Funny Hakka in Mauritius
A few amusing words that I came across when talking to Hakka-Mauritians were those that had been borrowed from Mauritian Creole/French/English and made to sound like Hakka. The (randomly spelled!) examples I found were:
- se-mi-se for 'chemise'
- foh-maa-se for 'fromage'
- gat-toh for 'gâteau'
- pa-sak for 'bazaar'
- maa-yaa-se for 'mariage'
- mi-se-kui for 'biscuit'
- bi-se for 'bus'
- bi-se-top for 'bus stop'
I'd love to add more if you can think of any!
I once heard a story of a Hakka lady who visited Mauritius and was rather confused because her host kept on asking her whether she would like some 'gat-toh' and she had no idea what this was!
Thanks to Ah Yee No. 3 and Yee Chong, who have remembered some more funny Creole-Hakka words:
- La-vang-ha for 'la varangue' (veranda)
- Si-ma-naye for 'ciment' (cement)
- La-su-tik for 'elastique'
- Pang-leh-song for 'prendre des leçons', that is, taking extra tuition after school...
Thanks to GSY:
- an-ma-se for 'Champs de Mars' (racecourse)
- Or-chin for the town of 'Rosehill' (doesn't sound very similar, but I guess to the original Chinese this was the closest they could get?)
- Ma-ta-kwee for 'police' - one of our Malaysian readers confirms that 'mata' means 'eyes' in Malay and is used to refer to the police, whilst 'kwee' is a commonly-used Hakka word for 'ghost', often used as a derogatory term.
- Li-su-choy or 'le chou'
My dad recalls referring to La Réunion as phu-lo-vong, possibly derived from its former name of 'Île Bourbon' and to Rodrigues as lo-ti-li.
My mum, on hearing li-su-choy, suddenly remembered that from li-su-choy you can make yaa-saa, otherwise known as 'achard'!
- ko-long-souille for 'Eau de Cologne'
Thanks to BNCT:
- ang-taille for 'sangle'
- Lam-jiu for 'rum'
- Or-se-pen for 'Rose Belle'
- Kak-ponne for 'Quatre Bornes'
- Lan-ti-theo for 'lentilles' (I do like this one a lot!)
Thanks to AKLFS:
- va-li-se for 'valise'