Hokkien - Vocabulary - Loanwords

Loanwords

Loanwords are not unusual among Hokkien dialects, as speakers readily adopted indigenous terms of the languages they came in contact with. As a result, there is a plethora of loanwords that are not mutually comprehensible among Hokkien dialects.

Taiwanese Hokkien, as a result of linguistic contact with Japanese and aboriginal languages, contains many loanwords from these languages. Among these include the following examples:

  • 'toilet' - 便所 piān-só·, from Japanese 便所 benjo
    Other Hokkien variants: 屎礐 (sái-ha̍k), 廁所 (chhek-só͘)
  • 'car' - 自動車 chū-tōng-chhia, from Japanese 自動車 jidōsha
    Other Hokkien variants: 風車 (hong-chhia), 汽車 (khì-chhia)
  • 'to admire' - 感心 kám-sim, from Japanese 感心 kanshin
    Other Hokkien variants: 感動 (kám-tōng)
  • 'pineapple' - 王梨 ông-lâi, from Aboriginal onrai
    Other Hokkien variants: 鳳梨/鳳萊 (hōng-lâi), 黃梨 (hông-lâi)

Singaporean Hokkien and Malaysian Hokkien dialects like Penang Hokkien tend to draw loanwords from Malay, English as well as other Chinese dialects, primarily Teochew. Examples include:

  • 'but' - tapi, from Malay
    Other Hokkien variants: 但是 (tān-sī
  • 'doctor' - 老君 lu-gun, from Malay dukun
    Other Hokkien variants: 醫生(i-sing)
  • 'market' - 巴刹 pa-sat, from Malay pasar
    Other Hokkien variants: 市場 (chhī-tiûⁿ)
  • 'they' - 伊儂 i lâng from Teochew (i1 nang5)
    Other Hokkien variants: (亻因) (in)
  • 'together' - 做瓠 chò-bú from Teochew 做瓠 (jo3 bu5)
    Other Hokkien variants: 做夥 (chò-hóe), 同齊 (tâng-chê) or 鬥陣 (tàu-tīn)

Philippine Hokkien dialects, as a result of centuries-old contact with both Philippine language and Spanish also incorporate words from these languages. Examples include:

  • 'cup' - ba-su, from Spanish vaso and Tagalog baso
    Other Hokkien variants: 杯子 (poe-á)
  • 'office' - o-pi-sin, from Spanish oficina and Tagalog opisina
    Other Hokkien variants: 辦公室 (pān-kong-sek)
  • 'soap' - sa-bun, from Spanish jabon and Tagalog sabon
    Other Hokkien variants:

Read more about this topic:  Hokkien, Vocabulary

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