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About Foochow In Malaysia

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by Miss Lim Mandarin (MAMA)

Last updated:


Friday, 9 December 2022

Interesting Facts

Foochow, also known as Fuzhou or Hokchiu, is a dialect of the Eastern Min language spoken by the Foochow people in Malaysia. It is one of the most widely-spoken Chinese dialects in the country, along with Cantonese and Mandarin.

Foochow is spoken by the descendants of immigrants from the Fujian province of China who settled in Malaysia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The dialect has been influenced by other languages spoken in Malaysia, such as Malay and English, and has developed its own unique characteristics over time.

One characteristic of Foochow is its use of tones. Like Mandarin, Foochow uses four tones: the high level tone, the rising tone, the falling-rising tone, and the falling tone. These tones are used to differentiate words and give them their unique meaning. For example, the word "ma" can be pronounced with any of the four tones, resulting in four different meanings: "mother" (high level tone), "hemp" (rising tone), "horse" (falling-rising tone), and "scold" (falling tone).

Another characteristic of Foochow is its use of loanwords from other languages. Due to its long history of contact with other languages, Foochow has borrowed words from Malay, English, and other Chinese dialects. For example, the word "kerja" comes from the Malay word for "work," and the word "biasa" comes from the Malay word for "usual."

Despite its unique characteristics, Foochow is facing challenges in modern Malaysia. The widespread use of Mandarin in schools and the media has led to a decline in the number of people who speak Foochow as their first language. However, there are still many Foochow speakers in Malaysia, and the dialect continues to be an important part of the country's cultural heritage.

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Miss Lim has coached over 5000+ students in learning Malaysian Mandarin. She is a certified HRDCorp trainer and able to speak 5 languages which are Mandarin, Hokkien, Bahasa Malaysia, English, and Cantonese.
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