Moiyan or Meixian?

The question ought to be:

  • Moiyan?
  • Moiyen?
  • Moyan?
  • Moyen?
  • Moizu?
  • Moichu?
  • Meixian?
  • Meizhou?

One of the reasons I previously found it difficult to find out anything about Moiyan is because I didn't know how I should write it using Roman letters and certainly didn't know how to write it in Chinese!

Moiyan, Moiyen, Moyan, Moyen etc. etc. are all different ways of writing the Hakka pronunciation of 梅县, the county that most of us originate from. I have come across the 'Moiyen' spelling more frequently than the others, but it seems to vary from Mauritian to Mauritian! The confusion has arisen due to a lack of standardization. Therefore, for the sake of consistency, I will use the 'a' spelling that correlates with the official Hakka Romanization system. When I wish to represent Hakka tones, I will indicate them numerically in brackets following each word e.g. Moi(2) yan(4). 

By comparison, Meixian, or more correctly Méixiàn, is the Standard Chinese (Mandarin) pinyin spelling for the same place that we Hakkas call Moiyan. If you wish to find information on the internet about Moiyan, you are generally better off searching for 'Meixian'.

Moizu (Moi(2) Zu(1) with tones), is the spelling for the Hakka pronunciation of 梅州, the municipality in which Moiyan is found. You may have previously seen it written as 'Moi Chu' or similar. Meizhou or Méizhōu are the Standard Chinese pinyin spellings for the same place.

Within main bodies of English text, I will stick with plain old 'Moiyan' to refer to the general area from which our ancestors came. The reason for this is that we all grew up hearing our families talk of 'Moiyan' and so to call it by its Mandarin name 'Meixian' would, I believe, sound rather strange to our ears!