Monday, January 12, 2009

Hokkien was the Imperial Language of Ancient China

I got this in an e-mail forward and thought I should post it. I knew I was royalty! Why, if the Han Dynasty had survived, we'd *all* be speaking Hokkien, bwahahaha!

Forgive the long list of words. I considered taking them out but left them in because they were interesting. Who knew that our ancient ancestors had insurance?

Ancient Imperial Language of China - 2,000 Years Ago

What did it sound like? (*Mind you, it's no way similar to Mandarin*)
Has this ancient language survived?
Who speaks it today?

You'll be Surprised. You have heard it. You, your parents, or grandparents
may still be speaking this ancient, archaic language!

Yes, it's HOKKIEN (Fujian/Minnan Hua)

Hokkien is:

1. The surviving language of the *Tang dynasty*<http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Tang_dynasty>(618-907AD), China's Golden Age of Culture.
Note: *The Hokkien we hear today may have "evolved" from its original form 2,000 years ago, but it still retains the main elements of the Tang Dynasty Language.*

2. Hokkiens are the surviving descendants of the Tang Dynasty -- When the Tang Dynasty collapsed, the people of the Tang Dynasty fled South and sought refuge in the Hokkien ( Fujian ) province. Hence, Hokkien called themselves Tng-lang (*Tang Ren or People of the Tang Dynasty*) instead of Hua Lang (*Hua Ren*).

3. Hokkien has 8 tones instead of Mandarin's 4. Linguists claim that ancient languages tend to have more complex tones.

4. Hokkien retains the ancient Chinese pronunciation of "K-sounding " endings (for instance, Ha*k* Seng (student), Tua O*k* (university) , Tha*k* Che*k* (read a book/study) -- the "k" sounding ending is not found in Mandarin.

5. The collection of the famous "Three Hundred Tang Dynasty Poems" sound better when recited in Hokkien/Teochew if compared to Mandarin.

6. Consider this for a moment: Today, the Hokkien Nam Yim ochestral performance still has its roots in ancient Tang dynasty music. Here's the proof: The formation of today Nam Yim ensemble is typically seen in ancient Tang dynasty paintings of musicians.

More Astonishingly:

Although not genetically- related, Hokkiens, Koreans and Japanese share many similar words (which are different from Mandarin).

That's because Hokkien was the official language of the powerful Tang Dynasty whose influence and language spread to Japan and Korea (just like Latin - where many words were borrowed by the English, French, Italian, etc). Here are just a few words in Hokkien, Japanese & Korean for your comparison:

Hokkien Korean Japanese
Sin Boon (news) Sin Mun Shinbun - newspaper
Cheng Hu (government) Chong Bu

Pang (room) Pang

Chhia (car/vehicle) Ch'a

Mui/M'ng (door) Mun

P'hio (ticket) P'yo

Eng Wan (eternal) Yong Won

Chaek (book) Ch'ae

Ki (flag) Ki Ki

Kang (river) Gang/kang

Poh Hiam (insurance) Poh Ham

Sio Sim (caution) Cho sim

Mo Kui (demon) Ma gui

Cham (attend/join/ mix) Ch'am sok

Kantan (simple) Gan Dan

Sin Sei Kai (new world) Shin Sae Gae

Kok Ka (nation) Kuk Kka

Hya (elder brother) Hyaeng

Choon Pi (prepare) Jun Bi

Si Kan (time) Si Kan

Kam tong (emotion, feeling) Kam Jong Kanjoo

Kamsia (gratitude, thanks) Kam Sa Kansha

Keat Hoon (marriage) Kyol Hon Kekkon

Oon Tong (exercise) Un Dong Undoo

Tua Ok (university) Tae Hak Daigaku

Aun Chuan (safety) An Jon An Zen

Mua Chiok(satisfaction) Man Jok Manzoku

Ai Lang (lover) Ae In Aijin

Seng Kong (success) Song Kong Seikoo

Chhiu Sat (suicide) Cha sal Jisatsu

Pu Do (grapes) P'o d'o Budoo

Chin Por (progress) Chin bo Shinpo

To all 49 Million Hokkien Speakers:

Be Proud of Your Ancient Hokkien Heritage & Language! Speak it Loud and Clear. Teach Your Future Generation this Imperial Language, Less it Fades Away. * Be Proud Children of the Tang Emperors.*

To all Mandarin-speaking friends out there -- do not look down on your other Chinese friends who do not speak Mandarin - whom you guys fondly refer to as "Bananas". In fact, they are speaking a language which is much more ancient & linguistically complicated than Mandarin.

Keep in mind that Mandarin is just:

1. A Northern Chinese dialect (heavily influenced by non Han Chinese) that was elevated to the status of National Language by Sun Yat Sen for the sake of China's national unity.

2. Mandarin was never spoken by your proud, imperial Tang Dynasty ancestors. It was probably spoken by the Northern (Non-Han) Jurchen, Mongols and Manchu minority. *Start speaking the language of your ancestors today.*

Other interesting links: *
http://www.famousch virtual/Penang_ Hokkien*<http://www.famousch virtual/Penang_ Hokkien>


miguel said...

I knew our respective schools got it all wrong, I knew it.

宝茹 said...

Oh, yeah!

rusty erhu said...

I knew that something was fishy when I was learning Japanese and some words sounded closer to Hokkien than to Mandarin! Wow... I'm a Tang descendent???

Anonymous said...

To be accurate, some of the words are closer to Cantonese or Mandarin. You got to realise the Japanese On'yomi pronunciations borrowed from many Chinese languages down the centuries.

Still, it's a fascinating subject. I, too, was piqued to notice many Hokkien-like words when watching jdramas and anime.

It's high time Hokkiens learn about our heritage and stop buying into the ignorant idea that our language is low class. Hokkien is one of the Old Chinese languages. Mandarin speakers should respect their "elders"!

However, I read in Wiki that the Tang descent theory is still a subject of debate. wish I could find the article but as best I remember, it said that not all Hokkiens are descendents of the Tang court. With the passage of time, some native southerners also took on Hokkien ethnicity.