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Abstract

Southern Min is undeniably one of the earliest Sinitic languages (if not the first one) which spread from China to Southeast Asia. Being the predominant language of Chinese communities living in Southeast Asia, it played a crucial role in the early contact between Chinese and European languages. This role, unfortunately, has barely been acknowledged nor discussed in the sociolinguistic literature; this chapter aims to present some linguistic contributions from Southern Min in the early history of Sino-European contact during the period of European exploration and colonization of the Far East. This chapter focuses on two Southern Min terms: ang moh 紅毛 ‘European’ (lit. ‘red hair’) and phijun 批准 ‘to approve (a business permit)’, which is argued to be the origin of pidgin ‘business’. The former came into existence in the 1590s when the Hokkien in Indonesia first encountered the Dutch, and were impressed by the red or auburn hair of some of these Dutch seafarers. Later its meaning was expanded from ‘Dutch’ to ‘European’ in general. Through the medium of Chinese characters, the term ang moh 紅毛 spread to other Sinitic languages as well as Japanese. As for pidgin, derivations from the word business are unconvincing and reflect the biased focus on Cantonese in study of Chinese Pidgin English on the one hand, and to the unwarranted assumption that English should be the donor language for pidgin on the other. This chapter submits a novel theory that hypothesizes Southern Min to be the primary source for pidgin, whose origin phijun 批准 has undergone a semantic change from ‘to approve (a business permit)’ to ‘business’.

Open Access
In: Sinophone Southeast Asia
A Grammar of Prinmi represents the first in-depth description of a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Pǔmǐ Nationality and the Zàng Nationality (in Mùlǐ, Sichuan) in southwest China. Prinmi belongs to the Qiangic branch and is closely related to the extinct language of Tangut.
Picus Ding examines in the grammar the phonology (both segmental and suprasegmental), morphology, syntax and information structure of Prinmi, with two sample texts and an English-Prinmi glossary provided in appendices. Some noteworthy features of Prinmi include a wealth of clitics (appearing as proclitic, enclitic, mesoclitic or endoclitic), a lexical tone system akin to Japanese, and a collection of existential verbs that discriminates concreteness, animacy, and location.
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi
In: A Grammar of Prinmi