Tuesday, January 11, 2011



Colleague: "Does anyone knows what's 'sabun(soap)' in hokkien?"
Colleague: "My husband's friend already asked the whole Penang and Butterworth. Nobody knows."

Back in office, and TY does some research online.

Source 1:
Sabun is a word used in both China and Taiwan. It is a vocabulary in
Hokkien. I believe a few generations back some people said Tee Khoo
(phonetically Tee as in tea, Khoo as in dollar – most people might spell as
Teh Khor). But today, Sabun is indeed an understood word across all Hokkien
speaking regions, I would say.

Source 2 :
Douglas’ dictionary (1873) shows sabun was used even then. In the old days
there were various different types of soap: pui-tso was a kind of black
soap (皂 means black), but there were also i-tso, tso-kiap, peh-ih, etc.
Te-khơ was made from the husks of camellia seeds; uiN-bak-chi and ba-bui
were different fruits that were used as soap.

Source 3:
Sabun = savon (french) = savon (spanish) = sabun (hokkien)
It is only the english use soap!!!

Source 4:
In Taiwan, you can say "satbun" for soap. "Satbun" is not a Minnan word and
came from one of the indigenous Taiwanese languages in the mountains maybe
Ami or Tsou or Paiwan.

Source 5:
茶箍 tê-kho (day koh)

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