is less common.

Character Teochew Hokkien
'to go against' nge̍k ge̍k
'jade' ge̍k
'suitable' ngî
'doubt'
'handle; knob' niú liú
'willow' liú
'man' nâng lâng
'cage' lâng
'slow' măng bān
'ten thousand' buāng
'eye' ma̍k ba̍k
'ink' ba̍k

Hokkien and Hai Lok Hong have three pairs of codas: -ng/-k, -m/-p and -n/-t. Most dialects of Teochew have merged -n/-t with -ng/-k. On the other hand, many Teochew dialects, except urban Swatow and Chenghai, do not dissimilate the Middle Chinese rhyme -jom, e.g. they have huàm , huăm , huap , while Hokkien has huàn , huǎn , huat .

Teochew (except some Southern Teochew dialects) and Hai Lok Hong have 8 citation tones, while most dialects of Hokkien have 7 tones.

In individual rhymes, the differences between Hokkien and Teochew are comparable to differences between the dialects of each language. For example, both Northern Hokkien and Northern Teochew have the /ɯ/ sound, which is not found in Southern Teochew and Southern Hokkien. Northern Hokkien and Teochew both have -ng (in Hokkien and Southern Teochew) or -ung (in Northern Teochew) rhyme in words like pn̄g/pūng, mn̂g/mûng, while Southern Hokkien and Hai Lok Hong have -uiⁿ instead ( pūiⁿ, mûi).

Grammar

Teochew grammar shows some Cantonese or Hakka influence. For example,

Teochew differs from Hokkien in function words:

Teochew Hai Lok Hong Hokkien explanation
kâi kâi ê possessive particle

(dialectal)
𫩷 leh
佇咧 tǐ-leh
progressive aspect marker
在塊 -tŏ-kò -nín --leh durative aspect marker
pung
khṳh
pun
kho
hō͘ passive or causative agent preposition
àiⁿ àiⁿ beh "to want" (modal verb)
hoh hoh chin "very" (dummy adverb in adjectival sentences)

Vocabulary

Teochew has many differences with Hokkien in its basic vocabulary. Some of the differences are due to influence from Cantonese, while others are alternative yet still native Min words.

gloss Teochew Cantonese Hokkien
"to see" thóiⁿ tái khòaⁿ
"to read" 讀書 tha̍k-tsṳ 讀書 duhksyū 讀冊 tha̍k-chheh
"to sleep" n̍gh, ĭⁿ fan khùn
"beautiful" ngiá leng súi
"to speak" tàⁿ góng kóng
seh
"what" 乜個 mih-kâi 乜嘢 mātyéh 啥乜 siáⁿ-mi̍h
"child" 孥囝 nou-kiáⁿ 細路 sailouh 囡仔 gín-á
"black" ou hāk

Teochew tends to use more vernacular readings where Hokkien prefers the literary readings. For instance, Hokkien uses 多謝 to-siā for "Thank you", with literary reading for the first character, while Teochew reads it with the vernacular reading as tsōi-siā. The character has both literary reading (Teochew ang, Hokkien an) and vernacular reading (both uaⁿ), the latter more commonly used in Teochew (安全 uaⁿ-tshuâng, 安心 uaⁿ-sim, 安穩 uaⁿ-úng, 治安 tī-uaⁿ, etc), while being rare in Hokkien (used in a few place names: 同安 Tâng-uaⁿ, 南安 Lâm-uaⁿ, 惠安 Hūi-uaⁿ).

For some characters, literary readings only exist in Hokkien (even if used exclusively for declamation of Classical Chinese texts), while many vernacular readings are used only in Teochew.

Character Type of reading Teochew Hokkien Middle Chinese
(Baxter)
or Proto-Southern-Min
(Kwok Bit-Chee)[17]
Old Chinese
(Baxter-Sagart)
'meat' literary jio̍k MC nyuwk *k.nuk
vernacular ne̍k he̍k PSM *nhɯk3
'white' literary pe̍k MC baek *bˤrak
vernacular pe̍h pe̍h PSM *peʔ8
'before' literary chiân MC dzen *dzˤen
vernacular tsôiⁿ chêng /
châiⁿ /
chûiⁿ
PSM *tsõi2
'ant' literary MC ngjeX *m-qʰrajʔ
vernacular hiă hiă PSM *hia4
'branch' literary chi MC tsye *ke
vernacular ki ki PSM *ki1
'abundant' literary MC pjuwH *pək-s
vernacular PSM *pu5
'beautiful' literary múi MC mijX *mrəjʔ
vernacular bué

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Min is believed to have split from Old Chinese, rather than Middle Chinese like other varieties of Chinese.[3][4][5]
  2. ^ Chinese: 潮州話, Teochew: Tiê-tsiu-uē / Tiô-tsiu-uē (Pe̍h-ūe-jī) / Diê5 ziu17 / Dio5ziu17 (Peng'im), Mandarin: Cháozhōu huà
  3. ^ Chinese: 潮汕話, Teochew: Tiê-suaⁿ-uē / Tiô-suaⁿ-uē (Pe̍h-ūe-jī) / Diê5 suan17 / Dio5suan17 (Peng'im), Mandarin: Cháoshàn huà
  4. ^ Mandarin 'Chaozhou'
  5. ^ Mandarin 'Chaoshan'

References

  1. ^ "學潮語,埋下愛的種子". Sin Chew. January 9, 2021.
  2. ^ Language atlas of China (2nd edition), City University of Hong Kong, 2012, ISBN 978-7-10-007054-6.
  3. ^ Mei, Tsu-lin (1970), "Tones and prosody in Middle Chinese and the origin of the rising tone", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 30: 86–110, doi:10.2307/2718766, JSTOR 2718766
  4. ^ Pulleyblank, Edwin G. (1984), Middle Chinese: A study in Historical Phonology, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, p. 3, ISBN 978-0-7748-0192-8
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (July 10, 2023). "Glottolog 4.8 - Min". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. doi:10.5281/zenodo.7398962. Archived from the original on October 13, 2023. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  6. ^ "Change Request Documentation: 2021-045". August 31, 2021. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  7. ^ Yap, Foong Ha; Grunow-Hårsta, Karen; Wrona, Janick, eds. (2011). Nominalization in Asian Languages: Diachronic and typological perspectives. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 11. ISBN 978-9027206770.
  8. ^ a b c d e Zhang, Jingfen (January 4, 2021). Tono-types and Tone Evolution: The Case of Chaoshan. Springer Nature. ISBN 978-981-334-870-7.
  9. ^ 潘家懿; 鄭守治 (March 1, 2010). "粵東閩南語的分布及方言片的劃分". 臺灣語文研究. 5 (1): 145–165. doi:10.6710/JTLL.201003_5(1).0008.
  10. ^ Lin, Lunlun; Lin, Chunyu (2007). Guangdong Nan'ao Dao fang yan yu yin ci hui yan jiu. Huaxia ying cai ji jin xue shu wen ku (Di 1 ban ed.). Beijing: Zhonghua shu ju. ISBN 978-7-101-05600-6. OCLC 190795329.
  11. ^ a b Qibin, Zhang (December 23, 2023). "LANGUAGE SITUATION IN THE CHAOSHAN COMMUNITY: A PILOT STUDY". Sociolingvistika. 3 (15): 98–124. doi:10.37892/2713-2951-3-15-98-124. ISSN 2713-2951.
  12. ^ 呉芳 (2013). 粤东闽语前后鼻音韵尾类型研究. 潮学研究丛书 (in Chinese). 曁南大学出版社. ISBN 978-7-5668-0646-8.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  13. ^ a b Lin, Qing (2019). The Diachrony of Tone Sandhi: Evidence from Southern Min Chinese. Frontiers in Chinese Linguistics (1st ed. 2019 ed.). Singapore: Springer Singapore : Imprint: Springer. ISBN 978-981-13-1939-6.
  14. ^ 徐馥瓊. 粤东闽语语音研究. ISBN 9787520398350.
  15. ^ "潮陽地區四降調系統的變異及演化". Language and Linguistics (in Chinese). 21 (3): 467–511. July 16, 2020. doi:10.1075/lali.00068.zha. ISSN 1606-822X.
  16. ^ a b c Ling, XU Hui; 许惠玲 (2007). "Aspect of Chaozhou Grammar A Synchronic Description of the Jieyang Variety / 潮州話揭陽方言語法研究". Journal of Chinese Linguistics Monograph Series (22): i–304. ISSN 2409-2878.
  17. ^ Kwok, Bit-Chee (2018). Southern Min: comparative phonology and subgrouping. Routledge studies in East Asian linguistics. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-94365-0.

Sources

Further reading