Unlike Babas, who speak Malay primarily, they have also continued to speak Hokkien, the topolect passed down from their ancestors in southern China (Tan 2002, pp.
In its codified form, it is in effect a form of the Peking dialect, stripped of its more restricted localisms"--to wit, a language derived from topolects in northern China.
The name for these varieties of Chinese, called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (MSM: fangyan), has long been erroneously translated as "dialects." (6) The meaning is better captured with the term topolect, referring to language groups (Sinitic or otherwise) by topographic distribution.
Teacher Meihua agreed that many "topolects" [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] actually preserve old Chinese better than Mandarin, and she used the example of how to say "bed" in Teochew ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), which literally translates to "sleeping bed." Students were very excited to hear her speaking Teochew, so they asked her to speak more so they could guess the meanings using their multilingual knowledge.
": A small annoyance is that the dictionary uses "topolect
" to mark all regionalisms.
In this regard, it is instructive to observe that the romanized form of writing in Southern Min topolect is commonly called Minnan baihua, referring specifically to written language and not spoken Minnan.
(3.) The fang of fangkou should not be confused with the fang of fangyan ("topolect").