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Changing China: the evolving Chinese dialects [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2004-8-23 04:37:53 |Display all floors
Dialects of the Chinese language record the long history of the chinese nation, esp. population migration among various regions, and in certain instances, how Chinese interacted with the outside world.

For example, the cantonese dialect originated first from Qin's army sent to vietnam, and was further strengthened around the end of the Song dynasty. In different regions of China, different words are made to be "taboos", or are used only as expletives -- in the north, the character 蛋 dan, in Zhej!ang and the Shanghai region, 卵 luan, and in H unan, 虎 hu, etc. It is interesting that in H unan,  even 腐乳 fu ru is replaced by 猫乳 because the former has a character that sounds like 虎 h u (in H unan, or Xiang dialect, h u is pronouced as fu).

The English word ketchup is actually from the cantonese word 茄汁, and the English, French and German word tea, from the cantonese Te. Believe it or not, when the same type of tea was transported to central Asia and Eastern Europe via the famous Silk Road, the northern pronouciation of Cha 茶 entered in the languages of those countries, for example, the Greek probably call tea Cha  instead of Te.  Now, let us see how the word sofa entered the Chinese language. The mandarin pronouciation of Sha Fa does not make a lot of sense, but 沙发in the Shanghainese dialect mimics the English pronounciation of sofa perfectly. This means sofas were first imported via the city of Shanghai.

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Post time 2004-8-23 10:29:41 |Display all floors


This is probably the first (or one of few posts of yours) I read with great interest.
Indeed Hu is spoken Fu in Hunan. They also do not differentiate N and L significantly. For example knife and life sound nearly the same if spoken by hunanese learning english. Do you know why? ( I don't know)
Indeed the russian name for tea is czai , which is derived from northern China.

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Post time 2004-8-23 12:47:50 |Display all floors


"shafa " is originated from Sofa, or sofa originated from "shafa". People learn from each other and globalization has been altering so many parts in our lives. The most apparent word like "mama","baba" mom, papa, etc, they are the words belong to HUMAN BEINGS. No nationality or race or color barriers.

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Post time 2004-8-23 18:49:13 |Display all floors

To The Stud,

"The English word ketchup is actually from the Cantonese word 茄汁, and the English, French and German word tea, from the Cantonese ‘Te’.”

Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the word “tea” came from Hokkien, not Cantonese, for the Hokkienese call it “teh” while the Cantonese call it “cha”.  The same is true for the word “catsup” or “ketsup.”

Need your input.

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Post time 2004-8-23 19:27:55 |Display all floors

My mistake

You are right, aragorn, "the cantonese ‘Te’ " should be replaced by "the hokkien (闽南话) ‘Te’ ". It was late last night, and I had a tough time getting it posted on the CD board (see my "great" effort in splitting the words in the top post ), leave alone having a chance to look at it and edit it (it came out only late this morning).  

Tea had been brought to Europe from China about 1610 by Dutch navigators. The earliest English writings about the plant and beverages referred to it as "Tay, alias Tee".

Yes, in the Amoy dialect it is t'e, pronounced "tay", and in modern cantonese, it is pronounced as "cha." But I am not sure how it was pronounced 400 years in cantonese.

I see nothing wrong with that "the English word ketchup is actually from the Cantonese word 茄汁", though.



Word History: The word ketchup exemplifies the types of modifications that can take place in borrowing -- both of words and substances. The source of our word ketchup may be the Malay word kechap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kechap, like ketchup, was a sauce, but one without tomatoes; rather, it contained fish brine, herbs, and spices. Sailors seem to have brought the sauce to Europe, where it was made with locally available ingredients such as the juice of mushrooms or walnuts. At some unknown point, when the juice of tomatoes was first used, ketchup as we know it was born. But it is important to realize that in the 18th and 19th centuries ketchup was a generic term for sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar. The word is first recorded in English in 1690 in the form catchup, in 1711 in the form ketchup, and in 1730 in the form catsup. All three spelling variants of this foreign borrowing remain current.

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Post time 2004-8-23 21:20:37 |Display all floors


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Post time 2004-8-23 22:15:02 |Display all floors

That's interesting

It seemed that there are lots of Chinese words which come from English language.
And I have a question.
There is a word called "tai feng (台风)" in Chinese, and there is also a word called "typhoon" in English.  They have the same meaning.  
Is it true that the word "tai feng " comes from "typhoon" or "typhoon" from "tai feng"?
Or maybe it is just a coincidence?
I'm puzzled and I need help.

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