Our museum curators, Tan Siong Kiat and Kelvin K.P. Lim have joined forces to put together a book on the Minnan (Hokkien) Animal Names Used in Singapore.
The Minnan language is a Chinese ‘dialect’ spoken in Singapore, and is generally referred to in Singapore and much of Southeast Asia as Hokkien. It was commonly used as the lingua franca among the Chinese up to the 1980s, and is still widely used by the older generation in Singapore today.
From their collective experiences, Tan and Lim (who are both formidable Hokkien speakers in the museum) have compiled a directory of animal names in the language. The book also includes a pronunciation key, and the variations of the pronunciation of the names—definitely useful when communicating with the older generation of Hokkien speakers, or in the market!
Word has it that they’ve picked up steam along the way, and are already looking at a follow up to this book.