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meaning of the word Punti.
Dear members of the forum,
I have heard the word Punti mentioned by Chinese people from Trinidad. Their
ancestors speak Cantonese. But in terms of daily usage, people differentiate
between the words Hakka and Cantonese. There's some Toisan people too in
Trinidad, but that dialect resembles Cantonese.
I can answer the question of the meaning of "Punti".
"Punti" is the Cantonese word for "Bendi", meaning local, indigenous, in
opposite to "Hakka", meaning guest families or tribe. The term was widely
used a century ago, and the Cantonese tongue is also known as Punti-wa.
Today, the term is becoming obsolete in and around Hong Kong, but in
official documents, especially in judiciary or police, the term is still
kept and treated as the only lawful term. When I was a free-lance court
interpreter (up to last year), I was asked to swear as, "I, XXX, speak the
Hakka and the Punti dialect, ..."
When an offender is wanted who speak Cantonese, the official announcement is
"Male, Chinese race, of height 1.70cm, speaks Punti-waa, etc". That means,
even now the meaning of Punti is still clear-cut in Hong Kong and is the
only legal term for Cantonese.
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