GGN Peng’im Guide
Ty Eng Lim (Last updated 1/1/09)
• What are tones?
• What do the eight tones sound like?
• How are tones represented in Peng’im?
• Tone Change
• Exceptions to Tone Change Rules
CASES, COMPOUNDS, AND AMBIGUOUS WORD READINGS
• Ambiguous Word Readings
WHAT IS GAGINANG PENG’IM?
Gaginang Peng’im (henceforth referred to as Peng’im) is a writing system used for Diōjiu language. Peng’im has been used primarily for teaching and learning Diōjiu on the website and throughout the organization of Gaginang. Gaginang promotes the use of Peng’im as a way to facilitate the learning of Diōjiu, particularly for those who have little or no knowledge of Chinese characters.
ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT
Peng’im is based on Guangdong province’s official Diōjiu romanization system. Additionally, Peng’im draws from several major romanized orthographies: Mandarin pinyin, the English language, and certain characteristics of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Development began in 2002 and changes and improvements continue periodically to this day. The developers include Diōjiu language enthusiasts, researchers, and native speakers: Ty Eng Lim (US), Oung Heng Heng (France), Michael Yip (New Zealand), Zhang Ru Yi (England), Shane Lau (Hong Kong), Thai Lee (US), Scott Duong (US), and countless others. Their informal collaborative work has given Gaginang an amazing tool that helps to promote Diōjiu.
STANDARDS AND DIALECTS
Diōjiu, like any language, has many dialects. These dialects are geographically based in cities and towns throughout the Diōsuan region as well as abroad in areas where Diōjiu people have immigrated. To facilitate common understanding, Gaginang Peng’im has adopted the speech of Suantāo as standard. Suantāo is the largest city in the Diōsuan region and enjoys relatively high popularity and prestige as a standard dialect for Diōjiu. Some native speakers of Diōjiu will find that their pronunciation, word choices, and even grammar may differ from that of the Suantāo standard. Fortunately, differences between dialects of Diōjiu are not too great. For reference, vocabulary and pronunciation from different dialects have been included in Gaginang’s other language resources.
INTERNET BROWSER LANGUAGE SETTINGS
It is advised that viewers of this guide and all of Gaginang’s Diōjiu language resources set their Internet browser language settings to view Unicode. This will enable you to view tone marks for Peng’im as well as Chinese characters. Occasionally you will notice that there are brackets [ ], these are not language setting related but denote an unknown or unavailable character in Diōjiu.
GAGINANG PENG'IM INPUT METHODS
Read more about how to type Gaginang Peng'im on your computer, by reading the article GAGINANG PENG'IM INPUT METHODS.
INTRODUCTION TO PENG’IM
Peng’im uses Roman letters from the English language. The sounds of some letters in Peng’im differ from that in English. A full explanation of all the sounds used in Diōjiu is provided below. It is suggested you use this guide as a reference whenever you have questions about writing Peng’im.
The key to understanding Peng’im is to know that virtually all letters stand for one and only one unique sound. In English, a letter can stand for many sounds, opening the chance for confusion if one is unfamiliar with certain contexts. For example, the vowel sound in “bear", “lair", “care” are all the same (in American English), despite the fact that they are all spelled with different vowels. Also, the “a” in “cat", is definitely not the same sound as the “a” in “far", or “share". In Diōjiu, virtually all vowels and consonants stand for one sound and one sound only. The following rule is the most important rule of Peng’im: IF IT RHYMES, THEN IT SHOULD BE SPELLED SIMILARLY. For example: jai (to know), bāi (cards), lāi (to come), chai (to guess), all rhyme with each other, so therefore they all use the “ai” ending.
THE VOWEL SOUNDS
Basic Vowels (5): A E I O U
Compound Vowels (12): AI, AO, EU, IA, IO, IU, OI, OU, UA, UAI, UE, UI
In all, there are about 18 distinct vowel sounds that you can make in Diōjiu, but since there are only (5) vowels in the English language, the individual vowels are put together as compound vowels. Below are examples of all the vowel sounds. The logic of the compound vowels is that they are the product of blending two individual vowels together: for example: A + I = AI ; I + U = IU.
*AUDIO* - Listen and repeat as each word is pronounced. Pay attention to the vowel sounds.
A= ka (foot 腳), mā (mother 媽), da (dry 灱)
E = mēn (night 暝), sĕn (last name 姓), be (to climb 趴)
I = mī (mushy 糜), ní (milk 奶), kĭ (chi 氣)
O = bhō (not 無), jŏ (to do 做), dó (at a place 在)
U = kū (crouch 跍), ju (pearl 珠), gu (turtle 龜)
AI = lāi (come 來), măi (don’t 勿), tāi (platform 台)
AO = láo (old 老), kao (to scratch 摳), săo (sweep 掃)
EU = hēu (fish 魚), kĕu (go 去), seụ (matters 事)
IA = kiá (stand 徛), sia (slanted 斜), gia (to increase 加)
IO = sio (burn 燒), yiọ (urine 尿), bio (a watch 表)
IU = liu (to slide 溜), niù (button 紐), giū (ball 球)
OI = koi (stream 溪), sŏi (small 細), hói (crab 蟹)
OU = lòu (hate 惱), kŏu (pants 褲), sou (crispy 萃)
UA = tua (pull 拖), duạ (big 大), juā (snake 蛇)
UAI = huai (bad 懷), guāi (strange, 怪), kuai (happy 快)
UE = hue (flower 花), muē (congee 糜), bhuẹ (not yet 未)
UI = kui (open 開), lui (money 鐳), hui (a name 輝)
THE CONSONANT SOUNDS
Consonants (14): B, D, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, S, T, W, Y
Compound Consonants (4): BH, CH, GH, NG
Most of the single consonants approximate their English equivalents closely. Examples of all sounds are provided below. Compound consonants express consonant sounds that normally do not appear in English. In total there are 18 consonant sounds. Learners with knowledge of Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, or Indonesian Romanization systems will notice that Peng’im distinctions for “P, B, BH”, “K, G, GH” and “D, T” are different. The consonants are divided into initials (consonants found at the beginning of words) and finals (consonants found at the end of words). Consonants have been grouped together by similarity of sound.
Consonant initials are the consonants that come at the beginning of a word.
*AUDIO* - Listen and repeat as each word is pronounced. Pay attention to the consonant initials and how they sound.
B = bōt (thin 薄), bā (father爸)
BH = bhō (not have無), bhì (raw rice米)
P = pang (fragrant芳), pēng’iù (friends朋友)
G = go (song歌), guă (to hang something挂)
GH = ghō (swan鵝), ghuạ (outside外)
K = ka (foot腳), kĕu (go去), kĭ (chi氣)
S = sing (new新), sang (loose松), sim (heart心)
CH = chŭ (house厝), chăi (veggies/a dish菜), chē (to check查)
J = jŏ (to do做), jọi (many [ ]), jai (to know知)
L = lāng (cage籠), lāk (six六), lèu (you你)
N = nāng (people人), ní (milk奶), nougiàn (children孥囝)
M = mā (mother媽), muēt (stuff, to do物), máng (net, web網)
NG = ngāng (cold凝), ngén (stiff 硬), ngóu (five五)
D = dò (short短), dòi (inside底), dăn’uẹ (to say or speak呾話)
T = tò (to demand妥), tòin (to watch/read睇), tin (sky天)
H = hot (quite 好), hē (shrimp蝦), hói 蟹 (crab)
Y = yiàng (yell讓), yīk (day日), yèu (erase [ ])
Consonant finals are the consonants that come at the end of a sentence.
*AUDIO* - Listen and repeat as each word is pronounced. Pay attention to the consonant finals and how they sound.
M = gim (gold金), sim (heart心), gàm [ ](to bury)
NG = ẹng (use用), āng (red紅), gang (work工)
The P, K, and T endings end in a clipped sound.This means that these endings are never actually voiced (air is not released from your mouth at the end of the word). Note that this is very different from English, where the P, K, and T endings are usually voiced.
P (Labial Stop) - The word ends with both lips closed tightly.
P= jāp (ten十), sāp (to put the breaks on in a car殺), āp (box盒)
K (Velar Stop) - The word ends with the back of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth.
K= lāk (six六), sāk (fleas虱), yīk (day日)
T (Glottal Stop) - A glottal stop is when the word ends with a quick stopping of sound created where the flap of skin in the voicebox called the glottis closes the air flow so no sound passes through.
T= boit (eight八), at (duck鴨), bēt (white百)
POTENTIALLY CONFUSING CONTRASTS
If you’re having trouble with some vowel or consonant sounds, the following examples will help you discern one sound from another.
*AUDIO* - Listen and repeat each group of sound distinctions.(1) P, B and BH
pó (to cradle抱), bo (channel播), bhō (no, not無)
(2) K, G and GH
kò (can 可), go (song歌), ghō (goose鵝)
(3) D and T
do (knife刀), tō (peach桃)
(4) OI and UE
ói (can do something會), uẹ (language話)
bhói (cannot[ ]), bhuẹ (not yet未)
hói (crab蟹), hue (flower花)
(5) EU and U
seụ (matters事), su (to lose輸)
kĕu (go去), kū (crouch跍)
(6) IA and IO
sià (write寫), sio (burn燒),
chia (car車), chiŏ (laugh笑),
gia (to add to加), giŏ (to call something叫)
(7) Non-Nasalized and Nasalized (see explanation of nasalization)
sua (sand沙), suan (mountain 山)
be (climb or crawl趴), ben (flat平)
*AUDIO* - Listen and repeat each standard and non-standard variety.
(1) i + e. The “i” variety is standard.
The “e” instead of “i” sound is a trait of Gik’iōn Diōjiu (揭陽). Most other Diōsuan regions use “i”.
dīkdīk, dēkdēk (straight直直)
jingsīk, jengsēk (real, true, authentic真實)
chik, chek (seven 七)
(2) eu + u. The “eu” variety is standard.For many Diōjiu speakers from Vietnam, initial “ch” has morphed into “s”.
The “u” variety is used in Diō’iōn (潮陽) and some other regions. This difference points to a connection to Hokkien which tends to use the “u” varieties as well.
lèu, lù (you你)
seụ, sụ (matters事)
deu, du (pig豬)
(3) “s” + “ch” contrast. The “ch” variety is standard.
chia, sia (car車)
chik, sik (seven七)
chiăng, siăng (to sing唱)
WHAT IS NASALIZATION?
Some Diōjiu words are nasal. This means that you pronounce nasal words with an emphasis on the air flowing through your nose. A final “-n” represents nasalization and always comes at the end of a word. For those new to this concept, do not confuse tone with nasalization. For more on tones, continue reading to the tones section of this guide.
*AUDIO* - Listen and pronounce each set of non-nasal and nasal words.
ī (aunt 姨)
be (climb 趴)
io (waist 腰)
īn (round 原)
ben (flat 平)
iōn (sheep 羊)
(1) ua - uan
uà (me, I 我), uàn (bowl 碗)
sua (sand 沙), suan (mountain 山)
(2) e - en
be (climb or crawl 趴), ben (flat 平)
dē (tea 茶), dén (to squeeze [ ])
(3) a - an
da (dry 灱), dăn (to speak 呾)
à (to bend 拗), ong3 an2 (cry of a baby[ ][ ])
(4) i - in
i (he, she, it 伊), īn (round 圓)
sĭ (four 四), sĭn (fan 扇)
(5) ia - ian
giă (to send by mail 寄), giăn (mirror 鏡)
sia (slanted 斜), sian (sound 聲)
(6) io VS ion(7) ai - ain
diō (Diōjiu 潮), buegidiōn (airport 飛機場)
giō (bridge 橋), gion (ginger 姜)
sai (west 西), ăin (love 愛)
băi (day of the week 拜), bạin (to handle 辦)
WHAT ARE TONES?
Tones are a movement in pitch which differentiates meaning between words. An example of this is the difference of meaning which can be conveyed by the varying tones in the word “What”. Depending on its tone, it can express subtle shades of meaning: What? (I don’t believe you; Hurry up – say what you’re going to say fast; Did I do something wrong?, etc.) Diōjiu has eight tones as compared to Mandarin Chinese’s four.
*AUDIO* - Listen to and repeat the eight tones of Teochew
1 [a] - middle
2 [à] - falling
3 [ă] - fall-and-rise
4 [ap, at, ak] - low stop
5 [ā] - high
6 [á] - rising
7 [ạ] - low
8 [āp, āt, āk] - high stop
HOW ARE TONES REPRESENTED IN PENG’IM?
Tones are represented by diacritic marks on vowels. These marks are also referred to as tone marks. Generally speaking, each tone mark represents a tonal contour, a movement of pitch. The following diagram illustrates each tone with its corresponding tonal contour and tone mark. Also, you’ll notice that tones 4 and 8 can only occur with labial (-p), velar(-k) and glottal stops (-t).
Rather than having eight unique tone marks, Peng’im uses five. Each bracket shows an example of the vowel “a” with an indicated tone.
Tone 1 – [a] Has no mark.
Tone 2 – [à] Represented by a grave accent.
Tone 3 – [ă] Represented by a breve.
Tone 4 – [ap, at, ak] Has no mark. All words with tone 4 end in “p”, “t”, or “k” exclusively so there is no confusion with tone 1.
Tone 5 – [ā] Represented by a macron.
Tone 6 – [á] Represented by an acute accent.
Tone 7 – [ạ] Represented by an under dot
Tone 8 – [āp, āt, āk] Represented by a macron. All words with tone 8 end in “p”, “t”, or “k” exclusively so there is no confusion with tone 5.
In words with multiple vowels, which vowel does the accent go on? The hierarchy goes in the following order:
”a”, “e”, “o”, “u”, “i”
Taking the word liào (ended, completion particle了) for example, because there is an “a” in this word, it automatically gets the accent. For the word “jùi” it goes on the “u”. The order is based firstly on alphabetical order and secondly on aesthetic appearance, leaving the letter “i” at the bottom.
Additionally, “ḿ” uses tone 6 and is a common word that means “no, not”.
In Diōjiu, tones of one word may change when they are followed by any other word. This process is referred to as tone change or tone sandhi. In other words, in any phrases that have two words (utterances) or more, the first one will exhibit a tone change while the second keeps its original tone. The tone that the word changes to is fixed and illustrated in the figures below. If a word has three syllables the first (2) will exhibit tone change. If four syllables then the first three. In writing Peng’im, it is standard to show only the original tones.
The following diagram illustrates the rules for tone change by having each word be repeated.
*AUDIO* - Listen to each tone as it is repeated to show the presence or lack of tone change.
Example: huè chia jám 火車站 train stationThis word will go through only one sandhi change. Why only one? Because “huè”, originally tone 2, will become “hué” tone 6, and chia is tone 1, which doesn’t go through any tone change. Those two words change tones because they come before another word. The last word jám won’t change tone because it is the last word in the phrase. Note however, that when writing in Peng’im it’s customary to only show the original tone. When reading, one must have memorized the tone change rules to know how to read a phrase or sentence properly.
This illustration shows the tone change rules in a flow chart:
EXCEPTIONS TO TONE CHANGE RULES
When speaking in Diōjiu, you may come across phrases or sentences where, if following the rules of tone change, you would expect a certain tone change, but surprisingly there isn’t one. Why not? Certain classes of words don’t go through tone change:
Pronouns - 我 uà – I, me; 你 lèu – you; 俺 nàng – we; when having words come after them, pronouns do NOT go through tone change. *AUDIO* - Listen to each word spoken alone, then within a sentence with words following it. You’ll notice that there is no tone change for the pronouns.
俺欲去食飯 Nàng ăin kĕu jiātbeung.
Regional pronunciation – tone change rules vary somewhat for the various regions of Diōsuan, so you may hear differences.
Cases are the upper or lower case forms of a letter (ex: “A” and “a”). Gaginang Peng’im adopts the same case rules as English: Upper case for proper names and the first word of a sentence. For example: Suantāo sí gāi duạchí (Suantao is a big city).
Ancient Chinese was primarily a one-syllable-one-word language, for example the word for day - 日 yīk. This single character known in written Chinese as a “yị” 字. However, today’s Chinese and Diōjiu feature many polysyllabic words, for example: 昨日 jàyīk - yesterday, 日斗飯yīkdăobẹung - lunch. These use multiple characters to represent them and are known as “sēu” 詞.
How does one know when to put words together (in a compound, with no spaces), or to keep them apart?
Use the following examples as a rough guide:
NOUNS: 日斗飯yīkdăobẹung – lunch. (NOT: yīk dăo bẹung)
VERBS: 參詳 chamsiāng – to discuss.
ADJECTIVES: 保守bòsiù – conservative.
VERB-COMPLEMENTS: 食着 jiātdiot – to have eaten; 跋落 buātlot
IDIOMATIC PHRASES: 無大無細 bhōduạbhōsŏi – No big no small: No respect for elders
NUMBERS: 三十九 sanjāpgào – thirty-nine
DUPLICATED ADJECTIVES: 大大 duạduạ - very big
In compound words, the last letter and first letter of adjoining parts of the word may be read ambiguously. To resolve any ambiguities and to clarify meaning, Teochew uses the apostrophe “ ‘ “.
One could read this as either: “sang” and “iap”, OR “san” and “giap”. To make the distinction clear, we put an apostrophe to indicate which letter should be in each word.
三峽 San’giap – Three Gorges of China.
Teochew will never have two “i’s” together, however, as a rule, whenever two vowels are adjacent to one another, an apostrophe is required.
哎呀ai'iá – oh my, oh no
- Wikipedia’s entry on Teochew language:
- An additional Romanised Teochew System specifically designed for English speakers