[ A Note from Prof. Liim's lecture "Unified Spelling for Taiwanese Language" to the Student Associatioin at Yale University in July 1992]
Different Taiwanese Dialects and Derivative Vowels
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   The Taiwanese Modern Spelling System (TMSS) does, like most Western languages, construct all vocabularries using five vowel letters a, e, i, o, u as building blocks.  To allow these vocabularies become common literal bases for all Taiwanese people, it is demanded to be unique and fixed.   But the actual situation is that people of different localities speak in somewhat different sounds.    To avoid thid discrepancy between fixed spelling and dirrerently talked sounds, the only solution seems to apply some additional phonetic symbols or to make special notation on the unified spelling for each group of readers or learners.   Thus, a given letter in the spelling can represent another sound.    We say the latter one is the derivative of the original sound.

      In a book entitled as "Introductory Taiwanese (1971)", Dr. Oong Iogteg gave the following comparative list as his own study on different dialects around Taiwan.
Han-Word Taipag sound Tailaam sd. Ciangzow sd. Zhuanzow sd. Amoy sound Zhauzow sd. TMSS ,  with reminder
a hen koef kef kef køy koef koy koef , koef
to wash soea sea sea søie soea soie soea , soea
bottom toea tea tea tøie toea toie toea , toea
a plow loee lee lee løii loee loii loee , loee

     Here, the TMSS in 1942 was originally the Amoy dialect, but was later given an arbitrary reminder by hand on the vowel "oe".   It was explained that any reminder on the vowel of a TMSS let that vowel be read with the local sound of the readers, and the teacher can teach his pupils with this local sound,  though the TMSS spelling is unchanged..
     This is to say that .the unified spelling of TMSS-word is meaning-oriented, but you can pronounce it at will.
     Such arbitrary pronunciation of Taiwanese words is quite abundant.   Especially in those colloquial words, i.e. words with pronunciation at least partly colloquial.   A well known case is the word "principal of school hauxtviuo"  which is procounced as [hauxtvior] in Tainan area, and in the same sence, the word "Presbyterian Church Tviwlor-Kaohoe" as [tvioflor-kaohoe].   We may add an underline or other reminding symbol on the vowel  viu as-viu,-vìu,-vïu, etc.
      The simple vowel
vi-can be underlined or added with some upper symbols to express its derivation of pronunciation to [ve]. Examples are "birthday svijit", "become sick phoarpvi", "theater stage hie'pvii', "surname svix", etc.
       This useage of underline on
.i.was dropped around 1950 after the observation that Christian in Tainan area read viuandvi-in th Bible with thir local sound of [vio] and [ve] at will and without confusion.
       Another serious problem, however, was found that some Taipei people strongly oppose MLT when they saw the sentence: "
Goarn khix zhaychi'ar boea hii. (We went market to buy fishes.)".   They say they speak as "[gurn khux zhaychi'ar boea huu]".   Thus they oppose those TMSS-words "we goarn", "go khix", and "fishhii", and want to alter them into  "we gurn", "go khux", and "fish huu".   In Amoy-Taiwanese dictionary, there is a word  "we gurn" but  no "go khux", and "fish huu".
       In the "Great Tai-Nichi Dictionary (1930)" by the preceding Taiwanese Government-General, there are, in page 3, two special Taiwanese pronunciation "u" and "o"
.  It  states that pronunciation of them are as followings:   "u": mouth as "i" and tongue as "u";  and   "o": mouth as "e" and tongue as "o"¡C     o  is equivalent to
ò, ø, ó, etc.
      Apparently,  "u" in this dictionary corresponds to the above Taipei sound of "u" which appears in some Amoy words pronounced as "i" and are adopted so by TMSS.   Since so, it is more reasonable for us to take it as the derivation of vowel "i" in TMSS, and denote it as
"i", "
ì", "ï", etc.
      There is also a vowel exchange of
u=i.     Examples are "permit hykhor or hwkhor", "vanity khanghy or khanghw", "behavior kytong or kwtong", etc.   We accept both as legal TMSS words.
    The special pronunciation "o" in the dictionary seems to correspond to the southern sound of Tainan area.   In Amoy dialect, it is the ordinary [o] as in Church Romanization.   Amoy dialect is quite near to present Gilan sound in this connection.   It was noted that the phonetics of [o
.] expresses a throat voice, where the high point means the bottom of throat.    Actually, this sound is not heard in southern sound.   This is a quite difficult situation, and should be clearlified with the following table.
Single [o] in Amoy  Gilaan sound Tailaam sound TMSS
[o] [o] [o] o
[o.] [o.] [o] o

      A very special sound only heard in Gilaan is [vui].    This appears as a substitute to vowel ng in TMSS words.   Thus, it may be given an underline reminder to suggest the sound derivation, if necessary.   Some of actual cases are listed below.
TMSS hng(far) hngf(medicine) mng(ask) nng(egg) nngr(soft) png(meal) hngg(garden)
Gilaan sound [hvui] [hvuy] [mui] [nui] [nuie] [pvui] [hvuii]
TMSS with reminder hng hngf mng nng nngr png hngg

     Standaard TMSS sound of voai is also pronounced as [vui]in Gilaan.  Examples are:
"shut kvuy", "county kvui","recline hvuii", etc.   These are taken as vowel derivation and given the underline as kvoay, kvoai, hvoaai, etc.
     In summary, the following table will be helpful for MLT/TMSS users.  Good remark is obtained for
o only.
TMSS with reminder sound  Taipag people Tailaam people Gilaan people General remarks
oe [ oe] or [ e] oe oe oe good
viu [ vio] viu viu viu unnecessary
vi [ ve] vi vi vi unnecessary
i [ u] i i i unnecessary
o [ o] o or o o o good
ng [ vui] ng ng ng unnecessary
voai [ vui] voai voai voai unnecessary

  Since the reminder is not always necessary, in ordinary MLT/TMSS document, the reminder can  be entirely retracted.     .
  In a separate phonetic expression, it is convenient to apply following special phonetic symbols:
phonetics sound note
[ e ] or  [ è Sharp e-sound, for spelling "ei" abnormal
[ e ][ en ] Light e, for spelling "ie" "ien" general
[ ve ] Southern ve, for spelling vi acceptable
[ eng ] or  [ èng ] Northern ing, for spelling eng abnormal
[ i ] or  [ ì ( = [ u ] ) Northern u acceptable
[ vio ] Southern sound for spelling viu acceptable
[ o ], [ ø ] or  [ ò Southern o, Northern puckered o
(mouth "e"  tongue "o")
[ o ] Southern o, Northern open throat o general
[ oe ] or  [ øe ] Northern oe, Southern e general
[ u ] or  [ ù ]  Northern u, (mouth "i"  tongue "u")  acceptable
[ vui ] Gilaan sound for ng and voai acceptable

      .                -

Different Taiwanese Dialects and Derivative Vowels
   . . . . .   from Professor Liim's lecture "Unified Spelling for Taiwanese Language"  in  July, 1992