Hello everyone. Two posts in one day, how do you like that??? So, if this Hmong business is going to continue in any degree, I believe I should give you all a very brief and condensed first lesson in reading Hmong. There's no way to get into grammar and tones, however, since this is not a verbal lesson, but I can give you the basic idea of pronunciation. The Hmong language has only been romanized for just over 50 years, and there is little to no written history and/or language since anytime before then. Now then, in Hmong, there are some 13 vowels, some 50-something consenants and 8 (arguably 9) tones. A lot of the consenants are just combinations of consenants put together, such as t, ts, tsh, ntsh, etc. SO, for the sake of brevity, I will just teach a few key Hmong phrases, that will come in handy if you talk to me on the phone or in person. Key: Anytime a word ends in a consenant, it is the tone marker, and therefore unpronounced. Such as my Hmong name: Kuab Ci --the b in "Kuab" is silent, as it indicates the tone. If the word ends in a consenant, there is no tone, or, midtone. Anyway, enough ado, here are five key terms:
1. Nyob zoo
Literally, "To exist well," this is the common greeting, or, rougly, "hello". As outlined before, the b in "nyob" will be unpronounced, and the z makes a "zh" sort of sounds, as in "azure," so this phrase will be pronounced, "nyah zhong".
2. Sib ntsib dua
"To reciprocally meet again," or, roughly, goodbye, this is a good opportunity to learn a couple of new consenants. The s is pronounced "sh", and the nts is pronounced "nj", and of course each b will be silent, so this will be said, "Shee njee doua".
3. Ua tsaug
"To do thanks", this, of course, means thank you. As before, the ts will be pronounced as "j", and as a point of interest, the g tone in "tsaug" makes it a breathy sound (hard to explain, ask me sometime). So, this will be pronounced as "ua jao".
4. Thov txim
Literally "to plead punishment," this is commonly used as the American "I'm sorry." The th makes a hard t sound, and the tx makes a sort of "dz", like the sound at the end of "lids" or "meds." So, this will be pronounced "tah dzi."
5. Tsis ua li cas
"To not do like how," this phrase is used as "You're welcome," "Don't worry about it," or "No problem." It's used very often in many different circumstances, and is a very useful phrase to know. It will be pronounced like, "jee ua lee gyah."
So there you go! Now you all know all you need to know! You can now make your away around California, Minnesota or Wisconsin, or even Laos or Thailand! Good luck with your practicing, and I will be very glad to give anyone personal lessons.
Ua tsaug! Sib ntsib dua!