Kvasir (reclamationzone) wrote in eastling,
Kvasir
reclamationzone
eastling

Language Resource Review

During a recent (First half of Jan 2005) trip to Hong Kong i was able to hunt down copies of Shanghainese and Cantonese books. Yes, good Shanghainese resources were hard to find in bookstores and Taishanese ones are non-existent. All of the following books were published in HK and thus printed in traditional Chinese.

輕鬆自學上海話 - Learn Shanghai Hua
by 高明儀; ISBN 962-14-2868-8
first published in Dec. 2004. So yeah, I would say this is fresh off the press! Suggested price HK$ 78.

It is written exclusively in Chinese. (sorry for those who can't read it.) But really this book is targetted to people who already have literary knowledge base in Cantonese and/or Mandarin.

The book is divided into sections: Pronunciation, Conversation, Vocabulary, and Appendix with cultural niblets.

The phrases are done in derived IPA using only latin alphabets and tone numbers. I don't condone this practce personally but it makes the pronunciation looking less alienating. Each phrase is shown giving its phonetic representation, then the WRITTEN SHANGHAINESE, then the corresponding WRITTEN CANTONESE and then the corresponding written Mandarin version. The biggest score-getter about this book is that it shows both written Shanghainese and Cantonese vernacular, very rare in chinese dialect phrase books. It is nice to actually see what you really are saying.

The book comes with 2 audio CDs corresonding to the content in the book. The section titles are done in mandarin and then all the phrases and vocabulary are read in Shanghainese. I can't really judge the quality of the pronunciation but it seems to me it has a mandarin accent. I could be wrong.
生活粵語本字趣談 (Discussion of the Etymology of Colloquial Cantonese)
by 陳伯煇 and 吳偉雄; ISBN 962-231-894-0
2nd edition in Jun. 2004. Suggested price HK$ 48.

This book discusses and gives examples of many cantonese words and their etymology. This book illustrates that seemingly "vulgar"/colloquial cantonese words and expressions actually have much older and literary origins. The book is written entirely in Chinese and shows many of these older disused words in their original forms. The book illustrate pronunciation and sound shift using a simplified system of IPA with tone numbers. Fascinating read!
論粵方言詞本字考釋 (Discussion of the Etymology Research of the Yue Dialect)
by 陳伯煇; ISBN 962-231-947-5
1st edition May 1998. Suggested price HK$ 60.

This book deals deeper into the history and sound shifts of Cantonese etymology and provides much more historical literary references. The book also uses the simplified system of IPA to illustrate historic and current sound change and pronunciation.

While i'm at it, other eastling resources i've been using for awhile:
新日漢·漢日兩用辭典 (New Japanese-Chinese Dictionary)
Edited by 尹德壽; ISBN 962-386-228-8
2nd edition April 1990. Suggested price HK$ 58

I mainly used this to learn kanji in my Japanese mangas. Even though i can guess 80% what they mean i have no idea how they are pronunced. The dicionary is organised by kana and then at the back is an index of kanji organised by stroke count. A few Japanese grammatical points in the appendix.
新雅中文字典 (Sunya Chinese Dictionary)
Edited by 何容; ISBN 962-08-1188-7
6th edition May 1990. Suggested price HK$ 30

This is the dictionary i've been using since elementary school in HK. Sunya is a reputable publishing house in HK and has lots of educational publications under its belt. The dictionary is organised in typical chinese dictionary format with all characters organised by radical and stroke count. An index for harder-to-be-identified words. Each word is given with mandarin pinyin, cantonese IPA and any other possible pronuncation. There are a bunch of extra stuff at the back as well. Including a Zhuyin-Pinyin chart; Standard Cantonese pronuncation guide in simplified IPA and tone numbers; Punctuation Guide; Chart of Chinese dynasties; Metric-Imperial Measuring units, Simple Atomic table; and an Index for Simplified Chinese.
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