Discussion:
Plural form of Hmong
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Tou Ly
2003-08-26 18:00:45 UTC
Permalink
What is the plural form of Hmong in English? Is it still Hmong or is
it Hmongs?

I've never really thought about this point much until recently. For me
I've always used Hmong as both singular and plural. I see others using
Hmongs however. Can you guys shed more light into this?

Tou
Tou Ly
2003-08-28 19:49:43 UTC
Permalink
If you look at the Hmong language, you'll notice that in many cases,
we use the same word for both singular and plural. For example, when
refering to one toe- you say "tug ntiv taw" and when refering to all
ten toes (or more) you say "cov ntiv taw." When refering to peb cov
Hmoob, it's the same thing, so when translated into English I feel it
should be the same way, Hmong for both singular and plural. In the
same way, I've never seen Chinese plural written Chineses. :)
However I realize that it's awkward with the English language, so when
refering to more than one Hmong I always say Hmong people. Hope that
helps a little. That's just my perspective.
Cici,

I take on your logic also, that's why I use Hmong for both singular
and plural.

I wouldn't mind hearing more input from other people on the board so
as to get a general concesus. I was debating with a few guys and girls
the other day on what should be the plural form of Hmong in English
and they wanted to use "Hmongs" 'cause it fits more into the rules of
English grammar. But of course little do they know that there are lots
of exceptions in this particular language, as with many languages
also, just like what Xeng Yang said. I find using "Hmongs" with the
"gz" sounding not neat.

Tou Ly
Cici
2003-08-29 05:26:27 UTC
Permalink
Tou, just take that Hmong can be as Indian. 1,2,3 or 4 Indian not
Indians. If you put the "s" then the teahcer will mark the paragraph
wrong. A simple rule is Hmong can be the same as Indian. I thing we
should take that.
Tom,
WHAT???? I've always said INDIANS for plural of INDIAN! Are you sure that's right?
Tzexa Lee
2003-08-29 08:50:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cici
Tou, just take that Hmong can be as Indian. 1,2,3 or 4 Indian not
Indians. If you put the "s" then the teahcer will mark the paragraph
wrong. A simple rule is Hmong can be the same as Indian. I thing we
should take that.
Tom,
WHAT???? I've always said INDIANS for plural of INDIAN! Are you sure that's right?
Not only the plural form on Hmong in English will have an s suffix,
but Xeng Thao already suggested that we adopt the western plural form
system, e.g. ib tug tub; peb tug tubs.

tz
Xeng Yang
2003-08-29 17:04:00 UTC
Permalink
Tom, et al,
Actually as Cici already noted, "Indians" is the correct plural
form. You can't say "3 Indian" but must say "3 Indians." In English
there are two forms of nouns, viz. countable and non-countable. The
former are pluralized with a final "s" and the latter are often
pluralized by adding an "s" to their classifier. I have taught ESL a
number of times over the years and this was always the hardest thing
for people to learn besides prepositions. For, example words like
milk, and chalk are non-countable. If you want to pluralize them you
must use pluralized classifiers such as "JUGS/CUPS/BOTTLES etc. of
milk" and "PIECES/BOXES of chalk." Notice in these instances the
classifiers are pluralized while milk and chalk remained unaltered.
Keep in mind Hmong has classifiers too, such as "lub, tus, rab, daim,
txoj," etc. Then there are some words that are inherently plural in
nature. For example, the word "people" is already plural meaning
"haiv neeg." Interestingly enough, the word "haiv neeg" in Hmong is
also plural in nature, so you don't need to use "cov" to pluralize it.
But to make things confusing, the word "people" can be pluralized to
"peoples" if you are talking about mulitiple groups of people. So,
saying the "people of Laos" is different from saying "the peoples of
Laos." The former refers to the people of Laos collectively as a
whole--including Lao, Hmong, Mien, Tai Dam, etc. This groups them all
into one group. The latter however, refers to the various groups
individually, indicating there are various groups of people in Laos,
including Hmong, Mien, etc. Really then, the term "peoples" is pretty
much the same as saying "nationalities." Therefore, saying "the
peoples of Laos are many" would be about the same as saying "the
nationalities of Laos are many." I am wondering now about Hmong.
While "people" can be translated as "haiv neeg," "peoples" would have
to be translated as "ntau haiv neeg" or "cov haiv neeg" but I don't
think that is acceptable in Hmong. Is it? Do any of you really
care?:)
Anyway, now you can see why I made a poor ESL teacher: I don't know
when to shut up. I just pity people who have to learn English as a
second language--ouch!!

Xeng
Tou, just take that Hmong can be as Indian. 1,2,3 or 4 Indian not
Indians. If you put the "s" then the teahcer will mark the paragraph
wrong. A simple rule is Hmong can be the same as Indian. I thing we
should take that.
Tom,
Post by Tou Ly
If you look at the Hmong language, you'll notice that in many cases,
we use the same word for both singular and plural. For example, when
refering to one toe- you say "tug ntiv taw" and when refering to all
ten toes (or more) you say "cov ntiv taw." When refering to peb cov
Hmoob, it's the same thing, so when translated into English I feel it
should be the same way, Hmong for both singular and plural. In the
same way, I've never seen Chinese plural written Chineses. :)
However I realize that it's awkward with the English language, so when
refering to more than one Hmong I always say Hmong people. Hope that
helps a little. That's just my perspective.
Cici,
I take on your logic also, that's why I use Hmong for both singular
and plural.
I wouldn't mind hearing more input from other people on the board so
as to get a general concesus. I was debating with a few guys and girls
the other day on what should be the plural form of Hmong in English
and they wanted to use "Hmongs" 'cause it fits more into the rules of
English grammar. But of course little do they know that there are lots
of exceptions in this particular language, as with many languages
also, just like what Xeng Yang said. I find using "Hmongs" with the
"gz" sounding not neat.
Tou Ly
Lajntxiag
2003-09-09 16:07:22 UTC
Permalink
people = ib co/pab/haiv/yam/tsob [tib] neeg
peoples = ntau haiv [tib] neeg; ob-peb haiv/yam/pawg/co neeg. [I've
never used 'cov haiv neeg' in daily conversations.]

--Lajntxiag
Post by Xeng Yang
I am wondering now about Hmong.
While "people" can be translated as "haiv neeg," "peoples" would have
to be translated as "ntau haiv neeg" or "cov haiv neeg" but I don't
think that is acceptable in Hmong. Is it? Do any of you really
care?:)
Moob
2003-09-09 21:38:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lajntxiag
people = ib co/pab/haiv/yam/tsob [tib] neeg
peoples = ntau haiv [tib] neeg; ob-peb haiv/yam/pawg/co neeg. [I've
never used 'cov haiv neeg' in daily conversations.]
--Lajntxiag
Post by Xeng Yang
I am wondering now about Hmong.
While "people" can be translated as "haiv neeg," "peoples" would have
to be translated as "ntau haiv neeg" or "cov haiv neeg" but I don't
think that is acceptable in Hmong. Is it? Do any of you really
care?:)
Translating word for word from one language to another would never be
right, good and accurate translation would vary depending on the
context an dnot the phrase or sentense itself.

For instance:

You people!!! could be translated to: Meej cov nyuas ntawm
ko....instead of mej haiv nyuas tuab neeg ntawd ko...
As in English, there are many meaning as well, so ntawv Moob as it is
is very good. The only thing that is missing is the vocabulary for
technical terms such as machines, chemistry etc...
I think that Hmong scholars need to invent these words instead of
creating a new Hmong Language or add something that does not make
sense to the existing one.

Moob St. Paul
Tsujsua Dluag
2003-08-29 19:50:29 UTC
Permalink
tou..

los lus hmoob ces twb sau zog cov hmoob lawm. hmong is hmong and hmong
are hmong.

yaweh
--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG
Tou Ly
2003-09-09 02:27:20 UTC
Permalink
Thanks guys for your repsonses. Thus far I see that the majority
concensus says Hmong should be the right form for both singular and
plural.

I have another question though--this pertains to parts of speech in
Hmong and English as well. In this example, "muaj 10 tus Hmoob"
("there are 10 Hmong")what would the proper grammatical terms be for
each of the words? For instance, Hmoob/Hmong would be the noun.

Gosh, it was so long ago since I took English grammar. Nowadays I just
write without thinking about it. Where is Hawj Lauj when you need him?
I hope he's reading this! And if not then I sure hope Xeng Yang or
others comes in to explain it to me quickly! Thanks.

Tou Ly
Xeng Yang
2003-09-09 22:45:07 UTC
Permalink
Tou-Ly,
Since I am not a linguist per se, I don't know what proper term
would be used for sure, but I would call it a "classifier"--at least
that's what linguists who deal with the Chinese language call them,
and as far as this is concerned Chinese is identical to Hmong. As I
wrote earlier in this post, English has non-countable and countable
nouns with the former needing a classifier (i.e. JUGS of milk; BALES
of hay; etc.) and the latter just pluralizing by adding a final "s" or
changing form (like from "man" to "men"). Hmong of course doesn't
differentiate between these two kinds of nouns--there are only
non-countable, all of which need to be counted with a classifier. In
the sentence "muaj 10 tus Hmoob" then, "tus" would be a classifier.
The word "Hmong," just as the names of many different nationalities in
the English language, creates an exception in the English language: it
is neither uncountable (otherwise it would take a classifier) or
countable (otherwise it would take a final "s" or change form).
Consider these examples:
1. "There are ten cows" (Muaj kaum tus nyuj)--countable final "s"
rule
2. "There are ten men" (Muaj kaum tus txiv neej)-- countable form
change
3. "There are ten pieces of paper" (muaj kaum daim
ntawv)--non-countable classifier rule ("piece" and "daim" are both
classifiers).

I hope I explain this well enough. I feel I can explain it fine, but
I am not 100% sure "classifier" is actually the right term. Keep in
mind that I am only talking about when we "count" things. In English,
you only use classifiers if you are counting. In Hmong though, when
you want to make something plural you don't always have to use a
classifier unless you are counting things. For example "Nplog Teb
muaj nyuj thiab" can be translated as "There are cows in Laos." Note
here that "nyuj" is plural in the Hmong sentence but there is no
classifier--this is more of an implied pluralization.
One last thing, "tus" is a classifier in the above example you
give, but I don't think it would be considered one in this sentence:
"Nws tus aub tom kuv." I'm not sure what you would call it there, but
it would be more of a possessive marker (a "possessive particle"?).
Drats, there I go again rambling on...I'll shut up now:) Hope this
helps.

Xeng
Post by Tou Ly
Thanks guys for your repsonses. Thus far I see that the majority
concensus says Hmong should be the right form for both singular and
plural.
I have another question though--this pertains to parts of speech in
Hmong and English as well. In this example, "muaj 10 tus Hmoob"
("there are 10 Hmong")what would the proper grammatical terms be for
each of the words? For instance, Hmoob/Hmong would be the noun.
Gosh, it was so long ago since I took English grammar. Nowadays I just
write without thinking about it. Where is Hawj Lauj when you need him?
I hope he's reading this! And if not then I sure hope Xeng Yang or
others comes in to explain it to me quickly! Thanks.
Tou Ly
m***@googlemail.com
2019-05-18 13:57:21 UTC
Permalink
It's actually really "Cappucchino" in Italian...

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