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Romanised Teochew Systems

Why My System of Romanised Teochew?

I found that the Romanised Teochew sytems used by Teochew dictionaries and by Gaginang would, in some cases, lead to very different pronunciations from intended pronunciations when read by an English speaker. See the likely mispronunciations below.

 

A Teochew Dictionary's Romanised Teochew System

I had difficulty using the Romanised Teochew used by the Teochew Dictionary I have:
(a) to English-speakers, some of the letters (e.g. b, c, d, g and r) of the alphabet are used rather differently,
(b) its tone indicator system is not explicit on words requiring tone change (hence one has to remember which words require tone change and to change to which tones) and
(c) using "n" as nasal indicator is likely to mislead users. 

 

Examples of Difficulties in Romanised Teochew used by A Teochew Dictionary

b” is likely to be mispronounced as “b” in “boy”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “p” sound as in paper.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “p” which is closer to its intended sound.

d” is likely to be mispronounced as “d” in “dog”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “t” as in “taunting”.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “t” which is closer to its intended sound.

g” is likely to be mispronounced as “g” in “girl”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “k” sound as in kicking.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “k” which is closer to its intended sound.

r” is likely to be mispronounced as “r” in “rat”; this is very different from the intended “j” sound as in “jam”.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “j” which is close to its intended sound.

Its use of c in a Teochew word may be badly mispronounced as s or k by English speakers. Similarily, its use of ng at the beginng of a Teochew word may be badly mispronounced as n by English speakers.

The nasal indicator is “n” at the end of a word.  This is likely to be wrongly pronounced as “n” at the end of a word, e.g. the Teochew Dictionary's word for hill/mountain is “suan” which is likely to be mispronounced as “s” + “ua” + n” although the intended sound is the nasal form of “sua”.  The Teochew sound “suan” (as “s” + “ua” + n”) means “diamond” in Teochew.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, the nasal form of “sua” is “sua`”.  See Nasal Indicator section.

Its use of ê is difficult to type.

 

Gaginang Romanised Teochew System

I found Gaginang Website to be a good website on Teochew related information but I had difficulty using the R omanised Teochew used by Gaginang:
(a) to English-speakers, some of the letters (e.g. b, d, g and especially j and y) of the alphabet are used rather differently,
(b) its tone indicator system is not explicit on words requiring tone change (hence one has to remember which words require tone change and to change to which tones) and
(c) using "n" as nasal indicator is likely to mislead users. 

Examples of Difficulties in Romanised Teochew used by Gaginang Website

b” is likely to be mispronounced as “b” in “boy”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “p” sound as in paper.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “p” which is closer to its intended sound.

d” is likely to be mispronounced as “d” in “dog”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “t” as in “taunting”.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “t” which is closer to its intended sound.

g” is likely to be mispronounced as “g” in “girl”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “k” sound as in kicking.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “k” which is closer to its intended sound.

j” is likely to be mispronounced as “j” in “jam”; this is very different from the intended un-aspirated “ts” sound in international phonetics.  Since most English speakers are unable to combine “t” and “s” to pronounce ts correctly, in TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “z” which is closer to its intended sound.

y” is likely to be mispronounced as “y” in “year”; this is very different from the intended “j” sound as in “jam”.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, this consonant is represented by “j” which is close to its intended sound.

eu” is likely to be mispronounced as “eu” in “Europe”; this is very different from its intended sound.  Although the intended sound has no similar sound in English, in TPB system of Romanised Teochew this sound (a vowel, not diphthong) is represented by “er” which is closer to its intended sound.

Its use of ng at the beginng of a Teochew word may be badly mispronounced as n by English speakers.

The nasal indicator is “n” at the end of a word.  This is likely to be wrongly pronounced as “n” at the end of a word, e.g. Gaginang’s Teochew word for hill/mountain is “suan” which is likely to be mispronounced as “s” + “ua” + n” although the intended sound is the nasal form of “sua”.  The Teochew sound “suan” (as “s” + “ua” + n”) means “diamond” in Teochew.  In TPB system of Romanised Teochew, the nasal form of “sua” is “sua`”.  See Nasal Indicator section.

Its use of tone indictors above or below a letter (of the alphabet) is difficult to type.

 

System

TPB

Teochew

Dictionary

新潮汕字典

by 张晓山

Gaginang

Website

http://gateways.sg/~TeochewEnglish

 

http://www.gaginang.org/language/pengim-guide/#intropengim.

 

 

 

 

Tones                                                

Number of tones:

 6  (+ 2 using tones ending with “b”, “d” or “g")

 

8

8

High Flat: high pitch throughout, same as Mandarin 1st tone.

 1  (e.g. tan1 = copper)

 

5

Macron mark on top, e.g. dāng

Middle Rising: rising from middle pitch to high pitch, same as Mandarin 2nd tone.

 2  (e.g. tan2 = heavy)

 

6

Acute accent on top, e.g. dáng

Middle Flat: medium pitch throughout, i.e. between tones 1 & 0.

 3   (e.g. tan3 = east)

 

1

No marking, e.g. dang

High Falling: falling from high pitch to medium pitch, same as Mandarin 4th tone.

 4  (e.g. tan4 = wait)

 

2

Grave accent mark on top, e.g. dàng

Low Rising: rising from low pitch to medium pitch.

 5  (e.g. si5 = four)

 

3

Breve mark on top, e.g.

Low Flat:  low pitch throughout.

 0  (e.g. tan0 = cave )

 

7

Dot below, e.g. dạng

High Stop: starts with high pitch (tone 1) but checked.

 b1, d1, g1 (but not ng1) e.g.  ziab1 = frequent; ziad1 = eat, drink; ziag1 = variant of ziab1

 

 

b8, h8, g8

Macron mark on top  and ends with p, t or k , e.g. jiāp, jiāt, jiāk

Low Stop: starts with low pitch (tone 0) but checked.

b0, d0, g0 (but not ng0) e.g.  chab0 = join (a person/group); chad0 = pierce; chag0 = paint.

 

 

b4, h4, g4

No marking but ends with p, t or k , e.g. chap, chat, chak

 

 

 

 

Nasal Indicator

 `” (on same key as “~”) after simple/ compound vowel or consonant to be nasalized, e.g. i`1 = round. 

 

“n” at end of word, e.g. in5 = round

“n” at end of word, e.g. īn = round

Note: Originally I used the more common nasal indicator, i.e. “~” above the nasal letter but found it difficult to type.

 

 

 

 

TPB System

Teochew Dictionary

Gaginang

a = a as in English word “father” except shorter (between a and a: in international phonetics),  e.g. na1 = basket

 

a

 

a

a` = nasal a, e.g. ka`3 = orange, ka3 = sticky; ka`4 = daring, ka4 = grind.

an

an

ai = combined sound of a and i as in English words “aisle” or “Thai”, or y as in English word “cry” , e.g. ai1 = mother

 

ai

 

ai

ai` = nasal ai, e.g. ai`1 = free (have nothing to do)

ain

ain

an = a + n, e.g. an1 = red

ang

ang

ao = combined sound of a and o (similar to ow as in English word “cow” except end with mouth less tight), e.g. , ao3 = cup, mug.

ao

ao

ao` = nasal ao, e.g. gu10ao`3 = type of slimy frog

Not used

Not used

b = b as in English word “boy”,  e.g. bo1 = don’t have

bh

bh

b at end of a Romanised Teochew character: pronounced lightly, air not released; e.g.  ziab1 = frequent

b

p

c is not used. 

see below

Not used

ch = aspirated ts in international phonetics = c or q in Hanyu Pinyin (similar to ch in English word “church”, except open mouth a little less and speak from front of mouth), e.g. chia3 = vehicle

c

ch

d    (at the end of a Romanised Teochew word) = d as in English word “said” but pronounced lightly and air not released; e.g.  ziad1 = eat, drink

h

t

e = e as in English word “pen”,  e.g. pe1 =crawl, pe2 = father, pe4 = bundle

ê

e

e`= nasal e, e.g. pe`1 = level, te`1 = obstruct

ên

en

ei = combined sound of e and I, as in English word “feign” or ay as in English word say”,       e.g. tein1 = lamp  (Note: “ein” is a variant of “en”, i.e. “tein3” in place of “ten3” = lamp)

Not used

Not used

en = e + n, e.g. en1 = free (not busy)

êng

eng

er = i as in “zi” or “si” in Hanyu Pinyin (similar to er as in English word “her”, but require back of tongue to be pushed near the roof of the mouth and open mouth a little less), e.g. er1 = push.

e

eu

erng = er + ng, e.g.  erng3 = = kind favour; grace

eng

eung

f  is not used

Not used

Not used

g = g as in English word “go”,  e.g. gao1 = clever

gh

gh

g  at the end of a Romanised Teochew character: pronounced lightly and air not released; e.g. ziag1 = frequent = variant of ziab1.

g

k

g` = nasal g, e.g. g`ao1 = boil for a long time.


ng

ng

h = h as in English word “has”,  e.g. hue4 = fire

h

h

i = longer than i as in English word “sit” but shorter than ee as in English word “see” (i.e. between i and i: in international phonetics, = i as in xi or qi in Hanyu Pinyin), e.g. i1 = mother’s sister.

i

i

i` = nasal i, e.g. i`1 = round; i`5 = (bird) swift.

in

in

ia = combined sound of i and a (as in English word “tiara”),  e.g. ia1 = coconut.

ia

ia

ia` = nasal ia, e.g. ia`1 = win.

ian

ian

ian = combined sound of ia and n,  e.g. thai54ian1 = sun.

iang

iang

iao = combined sound of i and ao, e.g. liao4 = finished

iao

iao

iao` = nasal iao ,e.g. iao`2 = lift open.

iaon

Not used

ie = variant of  io, e.g. ie1 = kiln

iê

ie

ie` = nasal  io, e.g. ie`1 = sheep, goat, ocean

iên

ien

in = combined sound of i and n (variant of en,  e.g. in3 = smoke

ing

ing

io = combined sound of i and o (similar to io in English word “kiosk”), e.g. io1 = kiln

io

io

io` = nasal io, e.g. io`1 = sheep, goat, ocean.

ion

ion

iou = variant of iao, e.g. hiou4 = know

iou

iou

iu = combined sound of i and u, e.g. iu1 = oil, iu0 = pomelo

iu

iu

iu` = nasal iu, e.g. iu`4 = dig out (using finger).

iun

iun?

j = similar to j in English word “jam”, except tongue exerts less pressure and open mouth a little less,  e.g.  jio0 = urine

r

y

k = non-aspirated k, as in English word “thicker”, e.g. kio1 = bridge, brinjal (egg plant).

g

g

kh = aspirated k (= kh in international phonetics) as in English word “khaki” or k as in English word “kick”, e.g. khiod1 = take

k

k

l = l as in English word “long”,  e.g. liao4 = finished

l

l

m = m as in English word “man”,  e.g. man2 = net, man4 = mosquito, man0 = dream

m

m

n = n as in English word “no”,  e.g. nai1 (= noi1) = lotus

n

n

n (used at end of word)

ng

ng

ng = ng as in English word “song, e.g. ng1 = yellow, tng1 (variant of terng) = long; sng3 (variant of serng) = sour

ng, eng

eun

o = similar to o as in English word “song” except pronounced with mouth opened less       wide (= o in international phonetics),  e.g. hon2 = phoenix

o

o

o` = nasal o, e.g. O`54 mng1 (variant of O54 mng1) =  Macau.

Not used

Not used

oi = combined sound of o and i, as in English word “coin” or “oil”, e.g. oi1 = shoes, oi2 = able

oi

oi

oi` = nasal oi, e.g. oi`1 = free (has nothing to do).

oin

oin?

on = combined sound of o and n, e.g. on2 = rock the cradle, hon2

ong

ong

ou = combined sound of o and u, as in English word “boulder” or o as in English word “so”, e.g. sou3 = crunchy

ou

ou

ou` = nasal ou, e.g. hou`4 = tiger

oun

oun?

p = non-aspirated p as in English word “paper’, e.g. pe1 = crawl

b

b

ph = aspirated p = ph in international phonetics = p as in English word “paper”, e.g. pho2 = embrace, carry in the arms.

p

p

q is not used

Not used

Not used

r is not used except in er

Used in place of j

Not used

s = s as in English word “say”,  e.g. si2 = yes

s

s

t = non-aspirated t  as in English word “total, e.g. ta4 = step on. 

d

d

th = aspirated t = th in international phonetics = th as in English word “Thai” or “Thames” or t as in English word “total”, e.g. thai1 = kill, thad0 = pagoda

t

t

u = longer than u as in English word “full” but shorter than oo as in “fool” (i.e. between u and u: in international phonetics),  e.g. pu1 = boil

u

u

ua = combined sound of u and a, e.g. ua4 = I, me; tua0 = big.

ua

ua

ua` = nasal ua , e.g. ua`4 = my, bowl.

uan

uan

uai = combined sound of u and ai, e.g.  kuai4 = limp, walking stick.

uai

uai

uai` = nasal uai , e.g.  kuai`4 = fruit.

uain

uain?

uan combined sound of ua and a, e.g.  uan1 = king

uang

uang

ue = combined sound of u and e, e.g. ue1 = draw; ue0 = spoken language, hue1 = come back

uê

ue

ue` = nasal ue, e.g. hue`1 = sideways, unreasonable

uên

uen?

ui = combined sound of u and i, similar to ui in English word “equip”; e.g. tui0= team

ui

ui

ui` = nasal ui , e.g. kui`1 = high

uin

uin?

un  = combined sound of u and n, e.g. un3= warm

ung

ung

v is not used

Not used

Not used

w is not used

Not used

?

x is not used

Not used

Not used

y is not used

Not used

Used in place of j

z = z in Hanyu Pinyin (= un-aspirated ts in international phonetics, similar to ch in English word “church”, except open mouth a little less and speak from front of mouth), e.g. ziad1 = eat, drink.

z

j

 

 

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