21 March 2014: Penang Hokkien Dictionary (English-Hokkien)

A handy guide to Penang’s charming ‘rojak Hokkien’

Penang Hokkien Dictionary (English-Hokkien)This new edition of the Penang Hokkien dictionary is the most thorough reference guide to a unique form of Hokkien widely spoken in and around Penang today. Hokkien is a fairly old language, introduced more than two centuries ago by settlers from Southern China’s Fujian province. In an atmosphere of melding languages and cross-pollination of cultures however, Penang Hokkien assumed a unique character incorporating a mélange of colorful local words and expressions. This gives Penang Hokkien its distinct character, often charmingly described as ‘rojak Hokkien’rojak being the name of a popular local fruit salad !

The Penang Hokkien Dictionary features over 7,500 vocabulary entries divided neatly by common words, themes (numbers, money, the Chinese zodiac etc), special occasions (weddings, funerals), short phrases and expressions and grammar. All Hokkien words are written with a tone mark and spelled using the established missionary Romanisation (POJ). The handy pocket-sized Penang Hokkien dictionary will prove to be both an enlightening and educational read, and an invaluable guide to locals and newcomers alike.

Winter Solstice                tang-cheh
Amorous man                  g
ò-peh sì 
Don’t fool around!           m
ài siáu-siáu!
To be clumsy                    ah-kha, ah-chh
íu (duck feet, duck hands)
cobweb                            ti-tu-si                                    
Veteran                            lāu-chiáu (old bird)