I believe I have seen this email before, but naturally couldn't find it again. Today I saw it floating in my mailbox, and just had to put a post up:-
For those of you who remember the banana discussion I started a while ago (to which I find it interesting--not to mention, condescending--that people consider you a banana if you don't speak Mandarin; apparently, even if you speak other Chinese dialects, unless you can read and write, it doesn't count!), this is an interesting take on the Hokkien dialect:-
Here, I produce the email in it's entirety:-
"Ancient Imperial Language of China - 2,000 Years Ago.
If you're a HOKKIEN Take Note !!
Ancient Imperial Language of China – 2,000 Years Ago
How 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)
1. The surviving language of the 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 in stance, Hak Seng (student), Tua Ok (university), Thak Chek (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.
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, Korean and Japanese for your comparison (Daphne's Note: If something is missing, it's the Japanese word):
*Daphne's Note: Words are presented in this order of :-
H: Sin Boon (news)
K: Sin Mun
J: Shinbun - newspaper
H: Cheng Hu (government)
K: Chong Bu
Eng Wan (eternal)
Poh Hiam (insurance)
Sio Sim (caution)
Mo Kui (demon)
Sin Sei Kai (new world)
Shin Sae Gae
Kok Ka (nation)
Hya (elder brother)
Choon Pi (prepare)
Si Kan (time)
Kam tong (emotion, feeling)
Kamsia (gratitude, thanks)
Keat Hoon (marriage)
Oon Tong (exercise)
Tua Ok (university)
Aun Chuan (safety)
Ai Lang (lover)
Seng Kong (success)
Chhiu Sat (suicide)
Pu Do (grapes)
Chin Por (progress)
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."
Hmmm...I wonder how true this is (Can anybody clarify?)...
It was obviously written by someone who knows their history better than I do, and who has obviously been called a banana by his/her Mandarin-speaking friends...
Because if it is, there is all the more reason why people should not make fun of Chinese people who can't speak Mandarin--besides the fact that no dialect/language is superior or people more superior just because they speak/read/write it. Because derogatory terms have no place in society if we decide they don't have a place.